Sunday, March 21, 2010

Response to Emily Smith's opinion piece in the WSJ from alumnus Matthew MacDevitt ('06)

Wall Street Journal-

I subscribed nearly a year ago hoping to get a better understanding of the corporate mindset, and to have a basis for understanding my main sources, leftist corrections of mainstream news. At times I have been pleased, enjoying your pro-business spin while still feeling that I was getting most of the important facts of the story. But I've noticed in your coverage of foreign policy, especially of Honduras, Costa Rica, and Haiti, that important facts are often omitted or spun so badly as to seem unimportant. The news section seemed like opinion, and the opinion was propaganda. I was strongly considering ending my subscription. In light of Smith's recent opinion piece on Shimer, I will definitely end it. An attack on Shimer is personal.

All points of view are welcome at Shimer. Many good friends of mine from Shimer have political standpoints vastly different from my own, and I enjoy discussing politics with them. I believe most Shimer students are to the left of say, The New York Times, but they are also proud to be at a college that has been referred to as good school for conservative students. Facilitators do not dominate classes with their own views, which is why they are not called 'professors'. Grades are not based on ideology, neither are friendships nor election to committees of the assembly.

Tom Lindsay's affront to the college was not in holding generally unpopular political views. Such views are welcomed by most students and staff. His affront was in disrespecting the academic and governance culture that has made it possible for Shimerians to hold unpopular views while remaining integral to the community. If someone who shared my ideas exactly became president of the college, placed like-minded people on the board, and began disregarding by-laws and precedents, pushing through a mission statement opposed by the entire community, I would rail against them. Conversely, if Lindsay had broad support for his mission statement, I would support the change, though it sickens me. My opinions are shared by most members of the community.

This is Shimer college. Emily Smith knows nothing of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment