Carolina Review Podcast Episode Two: Thom Tillis, Racism at UNC and the Future of the GOP

Episode Two: Thom Tillis, Racism at UNC and the Future of the GOP by Carolina Review on Mixcloud

On this week’s episode of the Carolina Review Podcast, Timothy Bame analyzes why Thom Tillis beat Kay Hagan (0:37) , Alex Montgomery talks about alleged racism at UNC (7:29) and Alex Thomas gives the Republican Party some helpful advice (13:31).

Music used:

“Dirt Rhodes”, “Early Riser”, “Slow Burn”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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“Wise” Conservatism

Upon first hearing about my interest in politics, a middle-aged gentleman I used to work with once summarized brilliantly the age-based, ideological divide, asking pointedly, “You’re a liberal, right?” Though surprised at so immediate an assumption, I quickly assured him that nothing of the sort was true – that hell would drop a hundred degrees before I’d accept the efficacy of big-government policies or liberals’ flippant postmodernism. To which his response was refreshingly honest, if a bit shortsighted: “Aren’t all young people liberal? You’re supposed to be liberal when you’re young. It’s only when you get old like me that you realize you don’t want any of that [government programming] crap.” I explained that there are plenty of young, conservative activists I know who are equally resistant to such “crap,” and proceeded to share with him some rather fruitful discourse about political ideology and the future of the Republican party.

But no matter his bluntness, my co-worker vocalized a viewpoint that is quite popular in conservative circles, particularly in those dominated by Republican traditions that don’t always stick in millennials’ minds. As the assumption goes, it is pointless to try to reform youthful psyches that are built by political progressivism; just let them fester for a while, and eventually, once they start a family or a business, they’ll turn to the light. According to this thinking, there is something about conservatism that makes it vastly more appealing as time passes – as life, with all its frustrations and decisions and successes, progresses to some point of relative stability. And, indeed, the date reflect it, revealing a rather pronounced correlation between the acceptance of conservative ideas and the ages of those who do so (within the proverbially ignorant electorate, not necessarily in Washington, D.C., or amongst those who study politics).

But the correlation is simply that – a numerical, statistical relationship which fails to provide a qualitative explanation, leaving many to make assumptions that are, I would argue, rather spurious. For example, some might assert that the reason one’s mind tends toward limited government and laissez-faire capitalism through the years has not to do with the tenets of the ideology, but rather with begrudging acceptance and the willingness to settle: As time goes by, conservative veterans say, the propensity to be idealistic – or to prefer nuanced political strategies over those that are more traditional in nature – suffers at the hands of cold, cruel reality. While the rebelliousness of liberalism is suited only for young people and one-time activists wishing to relive the magic, conservatism is different, according to the Party leaders of the world. It is most acceptable to those of experience, who have drawn within themselves and their families, and have forgotten any sorts of philosophical obligations they have to society.

Under such a mindset, conservatives are primarily driven by that which works – by an inexorable focus on expediency over such abstract notions as rightness, fairness, or justice. Onerous regulation, for example, is not problematic because it represents an aggressive, extractive government, but simply because it hampers investment and business activity. And who are young people to say that it doesn’t? They have never started companies or withdrawn mortgages or seen their paychecks dismantled by taxation, so what exactly do they know and how are they able to contribute to the political theater?

The answer, I think, is simple, and should be obvious to conservatives who try to eliminate idealism amongst their ranks. While it is important to focus on workable strategies, there are a myriad of issues with the perspective described above – with treating conservatism as the mere manifestation of practical thinking. In the main, it is poor form to be shortsighted in dismissing youthful voices whose innovations may improve the conservative platform, not to mention allowing the portrayal of conservatives as selfish, un-philosophical rubes to persist. This, of course, is not to say that when lawmakers consider the tax code, they shouldn’t ponder its expediency in attracting investment and contributing to economic growth; but it is to say that conservatism, itself, is an ideology that extends beyond such musings: After all, Jefferson wasn’t much interested in writing about macroeconomic logic in the Declaration. He was too busy defending his and his fellow revolutionaries’ views on natural rights and the proper scope of government to cover such practicalities – ultimately passing by the phrase, “that excessive tariffs ruefully eliminate the incentives necessary for growth,” in favor of “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”

You see, more than anything else, conservatism is a radical and assertive claim on the proper philosophy of government, arguing fundamentally that the state’s inevitable intrusion upon its citizens’ lives must be tempered. Before we claim that overregulation and excessive taxation fail economically – which, by most accounts, is true – we must first establish what government should do within the staunchly philosophical framework we’ve foisted upon it. To invoke yet another founding document, the Bill of Rights, one would be hard-pressed to find in Madison’s original words a desire to ignore idealism or political philosophy: Each of the amendments is, in its own right, poignant, staunch, and resistant to the whims of practicality that hundreds of congresses will experience in the years to come. In certain situations, you may regret that freedom of speech exists in totality – can’t we just put duct tape over the mouths of members of Westboro Baptist Church? – but the first amendment is oblivious to such outcries, its principle unalterable. These are the sorts of fundamental, philosophical provisions that establish a firm foundation for conservatism; to truly accept them takes an idealistic mind, not one that is solely bent on expediency.

In essence, conservatives, by their own admission, cannot simply be wise curmudgeons who know the way the world works or who have resisted the abstract, ambitious claims of youngsters. They must be idealists, too – enamored with limited government as a principle, refulgent with personal freedom and responsibility. If the conservative movement loses its brightness and youthful energy, it will soon sputter, unable to keep up with its liberal counterparts. To put it simply, the best way to avoid such an outcome is to ensure that conservatives maintain their focus on the types of radical claims that once engaged young, American intellectuals in the 18th century: Envision those daft activists on college campuses and abroad not as wistful, abstract thinkers who could never understand conservative practice, but as misguided Jeffersons who need a lesson in political philosophy.

And what of the connection between old age and conservatism, the definite correlation which has led to shared, ideological tension amongst established Republican figures and new, conservative faces? It seems to me that the best explanation lies not in what conservatives and liberals actually hold to be true, but rather in the normal, social associations that are attributed to each. While liberalism is fueled by spirited rebelliousness – against convention, not government – conservatism, by definition, describes the views of those in society who wish to remain close to traditional notions and manners of action. These terms, of course, are relative, dependent on the overall nature of the culture from which they emerge; and conservatives are only called so because the United States has traditionally upheld classically-liberal policies, policies that were, themselves, once deemed rebellious against monarchical traditions. It is my guess that this is one of many non-ideological reasons that young people who go through phases of insurrection as part of their development prefer liberal dogma.

The difference between conservatives and liberals, then, is not based on ideology versus expediency or youth versus wisdom. It is, rather, a basic, philosophical difference: Their state is oblivious to the liberties of its people, including their individual and economic expressions; our state is inherently limited in what it can do, allowing citizens to declare, worship, create, and live in whichever non-violent way they so choose. No matter how hard you try, you can’t back that up with empty assertions solely about what works – if he adheres to constitutional values and classical liberalism, but you’re a statist who happens to be twenty-two years wiser, he’s probably right and you’re likely wrong, no offense intended. Do you remember how old Thomas Jefferson was when he penned the Declaration at John Adams’ request in 1776? Thirty-three, and not a minute too young. James Madison was twenty-five. General William Howe, a major commander of British forces, was forty-seven.

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Carolina Review Podcast Episode One: Wainstein, Maher and UNC Basketball

Episode One: Wainstein, Maher and UNC Basketball by Carolina Review on Mixcloud

On this week’s episode of the Carolina Review Podcast, Alex Thomas talks about the Wainstein report, Alex Montgomery talks about Bill Maher and Timothy Bame makes a big prediction about the upcoming season for the UNC men’s basketball team.

Music used:

“Dirt Rhodes”, “Early Riser”, “Slow Burn”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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The Defense of Jimmy Carter

Why it’s time to appreciate Carter’s presidency

Cartoon courtesy of A.J. Nwoko

When you think of Jimmy Carter, what are the first words you think of? Are they strong, courageous and independent? Chances are probably not.

When it comes to thinking about the man from Plains, Ga., a majority of people wouldn’t use any of those words to describe his time as President. They may use those words when talking about Carter’s humanitarian efforts with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, but when it comes to his presidency, it would be safe to say that the national attitude is negative. Most people, especially conservatives, feel Carter failed to deal with the international and economic woes of the 1970s, and it was up to his successor, Ronald Reagan, to lead America to greatness once again.

But are these feelings towards Carter fair? Granted, there were problems that arose during Carter’s time in office, but that does not mean we should dismiss his presidency as four years America will not get back. In fact, Carter did a tremendous amount of work that often gets overlooked.

Carter working at his desk. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

When it comes to economics, Carter faced an economy weighed down by inflation, high unemployment and an energy crisis. Some would say it wasn’t until Reagan that these problems were fixed and the economy began to roar, but without Carter, the booming economy of the 1980s would not have been possible.

As shocking as it may sound, the Carter administration was a leader in deregulation. While these efforts were not perfect, they did help lay the groundwork for a stronger economy while also transforming the luxuries of the 1970s into some of the common services we use today.

When it came to the travel industry, Carter led the deregulation of the airline industry, which resulted in making flying a normal method of travel instead of a luxury for a selected few. As a result, airfares fell nearly 40 percent between 1980 and 1996.

Later in his term, he even started to deregulate the trucking and railroad industries. Even though the plan was started, it eventually was delayed then dismantled by Reagan to fulfill a promise he made with the Teamster’s Union in return for an endorsement.

Carter also helped push the antitrust suit against AT&T, which ultimately led to the breakup of the corporation and the formation of new companies, many of which provided telecommunication services for a cheaper rate. Granted, a better way to have handled this situation would have been, in the words of William L. Anderson of the Mises Institute, to “have deprived AT&T of its legal monopoly status.” Regardless, Carter’s actions without a doubt promoted competition as new phone companies and new jobs were created.

When addressing the energy crisis, it was in fact the Carter administration who laid the groundwork for deregulation of the oil industry. Unlike some Democrats who felt the oil industry should be nationalized, Carter insisted on a gradual decontrol of oil prices. While a step in the right direction, Carter also pushed a tax on oil companies, as he felt that this decontrol would result in higher profits for oil companies who, in his opinion, “really don’t deserve them.”

Despite this blemish, total decontrol was scheduled for spring 1981, but as Reagan entered office, controls were lifted almost immediately, giving Reagan credit for saving the oil industry.

Unfortunately for Carter, inflation rates were high and unemployment rates were at an uncomfortable level (even though unemployment did decrease from 7.5 percent in January 1977 to 5.6 percent by May 1979), making Reaganomics seem like the better option, helping Reagan win the 1980 election and giving the Gipper credit for saving the economy. But in actuality, it was Carter, not Reagan, who helped create economic prosperity, for without Carter’s path of deregulation, recovery would not have been possible to achieve.

Shifting to the subject of foreign affairs, Carter did a great job… minus a certain hostage situation that will be discussed later. The Carter administration managed to do the impossible by not only strengthen in the United States’ standing abroad, but also promoting diplomacy through the least violent means possible.

Highlights include improving diplomatic relations with China by officially transferring diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the mainland, opening the door for the current diplomatic relationship we have with the nation today. The administration also returned the Panama Canal to Panama, which removed part of America’s overbearing presence from Latin America, possibly preventing a Vietnam War-like scenario. It was Carter himself who helped broker Israeli-Egyptian peace with the Camp David Accords.

File:Camp David, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, 1978.jpg

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with Carter at Camp David in 1978. Photo courtesy of the United States Government.

Yet while Carter and his team were improving America’s standing abroad, there was one nation that remained a burr in America’s backside: the Soviet Union

Carter’s plan for dealing was the Soviets was unique, being simultaneously peaceful and threatening. On one hand, Carter supported the SALT II treaty, which would have curtailed the manufacturing of nuclear weapons (it ended up not ratified by the Congress). On the other hand, Carter also proposed the development of 200 missiles to counter an uncontrolled build-up by the Soviets. Yet, the most threatening thing Carter ever did was boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as a protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. While some may scorn him for ruining many athletes’ only chance for Olympic gold, it was a very interesting yet nonviolent strategy for dealing with a bully.

In fact, Carter kept the nation at peace and is one of the few presidents who never led America to war. While some may see that as weakness, it should be seen as a strength. Being able to sit down and talk about your issues or refusing to associate yourself with unethical individuals takes a fair amount of patience, especially if you want to make an important statement . In this aspect, Carter should be praised for his diplomacy and should be a shining example of how a president should handle foreign affairs.

Finally, Carter most certainly had a positive persona to him. He didn’t come off as a typical politician, but instead someone who would be willing to risk even his own standing if it was for the benefit of the greater good.

An early example of this would be a May 4, 1974 speech Carter gave at the University of Georgia while he was serving as governor of the Peach State. In attendance of this speech were numerous state legislative members, judges and then-Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, who was speculated to be a serious contender in the 1976 Presidential election.

The race at the time had no frontrunner, and during a period where Americans’ trust towards the government was quickly deteriorating due to Watergate, there was a need for someone to come out and advocate for change in the political system. No one knew who or how it was going to happen, but something needed to change.

Once Carter opened his mouth, everything did in fact changed.

Carter used this speech to address the various defects of both the Georgia judicial system and the American political system. Unlike many politicians before him, Carter pointed out the system he was a part of was not based in equality, but instead protecting the rich and powerful.

“In general, the powerful and the influential in our society shape the laws and have a great influence on the legislature or the Congress,” Carter said. “This creates a reluctance to change because the powerful and the influential have carved out for themselves or have inherited a privileged position in society, of wealth or social prominence or higher education or opportunity for the future.”

While reflecting on the speech many years later, Carter remarked that reaction of the crowd was “one of stunned silence.” No one in the room knew how to react to Carter’s speech, yet that’s what made it fantastic. It was something so different from the prominent political culture, it ended up being the moment that caught people’s attention and later propelled Carter to the national political stage. He even received endorsements from cultural icons like Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and the Macon, Ga.-based Allman Brothers Band.

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Carter with the Allman Brothers Band in 1975. Photo courtesy of Gregg Allman and William Morrow.

With all of this evidence supporting Carter’s time as president, does that mean he deserves to be considered as one of the best presidents of all time? Not in the slightest.

While Carter did have his great moments, some of his actions while president are some of the worst actions made by a president in recent history.

In terms of bureaucratic power, Carter gave the federal government more responsibilities and even more control over our lives. He was instrumental in the creation of the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. While both departments seem like good ideas on paper, neither has done anything but waste our tax dollars, placing the federal government in  a area they had no purpose being in in the first place.

In terms of foreign policy, his most known escapade was his shoddy handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis. After Iranian students overran the American embassy, seizing more than 60 Americans, Carter went through multiple plans to get these Americans free. This includes economic sanctions and a poorly executed rescue operation, neither of which worked. Eventually, Carter did negotiate a deal with the Iranians, but it took 444 days for that deal to be met, making the United States look weak not only in front of a global audience, but also the Soviet Union.

Even Carter’s persona was starting to get on everyone’s nerves. His efforts to come off as average, which include his 1979 Crisis of Confidence Speech addressing the doubts raised about the nation’s future, came off as unpatriotic to some and ridiculous to others. This speech in addition to the Iran Hostage Crisis, the weak economy, a growth in bureaucracy and Carter’s goofy personal life (including an incident of getting “attacked” by a swamp rabbit while fishing) gave the Reagan-Bush ticket the edge in the 1980 Presidential election.

File:Jimmy Carter in boat chasing away swimming rabbit, Plains, Georgia - 19790420 (rabbit).jpg

The rabbit in question. Photo courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library

But even with all of that, it doesn’t mean we should dismiss Carter’s presidency as horrible. If it wasn’t for Carter’s economic plan, Reagan would not have had the economy he did while president. If it wasn’t for Carter’s diplomatic abilities, the world would have been a less safe place to live. If it wasn’t for Carter’s personality, we would not have had anyone shake the political structure and show us that it was indeed possible to challenge the system

Do I think Carter is one of the greatest presidents of all time? Absolutely not. While his negatives are few, they surely do damage his presidency overall. However, I do not think he deserves the negativity he currently gets. While his accomplishments may not be widely recognized, America could not be what it is today without Jimmy Carter.

Maybe it is time we associate words like strong, courageous and independent with Jimmy Carter’s presidency. It was those traits that made Carter a great president, which as a result made America a great nation.

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Conservatives Have the Ideas to Power the Future of Clean Energy

Renewable energy is a fast-growing industry that holds a great deal of promise for the future success of our state. The myth that clean energy is solely an issue for Democrats is just that… a myth. Conservatives see the benefit clean energy innovation brings to the state of North Carolina, both environmentally and economically. Both parties are willing to embrace renewable energy initiatives, as they understand the positive impact such developments will leave all across our great state. This, in turn, has made the issue a bi-partisan one.

In fact, over the course of the last several years, conservative support for clean energy development has multiplied. Registered Republicans are actually more than twice as likely as registered Democrats to make large investments to clean energy innovations. There are now many economic reasons for business-minded conservatives to financially support these exciting advancements. Furthermore, studies have shown North Carolina’s energy mix will actually save consumers $173 million by 2026.

Why turn back now? The clean energy industry continues to grow and is proven to save money for citizens across our state. At this very moment, the clean energy industry is supporting 18,000 jobs within North Carolina. With investments and demand only continuing to increase, this sector will inevitably continue to flourish. We must continue our commitment to clean energy, but we must not do so in a top-down, centrally planned fashion. We must spur the growth of renewable energy through the use of private investment and free market principles in order to have the maximum economic and environmental benefits for our state.

Lux Libertas,

Francis C. Pray, III

Editor-in-Chief

The Carolina Review

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Why Liberals Win

Don’t worry – they won’t ever look up. They are millennials.

Any seasoned conservative worth his or her salt – that is, any conservative that has, in some manner or another, been voluntarily immersed in the world of political argumentation – knows the difficulty of defending limited government against liberal affect. No matter how well one seems to know the topics at hand, repelling emotive assaults from activists who carry around a set of finely-tuned and effective cliches always proves an arduous task, particularly in a forum that doesn’t easily warm to conservative thought. We may not care about the extent to which our views are catchy or memorable – as long as they are well-reasoned, we will hold them and defend them. But where exactly does the future of the enlightened ideology lie if it can no longer gain a foothold in the appealing world of pop culture? Such is the prevailing challenge inherited by a new generation of young, conservative thinkers: to make marketable the wildly unpopular view that the dependency agenda fails in every sense of the word.

And quite the challenge it will be, to convince the beneficiaries of wealth redistribution that excessive taxation is philosophically and economically corrupt. One need only examine the wealth of political debates that occur daily between liberals and conservatives to see that the latter struggle in a sensationalist culture: Whether the topic involves free-market economics and its iterative advantage over Keynesian counterparts, or the demonstrable successes of capitalism in creating wealth and alleviating poverty, the celebrated liberal reply remains the same – “profit is evil!” to choruses of eager applause. The discussion may concern republican ideals or the consequences of powerful bureaucracies; it may trace the legitimacy of conventional cultural values, or outline the necessity of personal responsibility in family and in society. But the responses it evokes from the Left never evolve, always having something to do with meanness and oppression, lauded by uneducated automatons.

A TV show that brilliantly illustrates this reality is Bill Maher’s Real Time, the intolerance and naivete of which I have previously decried in ample terms. Maher’s formula, however, is simple, devious, and effective: Invite a well-verse conservative who is generally loathed in pop culture over his or her controversial views (Ann Coulter, Nick Gillespie, etc.), litter the rest of the panel with three or so comedians, journalists, and scientists who are overbearingly liberal and secular (Rachel Maddow, Sam Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, etc.), and humorously watch as a pack of ravenous wolves devour an incongruent lamb at the fierce bidding of both Maher and his illiterate, Roman spectators.

It’s genius, but simultaneously maddening to watch, for you know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to isolate Maher’s idiocy from the likes of his cultish cronies so that the writer from National Review has the chance to demolish Maher’s predictable worldview. And just when you think the conservative will have an opportunity to defend his assertions, Rachel Maddow goes off on how nobody’s listening to her because she’s a woman, employing sexist rhetoric to mock her male opponent. The audience laughs, hoots, and hollers, and the cycle continues unabated – certainly an ironic way for Rachel to demonstrate her feministic independence and self-actualization! Meanwhile, the conservative sits awkwardly and wonders what it might take to convince his fellow panelists that the views espoused by millions of Americans across the country are not as debasing and frivolous as they seem – not as much, at least, as those which necessitate blind approval from the likes of undergraduate women’s studies majors and Starbucks baristas.

The point is that there is a science to the way in which liberalism overwhelms even the smartest conservatives’ voices in pop culture, appealing to boorish and rebellious sentiments in millennials whose attention spans last the length of a Miley Cyrus hit. Conservatives simply cannot win in forums designed to mock their policies; in the same way, they cannot defeat an opposition which is exceedingly hipper and craftier in its manipulation of the politically ignorant. No wonder it is so challenging for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to appeal to certain demographics, demographics which are seemingly inbred to fight against the “outdated” elements of the conservative movement – fundamentally, conservative politicians hold views that, in their economic complexity and philosophical rigor, are too elusive to compete against their fast, cheap, and easy counterparts.

And as you may expect, such holds frightening implications for future elections in which millennials must (however unfortunately) be allowed to vote, darkening the prospects of electing reasonable politicians whose views are independent of the pop-culture behemoth. Conservatives can prove that social security will soon grow financially insolvent, but they have been hitherto unsuccessful in convincing many voters to support those who would do away with the fiscal nightmare – the devious financial alchemy – that is FDR’s undying legacy. The same holds true for the larger welfare state, in general: Do we honestly believe that vast numbers of food-stamp and Medicaid recipients will suddenly experience a change of heart, or the dose of objectivity needed to convince them to vote down the very measures on which they foolishly depend? Of course not, and that’s the critical thinking behind liberalism – the underlying mechanics that allow even the most unsupportable of ideologies to flourish. That dependency on government trumps both economic security and the prestige of principled policy is, itself, liberals’ greatest hope for the road ahead.

As suggested before, the notion of limited government appears bleak in a future in which conservatives fail to overcome this hurdle. Though their policies reiterate disastrous failures, liberals sometimes win because their advantage in pop culture – amongst actors and singing prima donnas who use their inexorable connection with immature minds to propagate rebellious nonsense – is palpable; because there is no stronger political impetus these days than a check from the government that emerges mysteriously from the vast ranks of “those who have,” as Marx might put it. If conservatives could only morph this strand of coolness and change the side to which it regularly attaches, then perhaps it is conceivable that Bill Maher, not Dinesh D’Souza, will have to defend his hysteric views on Republicans’ IQs as outraged audiences cheer his demise.

For that to happen, though, the conservative brand must change in a fundamental sense – seen to be held by both thinkers and farmers, lawyers and mathematicians, Baptists and agnostics. It must shake loose the assumption that membership within conservative circles naturally arises from having money, or that the sole association to be made with businessmen is the draconian cultivation of profit. In short, millennials must be convinced that big government absorbs, overwhelms, and destroys, despite any moralistic claim to the contrary; they must be shown that there is nothing rebellious about the centralization of power or the upheaval of natural rights. But more than anything, they must be reached by people who are hilarious, charming, confident, and, most of all, persuasively brilliant.

 

 

 

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Liberals Trashing the Liberal Arts

Did you know that cultural normalizations reflect the deep-seeded biases and insecurities of those who are mistakenly comfortable with societal construction, championed by imposing troglodytes that enter into the traditional family structures of an anciently homophobic people? Did you know that racial tensions extend beyond the highly commercialized struggles of rejected, downtrodden ethnicities and into the psychological complexions of oppressors – oppressors who are religious, who are inexorably connected to status, wealth, and power? Did you know that these elements are eternal and have dominated all of western literature?

Neither did I, and I’m an English major. Supposedly, I’ve studied the works of such authors as Shakespeare and Milton, Dickens and Dostoyevsky, Yeats and Frost, but have failed to truly understand them – for I didn’t march into my first English class this year with tight, black jeans, a nose ring, and a peace sign tattooed onto my forehead. More than that, I was surprised to encounter how formulaic the responses of the “free thinkers” were … was it that their notions were so specially cocooned in a nest of self-revelation that I, a bumpkin from Buncombe County with dangerously-suburban ideas, was unable to grasp them? Just listen to Rachel Maddow for five minutes and tell me that’s not what she thinks about conservatives and Christians.

Perhaps I should stop trying to be funny now and focus on getting to the point, one that has serious implications for the future of well-rounded education: Liberals – with both their ideas and their personalities – are trashing the liberal arts. By constantly boring the rest of the world with incessant talk of discrimination and social justice, liberals are turning away more and more students who are unwilling to put themselves into a situation in which they are forced to listen to such narrowed intellectualism. Instead of pondering what Shakespeare’s plays, for example, have to say about virtue and vice, human limitation in the face of mortality, or the fall of the seemingly well-meaning, liberals prefer to discuss the manifestation of 21st-century social conflicts that are largely overstated in the first place. No wonder there are people all across the nation who question the relevance of a liberal arts degree – colleges are simply not adequately utilizing the humanities to prepare those types of problem-solving intellectuals who used to emerge from institutions of higher learning.

It’s important to note, too, that the increasingly monolithic structure of the campus-liberal mindset flies in the face of the original notion of liberal arts education. The assumption was that the study of such subjects as philosophy, literature, history, and political theory would allow students to develop the means necessary to achieve the sort of intellectual flexibility seen in history’s influential figures. Following the ideals of the Enlightenment, proponents of liberal arts education believed that engineering, medicine, and business administration were intrinsic to improving human conditions, but that the humanities were essential to the cultivation of human understanding. All in all, I would argue that this does not ring true if liberal ideologies are permitted to fester under the guise of individualism; for they represent the exact opposite of individualism, screaming collective cries of injustice while expressing intolerance toward those who dare to push back against their views.

While I understand that issues of discrimination are often important aspects of literary analysis, I cannot conclude that liberals, in a general sense, approach them properly. It does not do to overshadow or infect great literature with frivolous politics, searching for frivolous foundations to frivolous ideologies; to do so in a drone-like fashion on college campuses that supposedly champion intellectual diversity is even worse.

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