Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:The emperor has no clothes. It is mystifying that people are pretending a normal political process is occurring in the U.S. today. The media pretends that there is the usual debate between varying political perspectives. They attempt to make it seem like the current administration is legitimate. But what is happening in this country is far beyond any normal democratic contentiousness.

The emperor has no clothes. The emperor’s motives are transparent. Bush/Cheney are mocking the rule of law. This is not merely rhetorical; it is fact. Bush/Cheney have instituted very specific, tangible laws that eliminate our basic rights. Bush can declare anyone an “enemy combatant” and have them “disappeared.” The Patriot Acts and the Military Commissions Act, among myriad others, are not just theoretical constructs. They are not amusing mind games. They have very specific policy consequences. Contempt for the law is displayed in the signing statements that Bush affixes to legislation so he thinks he can modify or disregard it at will. Bush/Cheney have made a sham of international law as well, with the clearly illegal invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and sending prisoners to other countries to be tortured.

There is no excuse for not impeaching Bush/Cheney, unless we decide to acquiesce in the destruction of any remnant of democracy that we have in this country. An institution that stands for truth, as Macalester College ought to be, must also stand against tyranny and declare for impeachment. Perhaps we should have a referendum of students, faculty, and staff about whether we as an institution should call for impeachment. I believe that we must.

As the Holocaust exhibit in the Chapel on Roth, Germany, states, quoting Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Margaret R. Beegle
Executive Assistant
Institute for Global Citizenship

To the Editor:

When I was an undergraduate in the ’50s there were three ideals which were universally subscribed to in academia, as far as I know. First: there should be no taboo subjects-everything should be open to discussion and scrutinized rationally. (I trace this back to Socrates who is famous for having said, “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”) Secondly, we believed that scholars should be able to discuss all subjects rationally, dispassionately, and, to the extent possible, objectively. (This is a skill that can be learned.) Angry outbursts, name-calling and ad hominem arguments were considered signs of intellectual bankruptcy. Thirdly, it was believed that the truth (or at least a consensus) is most likely to emerge if all sides of an issue are argued freely, openly, intelligently and vigorously.

Today, political correctness keeps many subjects such as abortion, affirmative action, the possible genetic basis for differences between the behavior of males and females and numerous others off the table. Academia and society are much poorer because of the lack of public debate and discussion of politically incorrect subjects. All too often anyone brave enough to express a heterodox opinion publicly these days can expect not rebuttal but personal attacks and sometimes vicious ones. Because of what Amy Ledig called a “reign of terror” “only one side feels free” to express their opinions (“How tolerant are we, really?” 11/02/07). This is very unfortunate for everyone, even for those with a monopoly on discussion since they become self-satisfied, complacent, dogmatic, unable to defend their positions and interested only in silencing the opposition.

Some of us, however, are working for change and reform. The Minnesota Association of Scholars, of which I am Executive Director, and the Center of the American Experiment, both non-partisan, non-profit organizations, maintain a web site called “IntellectualTakeout.com,” which could be called a virtual safe space for students who are politically incorrect. At IntellectualTakeout.com (which is being updated) students can find viewpoints not always heard on campuses today plus numerous suggestions and sources for research and study. It is a modest contribution towards the restoration of freedom of expression everywhere.

Jeremiah Reedy
Professor Emeritus
Classics Department