LETTERS: Ladders, Lipper and praising The RECORD


A ladder for Lipper

Upon reading Greg Lipper’s op-ed on the Harvard Federalist Society’s co-sponsorship of a book drive (“Munchausen syndrome besets the Federalists”, February 27, 2003), I was forced to reconsider my goals for the year as the organization’s Community Service Chair. Thus, I am writing to tell the Harvard Law community about the Harvard Federalist Society’s latest community service project.

Throughout the month of March, we will be accepting donations to buy materials for a carpentry project and to pay for expenses incurred during an upcoming trip to Mount Greylock. In April, we plan on building a gigantic step ladder, which we will take with us to Mount Greylock, along with everyone’s favorite RECORD columnist, Greg Lipper. Hopefully, by aiding Lipper in climbing the highest step ladder at the highest point in Massachusetts, we will be able to render the Harvard Law community an enormous service — finally helping Greg Lipper get over himself.

Don’t forget to donate!

— Amanda Gregory, 2L
Community Service Chair, Harvard Federalist Society and HLS GOP

Federalists do not take political stands

I have always appreciated Greg Lipper’s efforts to challenge received opinion, but this time The RECORD’s self-described “resident gadfly” is pestering the wrong animal. In the words of Samuel Johnson: “A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.”

The Federalist Society does not take political stands. Our mission is simply to bring open debate to the Law School so that students have the chance to hear otherwise marginalized views. Members have, moreover, a wide array of opinions on the question of school choice, and, although I personally am flattered that Mr. Lipper thinks our humble Harvard chapter is clever enough to use a book drive to deprive public schools of funding, his imagination, I am afraid, has in this case gotten the better of him.

— Brian Hooper, 3L
President, Harvard Federalist Society

Non-partisan supports book drive

I will be brief. Writing a longer letter will tempt me to engage in an inordinate bashing of Greg Lipper’s glaring and distasteful narcissism. Belief in small government is entirely consistent with commitment to charity. The book drive sponsored by the Federalist Society (of which, incidentally, I am not a member) was not a trick. It was not, in my opinion, an “appeasement of collective conscience.” Instead, it expressed the sentiment that charity should be driven and directed by personal conscience, rather than by political expediency.

This sentiment is not, by any means, beyond challenge. But it is worthy of neither disrespect nor of contempt. Nor of Mr. Lipper’s failed attempts at wit.

— Joe Rillotta 3L

Record deserves praise

The RECORD should be applauded for having the mettle to print Lee Strang’s now-infamous opinion column on homosexuality. Despite many of the emotionally charged letters condemning Strang, The RECORD’s publication of the column is what is right with Harvard Law School. We are supposed to be a community that prides itself on fostering debate and intellectually engaging an opposing viewpoint. Yet, many of the “rebutting” letters in last week’s edition were guilty of allowing their emotional reactions to trump their intellectual disagreement. Although Strang’s position may be untenable, we are taught as lawyers to attack the logical reasoning of the opposing viewpoint rather than condemning the very existence of such a position. Instead of proclaiming him “ignorant,” “superstitious,” “a hateful bigot,” or “what is wrong with HLS,” we should confront his argument with actual lawyering tools and not playground insults. If there is anything wrong with HLS, then it is the practice of avoiding the more arduous process of logically attacking the merits of a position and resorting to an emotionally charged appeal.

There was a time earlier in the academic year when The RECORD was predominantly littered with anti-Bush, anti-military and anti-right viewpoints. (Of course, that pattern is unlikely to change at the “command center of American liberalism.”) Nonetheless, the intent of The RECORD in printing Lee Strang’s controversial column was surely in line with Harvard Law School’s credo of promoting intellectual diversity and rigorous debate. For that, it should be applauded!

— Joshua Johnson, 1L

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