Friday, February 6, 2009

Apparently it’s not hip to be square

When I read this article, I was shocked by the behavior of these college students. Perhaps the most disturbing part is that the conservative students say this is a pattern – they feel that liberal students are trying to intimidate them, to suppress their freedom of speech. I hope the students who defaced the crosses think about how their own actions can, in fact, threaten open and honest discourse. I hope that they think about how they would feel if their own political or religious statements were so severely mocked, vandalized.

Sadly, while I read this piece I also found myself thinking, “Why would those kids – the conservatives/Republicans – even advertise that they are conservatives in the first place? Don’t they know how they’ll get hazed for it?”

You see, I, myself, did not tell people that I was a conservative when I was in college (in the early 1990s). I knew that I might be mocked for it, so I kept my political views to myself. I later referred to the moment that I told friends about my party affiliation (in the spring of my senior year, when I was less concerned about my reputation!) as my conservative-coming-out-of-the-closet.

What does this all mean? Are young people increasingly intolerant of views from the right? If that’s true, we’re in big trouble. How can we have healthy debate if only one perspective is represented? A variety of ideas is what makes America great.

Submitted by ASO member: Jean Card


Anonymous said...

It's the fault of conservatives for making the brand and philosophy so outdated. Conservatism should be logical, and young kids should gravitate to it. But the actions of conservative leaders have been so divisive that kids can't help but to be contrarians and seek other outlets/attitudes/philosophies. Look at the last election. Young voters broke 70/30 in favor of Obama because partly bthey didn't like the era of intolerance. Young kids don't care about issues like gay marriage. They've grown up in and around openly homosexual people all of their lives. Conservatives need to return to messages like freedom, efficient government, etc.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jean Card's point as well as the first comment; unfortunately, they are not directly related.

True, the conservative movement seems to have become mired in certain social issues that are not at the top of the agenda for most young people (gay marriage is a good example). While these social issues are important, they now seem to overshadow many other, traditionally important issues championed by conservatives, such as free markets, free trade, a strong national defense, etc., that young people might appreciate. I am not sure if that picture of the conservative movement is entirely accurate, or simply the picture that is painted by the mainstream media in an effort (possibly unconscious) to marginalize conservatives.

On the other hand, the original posting was addressing the issue of the growing intolerance of liberals. So many liberals exhibit an aggressive and intolerant attitude towards conservatives, acting as if any act in opposition to conservatives, up to and including vandalism, is not that big of a deal (denials nothwithstanding).

Just listen to the comments of leading Hollywood liberals (Sean Penn, Ashley Judd most recently), and one gets the sense that rude and obnoxious comments about conservatives are not only acceptable, they're laudable.

This attitude is just an extension of the behavior of students and faculty we have seen on college campuses for decades. Forcing college administrators to cancel invitations to conservative speakers, or shouting down those speakers when they appear. Destroying conservative campus newspapers, or seeking to have conservative groups' funding cancelled.

I recall the instance of one Bush Administration cabinet member, Treasury Secretary John Snow, who was treated with a level of boorishness that has become emblematic of campus’ ill-liberal behavior. He was delivering the commencement address at his alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio, when a large number of faculty members, proudly dressed in their academic regalia, stood up on the stage behind him and turned their backs to him in protest.

This is the example of intellectual freedom and tolerance that the faculty of America’s colleges and universities want to set for students? To behave like spoiled children in public?

Yes, public protest is a hallmark of our democracy. Everyone has the right, and at time the responsibility, to express his or her opinion in opposition to people and ideas they find objectionable.

But what happened to the idea of showing respect to the loyal opposition? What happened to the idea that there needs to be a healthy, and civil, debate in the marketplace of ideas for a democracy to be successful? What happened to the concept that it is okay to agree to disagree? These are the qualities that are now lacking in our political discourse, and it has been the left that has been most to blame. And the loss should be troubling to us all.

Anonymous said...

To the first commenter: Thank you for validating Ms. Card's entry; it is exactly that kind of thinking that leads to such repulsive behavior. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of any abortion protests...

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