Letter to the Editor 3/19 #1

By Tamar Toledano

To the Editor,

I am concerned about the potentially dangerous messages conveyed in Giles… To the Editor,

I am concerned about the potentially dangerous messages conveyed in Giles Howard’s March 17 column entitled “Keep the focus on yourself in college.” Howard ignores the fact that one’s personal or self-serving decisions have political, economic and social ramifications and supports the claim that we are just individuals and not citizens, meaning that our voices should only be used to advance our well-being and our energy should only be spent feeding the free market. This is the same free market that thrives off the exploitation, degradation and disempowerment of entire groups of people. And for what? For the self-serving needs of the folks who invent and enforce the values or “moralities” of powerful and highly influential institutions. We are feeding a flawed system.

So, how is it not our responsibility to cast a critical eye upon these institutions? Do individual choices really exist in a vacuum?

Howard’s theory, via Ayn Rand’s objectivist creed, would resonate if mainstream societal norms were already geared toward social, economic and political justice and equality. So perhaps it is important to note that the culture at many American universities runs counter to the larger American culture geared toward individualism, wealth and consumerism.

Yes, as individuals we must do what we can to make sure we are healthy, happy and safe. Our college years serve as a unique privilege and opportunity to freely figure out how to fulfill these goals. However, many hold the belief that these basic aspects of humanity should not come at the expense of other peoples’ health, happiness and safety. So to state that those who strive to better the lives of others do not also strive to better themselves is a strange myth that must be debunked.

Tamar Toledano

Arts and Sciences