EPJ has learned that far in excess of 100 emails have been sent to the president of the University of Loyola, New Orleans, Kevin Wildes S.J. The letters were objections to the letter Father Wildes sent to the University newspaper concerning the controversy surrounding distorted coverage of Walter Block by the New York Times (See: OUTRAGEOUS Conduct from the President of the University Where Walter Block Teaches).
EPJ has obtained a copy of an email exchange between a student at Loyola University, Christian Light and Fr. Wildes. The exchange is reprinted below:
Subject: RE: Your Recent Comments
Date: Mon, February 10, 2014 11:22 pm
I have found your response to be less than satisfactory. Inretrospect my letter to you was quite harsh. I respect that you atleast provided me a response and will be more cordial in my tone andrhetoric.
In your letter to the editor you state:
“Dr. Block made two claims, one empirical and one conceptual,that are simply wrong. First, he made the claim that chattel slavery “was not so bad.”In the response to my letter you state:”And, as a philosopher I do not know what was and was not said…Only he and the writer know what was originally said.”I ask you this question.If you claim that you did not know exactly what was said then why would you say anything in the first place?It is never wise to jump into a fight without having proper context of which side is which. The first quote I provided from your letter to the editor indicates that you were not unbiased in your critique of Professor Block.
“My point was to correct the public record. There is no way,as a President of a Catholic university, that I could simply say nothing in the public record.”
What exactly were you trying to correct in the public record? Ifyou say that only Walter and the writer knew what was originally said then what exactly in the public record needs to be corrected? What could you possibly offer by writing a letter to the editor in the Maroon?I think your letter to the editor and the letter to the editor by certain Loyola faculty have caused considerable controversy. You would probably prefer to not have undesirable emails being sent to you asI’m sure you have received other emails calling you out for the same things I have. Also, the comments on the Maroon website regarding your letter to the editor are very critical. Many people are upset with you and other Loyola faculty for their actions.
Father Wildes reply:
I received your letter of 8 February.
Let me be very clear that I respect our faculty members, including Dr. Block, especially in their areas of expertise.
Dr. Block has certainly had experience in dealing with the press as he has given many interviews and been quoted often. So, he is well aware of the challenges of giving comments and interviews. So, he bears some responsibility in giving the interview. And, as a philosopher I do not know what was and was not said.
Only he and the writer know what was originally said. My point was to correct the public record. There is no way, as President of a Catholic university, that I could simply say nothing in the public record.What I said was to address the public record and I will stand by what I have said.
Thank you for your letter.
Kevin Wildes, S.J.
This is simply outrageous spinning by Father Wildes. His original letter took the story as told by The New York Times as truth. He gave no indication that there was any controversy about what was actually said by Dr. Block. Further, setting the record straight would have been done by Father Wildes, not by sending the letter he did to the university newspaper, but by sending a letter to The New York Times and informing the paper that what Dr. Block was alleged to have said about slavery in the interview with NYT does not match up at all with the decades of writings published by Dr. Block and that this suggests that NYT got the story wrong. That’s what a real setting the record straight would have looked like.
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.