Discourse / Editorials / October 16, 2008

Thoughts from the Embers: A good week at Knox

Embers often provides a space for TKS editors to gripe about things going on at Knox that we don’t like. This week, we thought it would be a nice change of pace to pat the school on the back for bringing a stimulating couple of speakers to the campus this past week.

Dr. Louis Harrison, Jr.’s presentation on athletic image and the role of African-Americans in sports was a timely dose of truth in Knox’s ongoing discussion of race and its perception on campus. As Ryan Cash said in his article, Harrison drove home the fact that much of the racism existing today is a product of ignorance rather than malice, making it that much harder to stamp out. He challenged us—all of us, race notwithstanding—to take a long, critical look at established assumptions we make hold people that pigeonhole them despite our best intentions. Harrison was so kind as to deliver his lecture twice, to allow the greatest number of students to hear what he had to say. We hope the school brings more speakers on this subject in the near future.

The Knox Republicans, continuing last year’s trend of bringing controversial conservatives to speak, invited author, think tanker, and global warming skeptic Chris Horner to speak on Tuesday. We were happy to note that many students who believe firmly in global warming and humankind’s role in causing it went to the presentation to listen to what he had to say. We were also happy to receive Margaret Allen’s extremely thorough letter to the editor, repudiating most of his data on the subject.

We need more speakers like Horner. Though Allen tore most of his arguments to shreds, there is truth in the idea that left-wing environmentalists are sometimes prone to drama when trying to get their points across. Furthermore, he did Knox liberals a valuable service in prompting us to challenge our long-held beliefs about climate change. Allen went the extra mile and did the research to see for herself whether Horner’s ideas had merit, and it is this kind of exercise that makes our beliefs stronger and better-defended.

Another environmental speaker, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, also visited this past week. Her data was presumably more accurate than Horner’s, although nobody went and checked her facts the way Allen checked Horner’s as far as we’re aware, but let’s face it: she was preaching to the choir. As much as we all like to hear speakers who agree with us, and as much as there were plenty of valuable things to be learned from Steingraber’s research, it is rare that we get the opportunity to hear a dissenting opinion about the environment on the Knox campus. We hope the Knox Republicans will continue to seek out speakers that give us new opinions to consider and evaluate against our own.

TKS Staff

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