Mr. Nice Guy


To the Editors of the Crimson:

An editorial last Friday attacked Columbia University's decision to hire Henry Kissinger by arguing that Kissinger held immoral and undemocratic political points of view. Once again, the Crimson has joined the assault against intellectual freedom in academic communities.

While the editors might (grudgingly) concede to Kissinger the right to have political sentiments they find offensive, they obviously consider holding those sentiments sufficient reason to exclude Mr. Kissinger from an academic position. What seems to follow is the editors feeling that the only people who should be allowed in academic positions are those whose politics they find unoffensive.

Can the editors not see that if they can deny Kissinger an academic position because, in their opinion, Kissinger has a "blatant disregard for human life and democratic procedure," those who also can be excluded from a university community are a conventional Marxist, a Vietnam draft evader, and a women's libber? After all, is violent revolution a "democratic procedure"? Is abortion a "blatent disregard for human life"?

Academic freedom means that an individual can hold both an academic position and heterodox political opinions. On Friday, the only ones "hypocritically perverting" that "worthwhile ideal" were the editors of the Harvard Crimson. --Steven A. Benner