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Judging by the college exchange papers coming to the Crimson, American youth is, by a great majority, opposed to U. S. participation in the present war. It is no secret how that came about. We learned it from our teachers. They taught us the folly of 1917-18, and made us determined that it should never happen again. Now we are trying to put into practice what they taught. It isn't an easy job, and we need all the help we can get. The natural place to look for it is among those same men who taught us. We look, but what do we find?
President Conant is, appropriately enough, the most vocal member of the Faculty on the war issue. Already he has talked to M.I.T. and to a nation-wide radio audience. Other interventionist professors are extremely active in the newspapers and magazines. But the intellectual current is running nearly all one way. The men from whom we learned non-intervention are not saying much. Perhaps they remember too well what happened to men like them who spoke out last time. Perhaps they feel it is not the part of a teacher to take a stand on this issue.
Whatever then reasons for keeping so still, we are sure that they cannot help feeling sadness at the present current of thought at Harvard. There is little more sober debate in this University than in the nation as a whole. Harvard is not carrying out its duty to society; it is repeating the mistakes of the last war.
Almost overnight, with stunning suddenness, a popular intellectual cause has become an unpopular one. Its proponents are being subjected to attacks, insults, and threats that would have seemed fantastic only a few months ago. But on an issue as important as this one it is not right to retreat, or to keep quiet, for silence gives assent, and assent may mean ruin.
Frankly, we need help from our elders. We have faith that they are willing and able to take up, with us this unpopular cause and fight for it until we win. College professors are not sheep. Many, too many, have taken the easy road of silence, but we are sure that when they awaken to the urgency of the issue before us, their leadership will again count as heavily as it has in the past.
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