I'm glad Alan E. Wirzbicki ("Bleeding-Heart Conservatives", Sept. 24, 1999) read the cover story about Harvard conservatives in the current Harvard Magazine. For the record, the article "doesn't even pretend to be objective." It is a signed, personal piece of writing, just as was, for example, Andrew Tobias's "Gay Like Me," the cover story for January-February 1998, an account of the experience of being homosexual at the College and elsewhere in the University.
These are deliberately expressions of opinion and perspective by their authors (who are so identified for precisely that reason), and the people they interview. And they elicit passionate expressions of opinion in the magazine's letters column--for several issues following the Tobias piece, and, to be sure, in the November-December 1999 magazine, which we are now preparing for publication.
I welcome as many undergraduate readers as possible--you can access the magazine at www.harvard-magazine.com--since it becomes your magazine once you graduate, and you might as well join the debates now.
John S. Rosenberg
Sept. 24, 1999
The author is the editor of Harvard Magazine.
Concern for Conservatives
When I read Alan E. Wirzbicki's column "Bleeding-Heart Conservatives" I was simply appalled. In the article, he castigated conservatives who claimed to be a "minority" at Harvard and attacked the legitimacy of events such as the Conservative Coming-out Dinner.
As a member of the Republican Club Board and a conservative, I think Wirzbicki couldn't be more wrong. Consistently conservatives are blitzed by liberal professors, teaching fellows, and classmates. The looks of utter disgust I received at the Freshman Activities Fair as I pleaded for people to sign up for the Republican Club would have constituted calls of "insensitivity" if I was representing a "minority" organization.
While Wirzbicki asserts that conservatives aren't socially isolated on campus, I can't remember the last time I saw a card-carrying member of the NRA hanging out with a hippie or seeing Professor Harvey C. Mansfield and Professor Cornel West having a cold one at the Grille.
Wirzbicki's reasons for dismissing Republican assertions of prejudice are weak to say the least. He uses as evidence of conservative equality on campus the fact that the last two presidents of the Undergraduate Council were Republicans. No one, however, would assert that the succession of racial minorities to positions of prominence in many organizations in itself proves that no racial animosity exists.
He makes no mention of former staff member Peter Berkowitz's failure to receive tenure, which many conservatives, including Berkowitz himself, blamed on his conservative political stance.
So in response to Wirzbicki--get used to us. Instead of attacking us for getting together for an evening "coming out party" at Hillel, prove to us why our ideas are wrong.
Travis F. Batty '02
Sept. 27, 1999