Letter to the Editor: Beware of the message
I am mystified that Washington University in St. Louis is choosing to honor someone who believes that women should not enjoy the full rights that men enjoy and that it is impossible for husbands to rape their wives. This sends a terrible message to the young women Wash. U. is trying to educate and to other bright young women we would like to recruit to join our university.
I do not deny that Phyllis Schlafly has been an effective grass-roots organizer. But competence is not the only measure of honor. There have been and are effective organizations that Wash. U. should not honor, because those organizations serve purposes that Wash. U. ought not and does not honor.
I do not deny that Phyllis Schlafly has provoked much public debate. But provocation is not always honorable. There have been and are provocateurs whom Wash. U. ought not and does not honor.
I also do not deny that Wash. U. has honored individuals of a wide range of political opinions without endorsing those opinions. But the university has still managed to realize that it ought not and does not honor all provocative and influential voices in the public sphere no matter what their opinion. I trust I do not need to name names of those who are plainly beyond the pale. The only question is whether Phyllis Schlafly is beyond what Wash. U. can honor. I am deeply dismayed that the university has decided that she is not.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
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