To the Editor:
As a former member of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Society and a student who engaged in Political Theory Project programming, I was disappointed to see a current student misrepresent a valuable institution on our campus.
In his Jan. 28 op-ed, Ethan Drake ’24 asks Brown community members to reject an expansion of the PTP. He claims that the PTP promotes the presence of “Koch anti-science, anti-democratic ideology” and utilizes a $500 per semester stipend that “lures students” into engaging with the ideology.
However, his argument relies on two questionable premises. First, that Brown students are unable to engage with a diversity of scholarly ideas without being manipulated by outside forces into supporting a pernicious worldview. Second, that any institution or scholar connected to the Koch network is necessarily furthering pernicious Koch interests. This latter argument relies on just a handful of examples and characterizes peer-reviewed scholars as mere pawns of Koch forces solely on the basis that they contribute to and/or associate with the Federalist Society, the Cato Institute and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
At the core of all PTP programming is a commitment to academic rigor and intellectual discourse. I encourage anyone interested in this debate to take a look at the PTP’s rich history of diverse intellectual programming and scholarship, as well as to talk with PTP faculty and staff. Upon doing so, Drake’s arguments will be exposed as lacking.
Daniel Shemano ’19