"Diversity of opinion within the framework of loyalty to our free
society is not only basic to a university but to the entire nation."
James Bryant Conant
(1893-1978), President of Harvard University (1933-53), chairman of the National Defense Research Committee, advisor to both the National Science Foundation and the Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. High Commissioner and United States Ambassador to Germany from 1953 to 1957
Education in a Divided World, 1948
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Reader comments about this quote:
As long as opinion doesn't instigate laws that enforce that opinion as the way things are and so one must live by opinions that corrupt true law or natural law, by the restriction on opinions that the opinionated law says should be restricted because it is hate speech or any other kind of speech the law makers decide is not for the good of all. Give them that power and soon it will be that words of government dissent will get one arrested....Hmmm.
 -- Anon     
    Conant's "within the framework of loyalty to our free society" qualification is far too open to interpretation to have meaning within his context. A president of Harvard ought to have done better, even in 1948. It falls somewhere between a threat and butt-covering, and makes his statement a paradox. __ In her review of Conant's book Diana Trilling wrote, "It is interesting that despite his scientific training the President of Harvard presents his ideas as vaguely or incompletely or disconnectedly as he does."
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
    One can expect such jargon-littered non-speak from the likes of Harvard. I am with A.WOODS on this one. This is but a politically correct statement crafted to sound good to all. You can expect such speakers out of Harvard, Oxford, Yale -- experts at saying things that can appeal to supporters and opposition alike all with the intent of bullshitting oneself into power. Obama, W, Clinton all come to mind.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    It goes without saying... for free society read freedom
     -- RBESRQ     
    And for loyalty read...?
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
    Freedom is a difficult thing to understand or comprehend. One usually wants his views or perceptions to prevail and I would think that Woods and Archer cannot understand the subtleties of freedom. Neither could Hitler! While Conant's quote may sound a little mushy about loyalty to free society Archer most often sounds down right scary with his attacks on it.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    No Waffler, freedom is an easy thing to understand once the correct information revealing what it is is had by the individual. The reason it's so easy to understand is because individuals are free in spirit so the information is readily available once one knows where to look for it and how to look for it. We are all born free and from there it is a steady descent into slavery to the ideas of men so that by the time one is twenty his slavery doesn't seem to be what it really is because he has learned that slavery is freedom. Why look any further? Silly mankind, fooled again.
     -- Anon     
    Waffler, to advocate diversity of opinion while limiting it within "framework of loyalty" is a contradiction. Although freedom, as Anon stated, is easy to understand, that understanding appears to have eluded the accomplished Mr. Conant. At least you can say you have something in common with him.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
    Diversity of opinion within the framework of loyalty, means that one is to respect and listen to others. A society that practices free speech must be one that listens to each other and is loyal to that concept of respectfull attentiveness. The blowhards and shouters who wish to drown out everyone else are enemies to such a nation of respectful dialogue.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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