Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lindsay Faction Rewards Itself

After former President Thomas Lindsay was fired last year, members of his Board faction sued particular members of Shimer's Board and Shimer College at large for what they dubbed Thomas Lindsay's "illegal termination." Since then, the ridiculous allegations led to an out-of-court settlement, the Lindsay faction resigned and seven financially powerful, Shimer-supporting alumni joined the Board. After a battle that successfully preserved our college and strengthened our Board's capacity to effectively manage financial affairs, Shimer has enjoyed a secure and positive atmosphere.

After everything settled down, we didn't hear much from the other side. But on Thursday, the infamous Joe Bast, President of a libertarian think-tank, recently covered the Lindsay faction's self-congratulation party on his blog. Former Lindsay-supporting Board members, along with Lindsay and formerly anonymous donor Barre Seid himself, attended the event. The group celebrated their hard-fought effort, talked about the future of "liberal education," and even awarded themselves crystal-glass trophies.

Inconsequential (and humorous) as the gathering may be, there's something interesting about how Bast discussed the anonymous donor's role. "As always, the anonymous donor was at turns thoughtful and entertaining, thanking us for taking on a task we all knew would be difficult, but explaining that all great achievements faced high risks of failure," Bast reported.

Hm. Thomas Lindsay and his followers repeatedly claimed that there was no conspiracy, that Seid was a supporter of Shimer College, and that each Lindsay supporter was genuinely acting, not with a predetermined agenda, but for the goal of a thriving Shimer. So why would the anonymous donor feel the need to "thank" them for "taking on" this task?

There's no way to be sure, but it's probably because Lindsay supporters were lying. There is plenty of support for the theory that the anonymous donor, Barre Seid, became involved with Shimer long ago with premeditated intentions to transform it into a libertarian institute. After all, Seid predominately funds right-wing and libertarian organizations, including the ones to which the Lindsay-supporting board members belong. Seid also paid the Board entrance fees of nearly the entire Lindsay faction. And most memorably, Seid's close friend and former Lindsay-supporting trustee Patrick Parker used threats of Seid's fiscal withdrawal to advance Lindsay's objectives on more than one occasion.

Here's the point: it's likely that Barre Seid did indeed play a premeditated, highly influential role in last year's attempted coup. There is lengthy documentation to support this theory. Bast's account can be added to the list.