Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post this week is typical of commentators who blather about "free speech" when college students protest one commencement speaker or another every spring.
She's like far too many opinion writers and talking heads who demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights. Someone like Dick Cheney, for instance, is free to speak about his beliefs, his past, his hopes and dreams, his view of foreign affairs, or whatever he likes anywhere he wants to. And he does. He's a public figure and can appear on TV talk shows, can publish op-ed pieces, blogs, essays and books.
But the First Amendment wouldn't apply if he were invited to speak at a college commencement and the school rescinded that invitation. The First Amendment specifically refers to government intervention in individual expression. That's simply not the case where a speaker proves controversial and campus protests get that person uninvited.
The people invoking "free speech" go on to moralize about how students should be open to a free expression of ideas. Seriously? After four years of college, who wants a lecture in the middle of a grueling, dull, long ceremony in the heat? But some schools even have two speakers from opposite political sides of a question to "promote open discussion." That's a joke because it misconstrues the event. Commencement speeches aren't seminars or workshops with Q&A. When do they ever involve discussion?
Commencement speeches are hopefully thought-provoking, inspiring, and entertaining. Funny, if possible, which is why comedians are often chosen as commencement speakers.
These speeches are throwaway and forgettable -- and that's appropriate because graduation is about transitions, about moving on, about celebration. The ceremony isn't an intellectual milestone for anyone involved. It's not meant to be historic, and the speaker isn't Moses coming down from the mountain top. Academic freedom doesn't suffer and nobody's rights are interfered with if someone gets invited for a hefty fee to speak to a graduating class of students, and is uninvited.
Free exchange of ideas? The only real exchange is the speech the speaker gives for the check that speaker receives.
Lev Raphael is the author of the suspense novel Assault With a Deadly Lie and 24 other books in many genres which you can find on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Review the essay on Policy Paralysis – 2014
Was it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of the country?
Economic Growth of India depends mainly of the manufacturing and the services sector since the contribution of the respective sectors to GDP is around 25% and 60%. The agriculture sector though contributes less in the GDP is mainly responsible for providing employment to more than 50% of the India’s working population. Social growth involves development of better polices for the people – through better education and services.
The factors which affect the growth – especially – manufacturing and services formation of capital, domestic saving, foreign investment, world market situation and policies framed by the government.
Policy paralysis is a situation where the government is not able to take the decisions due to number of reasons which restricts economic and social growth. The situation was prevalent in the year 2011-13 during UPA-2 rule. It is said that policy paralysis leads to non-implementation of economic reforms – such as GST Bill for rationalization of tax could not be passed due to non-consensus, it was believed that bill would enhance the GDP of the country by 0.5%. The reasons attributed to policy paralysis are
Firstly, the formation of coalition government leads to pressure from political parties and consensus can not be developed – for example the railway reforms – rise in fair of railways had to be reversed due to Mamta Banerji’s objection, which in turn led to further deterioration in financial of Indian railways.
Secondly, The role played by the opposition, where it did not let run the parliament on number of issues also reduce the effective time available for the policy formulation.
Thirdly, Judicial Activism – the two judgements of supreme court also has a setback on the government. The Vodafone judgment on Transfer pricing creating negative investment sentiments in India and thus FIIs were withdrawn and FDI was also not attracted. Similarly the judgment related to cancellation of 2 G license was also a setback for the government – which has direct negative impact on the investments made by the industrialists and the manufacturing sector.
Fourthly, rise of number of allegation of corruption include 2G, Coal gate (and their indictment) by the CAG also created situation where government could not take tough decisions.
The impact of such policy paralysis was that the social and economic reforms could not be implemented. The Bill of enhancing FDI in insurance could not be passed, which restricted the depth of multi-speciality hospitals and promotion of medical tourism. The pension reforms has also not be able to provide the citizens with income security. Economist say that if all the above economic reforms including GST could have been implemented – GDP could have increased by 1.5% to 3%. The social
impact has been rise in unemployment , increase in poverty and deterioration in health
This policy paralysis can be said to be one of the main reasons for the reduction in growth of India but it was not the only reason, the failure of the implementation of the polices framed by government further reduced the chances of growth.
The policy formulation has been the responsibility of the government while the implementation has been that of Bureaucrats – some of the policies such as government passed the Food Security Law – which provides for 5 kgs or (Rice/Wheat/Pulsess) at Rs.1,2,3 to poor. It was expected that around 67% of the population of the country will be covered, but it was not achived mainly due to poor identification of beneficiary, corruption and leakages mainly by the buearacracy.
the reasons for the failure of policy implementation are –
Firstly, when the minister himself is not ready to take the decision (due to policy paralysis), the bureaucrats also try to delay the decision and implementation to reduce their accountability mainly due to fear psychosis that they would be implicated by CBI/CVC.
Secondly, the corruption is already prevalent in the bureaucracy, the vested interest motivate them to not to properly implement the government policies.
Thirdly, inconsistency in the policy of the government has also led to poor implementation. For example – with FDI in retail being allowed, it was expected to reduce the cost for consumer and increase the price for producer, no foreign company introduced FDI in retail – because it has conditions which were not attractive to them – 50% investment in back end infrastructure and 30% procurement from small and medium enterprises.
Thus it can be concluded that the reduction in growth in 2011-13 was mainly due to the policy paralysis accompanied by paralysis of policy implementation due to above mentioned reasons.
However, the present situation has changed, the investments are coming, stock market is high, the credit rating agencies such as Moody’s have upgraded India’s rating. The Present Modi government does not suffer from policy paralysis as – it BJP has full mandate (no coalition government), weaker and fragmented opposition, strong leader and no charges of corruption till date.
The present government till date has been actively taking economic policy decisions – for example – It has introduced – ‘Make in India’ campaign to attract investments in India without any bureaucratic hurdles. It has also rationalized the rail prices, providing some relief to railways. It has also de-regulated diesel prices. It through its foreign policy has focused on neighboring countries and US, Japan, China and huge investments are expected. In the area of social reforms – it has focused on a clean India by 2019 through clean India mission. However, the analysis on the implementation of the policies is currently unavailable due to just 6-7 months of the government.
India in order to grow back at the rate of 9-10% need to ensure that the policies are formulated and also properly implemented, which could ensure India becomes a global power.
(12 Pages – 950 Words – 13 Pages were given – I left 1 page blank)