Letters: February 7, 1996

Frank Broderick '43
Crowe's Canard
Truncated Motto
The Bomb
Karl Marx
Liberal Hypocrisy

Frank Broderick '43

Your profile of Frank Broderick '43 (Going Back, December 20) broadened my appreciation of a teacher I once knew at the Phillips Exeter Academy. I never had Broderick as a teacher, but he made an indelible impression on me when he spoke on various occasions to the assembled student body. In discussing obscure events in far-off and little-known Laos, he introduced the notion that America had limited influence in that part of the world and that it should not place too much of a stake in political developments in Southeast Asia. Another time, he read passages from John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle in a way that showed his passion for social justice had not dimmed since his years at Princeton.
While at Exeter he published a biography of civil-rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois. The name didn't really register with me until I applied for officer training in the Navy. On the application form I had to state that I had never been a member of (among other things) the W. E. B. Du Bois Society. Heaven forfend that I should have been such a threat to the United States.
Edward Z. Walworth '66
Lewiston, Maine

When I was at Exeter, Frank Broderick inspired my interest in American history. Because Princeton could produce a man like him, I wanted to go there. I wrote my thesis in American history, and his book W. E. B. Du Bois: Negro Leader in a Time of Crisis (Stanford, 1959) is still on my bookcase.
Bob Schrock '60
Pittsford, N.Y.

Writer Dan Klein '92 pays tribute to a man who never lost his sense of mission to the underprivileged. After teaching at Exeter and the University of Iowa, Frank Broderick served in the Peace Corps in Africa. Then, before moving to the University of Massachusetts, he was dean of the college at Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin. He made staff appointments at Lawrence that facilitated the kind of changes in admissions that he had called for at Princeton. With his encouragement and the energy of his wife, Barbara, and their friends, the city of Appleton established a chapter of A Better Chance, a national program for the education of disadvantaged young people.
Frank's friendly indignation irritated some people here, as it did at Princeton. Ever the teacher, however, he made us understand how we could make a difference in the lives of young people and in our own lives as well. We are grateful to him.
Gervais E. Reed '54
Appleton, Wisc.

We entered Princeton a few years too late to know Frank Broderick. But as members of the Princeton Liberal Union, founded to provide an outlet for liberal political views at the end of World War II, we set about making a reality of the university's professions of nondiscrimination by seeking the enrollment of qualified black students. We talked to the administration and sought the assistance of the United Negro College Fund. We surveyed undergraduates to determine the degree to which black students would be accepted on campus. Subsequently, we wrote to selected high schools and prep schools asking them to encourage their qualified black students to apply. As a direct result of our efforts, four black students were admitted to the Class of 1953, three of whom arrived on the campus in September 1949.
Jerry A. Shroder '47
New York, N.Y.
David W. Lewit '47
Boston, Mass.

Dan Klein's piece on the attempt to integrate Princeton in the early 1940s states that Frank Broderick was "a man ahead of his time." Wouldn't it would be more accurate to say that Princeton was woefully, even shamefully, behind the times?
Nicholas R. Clifford '52
Middlebury, Vt.

My version of the story differs from Klein's in one respect. A glance at the Prince masthead of those days would probably show that three members of the Class of 1943, not two, were in the forefront of the campaign to integrate Princeton. Along with Frank Broderick and Editorial Cochairman "Whitey" Whitehead was the other editorial cochairman, Phil Quigg. Working closely with Broderick, Quigg (later the editor of paw and managing editor of Foreign Affairs), in fact did most of the writing of the editorials mentioned by Klein.
Alan W. Horton '43
Randolph, N.H.


Your December 6 cover story on admissions and its dean, Fred Hargadon, put a human face on a mysterious tribal ritual. I have a problem, however, with the article's summary of achievements expected of applicants who earn the top level in preliminary ratings, which include taking "five or six solid courses a semester during sophomore and junior years" of secondary school. Why, after the admission office requires aspirant Princetonians to achieve so much, does the university require them to do so much less once they get in? Freshmen and sophomores, as a norm, take only four courses a semester, down from five in earlier times; upperclassmen, as before, drop one course in accordance with independent projects. At Princeton what were formerly 13-week semesters have become 10 weeks long. No matter how you run the figures, the typical nonengineer today has about 60 percent of the class assignments that faced previous generations of undergraduates. Unless professors have increased the average size of assignments by 40 percent over those given in the past, Princeton's overachieving applicants can expect a pretty pleasant breather once enrolled. Do we have the right to under-challenge all that admirable talent?
C. Webster Wheelock '60 *67
New York, N.Y.

Is it true, as writer Bill Paul '70 states, that "At Princeton, there is literally no room to take chances"? In this increasingly fast-changing world, extreme risk avoidance is the riskiest strategy of all. I submit that if Princeton, in continuance of a long tradition, wishes to produce leaders for the 21st century, it needs to take at least a few "chances" among today's 18-year-olds.
Christopher Greene '81
San Jose, Calif.

Your article on admissions contains one fascinating and shocking piece of information: out of 14,000 applicants in 1995, only 424 were sons or daughters of alumni. Either alumni have a low opinion of their university, or they believe it's hopeless for their children to apply.
Charles E. Test '37
Indianapolis, Ind.

In your admissions piece I found the following sentence: His [Hargadon's] father was a first-generation Irish immigrant." What on earth is a first-generation immigrant, Irish or otherwise?
Thomas Kiernan
New Vernon, N.J.

Crowe's Canard

Shame on Admiral William Crowe *65 for his remark "Don't you know diplomats are paid to lie for their country?"-and shame on the editors for perpetuating this base canard (paw, December 6). The one thing diplomats may never do is lie. Truthfulness, as Sir Harold Nicolson pointed out in his classic Diplomacy, is the first requisite for his "ideal diplomatist."
Let us hope that Admiral Crowe's remark was nothing more than a jest, and that his studies at Princeton really did teach him both the practical and ethical reasons why dishonesty is a practice to be avoided in the world of diplomacy. Let us also hope, too, that he does not suffer the same fate as a distant predecessor who said much the same thing. Sir Henry Wotton was fired by James I for having scribbled an inappropriate remark in a guest book in Augsburg: "Legatus est vir bonus, peregre missus ad mentiendum reipublicae causa" ("An ambassador is an honest man who is sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.") Sir Henry claimed it was intended only as a "merriment," but it cost him his job.
Andrew L. Steigman '54
Washington, D.C.
Editor's note: The writer, a former ambassador, is an assistant dean of Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. It was clear to us, and we assume to most readers, that Admiral Crowe did indeed make his remark in jest.

Truncated Motto

Recent communications from the university, including holiday greetings from President and Mrs. Shapiro, have reduced the motto "Dei sub numine viget" to the single word "Viget" ("She flourishes") as a sort of logo.
I greet this with sadness, because it suggests that Princeton is now openly admitting she is just another purely secular institution of higher learning, separated from her moorings and adrift in a sea of relativity. To drop, "Dei sub numine," which means "in, or under, the will of God," is, I hope, merely a thoughtless effort to be concise or to save space, and not a deliberate cutting loose from our roots. Princeton was founded mainly to provide an educated clergy for a Godfearing people, and until the 1970s its presidents were either ordained ministers or the sons of ministers. I hope "Viget" is not a case of intellectual dishonesty like the use of that other phrase, "The truth shall make you free," which is taken out of context from a longer passage in the Bible (see John 8:31-32).
Princeton will not flourish in any significant way apart from the will of God.
Joseph E. Upson '33
North Sandwich, N.H.

The Bomb

I read with interest Caroline Moseley's article on the atomic bomb (paw, June 7) and the subsequent letters concerning it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings, I participated in the International Peace Ultramarathon from Hiroshima to Nagasaki, a distance of 280 miles. Each runner was required to cover the complete distance (close to 11 marathons) in a four-day race between August 6 and 9, 1995.
My father-a veteran of World War II, like many of the alumni who have written recent letters to paw regarding the bombings-had enlisted in the Army at age 17. After the war, he served for several years in Japan as part of the occupation forces. My Japanese mother lived in an area that had been on the initial list of atomic-bomb targets, but luckily, not Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
We Americans take deep pride in holding the moral and ethical high ground. Our veterans should rightfully be proud of their roles in our victory in a just war, and the 50th anniversary of that victory was a time for celebration. But it was also the 50th anniversary of the bombings, and I felt troubled that we had exercised the capability of extinguishing 100,000 lives in an instant (and on two occasions). Participating in this punishing run was my personal statement after trying to come to grips with this. I came face to face with the human aspects of the aftermath and found it cathartic. The visits to the atomic-bomb museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were especially sobering.
My most vivid memory is of my bicycle escort on the final 42-mile stage into Nagasaki. He was a 50-year old Japanese triathlete in phenomenal shape. Six hours into the day's run, at exactly 11:02 a.m. (the time the bomb hit Nagasaki 50 years before), alarms sounded, and we paused to mourn the victims, then resumed running. Only then did I realize the significance of my escort's age. In my elementary Japanese, I probed about his exact date of birth and the whereabouts of each of his parents at the time of the bombing. Then came the dreaded response that his father had been a victim, albeit a survivor. My escort, of course, would have every reason to dislike Americans, but he had worked his way through his feelings and now was here, 50 years later, as my guardian-helping me, an American, through heavy traffic into Nagasaki.
The accompanying photo shows me running with James Zarei, the winner of the race, past the Peace Park in Hiroshima. This summer I will again participate in the run.
Bob Slate '76
Los Altos, Calif.

I was stationed in Pearl Harbor when I learned of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. My first reaction was one of happiness, for the submarine I served on was being refitted for the planned invasion of Japan. But reflection upon the effects of that bomb and the subsequent one dropped on Nagasaki included the knowledge that we had already succeeded in isolating Japan. Why didn't we just continue the blockade until the Japanese surrendered? Half a century later, whenever I mention my ambivalence, there is no dialogue. People seem to think the bombings were either necessary or unnecessary.
When my wife and I visited Hiroshima in 1994, I felt a deeper ambivalence than ever. Maybe there is no clear answer, and our efforts to find one are irrational. Perhaps, in this case, there is no right or wrong.
Mark Follansbee '42
South Burlington, Vt.

Karl Marx

I was disappointed but not surprised to see the November 22 letters in response to Edward Tenner '65's October 25 article on Karl Marx. Although Marx (with Freud) is generally acknowledged to be the greatest thinker of the 19th century and unarguably one of the most important influences, whether for good or evil, on our time, these alumni don't see the need for this leviathan to be openly discussed. I thought such discussion was the purpose of a first-rate university.
Although not a Marxist, I have known many who are. And unlike John Mason '66, I have found most of them to be profoundly disturbed by excesses like those he witnessed in Ethiopia. As a Christian missionary, Mason should recognize that some of history's worst excesses have been in the name of Christianity: the Spanish Inquisition, Poland's betrayal of the Jews in World War II, the murders of abortion-clinic doctors in the United States, and the "ethnic" (actually religious) cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. Do such examples mean that Princeton's religion department should stop teaching about Christianity?
The letters condemning the article were critical of its very presence in paw. If, as they assert, Marx is dead, why is it a threat to dissect his corpse?
Ginna Vogt '77
Newton, Mass.

I have nothing against Marx, even though he never matriculated or lectured at Princeton and would have submitted our admission policies to the rule of the proletariat. Please avoid future temptations to make paw into a scholarly journal. Otherwise, I may submit my articles on Maltese philately.
Harris Colt '57
New York, N.Y.

Marx's letters to Engels reveal a mean, bitter, petty man who neglected and exploited his family and friends; a vicious racist and antisemite who despised homosexuals and viewed women as inferior; a man who never held a job and never once visited his supposedly beloved factory workers. The image of Marx as a decent but misunderstood hero is as deceptive a myth as his "earthly paradise."
Kenneth A. Stier, Jr. '54
Great Neck, N.Y.

Tenner points out Marx's radical democracy, which, long after his death, was corrupted by the Communist regimes of Russia, China, and elsewhere. Still, Marxism-not Stalinism-appeals to the oppressed for whom migration to Western democracies is not an option.
David Lewit '47
Boston, Mass.

Your article has nothing to say about Marx's statement "Religion is the opiate of the masses." The nearest it comes to the subject of Marx and religion is a mention of Engels's concept of "false consciousness," which Tenner calls "the human capacity for selfdeception about identity and interests, and the power of illusion in sustaining human life." Are we to assume that the teachings of Moses, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, and other sages have no transcendental validity? Woodrow Wilson, in an article titled "The Road away from Revolution," published in The Atlantic Monthly a few months before his death, conceded that the Marxian criticism of the capitalist economic system had valid points. Wilson concluded that the only answer to Marxism was a moral and spiritual revolution.
Charles D. Brodhead '29
Brattleboro, Vt.

Tenner might reflect on America's cycles of socialist popularity. In the 1840s we had Brook Farm and dozens of other socialist-oriented communities, followed by the Oneida community in upstate New York. The Socialist Party under Eugene Debs and later Norman Thomas '05 was influential in the first third of this century. Marx was not their inspiration. Instead, as Irving Howe has written, it was "an impulse to moral generosity, a readiness to stake their hopes on some goal other than personal success. It was an impulse that drew its strength from an uncomplicated belief in freedom and fraternity, or to use an almost obsolete word, goodness." Stalin's infamous trials and his 1939 pact with Hitler eradicated any lingering faith in a benign state fashioned from Marxist ideology. Yet the "impulse" that Howe cites is not altogether moribund and may be a factor in the 1996 elections for those appalled by the cutbacks in our social safety net.
Edward T. Chase '41
New York, N.Y.

In Russia and the rest of the Soviet bloc, ordinary people deserted Marxist-Leninism not for "the promise of Hollywood interiors," as Tenner states, but because the task of "building communism" and living lives of fear became too burdensome to endure for a promise that was never more than an intellectual's theory of how a totally rationalized society ought to look. Marx was wrong about evil being concentrated in a property-owning class-it is much more of a human problem than that. One sees in the history of the USSR what happens when all wealth is owned by "the people," whose ownership is safeguarded by political zealots who claim to know what is best for mankind.
John McElroy '56
Tucson, Ariz.

Liberal Hypocrisy

S. M. Moore's October 25 letter regarding your June 7 First Person on the "killing fields" of Rwanda trod a wellworn path. Her list of slaughter by Westerners included only those committed by Fascists and capitalists. Ignored was the far greater number of people put to death between 1917 and 1986 by Socialists and Communists like Bela Kun, Lenin, Pol Pot, Nyerere, Mengisto, Trotsky, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Stalin, Tito, et al.
Her selective condemnation recalls the many letters paw published in years past about South Africa, when writers expressed outrage over the killing of up to 30,000 by the white regime (heinous, to be sure), while ignoring the deaths of an estimated one million blacks in other parts of Africa at the hands of black Socialist or Communist dictators. Such selective outrage, in my opinion, can only be attributed to ignorance or hypocrisy.
John K. Scott '47
Foster City, Calif.


In her November 22 review of Pearson Marx '86's novel On the Way to the Venus de Milo, Andrea Gollin '88 states that the author is "afflicted . . . with sesquipedalianism. Of the 33 words I was sure I had never seen before, my dictionary had only 13. For example, osculate means to kiss. And a paladin is a knight." She considers trisyllabic words sesquipedalian? Maybe she means arcane; but if so, what about "osculate" and "paladin"? Your reviewer is a Princeton graduate? Please, at least, tell me she wasn't a liberal-arts major.
Thomas Grant III '64
New York, N.Y.
Andrea Gollin's reply: Mr. Grant, you've attacked my dictionary and my honor as both a graduate of Princeton and an English major. I'm now forced to challenge you to a duel. Meet me at dusk on March 15 in Palmer Square. Come armed with the longest word you know.