WHILE MANY HARVARD and MIT professors who traditionally back Democratic candidates are now supporting the McGovern-Shriver ticket, there seems to be a substantial number who are sitting on that fence.
Seymour Martin Lipset, professor of Government and Social Relations, formerly an active supporter of democratic socialist policies, is not supporting McGovern and is officially uncommitted.
Lipset has described McGovern's supporters in the University community as "mushhead intellectuals."
"They are the types of people who can get goals but don't really have the hardheadedness to formulate plans to achieve them," he said last week.
He was also wary of McGovern's proposed reduction in the Defense budget. "If we cutdown our production of conventional weapons in the way that he wants to," Lipset argued, we will be placed in the situation of either having to back down or use nuclear weapons if we have a confrontation with the communists in the Mideast or in Asia. McGovern's proposals would bring us one step closer to World War III."
Lipset, who is spending this year at the Center for Advanced Behavioral Research in Palo Alto. Calif., is equally disturbed about McGovern's original base of support. "McGovern's early supporters were attracted to him over the sex business, abortion, and marijuana legalization. Essentially his campaign in the early primaries was like a small third party movement," he said. "Now with McGovern retreating from his early positions, he's lost much of his early backing plus having trouble getting the traditional elements in the Democratic party to support him."
At a meeting of the American Political Science Association last week, Lipset presented data he had collected on the percentage of college professors supporting President Nixon and McGovern. He stated that 46 per cent were backing McGovern and 43 per cent were supporting Nixon, with the rest undecided.
Daniel P. Moynihan, professor of Education and Urban Politics, who played a major role in John F. Kennedy's victory in New York State in 1960, wrote an article in the September 1 issue of Life magazine on how President Nixon views his second term in office.
Moynihan, who was an advisor in the Nixon Administration as well as in those of Kennedy and Johnson, has drawn fire from both columnists and fellow Harvard professors, who contend that Moynihan glorified Nixon and that Moynihan made poor arguments to justify his contentions.
Joseph Kraft, in a syndicated column appearing in The Boston Globe on September 11, charged that Moynihan was repeating "utter nonsense" in hope of "finding favor" with the White House. He wrote that Moynihan did not use valid evidence to prove his assertion that Nixon was against quotas when Moynihan cited the large number of Jews with high Administration posts.
James Wechsler, a columnist in. The New York Post, charged in an August 30 article that Moynihan interchanged his own thoughts for Nixon's specifically when Moynihan wrote that Nixon is dreaming "of a new coalition not built on fears, but built on common hopes. He sees as its unifying principle not total agreement or even substantial agreement about the particulars of program and policy, but rather recognition of the need for civility in working out ways to approach the great goals of the society. As he sees it, the Stevensonian concept of civility is accessible equally to persons north, west, south, east, black, white, yellow, young, old."
Wechsler also questioned Moynihan's article because it contained no direct quotes from the President.
Martin Kilson, professor of Government, in a letter to Life dated September 10 charged that "Moynihan's equation of the new (second) term Nixon with the late Adlai Stevenson is one of the most extraordinary manipulations of truth for political ends I have seen in some time. Intellectual huckstering has, alas clearly entered a new era."
When asked to comment on these charges last week, Moynihan seemed unmoved. All I did was report what the President had to say. People may not like it, but that's all that I did," he said.
"If people find the reasoning in the articles faulty they are entitled to, but they're not my arguments, their the President's."