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A Gross Mischaracterization

By James P. McGlone

To the editor:

Last week’s news story “True Love, New Name” did not go to great lengths to hide its agenda. Through a gross mischaracterization of the Anscombe Society and its platform, it clearly sought to marginalize the group, with the ultimate aim of pushing it out of existence or at least of forcing it to change its platform.

The implication of the piece is clear: the Anscombe Society is a group that no respectable person should consider joining. Furthermore, if you happen to share any of the group’s more controversial views, you had best keep them to yourself. Your thoughts are not welcome here.

Why has Anscombe come under attack? The claim, sometimes implicitly and sometimes quite overtly expressed in the article, is that we are an exclusive, unwelcoming, and even bigoted organization. In reality, our only offense is disagreeing with the loudest voices on campus, which seem to have decided that no dissent can be tolerated on issues like the definition of marriage. This may be a convenient and useful strategy in the short term, but it poses a very serious threat to constructive discourse. How can we sustain healthy dialogue when the presumed majority is content to quash opposing positions, even those that are held in good faith and defended by reasoned arguments, by demonizing them with accusations of bigotry or malice?

This thought policing inevitably has a chilling effect on campus discussions of marriage and other contentious issues. If it continues, we risk turning Harvard, which should be an ideal place for open intellectual conversation on our society’s most hotly debated issues, into nothing more than an echo chamber for left-wing ideology.

James P. McGlone ’15

Cambridge, Mass.

Vice President of the Harvard College Anscombe Society

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