Thanks for Linda Howard and rain
From Mitchell A. Hoselton '71
Thanks to whomever came up with the idea of inviting Linda Howard to be the commencement speaker, and thanks to Reed magazine for sharing her address with us.
She touched a gleeful chord somewhere in me with her words of remembrance and encouragement to the new graduates. Spoken like a true Reedie. I think that Linda's career has been even more varied than mine; I've only changed careers three times, though I seem to be on the verge of doing it again. It has to do with the lure or risk of the new. Some never get tired of doing what they know very well how to do. Not us. We seem to avoid becoming contented.
Her remark that after Portland "a rainy day is just another day" struck me as particularly apt. Here in Dallas we've had days in the high nineties and high humidity all summer, but almost no rain in a month. Yesterday it rained, and I was the only one in town who seemed not to mind. The rain cooled everything down by at least 20 degrees--what is there to be unhappy about? I was out all day running errands and happy as a duck to be doing them in a cool, comfortable, Portland-style drizzle.
In the wake of the storm
From Tom Coad '42
The failure of Reed's trustees to defend Stanley Moore's right to separate his personal beliefs from his academic work tarnished Reed's reputation for academic freedom and independence ["In the eye of the storm," August '97]. Although it never happened, Reed would have been under an equal obligation to defend a faculty member who had embraced nazism prior to World War II and continued to think nazism had some merits even after it had been defeated.
Reed's hiring policies--by themselves--might have a negative effect on Reed's reputation, but being loyal to basic principles is preferable to compromising when independence is at stake. Reed College's mistakes in judgment are Reed's business and should not be the basis for caving in to pressure from the Dies Un-American Committee, or any other political group.
Defending Stanley Moore, however, did not--and does not--make Stanley Moore a hero. Undoubtedly Moore is intelligent and may be a gifted teacher. But he is a member of the group of political elitists who revered Stalin, saw merit in the evils of a communist society, and slavishly followed much of the garbage that came spewing out of the Soviet monstrosity. Apparently his political views remained unchanged long after the horrors of a depraved Soviet regime became absolutely clear. According to Rick Harmon's article, Moore is quoted as stating, after W.W. II, that "the Soviet Union . . . in the long run, (was) a worthy model to be copied."
Apparently the murder of 20 to 40 million citizens, the destruction of any semblance of freedom, and the ruthless ravishing of an entire subcontinent gave Moore as little pause for reflection as Hitler had given the neo-nazis.
Communists, nazis, fascists essentially are cut from the same cloth. Flights of abstruse "logic" cannot make any of them even remotely admirable. Some, like Moore, used an agile brain to squeeze out the last drop of common sense.
The question Reed pundits should ask does not concern the relationship between the "academy" and "society." It should focus on the many facets of freedom--not in an unquestioning way, but with a view to defining the parameters of freedom and analyzing its vitality and its requirements.
In spite of nurturing open discussion, there remains, at Reed, a sort of political cocoon outside of which some Reedies hesitate to stray. People like Stanley Moore seem welcome in this cocoon. I have as much difficulty understanding the cocoon as I have feeling warmth for the political fruit stand Stanley Moore seems intent on operating.
Reed's admission of guilt in the face of domestic pressures is justified. But the rehabilitation of Stanley Moore should not be part of the package.