UnMoored from Our Bearings

The editor’s admonition (“Letters,” December 2012) that “the roads of human history (do not) invariably converge on the Stanley Moore affair” might be more effective if he avoids publishing more disinformation about the late professor of philosophy. When he does so, I’m obliged to call on us to set off again down that perilous road. In the “Quadrivial Pursuit” challenge heralded on Reed’s cover (September 2014) you ask, “What did professor Stanley Moore do in 1954?” Unfortunately, the answer you designated correct, “Refused to appear before the then-popular House Un-American Activities Committee,” is as wrong as the other humorous choices. Prof. Moore [1948–54] did appear on June 2, 1954, in Washington, D.C., before HUAC, whose committee members demanded to know whether he was a Communist in California in 1947 or in 1954 and whether he ever taught at the California Labor School. He refused to submit to their political interrogation on constitutional grounds. When Moore was asked if he intended to return to Reed that fall, he cautiously replied, “The option is mine. I have, for whatever it is worth these days, ‘tenure.’” Moore later maintained his refusal to engage in similar questioning when demanded by the Reed trustees, and a baker’s dozen of them fired him after rejecting the nearly unanimous advice of the faculty, students, and alumni of the time. Now that those facts are once again settled, we must await a similar backdoor opportunity to remind the Reed community of its owners’ capitulation to McCarthyism and their violation of academic freedom.

—Michael Munk ’56

Portland, Oregon