Just wanted to respond to your letter to the Editor in today’s paper. I also had some concerns with John Shepherd’s piece in the Harbus last week (which I have in part communicated to him) and, like you, was concerned about some of the conclusions he drew.
Unfortunately in my eyes, you’re the only one who does make a serious error. I strongly disagree with the tone your letter took and especially with the way you seemed to challenge the Harbus’ place to publish such a piece. To me that was very offensive. We’re in a University for goodness sake! If we can’t share controversial and different ideas here, my friend, we can’t share them anywhere!
We ought to applaud John for writing the piece, the Harbus for printing it, and you for responding! That’s why we’re here. Isn’t that what the search for truth is all about? Sharing ideas in a good faith manner so that we can debate them and come to the truth? If that’s not the purpose of a place like Harvard, I don’t know what it is. The whole community (including now you and I-and we’ve never met) is thinking and debating the merit of these arguments! Halleluiah! Halleluiah! We should be so lucky to have this opportunity every week. We’d all be the better for it.
I particularly disagree with your statement that the Harbus somehow offended either the spirit or the letter of the HBS community standards. It did no such thing. The community standards were and are in no way intended to hinder this kind of expression. And frankly to attempt to use them in such a way trivializes the important-but quite different-reason that the community standards do exist.
The Harbus had every right to publish the piece, just as you and I have every right to agree or disagree. That’s what makes universities like Harvard so vital to a free society.
John Kelleher (NH)