Thanks for PAW’s very interesting exploration of conservatism at Princeton since the early 1960s. My perspective is earlier, in the 1950s. Those were times when heated political debates were rare, and the phrase “silent generation” was current. So much so that a political science professor, Otto Butz, published a book called The Unsilent Generation giving voice to students’ ideas about their attitudes about life. In those days the scare of nuclear war was rampant, and bomb shelters were built. The sexual permissiveness of the 1960s had not yet arrived, in the pre-pill era.

There was of course the voice from the Aquinas Foundation, Father Hugh Halton O.P., M.A., D.Phil (Oxon) (as he styled himself in paid advertisements in The Daily Princetonian), calling on Princeton to take seriously the “Dei” part of Dei sub numine viget. This provoked a lot of discussion, sometimes heated, but whether you would call him conservative as distinct from reactionary would be open to question. 

On reading about the Anscombe Society, in existence since 2005, I was curious about whether its conservatism was and is limited to family and sexual values, or whether it goes beyond that to support her, what many would see as, radical stance with regard nuclear bombs. As a young Oxford academic, Elizabeth Anscombe outspokenly and courageously opposed Oxford University’s awarding of an honorary degree to U.S. President Harry Truman, given his authorization of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Randal Marlin ’59
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada