Omnium Gatherum


Courtesy/Adam Schultz

President Biden included a promise to forgive student loans as part of his election campaign, but this may not be the right move

If the POTUS offered me $10,000, I wouldn’t say no. I also would not refuse a taxpayer-funded Caribbean vacation. Despite my personal lack of principles, I do believe that it would be a horrible idea for the Federal Government to start forgiving debts at the scale proposed by President Biden. Overspending (or, in this case, failing to make up for prior expenditures) has consequences, and such a blatant display of rent-giving behavior is even more imprudent than normal government heedlessness. Why is the doctor making six figures more deserving of government help than the HVAC repairman who took out a loan to kickstart her business? Why should the most privileged in American society have their debts paid by the least? Why should anyone not be held accountable for their choices? Who do we value most in this society?

We may well be entering the job market during a recession. A recession is when an economy sees two quarters of contraction. Last quarter US GDP fell 1.4%. This quarter doesn’t feel any better—good luck, Class of 2022.

Musk has bought Twitter. While the media and Twitter users alike seem to be up in arms about this deal, I say, not my circus, not my monkeys.

The humanities are in crisis, just as Saint Anselm College doubles down. Recent reports show a precipitous decline in postgraduate humanities students. According to the Humanities Indicators Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, postgraduate humanities enrollments fell by nearly a fifth between 2012 and 2020. Moreover, there is no reason to believe this decline has slowed since. Amid these troubling statistics, Saint Anselm College is raising money to renovate a physical home for the Gregory J. Grappone ’04 Humanities Institute. This past Saturday, Ken Burns, the patron saint of New England cultural institutions, headlined a fundraising event for the institute. The timing seems inopportune, but any defender of the humanities will tell you that the institute’s value is in its service of a higher good and understanding of the human experience. Let’s just hope that the financial burden of such a worthwhile endeavor is worth bearing.

Speaking of the humanities, The Gregory J. Grappone ’04 Humanities Institute just celebrated its 100th Come Friday forum. On April 29th, students and faculty members gathered to discuss the New Hampshire state motto, “Live Free or Die.” There was cake as well.

We celebrated the feast day of Saint Anselm of Canterbury on the 25th. The College’s namesake is best known for his ontological argument for God’s existence, but he also spoke on the nature of grace and free will. Anselm wrote that while God gave the gift of grace to humans, it is our duty to maintain it. Likewise, God created humans with the capacity for free will so that we might work to perpetuate justice. The nuances of Anselmian, Augustinian, Cassianist, and Pelagian views on the nature of free will post-fall are above my paygrade, but the College hosted Professor Marcia Colish to speak on these ancient debates. As part of the feast-day celebrations, the professor of medieval studies at Yale presented to an audience of faculty, students, and members of our monastic community.

The French have kept their President. The ever-tempestuous Republic has decided to reelect Emmanuel Macron. The problem for the still youthful President Macron is that while he has earned the votes of his nation, he does not have its love. There will be no honeymoon period for the leader of La République En Marche!

Charles de Gaulle once asked, “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” De Gaulle was the man who liberated France from the Nazis. A founding father of the Republic with comparable stature to Poland’s Piłsudski or Turkey’s Atatürk. If de Gaulle could not find consensus within France, neither will the up-jumped banker. Macron is seen as an elitist who always puts the interests of the rich before those of the everyday Frenchman. That, along with his shift to the right, has alienated the French left. The 40% of voters who went with Le Pen have similarly dismal views of Macron.