Dear Vice Provost Ameer,
To the casual observer, it may appear that the editors and staff of The Review have no great love for you. Over the course of your employment at Dartmouth, we have attacked your actions and lampooned your ideas. We have brought your missteps to the attention of national media, and we have likely caused you a few headaches. This issue is no exception: some of our writers have chosen to strike their final blows against your progressive vision in harsh terms and satire.
On behalf of The Review, I would like to inform you that despite our publication history, you are one of our favorite administrators. Reporters and students alike often ask me for my opinion on you and your tenure in the wake of contr
oversies. If you consult articles that quote me, you will see that I consistently portray you in a positive light.
Many of us know you personally to be a kind, courteous, and beneficent individual. We have also observed that your views stem from deep-seated convictions and not from ego, apathy, or malice. We see that you care deeply for students – all students – and that you work tirelessly to ensure their welfare. We obviously disagree with you on the means to improve student lives and on the beliefs that motivate your actions. These disagreements are likely irreconcilable, and we remain fully committed to fighting for our own convictions. To that end, we have engaged in a variety of tactics befitting the gravity of our dispute.
This aside, we salute you for the courage of your convictions, the credence you place in others’ self-professed values, and your general good will towards those who disagree with you. While you have made a few not-very-nice missteps, we are guilty of the same, for which we offer our sincere apologies.
The basis for our admiration lies in the second item I listed: your ability to see in us the sincerity we see in you. As conservatives, we have grown accustomed to leftists assuming we have selfish or even hateful intentions. Many assume that we are all rich and that our economic policies are based on greed. Others seem to think we are all racists, bigots, or misogynists. When we explain that our views are based on concrete and earnestly held values, progressives ridicule us or call us liars.
While we do not mind the hate that comes our way (it comes in handy when we want to showcase leftist hypocrisy), it destroys the potential for meaningful discourse and mutual understanding. It is important to critically examine the intentions of others, but it is essential to analyze any narrative in the context of its own assumptions. While the former can advance an argument, the latter promotes understanding.
Many people are cautious of understanding their enemies. They believe that understanding necessarily results in sympathy. This is a definite possibility – if you lack the courage of you own convictions. The ability to understand apparent evil while maintaining faith in good is an essential tool in the pursuit of truth. It is tempting to think that the pursuit of truth necessitates one party bending to the views of the other. This inaccurately places concord above truth. Neither consensus nor peace should be the goals of discourse: the pursuit of truth is better understood as a journey than as a desired end state.
You, out of all the leftist administrators, understand this. We thank you for your understanding, good will, and kindness. We will be sad to see you go on a personal level, and we hope others in your camp will emulate your admirable qualities.
The Dartmouth Review