REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
- Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Gary Hart declared that voters identify candidates such as John Glenn and Walter Mondale with "failures of the past." Hart, a few may recall, was George McGovern's campaign manager in 1972, when the Democratic Party nominee lost by the largest margin in American history. Los Angeles Times, October 6.
- George McGovern on his latest presidential bid: "I'm not running this time as if Western civilization will collapse if I'm not President." New York Times, November 3.
- A thought-provoking letter to the editor from Dr. Michael Parenti, an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies:
To the Editor:
Senator Jesse Helms's accusation that Martin Luther King, Jr., had Communist associations has been labeled by King's liberal defenders as "slanderous" and "obscene." But what is obscene about associating with Communists?
By treating the charge as something horrific, liberals once again accept the McCarthyite premise that U.S. Communists are purveyors of evil and that any association with them taints one forever. . . .
In any case, there may be an element of truth in Helms's contention, putting aside the spirit in which he proffered it. The three areas in which King was most active-civil rights, peace, and the labor struggle (the latter two toward the end of his life)-are also areas in which U.S. Communists have worked long and devotedly.
In the case of labor organizing and civil rights, American Communists were in the thick of the struggle decades before King began his great career. It is possible, then, that King unknowingly or even knowingly associated and cooperated with people who were directly affiliated with the American Communist Party or with other leftist organizations. My question is, So what?. . . .
New York Times, November 1.
- Professor of History Werner Warmbrunn, reflecting on his twenty years at Pitzer College:
The one thing you can say at Pitzer is that there is rarely agreement on anything . . . even on who and what we are. . . . That's the essence of the place. That's the glory of Pitzer.
Los Angeles Times, October 10.
- Under the auspices of the Monsour Counseling Center of The Claremont Colleges, Dr. Kevin P. Austen will help organize an "All But Dissertation" (ABD) counseling group for "all graduate students who are working on or avoiding their dissertations. The purpose of the organizational meeting is to determine if there is a need for such a group and what form it could take." The plea against procrastination explains that "ABD groups can provide individuals with the support they need to carry out their research and provide a place where new ideas are generated in a nonthreatening atmosphere." Announcement from the Monsour Counseling Center of The Claremont Colleges. October.
- News bulletin from the PRC (People's Republic of Claremont). By a 3-1 vote, the Claremont City Council ordered its attorney to write a law making it illegal to develop, produce, or deploy nuclear weapons within the city limits. Lawbreakers could face maximum sentences of up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. As Councilwoman Eleanor Cohen put it, "The nuclear question has gone so far beyond sanity we have to say something." The lone dissenter, Sheldon G. Wellins, evidently did not share the seriousness of his fellow Council members, as he unsuccessfully urged that Claremont establish a "sister city" relationship with a town in the Soviet Union that would take a similar position on nukes. (Los Angeles Times, October 27.) As of this writing, the Council has not taken final action on whether the proposal will become law.
- Professor David Ray Griffin, of the School of Theology at Claremont, radicalizes the peace process: . . .
. . . [S]omeone's having the courage to make a unilateral move is probably the only way disarmament will occur. . . .
Unlike the potential intruder, who has nothing to fear from our gun as long as he stays off our property, the Soviets do not know that we will not go out to attack them. Only if they see that we are going ahead with disarmament, regardless of what they do, will they have the sense of security from which they can begin destroying their own suicidal arsenal. (Los Angeles Times, November 19)