Silliness Reigns

We are working on a re-design for Minding the Campus. One thing we want to fix is the display of reader comment. Letters now run at the bottom of the article being discussed, often a day or two after the article in question. So those who read the article on the day we run it rarely go back to check for comments. An example: our discussion of inane college debating, “Modern Lunacy in Postmodern Debate” ( Forum, September 30) drew an interesting letter from a judge who presided at a high school debate in Princeton where drift-net fishing was depicted as a weapon of mass destruction. He wrote:

“The root cause of all the problems is simple–in the modern academy, logic and Western philosophy are deemed unimportant relative to feelings and victim groups. So, no one actually knows how to argue in a logical manner; judges don’t know how to hold debaters to a logical standard, and silliness reigns.”

Read the full comment here.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

One thought on “Silliness Reigns”

  1. In “What Is It about Liberal Arts,” (Minding the Campus, 26 September), I recounted the “incidentism” that is driving the powers that be at Hamilton College to the creation of a Cultural Education Center at the behest of social justice activists. Trustees meetings have just concluded; a faculty meeting occurred yesterday. What have we found out from the powers that be?
    President Joan Hinde Stewart on 6 October: “As Trustees arrived at Buttrick Hall for the Saturday meeting, student members of the Social Justice Initiative presented them with copies of a petition with 371 signatures. The key point was a proposal for a cultural education center. Chairman A.G. Lafley told the students that he is strongly committed to inclusiveness and that their ideas will be considered as the strategic planning process moves forward. Board members commented on the politeness and demeanor of the students.”
    From the Hamilton College Website, 6 October:
    “Members of the Social Justice Initiative, a Hamilton College student organization formed in 2007, presented copies of a petition with approximately 370 signatures to members of the college’s Board of Trustees as they arrived for their quarterly meeting on campus Saturday, Oct. 4. The key point was the students’ proposal of a cultural education center.
    The chairman and vice chairman of the Board, as well as the president and other Board members, spoke briefly with the students prior to the meeting in Buttrick Hall. Chairman A.G. Lafley told the students that he is strongly committed to inclusiveness and that their ideas will be part of the consideration set as the strategic planning process moves forward. Board members commented on the politeness and demeanor of the students. Lafley also held an open hour with students on Thursday, Oct. 2, and several members of the SJI talked with him then about a cultural education center.
    It was the second recent Board weekend when the students had direct conversations with trustees about their sense of what is needed on campus. In March, members of the Social Justice Initiative were invited to meet with the Board’s Committee on Student Affairs.”
    From the results of yesterday’s faculty meeting:
    In the midst of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime, both the president and the dean announce that one of the most “salient” issues for Hamilton’s board of trustees is the establishment of the Social Justice Initiative’s Cultural Education Center.
    As one of my distinguished colleagues put it, It’s as if “our colleagues are [content] rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

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