Johnson’s Piece Provokes Response

To the Editor: Reading last week’s column by Brandon Johnson made me sad. His name-calling tactics toward the embryonic republican group on campus show a remarkable lack of tolerance on his part. The way that he makes no effort to understand his adversaries makes the Left look bad. In any intellectual debate, each side needs to have a good understanding of the opposing point of view. Johnson’s point of view seems to be informed by a raw hatred of Republicans and mainstream politics. Especially discouraging was his conclusion where he held up Socialists as defenders of justice and civil liberties. A quick look at the top 5 Socialists of the 20th Century causes me to wonder what Johnson was thinking! Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot as “some of the best defenders of justice?” I was very discouraged to read such an uninformed, hateful editorial. Johnson, in writing such a piece, discredited the Left and made the Right look good. With a single editorial, Brandon Johnson has done more to advance the cause of the Right than reams of editorials by Jon Kantor ever could.Guillaume McDowellClass of 2004To the Editor: This place used to be called diversity university, but that label is no longer accurate. The students of this university have turned it into an academic swamp in which we isolate ourselves from diversity with endless mud-slinging rhetoric. We have proven incapable of valid discourse and scholarly debate. We have turned, instead, to labeling as wrong any opinion not in line with our own, to tearing down each other’s posters and to defaming each other for our contentions. We like to think of ourselves as people who are making a difference, or who will one day make a difference, but this will be forever impossible if we cannot learn from each other. When one in four children cry out in hunger every night, self-righteousness will not solve the world’s problems. When the Republicans on campus are finally organizing, sarcasm will only further the isolationism. I came here to learn and grow and see a new world; however, all I have seen thus far is a campus of spoiled adolescents incapable of respectful debate and incapable of living together and learning from each other. I urge you, all of you, to listen to each other and find some common ground. We may disagree, but we all have something to learn from each other. We should naturally educate one another but we cannot do this if half of us consider the other half not good enough to talk to. Weston NicollClass of 2005To the Editor: Your columnist threw thunder and provocation down on the Right in last week’s edition. He was probably expecting a right-wing tirade against his moral harangues and probably expected those he targeted to ridicule the hygiene of hippies. I, for one, will not sink to the level of your columnists. I prefer to enlighten those writers and the Left with more respect, grace and tact than you typically offer those who disagree with your bizarre statements. I just wish to offer some counter-facts to your statement that “some of the best defenders of justice are socialists.” Joseph Stalin (30,000,000 executed through his purges) was a true humanitarian – he just had a dysfunctional family, right? Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward killed only 30,000,000, but they were Republicans, so it doesn’t matter. At least dissenters in modern China have a protected podium – no, they get run over by tanks. Peter Clavelle has destroyed Burlington because all the in-state Vermonters were not familiar with Haight-Ashbury in 1967. And lastly, the shining example of socialism: the Berlin Wall. When a country builds a wall to keep its citizens from escaping to a land of peace and liberty (the West), that constructing entity ceases to be a nation – it is a prison.Chris KruegerClass of 2002