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The Left Criticizes Great Issues ca. 2011

Dartmouth’s own 1960’s radical, Professor Russell Rickford, seems to have given life to a point of view that has been absent from the campus for a while. Carrying Rickford’s standard recently was Andrew Lohse ‘12 — heretofore better known for an arrest for cocaine use and the subsequent harassment of the student who reported him to the campus police. In a fairly well phrased piece in The D entitled Misleading Voices, he derides this summer’s Great Issues speaker series for not being inclusive. Yawn. Most of us, I believe, look to speakers for the content of their commentary rather than the color of their skin or the nature of their reproductive organs.

Lohse then criticizes students interested in the world of high finance for seeking…

“an illusive promise of permanent membership in the capital class. This culture demands disregard for nearly all elements of social responsibility and breeds a certain disdain for the working class Americans whose efforts have always been and will always be the driving force of our nation’s prosperity.”

and for thoughtlessly drinking in…

“Paulson and Immelt’s shameful Kool-Aid in a thinly-veiled but perhaps subconscious act of class-based calculus because, of course, the “Leading Voices” lecture series manufactures a sense of allegiance to, and ambition to become, the wealthy white men (because women and people of color did not speak in the series)”

He concludes with a full-on broadside:

Our College should be embarrassed that President Kim’s “Leading Voices” have led us astray, disrespected our humanity and eviscerated higher education’s core values.

Whew. I respect someone who — in our sensitivity-besotted era — will let rip, as it were, but as always, there are so many unproven assumptions in this left-wing boilerplate that it is hard to know where to start. Do you think, dear reader, that “working class Americans … have always been and will always be the driving force of our nation’s prosperity”? Personally, I’d give a fair bit more credit to our entrepreneurs, scientists and investors. The latter three together, it seems to me, create jobs for the working class. Think of Steve Jobs, Edwin Land and JP Morgan, among so many others.

While Lohse enjoys an education hugely subsidized by the College’s endowment, at a school where workers are paid far above the local wage scale, he might give a little thought to the common sense words of Paul Tsongas ‘62, a Massachusetts Senator from 1979 to 1985, and the winner of the 1992 NH primary (he beat a fella’ named Clinton). In his speech at the 1992 Democratic convention, Tsongas intoned:

”You cannot redistribute wealth you never created. You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time. You cannot love employment and hate employers.”

And while he’s at it, Lohse might keep in mind that name-calling never won anyone an argument. The use of bombastic terms in his column like “pillaging class” and “capital class” makes me wonder about Lohse’s rank in his own class.

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