Tag Archives: Harvard

Another Odd Guru

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election ’08: Killing God and destroying the right to private property are usually associated with communism. They also seem important to the prominent legal theorist serving as Barack Obama’s technology adviser.


Read More: Election 2008


 

Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig likes to treat his audiences to a short video that doesn’t always go over so well. In it, Jesus Christ lip-syncs Gloria Gaynor’s late ’70s disco hit “I Will Survive,” during which he strips down to just a diaper, effeminately struts along a city street and finally gets run over by a speeding bus.

Lessig showed the film during his keynote address to the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco in 2006 (reportedly causing audience members to exit in disgust), as well as to an assembled group of Google employees recently.

The antics of a trendy left-wing law school teacher who doubles as cybergeek would normally be of little note. But a few years down the information superhighway we may be speaking of Justice Lawrence Lessig should Obama be elected president.

Lessig and Obama were colleagues at the University of Chicago Law School. Lessig’s role today in the Obama campaign is not officially defined, but he campaigned passionately for him in Pennsylvania, where Lessig grew up and went to college, and has been utilized by the campaign to explain the candidate’s positions on Internet law to the press. A nine-page campaign document detailing Obama’s technology policy is part of the Lessig.org Web site.

It should not be surprising that Obama doesn’t want the world knowing to what extent Lessig is involved in advising the Democratic front-runner. The former Harvard Law School professor is the leading light of what is known as the “free culture movement,” which insists that the age of the Internet should mean the abolition of intellectual property rights.

Indeed, British-American Silicon Valley entrepreneur and “Cult of the Amateur” author Andrew Keen has called Lessig an “intellectual property communist.”

Lessig is author of that movement’s manifesto, a book entitled “Free Culture,” where he claims that the new “efficiency” in sharing information over the Internet “does not respect the traditional lines of copyright.” Piracy of copyrighted material, according to Lessig, is a concept that has “at its core . . . an extraordinary idea that is almost certainly wrong.”

That wrong idea is identified by Lessig as this: “Whenever I use, or take, or build upon the creative work of others, I am taking from them something of value. Whenever I take something of value from someone else, I should have their permission. The taking of something of value from someone else without permission is wrong. It is a form of piracy.”

This “extraordinary idea,” of course, is really “Thou shalt not steal,” and it’s nothing less than the moral foundation of a free economy. Without it we have no rule of law governing the activities of buyers and sellers. If products of value, from literature to software, can be stolen, there will be little if any motive left to produce them, especially works of excellence.

Yet according to this scholar who serves as an Obama point man, the age of the Internet has rendered this particular Commandment obsolete. Like 19th century French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and coiner of the slogan “property is theft!” Lessig sees ownership as a constriction imposed on the masses.

Lessig wants to replace what he calls the “permission culture” that currently exists with a new “remix culture” that rejects the existence of copyrights and intellectual property.

What Marx and Stalin tried to do with physical property — failing at the cost of many tens of millions of lives — Lessig’s movement seems intent on doing with intellectual property in a new 21st century global revolution.

A Lessig appointment by Obama to the Supreme Court or a lower federal court would go far beyond riling religious Americans resentful of his video mocking Christ. It could help make a “Marxism of the Internet” a reality, with unimaginatively destructive consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

Harvard Goes Halal

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Islamofascism: Separate gym hours for Muslim coeds. Calls to prayer. Lectures on Shariah finance. A campus in the Mideast? Nope. It’s all happening at America’s pre-eminent college.


Read More: Education | Religion


 

Over the past few years, Harvard University has received millions in endowments from rich Saudi and Emirate sheiks. Now it’s returning the favor by Islamizing its campus and promoting the Shariah agenda of its new Arab masters.

Recently, the Ivy League school has made special accommodations for the religious needs of Muslim students, including, and rescheduling of exams to observe Islamic holidays.

And this weekend it hosted a $400-per-person conference on Shariah finance led by officials from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the forum — sponsored by Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project — is to “integrate” Islamic finance into the mainstream economy.

That’s a tough fit, because Islamic, or Shariah, finance forbids investment in major Western industries, including those that derive substantial income from interest.

Banking and insurance, as well as alcohol, tobacco or pork-related industries, are not considered “halal,” or allowable, under Islam. Entertainment is also unlawful.

Shariah-compliant investments are monitored by paid Shariah law advisers who must “purify” certain returns by donating them to Islamic charities — including some that promote jihad and support suicide bombings.

With $800 billion already in Shariah assets — and $1 trillion to $2 trillion in Arab petrodollars annually looking for an investment home — the potential for billions being siphoned off for terrorism is real.

This, of course, would be a serious criminal violation of U.S. law. Yet Western bankers, including many on Wall Street who are jumping into the Shariah finance market, don’t know this.

One prominent Shariah adviser is Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He’s a paid adviser to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital), which happens to sponsor Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian who has advocated suicide bombings and described Shariah finance as nothing less than “jihad with money.”

He heads the Islamic American University and is a proposed trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston. The director of Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project, S. Nazim Ali, is active in both the university and the Islamic Society. Ali is neither an economist nor a scholar. His background is in computers.

Another paid Shariah adviser is Sheik Muhammad Usmani, a Pakistani cleric who ran a madrassa that trained thousands of Taliban and who recently wrote a book supporting jihad and Islamic domination. He, too, has links to Harvard, according to the Center for Security Policy, a vanguard against so-called Shariah creep.

Roger Ferguson, president-elect of the university’s board of overseers, joined Swiss RE in August 2006. Two months later, Usmani was named chairman of Swiss RE’s Shariah advisory board.

Until recently, Usmani was listed as chief adviser to the Dow Jones Islamic Fund, which is run by the North American Islamic Trust, a recently named co-conspirator in a federal terror-financing case.

Usmani’s name — along with the entire section covering the fund’s “Shariah supervisory board” — mysteriously disappeared from the Islamic Trust’s Web site after we exposed the fund’s extremist ties in a Feb. 28 editorial (“The Risky Business of Islamic Finance”). Other key information on Shariah also has been purged. In addition, the Islamic Trust renamed its Dow fund the “Iman Fund” and amended several paragraphs in its prospectus.

It appears Islamists are trying to use such Shariah-compliant financial products as tools to get Islamic law through the back door into Western countries, including the U.S. They’re enlisting our finest colleges in the project.

If Arab sheiks think they can buy American colleges and use our campuses to spread Wahhabism, Harvard only has encouraged them.