Try to make your point more skillfully. . . err, I mean more subtly

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As I have been in the past critical of Michael Graham’s column, I thought I would (as I have also done in the past) give him props when he deserves it.

His column on Harvard’s exclusion of the ROTC from its campus appears in the Herald today opposite a similarly themed op-ed in the Globe. Both authors argue (correctly, I believe) it is time to bring ROTC back to Harvard after a 40-year absence. In contrast to the Globe piece, however, Graham’s column is a monument to nuance and careful argumentation.

Frank Schaeffer paints Harvard (actually, the entire Ivy League) and its students with the broadest possible brush (a polite way of saying he stereotypes). Here is what he believes Harvard students have been doing these past few bullish years:

Ivy League schools have mostly produced a nonserving generation of bankers, hedge fund managers, etc. who are helping destroy our economy.

It may be worth pointing out to Mr. Schaeffer that 151 (9%) of the graduating seniors in Harvard’s class of 2008 applied to be members of Teach for America. (I apologize I don’t have a link for the statistic itself; that number was passed on to me in conversation by a TFA employee. To check out the number of students who were accepted by TFA broken down by college, click here.) Though undoubtedly some of these young men and women will move on to investment banking or other financial pursuit once their two-year tenure in the classroom is over, clearly some Ivy League students evince a commitment to serve others.

Now, having explained that Harvard continues to ban ROTC from campus as a protest against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, as well as that Harvard has in the past invited speakers from such repressive regimes as Iran’s, Michael Graham writes:

Harvard claims that it’s not military service that violates its values, but rather the military’s policies regarding homosexuality. But how to reconcile this principled stand against U.S. “homophobia” from a university that welcomes leaders of regimes where homosexuals face persecution or even death?

That is an argument much more likely to sway me than Mr. Schaeffer’s belief that almost all Ivy League graduates are selfish good-for-nothings, populist demagoguery worthy of Father Coughlin or Huey Long.

For a truly deep and nuanced look at the cultural divide separating Harvard and the military, however, I recommend this Harvard Magazine article by Colonel Pat Hoy (ret.), a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army and former writing instructor at that communist hive across the river.