Opinion

Macalester is to Liberal Education as Creationism is to Inquiry

Someone once said that liberally educated people know they have acquired true wisdom when they finally realize how much they don’t know. When I entered Macalester, I knew Truth. When I graduated, I realized I had lots to learn. I’m still learning.

Does a lawyer go into a courtroom without a strategy for overcoming the opposing lawyer’s argument? What do Tea Party zealots, Wall Street Occupiers, teachers’ union leaders, libertarians, and Earth First advocates all have in common? Get the drift? So how complete is an education that pushes one point of view?

I was the classic liberal in the early 60s, serving as a statewide Y-DFL officer and working summers for the DFL. (Disclaimer: I voted for Obama. Twice.) Most of my fellow political science majors were Republicans. Spirited debates, yes, but we would never belittle each other’s views in classes or elsewhere.

A few years ago, we started the Macalester Alumni of Moderation. Mac’s administration was not happy, especially when we started talking about ceasing contributions. We Mac Mods are concerned Mac has become a black hole of political correctness and leftist nonsense; everyone who enters gets sucked in and no light comes out. Some of your courses sound like indoctrination rather than impartial reviews of knowledge. Likewise, some of your profs have sounded like the flip side of folks at Oral Roberts University…minus the goofy hairdos.

I’ve been in the business world for 45 years. I know of no employers who want closed-minded employees.

At a time when a traditional baccalaureate degree can lead to big student debt and no job, a broad and balanced education is more important than ever. NPR just interviewed the author of Hacking Your Education, a book likely to cause quite a stir in liberal arts land. We’ve held some sessions during recent Reunion Weekends, although the Alumni Director shut us out a couple times. You can read all about it and the college’s embarrassment in a guest editorial I wrote for the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. That editorial refers to a poll of Mac students a few years ago, and to one student’s protest against the discrimination she suffered for questioning the leftist climate.

Your own Jeff Garcia wrote another editorial for the Pope Center that further spotlighted the problem. Because the college has refused our request for a story in Macalester Today (knowing full well many alums would flock to us), we felt the need to go directly to you students. We think we have prompted some change at Mac, but what about today? How are students who question Mac’s party line treated in classrooms and student organizations? Tell me what’s happening: [email protected]

Of course, if you know Truth and don’t need a balanced education, don’t bother to email. But don’t bother to apply for jobs with any of us, either.

Mr. Peterson is a graduate of 1967 and a founding member of Mac Mods.

March 15, 2013

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