Join Date: Nov 2003
[my good-bye piece, which was published with good-riddance added unprofessionally on at the bottom by my jewess-feminist editor Kopec]
[opinion published in Pomona College's The Student Life (spring 88)]
(That's German for Adios)
By Alex Linder
And so we draw to a close.
I handed in my thesis today. I guess that means I'm out of here in a couple of weeks. As this is our last paper, some last thoughts would seem to be in order.
I suppose I could review my litany of personal complaints against the liberal Pomona hierarchy: no conservative professors in the departments that need them most (government, history); the liberal-er-than-thou attitude of the administration, the pompous attempts of Sean Morley to censor (phrased as revising the guidelines) opinions articles he deems offensive. But all that doesn't seem that important right now.
The future is what's important.
Attitudes will change. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, professors were conservative. The sixties saw a change in morality and ways of looking at the world. Now, obviously, many of the sixties anti-establishment types required institutionalization; the problem was that they got into the wrong institution - academia. This too will pass.
Now, I know that there are a great many conservatives at Pomona. As opposed to the faculty, the student body is decidedly less liberal. I can't claim, as Nixon did, that a silent majority exists, but I do claim that conservatives are a large silent minority.
The future of conservatism at Pomona is wholly dependent on individuals stepping forward and proclaiming their beliefs. Without such effort what's to stop us from becoming another Pitzer?
The major danger I see in Pomona's future is the shutting down of any serious campus political debate. As it is, we are perilously close. What my experience has shown is that merely refusing to step to the drumbeat of "enlightened" opinion brings down the wrath of the administration. In my own experience, many liberals in positions of power are for freedom of speech until they read something they disagree with. Liberals have done a truly remarkable job in persuading the American populace that certain things are taboo; there are certain things you just can't discuss. There are some things liberals believe you just can't say.
The other day, someone wanted me to sign a petition calling for expanded efforts to hire, admit, etc., racial minorities, women, etc. I refused. This petition, by itself, is a perfect example of the problem facing Pomona. It represents a laughable conception of the problems facing our college. We seem to continually chastise ourselves for not being on the cutting edge of whatever is thought proper at the Ivy League colleges and Stanford.
The central irony of Pomona is this: We constantly seek to diversify the student body by admitting various minorities. Meanwhile, we tolerate a de facto discrimination in the professoriate against non-liberals - a minority that is defined by its difference in outlook. Evidently, what our administration hopes to create is a big happy band of like-minded 'individuals.'
We are in serious danger of shutting out a whole segment of opinion. I call on those conservatives left here to come forward and write and try to make up for what doesn't exist in the classroom. If you don't come forward, it's the same as Khadaffi's Line of Death. Over time, tradition builds, and has the same effect as law. Translated, people become so unused to conservative thinking that they don't want to publish it. Because they are never exposed to it in the classroom, they are utterly at a loss when it comes to understanding what truly is another perspective. Real diversity means that college students are exposed to people who believe different things, people who are libertarians and socialists and communists and conservatives. We are a college. That means we have a devotion to things intellectual. Why then do we focus on such narrow things as physical differences between the members of our community when there are deficiencies in our intellectual makeup that cry out for attention?
Here at the newspaper, it's been quite a struggle. Cynthia and I have battled long and hard over what I am allowed to say. Needless to say, I have lost almost all the battles. The point is that here at Pomona we have a newspaper. Part of that newspaper is devoted to Opinions. In this space, students may write about world affairs or issues of campus concern. I became Opinions editor because I wanted to provide people with a perspective I felt was missing in many of my classes. One of my principal epiphanies has been that Pomona college is not an ivory tower.
Another big joke at Pomona: Hearing the feminists and other minorities complain about not being heard or having their concerns represented. Yeah, right. Who dares to say anything against these groups? Not even necessarily against them, but who dares to say anything that isn't exactly what they want. The attitude seems to be that anything about feminists they didn't write or approve is offensive and unprintable. I suggest that the possibility that people will be offended not be the standard by which newspapers are edited. John Stuart Mill defended freedom of the press, not freedom of the press as long as we don't hurt anybody's feelings.
My conception of a college newspaper is as a forum for debate. Lots of people with lots of points of view, well thought out and expressed with a certain youthful rebelliousness. The reality of Student Life is a stodgy, liberal paper. We've come full circle. Back in the sixties, campus newspapers were used as forums for lambasting the administration. Nowadays the liberal editors are in almost total sympathy with the deans and the president. Like I already said, the competition at this campus is over whether the students or the administration can be more liberal. Did you see Eric Shah's comment in the 'Speak' last week? The convergence of opinion is the reason there are no more student uprisings that Joan Baez and others lament.
Now, there's nothing wrong (legally) with being liberal. And liberal administrations and liberal student bodies are just the way it is. Today's campus conservatives have to operate in this context. If they refuse to utilize the means at their disposal, they shouldn't decry the rampant liberalism. I urge my fellow conservatives to come forward. If you refuse, campus discussion will once again devolve into endless recriminations. From the evidence I've seen and the people I've talked to, I'm sure a good deal more will be heard from Pomona conservatives in the future.
In conclusion, I offer a figurative tip of the hat to those of you who have responded to my articles. I still disagree with most of you, but the odd letter did make some impression. Finally, I'd like to offer one final bit of advice to y'all. Just quit being so damned oversensitive. With that, good-bye.
Editor's note: And good riddance.
Last edited by Alex Linder; December 6th, 2013 at 09:32 PM.