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The New Liberalism outlined by Max Lerner in his recent speech comes as an inspiring credo for liberals at a time which they are confused and divided. Unquestionably, today we need a positive program to replace the platitudes that have long posed for true liberal thought . . . Williams--if it wishes to survive these troubled times in good health--in its educational policies and in the temper of its faculty and student body must reflect the currents of positive and forward-looking liberalism.
We are far from alarmed at the status of the college today. . . . The student body has shown itself capable of active interest in campus problems such as chapel, and the trustees have responded. Faculty members have been willing to give the public the benefit of their insight into contemporary problems. Students have participated actively in the affairs of North Adams in the attempt to better conditions there, and the first peace demonstration at Williams has proved a success. Most important, President Baxter has given a convincing demonstration of his educational liberalism throughout the year, culminating in the appointment of Dr. Lerner.
All this is positive liberalism. All this repudiates the old-fashioned concepts under which Williams developed. These concepts were mostly of a negative character: to present both sides of a question, to tolerate opposite viewpoints, to disdain from actual participation in contemporary struggles. Today Williams is becoming imbued with a new liberalism. Talking in negatives is, becoming unpopular. The fight must be for the preservation of education itself. We cannot see the views of those who attack freedom of speech and thought. We cannot be tolerant of those who would destroy tolerance. We cannot refrain from fighting for the organizations, such as the C. I. O., which we consider the most effective instruments for holding down the forces which would do irreparable harm to Williams and to education as a whole. . . . --The Williams Record.
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