The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

What is the Macalester Consensus?

By David Boehnke

Matt Won is right—there is a “Macalester Consensus” (everybody knows this). However, what he failed to do was to provide any sort of analysis of why this is the case, preferring to talk about dudes and chicks who talk too much. Whatever he pretends to be politically, this failure to analyze speaks otherwise.
What is the Macalester consensus? The Macalester consensus is a commitment to feel-good values without having to deal with their consequences in practice, often by having sufficient privilege to ignore their consequences. This is why we should say: to hell with good intentions. If this sentiment worries you, please first consider what horrors have your name on them.
Why is there a Macalester consensus? Because, as demonstrated by the actions of individuals and our community, we seem to want to be a machine that produces members of the ruling class. Another way people say this is that we desire masters. Benevolent masters. And hope to become them.
More conservative students on campus would not help us with this problem. The problem is not that we don’t have enough points of view, but that we are happy not to have any point of view at all. Swept away in the romance of privilege, we soak in our thorough unpreparedness regarding the practical questions of making the world better, thrill in our future riches, and fail to consider taking education, for instance, into our own hands.
Classes, as well as activism, can be useful here. If one wants to transform the Washington (or Macalester) Consensus into something ethical (“a neo-liberal values set that has been pushed on the world by the capitalist complex in order to serve the ends of interests in certain developed nations” as defined by M. Won) one should encourage people to take the critical classes that make the reality of oppression apparent and propose solutions, as opposed to mocking them.

Of course, as Matt demonstrates, it is not enough to simply go to these classes. One must do something with them, in practice (as Matt failed to do even in his writing). As I said two weeks ago, “we should expect more and different things from the MacWeekly” particularly substantive analysis.
An analysis that understands that Macalester is currently shifting all gears to become as much like the most elite section of higher education as possible, a scene that defines itself as being the producer of a global bureaucratic elite, of celebrating how education reinforces or creates oppressive privilege. And it is easy to see us all becoming bureaucrats, scared to death of acting outside of our boxes, holding ourselves hostage while others change the world for the worse…isn’t that what’s happening now?
Throughout higher ed we see exploding costs and resultant debt, corporatization of priorities and research, attacks on hard-fought gains like affirmative action and academic freedom, and increasing barriers for the participation of immigrants and international students. As Michael Galvin pointed out last week, we see Macalester spending $41 million, $17 million of which will come from students’ tuition on improving our athletic facility in a thoroughly excessive way (it’s nice, but so are your socks) as opposed to, say, soliciting such money to reinstate need-blind admissions.
Of course there are also struggles against these things, and that is why we have people calling for the DREAM Act, for the abolition of tuition and prisons, for a different vision of Macalester…people standing up. If you don’t mobilize to change the political landscape, to change the play of forces outside the negotiating room (hearts and minds are sticks and stones), you surely won’t gain ground inside.
And then the absurdist dialogue interjects: “…money is not something we are good at producing. Money is something we must struggle with, and work hard for, and be realistic about. We are penny pushers with $480 million.”
We have failed in the past because we couldn’t imagine anything but failure. There is never a good time for the failure of the imagination. Let us decide that today is not to be one of those times…

View Comments (16)
More to Discover

Comments (16)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Matt RobertsonSep 12, 2019 at 2:45 am

    Through my notice, shopping for electronic devices online may be easily expensive, yet there are some how-to’s that you can use to acquire the best things. There are always ways to discover discount specials that could help make one to hold the best electronic products products at the smallest prices. Thanks for your blog post.

  • C

    Colin BurgessSep 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Hello buddy, what a quality is! For this YouTube video, I am really impressed, since I have never seen nice quality YouTube video earlier than,

  • N

    Natalie ClarksonSep 7, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  • F

    fashionnovaJul 31, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    So material to get discovered this realisation complete.. certainly, investigation is paying off. Enjoy the blog site you furnished.. Good opinions you might have here..

  • H

    harborfreight couponsJul 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    magnificent issues altogether, you merely won a new reader. What might you recommend when it comes to your send that you simply made a couple of days ago? Any good?

  • N

    NoodlesCompany couponJul 30, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Has anyone obtained any genuine success from HARO? It only feels that many of the reporters installed on the organization are usually from the US which have no much anticipation from other international locations mainly in South Asia. Brian, are you able to direct me personally to the full situation research? Thanks.

  • N

    NativeDeodorant PizzaJul 30, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Outstanding article, some several hard work spend here. My personal favorite strategy up to now could be the your text!

  • P

    PeterPiperPizzadiscountcodeJul 30, 2019 at 4:13 am

    Thanks for sharing the brilliant post. The link has been explained by you developing strategies incredibly.

  • S

    skyzonecouponsJul 29, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for uncovering the brilliant post. The link had been explained by you building methods amazingly.