Rebuttal to “The right government for America”

Given the left-leaning political tendencies of college students and professors, this paper’s courting of more conservative views might be refreshing if they weren’t some of the whiniest, most argumentatively weak op-eds I’ve ever read.

“The right government for America” by Curtis Kalin in the Oct. 18 issue of Broadside seems to be the latest in a series of articles (the others by Moore and Minster) complaining about the liberal tendencies of academia. The articles lack any real point or purpose, other than for their authors to cry and grieve to each other over their perceived subjection to cognitive dissonance by people with whom they disagree.

I found three glaring problems with this particular creed.

First, his summation of liberal ideology is nothing but a straw man built from seriously dubious generalizations.

I haven’t heard many liberals argue for a “small intellectual elite” to rule over the dumb masses (which seems more descriptive of classical conservatism, anyway), yet we’re supposed to accept those points as the “pervasive assumptions among liberal academia” without even knowing which professors actually said any of those things?

Secondly, his straw man actually has a point.

Americans’ lack of civic knowledge and susceptibility to “unreasonable expectations and inherent bigotries” are not baseless assumptions; there is actual evidence that most Americans really are abysmally ignorant about political issues, economics and history.

Research, much of it done at this very school, has shown that a majority of voters consistently make irrational, biased and uninformed decisions.

This isn’t a liberal talking point.

Third is his attempt to refute the assumptions of his straw man’s ideology by supplanting them with his own.

That’s not how it works.

This has been the major problem with the whole string of articles on this topic: they have yet to make a convincing argument as to why readers should care about their disputes with liberalism, other than that it runs counter to their own ideology.

What makes it stranger is the claim that our school has gone out of its way to fill politically relevant departments with conservative and libertarian faculty; our economics department, where I major, is one of the most decidedly free-market in the country.

The fact is that academics have political biases, regardless of what they are.

I’ve certainly had disagreements with professors in the past, yet I’ve never felt infringed upon by them.

So to say they are “imposing” their views on a “captive audience,” as Kalin does, merely seems like an insult to students’ abilities to think for themselves.
Disagreements are something to be accepted or debated, not complained about.

So I’d appreciate if opinion space wasn’t taken up every week by some right-winger feigning indignation over a matter that has little impact on the political discourse.
I don’t mind conservative op-eds, in fact I welcome them. However, I’d rather their arguments have some meat and substance.

Christ, I’m not conservative but I think I could write them better.

Alec Stevenson

Fossil fuels: America’s dirty addiction

As a senior at George Mason University, I understand the importance of ending our dependence on fossil fuels and transitioning to clean energy.

It’s wrong that over the summer our senators and leaders, in the wallets of dirty oil companies, have delayed our clean energy future.

Oil companies have a financial obligation to keep us dependent on these fuels.

Now, two big Texas oil companies are attempting to delay clean energy initiatives again with the push of Proposition 23.

These companies are spending millions of dollars to spread misinformation about clean energy alternatives in an effort to keep consumers dependent on fossil fuels.

This dependence not only puts our environment at risk but also our national security and economy.

I feel like the damage done by these fuels could easily be reversed if there were more sources of clean energy now.

The tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico reinforces the fact that Americans should reduce their dependence on costly, dirty oil.

The cost of clean energy is cheaper in many ways in the long run than the cost that we currently pay using these dirty sources of energy.

As a graduating student, I understand the costs of living and know that by not developing cleaner energy alternatives, there are reduced opportunities of new jobs available to me when I do graduate.

Building whole new industries for developing and manufacturing green technology will help to jump-start our economy and even create up to 50,000 new jobs here in Virginia.
Virginia has the ability to produce a wide variety of natural, renewable energy for use all over the state.

Clean energy businesses and technologies continue to be a bright spot in the economy.

Since 2005, clean energy jobs in California have grown up to 10 times faster than the statewide average.

These facts alone should help to push people who are hurt by the economy to demand clean energy that will help not only them, but the environment as well.
There is an abundance of potential clean energy that can be used by everyone.

To help get this energy to the people requires the effort of both Virginia citizens and our leaders.

By demanding clean energy reform, we can create a cleaner future for everyone in Virginia.

Together, we can create jobs for the next generation of workers.

Brennan Battle