Richard Dunn ’02 was afraid that his comment toward the end of the Marxism thread would be lost to all and sundry. There’s no need to fear, EphBlog is here! Underdog references notwithstanding, my favorite part of Richard’s comments is:

If you really think you have a definitive answer to this problem, you are simply arrogant. If you think you are approaching a solution, then you are merely delusional.

Delusional arrogance is my specialty! The rest of Richard’s comment is below, but the point he raises is an important one: What is the mission of Williams College? For me the answer is easy:

The mission of Williams is to be the best college in the world.

1) I am looking for a better, more catchy way to phrase this. Suggestions are welcome.

2) Note that, as with so many other topics, Morty and I are in agreement. Recall this phrase from the Diversity Report: “The College’s mission to provide the highest quality liberal arts education . . . ”

3) Richard (and others) seem to disagree, to believe that the College has other missions (to decrease inequality, to strengthen the country, to enhance the knowledge of mankind). I agree that many of these other goals are desirable and that, as a consequence of having a great college, some of them will be furthered. But none of these is the central mission of Williams. Those who disagree should provide us a similarly concise mission statement.

Richard’s armada analogy below.

I fear this will get lost at the bottom of this long thread, but for what it’s worth.

A story: Suppose you were building an armada. You had two choices:

1) Put all your best shipbuilders to work on the flagship. You then put all your best sailors on the flagship, with all the best cannons and your best captain. And then you throw together the rest of your fleet.

2) Spread your best shipbuilders around. Same with the cannons and the leadership and the sailors.

Your best ship is worse than before, surely, but the rest of your fleet is better.

I sense that nearly everyone in this thread is selecting a strategy based on ideology. But no one has touched on why you are building an armada in the first place. Yes, Amherst plausibly becomes a worse school by the measures we typically use here. But does that make our country worse? Sure, put a lot of smart people together and they all get smarter. But is the benefit even larger if we put less smart people together with smart people? Why and what for and no one has answered that yet.

If you really think you have a definitive answer to this problem, you are simply arrogant. If you think you are approaching a solution, then you are merely delusional.

Enjoy the banter, but you aren’t even touching anything meaningful.

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