Lashing out against what he termed the malicious critics of education who work more by implication than evidence, President Pusey last night defended both his alumni and his faculty and called for educators to renew the battle for independent thought, terming the humanities the best avenue for making progress.
In a major address before the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, Pusey decried the present distrust of education, claiming that the leadership of 10,000 Harvard men is lost amidst "some dozens who probably flirted with or were actually involved with Communism at some time during their careers."
"It would be a sorry thing if in resisting totalitarianism we were to follow the counsels of the frightened and adopt its methods," Pusey charged.
No Communist Named
"At Harvard, for instance, amidst all the recent recrimination and fomented suspicion, there is no one who will come forward to name a single Communist among our three thousand teachers.
"And yet some unfriendly critics continue to belabor us with the name of one single teacher who was a Communist, seeking thereby to create the impression or perhaps mistakenly believing that we are a seat for widespread disloyalty," the President explained.
"What attention has been paid and what respect shown to really typical member of the Harvard faculty, to the two thousand nine hundred and more others who are our true representatives?" Pusey then listed some of the more recent achievements of the Harvard faculty.
"Is there anything more fantastic to think for a moment that the research efforts--the imagination and industry and insight--of the thousands and thousands of trained minds that make up the college and university faculties of this country are concerned for anything other than the discovery of truth and so ultimately for the fulfillment and increase and enrichment of everything that is good and healthy, rewarding and productive, in the whole of the national life?" he asked.
Against the Harvard graduates who have been tainted with Communism, Pusey listed the "achievements of all the rest of the hundred thousand, the founders of industries, heads of corporations, directors of banks, men of unquestionable loyalty, leaders in the war effort, in all the productive activities of this country, in the cultural life of the nation, in city after city."
Pusey cited the appearance of names of 174 alumni in the list of presidents and directors of the 100 largest corporations in the nation.
Pusey said that educators are worrying not that we are producing people who are disloyal, but that the nation's colleges are producing people "unworthy of the great opportunity for high achievement given them with the gift of life." These college graduates are "incapable either of deeply valuing or understanding, and then of furthering, continuing and advancing the insights and articles of faith that have brought us where we are."
"Our job is to educate free independent and vigorous minds capable of analyzing events, of exercising judgments, of distinguishing facts from propaganda, and truth from half truth and lies, and in the most creative of them at least of apprehending for the further reaches of truth," he said.
"I should like parenthetically to suggest here that to my way of thinking the best avenue for making progress at this point lies through the humanities. This is, perhaps, where we have done too little. It is not just in the pursuit of the humanities that the imagination can be cultivated, but cerainly here is the essence. If ever art speaks to young people, or to any people, it must speak through the instrumentality of the imagination to the whole person," Pusey said