Letter from AEI Middlebury Student Leadership

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Debate, disagreement, criticism and controversy. These define the American experiment and our experience as citizens. We think, argue and act because we have always cared deeply about the state of our country and the future of the American project. This clash of ideas has shaped our history, and is as important now as ever. The bipartisan American Enterprise Institute Club invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak today, not to push an agenda or even to try and convince you of his theories, but rather to start a conversation. We believe that what Dr. Murray has to say on the current divisions in our country is worth hearing and engaging with, regardless of one’s political beliefs. It would be useful for all to better understand why there is such a great divide between the working class and the elite, to understand how these divisions contributed to the election of Donald Trump, and how they are reshaping American society. Dr. Murray is trying to understand the causes of the “coming apart election,” and it is essential that we try to as well.

This is why our voices, in articles, demonstrations and discussion, are of vital importance. Although many people may not agree with Dr. Murray we would like to invite everyone to participate this Thursday in Wilson Hall. Your attendance and participation will serve to enable true debate and growth.

The event will begin with a few words from President Patton on the importance of discussion and debate for the liberal arts. Following Dr. Murray’s talk on his 2012 work Coming Apart, there will be a lengthy Q and A moderated by Prof. Allison Stanger. We structured the event this way so that everyone will have the opportunity to ask questions, and challenge each other’s, and our own, convictions.

This discussion is incredibly valuable. We will not all agree. We are not operating under the false pretenses that Dr. Murray will radically change anybody’s mind. We hope that this event will allow for us to engage in a conversation that facilitates a better understanding. Without this desire to understand one another, especially people we disagree with, we cannot move forward. Instead, we will only continue to come apart.

Phil Hoxie ‘17.5, Alexander Khan ’17, Hayden Dublois ’17 and Ivan Valladares ’17 write in about Charles Murray’s 3/2 talk.

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