To the Editors:

Here is a question I have about the entirety of Thomas Klingenstein's essay ("Essay in Claremont Review rips Barry Mills' convocation," April 15), from the he-said-she-said about what happened on the links to the speculative statistics about how many Republicans are on Bowdoin's faculty: Who cares?

Not somebody interested—as Klingenstein purports to be—in "honest inquiry [and an] objective search for truth." He would care, instead, about whether Bowdoin's faculty trains students who can understand their chosen academic field and do capable undergraduate work within it. This, the goal of an education, is called knowing what you're talking about, which is precisely why it has nothing to do with partisan politics.

Klingenstein is an apt example of the distinction. He suggests that if only Bowdoin adopted "The Federalist" as its "guide to the nation's democratic future" it might hire more Republican professors—a kind of indiscriminate invocation of the Framers that is rote practice among hacks.

Educated people, on the other hand, would question whether "The Federalist" cuts in favor of organizing an institution around unnecessary political factionalism.

Though the real question, which answers itself, is about the advisability of taking intellectual cues from someone slinging this slop.


Miles Pope '09