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Mandatory Williams Talk Constitutes Political 'Tyranny'

Mandatory Williams Talk Constitutes Political Tyranny'

It is good to know that Big Brother is watching over the incoming freshmen at MIT, as evidenced by the recent mandatory talk given for new students by "black lesbian mom comic" Karen Williams ["Williams Addresses Tolerance, Relations," Sept. 2]. Why is it that the political left feels compelled to force their own "politically correct" agenda upon others? And by what moral right or authority are they allowed to make such a potentially controversial presentation as Ms. Williams' mandatory for all new students? One wonders what becomes of the much intoned liberal buzzword "tolerance" in situations such as this, in which attendance is described as mandatory even for those students who may disagree strongly with some of Ms. Williams' viewpoints or who may find some of her strong language and coarser material personally offensive.

As a conservative, I respect the right of Ms. Williams and her sponsors to make their views known, and I also respect their right not to have to come hear me if I or someone of my philosophical bent chooses to do the same, but apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. For example, what do you think would have been the reaction of Ms. Williams and her sponsors had incoming freshmen been required, fittingly enough during rush week, to listen to an hour of Rush Limbaugh? I can hear the cries of "political tyranny" and "mind control" now.

The real villains here, however, are not Ms. Williams and her sponsors, but those administrators who allow themselves to be taken hostage politically by whatever special interest group happens to come along with its list of demands. Upon pain of defamation of character and political blackmail (for example, being labeled "homophobe" or "bigot"), such administrators cave in to the pressures which are placed upon them and capitulate to the demands of the few. For sadly in today's world, you don't have to actually hate or fear homosexuals or people of other races to be labeled a homophobe or bigot, you need only disagree with them on a political or social issue; that is enough to get you branded with such a title.

Those administrators, however, who do allow themselves to become the tools of one particular special interest group, thereby subjecting the many to the tyranny of the few, abdicate their responsibility to their students and betray their charge as guardians of the search for truth. For a university is not supposed to be a place in which we all necessarily come to agree on all issues, but a place in which we learn to think for ourselves, in which we learn to interact civilly with people of differing opinions, and in which we learn to disagree peaceably when and if that becomes necessary. Sadly, it appears that MIT, like most colleges and universities today, has forgotten that.

Alex J. McDonough

Cambridge