Thursday, September 29, 2005


The new president of the Dartmouth Student Assembly made a surprising, but unsurprisingly unpopular, statement recently:
What happened was a convocation welcoming the freshman class to Dartmouth College. The student president traditionally speaks at these convocations, and this time it was the young man from Louisville, Ky., who uttered what turned out to be an inflammatory couple of sentences. He told the freshmen that the mere imparting of knowledge is less than what a college education should seek to do for students. The development of character is the higher goal.

"Character," said [Noah] Riner, "has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. ... He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character."

Of course, the Ivy Leaguers weren't going to let that pass:
That violation of secularist decorum brought on great indignation. A petition drive against the young student body president is contemplated. A vice president of the Student Assembly wrote to him, "I consider your choice of topic for the convocation speech reprehensible and an abuse of power. You embarrass the organization, you embarrass yourself." A sophisticated defense was tendered by a Jewish student who wrote, "Many of us in the Dartmouth community proudly disagree with that and other aspects of Riner's religious beliefs, but our disagreements do not give us the right to limit his speech."

Mr. Buckley finds a connection with Mr. Riner's reception at Dartmouth and the current attacks on Intelligent Design:
The planted axiom being encouraged by the secular community is that an acknowledgment of biological evolution not only acquiesces in scientific certitudes, it cannot coexist with any thought of intelligent design. And this is true no matter how many metaphors are introduced ("We don't mean Noah actually got all living creatures into an ark ...") to concede the morganatic difference between intelligent design and Darwinian evolution.

Anyone can have free long as you agree with the right people, which happens to be the secular left.

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