Columns / Discourse / Editorials / May 29, 2014

The voice of reason: over and out

I started this column in September of 2010. I have written every week that TKS has gone to print since, except for the term I was abroad. It’s difficult to say how many columns that adds up to, but if I did not make it to 100 I at least made it fairly close.

I began as an opinionated freshman who was thrilled to have the opportunity to make the world listen to what I had to say. Did the world care? Probably not, although I certainly believed it did at the time.

No longer am I that freshman, and no longer am I even as opinionated as I used to be.

College has done a great deal to broaden my perspective, and to make me more self-critical and less doctrinaire about things. There are things that seemed clear to me freshman year that are now impossibly murky. There is nothing wrong with that. Wisdom, to paraphrase Socrates, is found in knowing how little you really know.

Writing this column has helped clarify that for me as nothing else has. It is easy to speak without thinking among friends or in class, but when you are putting your name on something that the whole school could potentially read, you better know what you’re doing. It is a maxim I have always tried to keep in mind, if not always successfully.

In Internet-age America, everyone has the ability to share their opinion about virtually anything they want and have the world see it. Although there is something wonderfully democratic about that, it also means that we are awash in a sea of opinions. Writing an opinion column becomes a constant battle to ensure that what you have to say is worth listening to.

“The Voice of Reason” has never been a title that I claimed. Rather, it was always an ideal that I strived for. I have always intended to work through problems as logically and objectively as possible, and hopefully convince a few people along the way.

I have certainly fallen short on numerous occasions, but looking back I firmly believe the goal was worth it.

Cynicism and sarcasm have been among my favorite rhetorical tools over these years, but for the final bit I would like to speak in total sincerity.

I am extremely grateful to have had a chance to do these for four years and I want to thank everyone at TKS, both past and present, that helped make this possible.

Most of all I want to thank you, reader. If a single sentence I have ever written has ever stuck with you, then this column has been a success.


Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

Tags:  discourse matt barry reflection thanks The Voice of Reason

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