Commentary  Letters

Capitalism is, indeed, alive

Re: “Capitalism is still alive”  | Commentary | January 23

While the author of “Capitalism is Alive” (Commentary, January 23, Page 8) should reconsider using self-evidence as a justification for their ideological beliefs (particularly in framing legitimate debate as academic dishonesty), I will merely gesture at the foundational errors committed in their article in favor of a more interesting debate.

To wit, the author has failed to grasp that capitalism needs no reform, for it is working as intended:  in the interest of the bourgeoisie by means of the cudgel of state authority!

I am surprised that the author believes that what currently exists is not “pure” capitalism. By his definition, capitalism’s ideals are “meritocracy” and “long-term profits.” Fair enough! If this meritocracy is judged by who can generate the most profit, does it not stand to reason that the outcome is a hijacking of the government?

The political puppetry of the rich has provided in abundance the freedom to exploit the worker, expropriate their wealth and exterminate dissent. The prestige of the wealthy increases at the expense of the worker, and so the meritocracy is fulfilled!

The expense to the worker in all this is not merely economic, but all too human. Democracy cannot exist in any meaningful sense if accidents of material alienate us from one another. No subject exists when we are economic objects. Finding self-worth in meritocracy is the myth sold to us by libertarian mouthpieces and is the utopian la-la land of the deceived.

The article presents to us “solutions” to capital – so do I: the appropriation of production by workers and the expropriation of the expropriators. Alternatively, more portraits of Karl Marx in the Arts Lounge will do fine.

Matthew Crawford, 

U3 Political Science and English Literature


Cornett Letter

Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Feaures | February 2

I write in response to Ryan Healey’s thoughtful if misguided piece on Professor Cornett in the Daily last week.

Let me begin by saying that as a former Dailyite it is reassuring to see that the quality of journalism in this publication has actually improved in the intervening years. As I mentioned to Healey privately, he is a masterful writer and the pacing of his piece was outstanding.

However, there remains a philosophical difference between him and me as to the central issue on the Cornett debacle. I have maintained over the years that McGill University’s refusal to explain its actions is what most infuriates the students, staff, academics and supporters involved in this case. But power never explains itself, power has no need for justifications and power has the means to outwait (and outwit) the powerless. Taking issue with Cornett’s pedagogical methods is perfectly legitimate, but McGill never officially did that. McGill never officially did anything but fire him and deny all wrongdoing. Had senior administration deigned to engage students on this issue perhaps some real progress could have been made. Instead the administration was content to sit back and let conspiracy theorists fill in the gaps with outlandish explanations of their actions.

The paternalism of the administrators is only aided and abetted by the silence of those who understand that an injustice has been committed against a man and choose to remain silent. Even those who support the University’s stance on this issue – and I have met precious few outside senior administration – must be troubled by the high-handedness of their actions. The surreal events of November 10th when Montreal’s finest stormed our campus are a direct result of this insular, paranoid ruling clique that refuses all engagement. It’s sickening.

In closing, fuck you very much McGill.

Leon Mwotia

MBA Candidate 2014


Dr. Cornett, just one more reflection

Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Feaures | February 2

Ryan Healey’s article on Dr. Norman Cornett offers some intriguing and apparently honest assessment of Dr. Cornett’s person, professional drama and pedagogical legacy. I have known Dr. Cornett since my time in undergrad 10 years ago, and would add my voice to those who find inspiration from this passionate and learned academic.

Particularly in the current political and economic climate, in which it is both easy to simply take sides, and it is just as easy to abdicate the field of intellectual inquiry to experts. Dr. Cornett’s life and academic pursuits demonstrate an uncommon courage, and a hopeful conviction that it is possible to find common ground in the face of long odds, and in spite of or even because of the different experiences and expertise that we bring to the table.

It is pleasing to see Dr. Cornett still making headlines, and causing people to think, and think deeply.

Jeff Derman

B.A McGill 2001, M.A University of Toronto 2003, B.C.L./LL.B. McGill 2007


Respect Dr. Cornett
Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Feaures | February 2


Ryan Healey,

Attending more of Dr. Cornett’s “dialogic” sessions would do you good.  Cornett has a brilliant way of forcing you to find your own truth by putting you face to face with the different truths of others.  Eventually, there will be no need to hide behind exorbitant wordiness that only convolutes your point – if you even had one?   Don’t write based on interviews conducted by others – do more in depth interviews of your own. Authenticity takes courage and Dr. Cornett helps you find that.

As William Ernest Henley said “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”  Time to start building your boat.


Tara Brockwell

B.A McGill 2006


Does The Daily write satire or journalism

Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Features | February 2

I have to say I’m happy with the article. It achieves what I hoped it would. Ryan Healey begrudgingly affirms Dr. Cornett as the timeless educational genius that he is, a beacon of light (I just said that to make you cringe, Ryan) for students who were mentally and emotionally drained by the regimented ‘rational’ format of McGill academics. I could have done without having to read the extent to which Ryan was personally disturbed by any form of spirituality or emotion evoked within the environment that Cornett facilitated. But then again, Ryan’s stance as an emotionally impotent ‘asshole’ has made for some good objective reporting. His research has clearly been rigorous, and if I overlook his own exasperation and sardonic humour, I find the general description of Cornett to be astoundingly accurate.

Rosanna Marmont

B.F.A Concordia  2009


Dr. Cornett, an amazing person

Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Feaures | February 2

I believe that Dr Norman Cornett’s dialogical teaching style is great! This style of teaching is especially great for those of us who have a more communicative learning style. Two- way dialogue is the teaching style of the past and the future. Many societies have had oral traditions for hundreds of years, this makes Dr Cornet’s two-way dialogical teaching style a perfect all round fit, and yet with our growing multi-cultural populous this two way communicative style is a perfect way to bridge the communication gaps that so often exist between differing cultures, and between traditional and modern mindsets for teaching and learning. I applaud Dr Cornett’s creative tenacity, and his courage in the face of scrutiny.

Snow Monica Wright

M.A Tesol Candidate 2012


Cornett is on to something

Re: “Socrates likes you for you”  | Feaures | February 2

I was wondering how long it would take a sarcastic, careerist

McGill-grad-to-be to really take the easy shots at Cornett – to portray the occasionally embarrassing, ridiculous moments of his classes as though they were the entire thing, and gleefully rub his hands as he claims superiority to the entire affair.  Now I know. Healey will no doubt pat himself on the back as Cornett supporters pour in their defense of their beloved ex-professor (yes, as I am here) – but I for one feel sorry for the author of this piece, not only for having missed the point of the dialogic sessions themselves, but for feeling the need to write in a back-handed way that dissuades other young minds from participating. And for what purpose?  Do you want the $300 back, Healey?

Healey’s article is a sobering reminder to anyone struggling in the creative arts: there are always people out there, silver-tongued and clever, who will attempt to shred your life’s work in the hopes of getting a leg up themselves.  On the other hand, I’m delighted to see that years later, Cornett’s dismissal from McGill is still a hot topic on campus.  It’s a sure sign that he’s on to something.

Thomas Witte

B.A McGill 2006