Elena Kaganís Socialist Thesis
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Thread: Elena Kaganís Socialist Thesis

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Elena Kaganís Socialist Thesis

    Elena Kaganís Socialist Thesis
    May 17, 2010 - 5:18 PM | by: Lee Ross
    Elena Kagan’s Socialist Thesis Liveshots
    A 134 page thesis detailing the rise and fall of the American socialist movement is hardly a light read, nor must it have been an easy paper for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to write as a Princeton undergrad in 1981. Yet Kagan produced "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933" as her senior thesis, in the hope, as she wrote, "of clarifying [her] own political ideals."

    Unfortunately for politicos intent on discovering more about those ideals, whatever conclusions Kagan reached about her own ideology based on her study of the socialist movement are largely omitted from her final product. In what has become a common description of Kagan, she, even as an undergraduate, displays uncommon intellect but leaves the reader with little understanding of her own deeply-held views.

    The research paper was a graduation requirement for Princeton students, who were able to select their own thesis topic. Kagan dedicated the work to her parents, now deceased, and expressed appreciation to her brother Marc, whose participation in radical causes, Kagan says, in part led her to pursue the topic.

    The premise of her paper, dated April 15, 1981, is that previously written accounts of the American Socialist Party largely missed the main cause of the party's dissolution in the years following World War I. "Historians have looked everywhere but to the American socialist movement itself for explanations of U.S. socialism's failure," Kagan wrote.

    Internal dissention, Kagan argued, was the root of the party's failure to become a significant political force. Her paper examined the dynamics of the Socialist Party's New York chapter, then the largest in the country.

    Though Kagan acknowledged the minimal impact the Socialist Party had on electoral politics a century ago, she maintained the influence of the movement exceeded its electoral performance. "It would be absurd to over-estimate the strength of the early twentieth century socialist movement," she wrote, citing the party's presidential favorite, Eugene V. Debs, who never won a single electoral vote in his five bids for the presidency and never earned more than a million popular votes.

    Nonetheless, Kagan contends, "[T]he specter of socialism haunted Americans to a far greater extent than the SP's [Socialist Party's] numerical strength might indicate."

    Because Kagan's paper focuses on the role of New Yorkers in the evolution of the Socialist Party, she spends a great deal of time discussing the importance of the participation of Jewish immigrants. Of them Kagan writes, "like many other foreigners, Jews arrived at Ellis Island expecting to find 'the promised land.' They found instead the Lower East Side, the most filthy, congested, and unhealthy section of New York."

    Kagan is herself Jewish and was born and raised in New York City. It isn't immediately clear if there is a direct familial connection to this time that might have made the topic of unique interest to her.

    In her introduction, Kagan thanks Sean Wilentz, still a professor at Princeton, for "painstakingly" reading through her thesis. Wilentz told Fox News via email that Kagan's work is still memorable nearly 30 years later. "[Kagan's thesis] is a very successful study of futility. In short, I remember thinking it was a mature piece of scholarship coming from a college senior," he wrote. Wilentz says the history of early 20th century socialism has long been a subject of interest to scholars, and Kagan wanted to take a fresh look at the subject. "It was something of a classic topic in the field, and Elena had the intellectual fortitude to take it on," wrote Willentz.

    Absent from the paper is any overarching sense of personal attachment to the Socialist Party, its views, or the movement itself. There is scant evidence to suggest that Kagan wrote her senior thesis as an opportunity to promote the Socialist Party as a proxy for her political views.

    Perhaps the closest she comes in expressing admiration for the Socialist Party and the spirit of liberalism is in her conclusion. She called the party's decline a sad story, "but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America."

    "Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one's fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe," she wrote. "American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope."
    FESTUS
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  3. #2
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    Very bright woman. I would like to meet her and pick her brain.

  4. #3
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    Bright is not necessarily right.

    Some other "bright" people: Hitler, Marx, Stalin, Mao........
    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson

  5. #4
    The argument isn't whether or not she's educated, it's whether or not she's got any sense, intelligence or smarts.
    Heavily medicated for your protection.

  6. #5
    mojo Guest
    the question is whether she has been blessed with wisdom........she obviously has not!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mojo View Post
    the question is whether she has been blessed with wisdom........she obviously has not!!!!
    The talking heads on TV say MS. Kagan will be approved by the senate. I know nothing about this woman, except she is considered an expert on the law, has spent her life in the college arena, and might be a lesbian.
    MS Kagan grew up on NYC upper west $ide. Most likely she is a liberal. Will she bring those views to the court?
    She has no street smarts, but are they needed on the high court?
    Has anyone read a high court ruling? It is thick with "law speak"
    Perhaps someone who knows the law will be a good thing.
    I see some of the pin heads on this forum wasted no time in attacking her for maybe being a lesbian.
    She will not be the first person apointed to the high court without being a judge first.

    I am not hearing any loud noises coming from the GOP, or the NRA about MS. Kagan. If she was a threat the NRA would be making much more then their token whispers.

    NRA Takes Aim at Kagan's Nomination - WSJ.com

  8. #7
    As Boombboy said, Bright does not necessarily make right. In this case it makes left. Far left.
    By faith Noah,being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,prepared an ark to the saving of his house;by the which he condemned the world,and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith Heb.11:7

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    I have met and had the pleasure and sometimes displeasure to work with many individuals who have walls full of plaques and certificates that lend a visual indication to the veracity of their higher education.

    I have also found some of the most forward thinking and emotionally intelligent individuals who have grease under their nails and not a plaque in site. We all have known some of each type.

    Yea... We all have a standard by which we judge intelligence. In this case intelligence is not really the issue. Biasing is the fear here.

    The fact that she seems to have some bias toward certain "behaviors" and or " political ideals" gives me pause. Interpreting the law is a business best left to neutralists. Yea I know, try and find a true neutralists and you will find an individual incapable of making a decision, kinda goes hand in hand I feel.

    In most cases presidential appointment of a supreme court justice is done to further the cause and agenda. So in this case I believe its noting more than hedging a bet or stacking the deck to better the odds. The president is trying to further his agenda and that of the progressive democratic party. It would make sense to choose like minded individuals to meet an end goal so this should be no surprise.

    2 pennies...

    Peace...
    You can give peace a chance alright..

    I'll seek cover in case it goes badly..

  10. #9
    mojo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by theicemanmpls View Post
    The talking heads on TV say MS. Kagan will be approved by the senate. I know nothing about this woman, except she is considered an expert on the law, has spent her life in the college arena, and might be a lesbian.
    MS Kagan grew up on NYC upper west $ide. Most likely she is a liberal. Will she bring those views to the court?
    She has no street smarts, but are they needed on the high court?
    Has anyone read a high court ruling? It is thick with "law speak"
    Perhaps someone who knows the law will be a good thing.
    I see some of the pin heads on this forum wasted no time in attacking her for maybe being a lesbian.
    She will not be the first person apointed to the high court without being a judge first.

    I am not hearing any loud noises coming from the GOP, or the NRA about MS. Kagan. If she was a threat the NRA would be making much more then their token whispers.

    NRA Takes Aim at Kagan's Nomination - WSJ.com
    We're you trying to make some sort of point using my post in yours or are you just blathering on? what you posted says nothing about wisdom.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojo View Post
    We're you trying to make some sort of point using my post in yours or are you just blathering on? what you posted says nothing about wisdom.
    I didn't know i needed your permission to use your post. Are you just blathering on, an trying to pick an argument?

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