Editor: It is unfortunate that James J. Kilpatrick in his recent Opinion * Commentary article ''Barbarians in the Ivory Tower,'' much like Mortimer Adler, suffers from the Allan Bloom Syndrome. He displays flawed reasoning by mixing a few extreme actions by radical students in the 1960s and 1970s with meaningful and just advances in liberal learning and curriculum building.
People of color cannot sit quietly and hope that we will be rightfully acknowledged for our contributions to Western Civilization. Curriculums in our best colleges and universities now offer courses exploring cultures other than European ones. They are realizing that others besides white people helped to build that which we know as ''The West.''
To speak of the decline of Western Civilization and of ''barbarians in the ivory tower'' smacks of racism. From these insidious sound bites, one infers that what was once thought of as the exclusive province of white males is being contaminated and compromised by the infiltration of people of color.
Our culture is not in decline, it is merely changing. The very notion of ''Western Culture'' erodes itself every day. We are rapidly approaching one global culture.
Intellectually, the world is much larger than it used to be. More and more information has to be distilled into knowledge. White male cultural dominance is dying. Mr. Kilpatrick and his ilk are ill-prepared to deal with this.
Dexter K. Flowers.
Sons in the Desert
Editor: If President Bush believes in the ''good'' of this war enough to send our loved ones over to the Persian Gulf, why doesn't he send his sons over there as well, instead of letting them ''play'' with other people's money?
Editor: The Sun published an editorial Dec. 30, ''Cambridge's Past and Future.'' The editorial said the debate over whether to demolish Dorchester County's 107-year-old jail has created a political problem and the jail remains a painful symbol of Maryland's racial struggles of the 1960s when it housed many civil rights demonstrators.
That's a pity because Cambridge and Dorchester County have come a long way, though nobody pretends that all the problems are solved. The integration of public facilities and neighborhoods, for example -- real integration, not just official -- which some people might take a generation to accomplish, was carried out with swiftness and surprisingly little fuss, once the Civil Rights Act of 1968 became law.
The people who want to demolish the historic jail to erase the painful memories of the 1960s should understand that the lessons of history can best be taught when places where events took place are preserved. Do the folks who want to demolish the Dorchester County Jail also want to demolish the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala., or Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.?
Dorchester County, the birthplace of Harriet Tubman, has a unique history, having experienced two centuries of black slavery, occasional lynchings, and the demonstrations and riots of the 1960s. But this is only a part of Dorchester's history. There are many proud occasions to acknowledge: the opening of Cambridge Creek (Dorchester's Inner Harbor) to name a few.
There are many proud people who call Cambridge and Dorchester County home. They are waterman, farmers, public servants and businessman. They are from many racial and socio-economic backgrounds. There is also some of the best boating, fishing and hunting in Maryland in Dorchester. The debate over the fate of the jail can not and will not overshadow or diminish the many great things that Cambridge and Dorchester County have to offer.
Editor: I am disturbed by the prevailing attitude that the recession will force government to cut services, increase taxes or do both. There is a fourth option, one that is adopted by business in difficult times: do more with less.
So far in January alone, there have been two opportunities in The Sun to explore this possibility. The first was in the John Frece article ''Assembly faces year of retrenchment, heavy issues;'' the second was in the editorial ''Red Ink in the States.'' The points were made that the citizenry wants better services and is not willing to pay more. However, the bottom line in each piece was essentially that we are doomed to suffer one way or the other.
We should not accept this notion that a slide from our current mediocre condition is inevitable. We should demand management leadership from our elected officials and from all of the bureaucrats who actually spend our money. Plans should be developed and made public to show how all agencies would improve services with decreased spending.
Agency heads should have their performance measured on the basis of their improvement plans. They should be compensated for their performance -- or go the way of City School Superintendent Richard Hunter.