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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Steven Roberts' article on "Student Politics" in your (CRIMSON REVIEW) attacked those who see all issues in a dichotomy such as "Better Red than Dead." Yet his article itself falls into the same logical trap. His dichotomy is between the "realists" and the "simplifiers," between the extremists of right and left and the liberals, whom we are led to believe by inference are the true moderates.
Much of what Robbrts says has its validity. There is a tendency on the part of most people to sloganize, to use catchwords. Some groups use these to inflame the emotions and to obscure the issues. But slogans can also be used to provide a frame of reference to a discussion, as well as for propagandization. The "better Red than dead" question is a valid one. It relates to fundamental ideals. Yet a discussion of this issue certainly does not exclude the possibility that an alternative course does exist. In fact, most conservatives will be willing to argue that by a position of national strength we can escape both Scylla and Charybdis.
Whatever the effect of the passing of McCarthy, and it can be argued convincingly that the advance of Communism in the past twenty years would have become evident with or without McCarthy, Roberts is correct in seeing a resurgence of political activity on the campus in the last two or three years. The HYRC is at record membership heights, the formation of YAF met an immediate response at colleges throughout the nation, and much the same has been happening at the other end of the spectrum. But to assume that these groups can be divided into "realists" and "simplifiers" is itself a simplification. Either it comes from an ignorance of these organizations, or it is a deliberate distortion for the purpose of exalting the role of the "liberals."
The "liberal realists" do not have a monopoly of moral concern. Conservatives can get themselves worked up wtih moral indignation over Katanga's right to self-determination and, as a matter of fact, over voting rights, as can Roberts. To portray, as he does, conservatives as being machiavellian politicians while all liberals are "realistic idealists" is nothing short of irresponsble.
Let us not dismiss opposing viewpoints without giving consideration to what they have to say. True academic freedom is not simply letting others speak, it also consists of listening to what they have to say before we judge them. Richard A. Derham
MR. ROBERTS REPLIES: Indeed, slogans such as "Better Red Than Dead" could possibly provide a "frame of reference to a discussion" of world problems. But anyone who has heard Barry Goldwater bring an audience to its feet by saying "We aren't going to let those Russians push us around" tends to doubt that today's far right is ready to abjure its favorite, and most effective weapon.
The young conservatives are just as bad. Last summer at the National Student Association Congress, after conservatives had been beaten on several key votes, the meeting was flooded with press releases announcing the withdrawal of support by numerous YAF and Young Republican groups.
With that record, Mr. Derham, one would not think one would be too quick to use the word "irresponsible."
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