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Leave room for alternate view

Kudos to Danielle Charette ’14 for her courageous piece in May 16’s Wall Street Journal in which, sadly, she makes clear that not much has changed since I graduated in 2000. Swarthmore’s “liberalism” remains strictly intolerant of opposing views, and its particular kind of “diversity” leaves no room for any divergent voices, especially not any conservative ones. At least it was comforting to know that one person on campus would appreciate the outrageous hypocrisy of the April Bulletin’s “The Revolution Will Be Advertised,” a paean to the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street protestors and their “revolt against the financial capture of democracy” (seriously?!). Another story described Gil Kemp ’72’s exceedingly generous $20 million gift to the school.

The development office knows where its bread is buttered and makes sure to carefully outline Mr. Kemp’s notable entrepreneurial achievements in building a business and selling it to Home Depot, a brilliant example of what is possible in a capitalist system that rewards hard work and innovation. But Swarthmore can’t have it both ways—demonizing success and big business and glorifying anti-capitalist protests while at the same time pursuing the fruits of this system and shamelessly stalking 1-percenters when it comes to supporting the endowment.

Before veering to the left on every issue as a matter of default, Swarthmore ought to consider whether fostering an environment where the views of all but a fringe of the political spectrum are systematically silenced is consistent with the ethos of a liberal arts education, or whether that’s any way to prepare students for success in the world. It would also be worthwhile to contemplate whether future megadonations are more likely to come from alumni waving signs from a squatters’ encampment outside the stock exchange or from alumni who are working productively inside the building.

Benjamin Hanani ’00
Reading, Conn.

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