New Location of GWYAF blog

March 1, 2010

The blog of GW Young America’s Foundation has moved!  All posts, old and new, can be found on the front page of our new Website www.gwyaf.org


Liberal Bias and the Academy

February 4, 2010

In 1951 when the precocious 26-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale charging the American academy for forcing a liberal ideology upon its students, it caused quite a stir among intellectual and academic circles, not to mention his alma mater. Dinesh Dsouza’s 1991 bestseller, Illiberal Education had a similar effect. However in recent years, “getting agitated about political correctness on college campuses has been the near exclusive sport of beleaguered conservative professors, rambunctious college Republicans, and David Horowitz.” An April 2007 article in the Claremont Review of Books, compared “complaining about political correctness on campus”….“to complaining about your taxes in April.” This rings true in my experiences, as a personal example, this past fall semester in my “20th Century Political Thought” course during a lecture on the late Richard Rorty’s magnum opus, Achieving our Country: Leftist Thought in America, my professor sympathized with Rorty’s criticism of conservatives’ critics of political correctness and liberal bias in the academy. He complained to the class, that conservatives are always talking about the great “political correctness conspiracy.” The question then is, do conservatives have a legitimate complaint about liberal bias in the American higher education system?

A recent article in The New York Times, titled “Professor is a Label that Leans to the Left,” provides substantial empirical research on the topic and arguably, a conclusive “yes.” What distinguishes this research study from “so much of the hubbub that surrounds this subject is their methodology.” This is one of the only studies to use data from the General Social Survey of opinions and social behaviors that compare professors with the rest of Americans, while the majority of these studies rely heavily on anecdotes. The thesis of the article is that the overwhelming majority of professors are liberals because their profession is “typecast.” The author compares this to the nursing profession, which is dominated by women (less than 6% are men) due to the fact that many consider nursing to be a “women’s career.” Sociologists call this a “gender-typed” profession, while professors, journalists, and social workers are considered “politically typed.” However, the study also showed that “typecasting” is of course, not the only cause for liberal slant in the profession.

“Nearly half of the “political lopsidedness in academia can be traced to four characteristics that liberals in general, and professors in particular, share: advanced degrees; a nonconservative religious theology (which includes liberal Protestants and Jews, and the nonreligious); an expressed tolerance for controversial ideas; and a disparity between education and income.”

For a substantive example, at my institution for instance, The George Washington University, the faculty donated $221, 490 (92 %) for Democratic candidates and an aggregate of $20, 500 (8%) for Republican candidates in the 2008 primary election. In the presidential election, the ratio is nearly the same, 91% to 9%. This is of course, not to be viewed in isolation, but rather as an example of the academy in general. In the 2004 presidential election, at President Bush’s alma mater (Yale) for example, the faculty donation ration of Kerry to Bush was 150:3. The ratio at Princeton wasn’t much different, 114:1, nor at Harvard, 406:13. These numbers along with the national collegiate trends such as the rejection of western civilization, euro-centrism, and the classical liberal arts curriculum in favor of new academic disciplines such as “Queer Studies” and “Africana Studies,” is all evidence that liberal bias in higher education is real and its existence today is arguably more prevalent than ever.

Sam K. Theodosopoulos is the Editor-at-Large of the GW YAF Blog.


Requiescat in pace

February 2, 2010

“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”
 -Alice Paul 

Humanity is rarely granted the comfort of an existence painted in black and white.  Our charge in moral decision making is never complete perfection, rather, decisions are made on the basis of historical reality and the vast reservoir of human experience.  However, grace does intervene in our struggle.  We are presented with moral absolutes which are inviolable–whether derived from a natural or divine law, truth intercedes to contrast the shades of gray.  The most basic right is that to life, we would neither deny life to ourselves or our fellow man.  This much is certain.

A corollary to the right to life is the right to equality of opportunity.  Conservatives and liberals agree on this point, access to opportunity should not be rejected.  The arc of American history has tended to remove barriers at every bend–from tyranny, bondage, to segregation.  With abortion, the death of an unborn child, not only is the right to live denied, but the opportunity to go forth and achieve.  Our current laws and attitudes towards abortion ignore not only basic human dignity but also all that our history managed to accomplish.

The two major organizations fighting for the status quo, NOW and NARAL, won’t even approach the morality of ending a human life as part of the debate.  In their concession we know that our position is correct.  Issues of fetal personhood are not addressed, with personhood always written in quotations.  Their focus relies on notions of “reproductive rights” and the perpetuation of feminine liberation myths.  Certainly, women and men have the right to use contraception, but not murder.  The founding mothers of modern feminism, from Mary Wollstonecraft to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton recognized abortion as immoral and inhumane.  The right to life, in Stanton’s mind, was an extension of the freedom of women from being considered as property, writing, “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”  The opinion of the modern feminists, that greatest embodiment of equality is the ability to oppress, is irreconcilable with the intellectual foundation of feminism.

It was Fr. Richard Neuhaus that saw the struggle to end abortion as the greatest human rights campaign, inseparable from the human rights campaign led by Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s.  The Black Power movement viewed abortion as a genocide perpetrated against the black community.  All of this demonstrates that the sanctity of life is total, we cannot extend equality to all with the exception of the unborn.

Neuhaus, in his seminal address to the National Right to Life committee in July of 2008, stated “The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed.”  We cannot reduce or eliminate abortion in our country unless we refuse to except the premise of the “culture of death.”  We must reject the utilitarian argument that life is not worth living unless certain prerequisites are met.  This culture robs life of its mystery, a culture in which all are merely functional units consuming goods and being herded by the state.  An attitude supportive of the single mother and child born into undesirable circumstances begins to combat this culture, and places a limit on the cult of liberation supported by the modern left.  We must heed the cries of “ne plus ultra” emanating from the graves of the unborn.

Last week, members of GWYAF took to University Yard to heed these cries and defend the right to life.

Joe Naron is the Director of Press of the George Washington University Chapter of Young America’s Foundation


Tom Friedman and Climate Change at GW

January 26, 2010

This past Thursday, January 21 2009, George Washington University hosted New York Times columnist, author, and climate change evangel, Thomas Friedman to discuss his book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded at GW’s Lisner Auditorium.

As GW Young America’s Foundation has documented earlier this academic year, our university has a scary history of attempting to indoctrinate its students with “climate change crisis.” From strongly recommending freshmen to read Friedman’s book, to hosting the environmentalist speakers, to ‘going green initiatives,” it is quite clear that there is no room for debate on this issue.

We at GW Young America’s Foundation believe that it is not the university’s role to mold students into climate change evangels, but rather to educate the student on both sides of the issues, so that the student may develop critical thinking skills and thus draw their own conclusions. Therefore, our group held a “global warming beach party in front of auditorium, to protest GW’s indoctrination attempts, and the economic impacts of cap and trade.

Man-made climate change is not a scientific fact, it may be true, it may not. Friedman admitted this during his lecture, and even said there might only be a ‘” one percent chance that man made climate change is occurring and going have catastrophic consequences.” This argument is quite frightening when considering the economic impacts of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a.k.a. the Waxman- Markey Bill, a.k.a. Cap and Trade, which passed the House this past June but still needs to reach the Senate floor. The Heritage Foundation estimates that if the bill gets signed into law, over 400,000 manufacturing jobs will be lost, in time of nearly 10% unemployment, this is would catastrophic for our economy. We must ask ourselves is worth crippling our economy for something that there is quite possibly only a “one percent” chance of reversing? I would certainly argue no, and I assume the 1.1 million Americans who will lose their jobs by 2035 due to the implications of the bill would agree.

Sam K. Theodosopoulos is the Editor-at-Large of the GW YAF Blog.


A Problematic Resolution

January 22, 2010

The following was originally published by The GW Hatchet on 1/21/2009

Our campus, as evidenced by recent actions by the Student Association and editorials in our newspaper, has become engrossed by the latest trend in higher education: the imagined right of students to room with students of the opposite sex. If the University decides to adopt the provisions of Michael Komo’s Student Association bill and offer gender-neutral housing, the student government at GW will have decided to engage in social engineering by advocating a “test” program allowing students of the same gender to share one residence hall room.

This is problematic on both pragmatic and moral levels. Social progressives argue that gender-neutral housing is necessary for gay students who feel uncomfortable living with the same sex, just as it would be awkward for a male student to share a room with a female student. However, anyone who understands the nature of college students surely recognizes the program encourages abuse. The Nov. 16 Hatchet staff editorial recognized the potential for couples to live together, and therefore greatly abuse the program. This will result in chaos for the University’s housing program and will lead to awkward room situations for individuals not involved with the couple, the obvious consequence of which will be a flood of students begging for room changes. The solution the editorial proposed is more than na’ve, “GW Housing Programs would need to explicitly state that romantically involved individuals should not choose to live together in campus housing,” and also admitted there is no way to curb the abuses that would occur: “there may be no way to enforce such a policy.” What is the point in the University implementing a policy that is predetermined to be largely unsuccessful and filled with egregious abuse?

In terms of morality, gender-neutral housing is nothing more than another attempt by social progressives to hijack an institution of society so that it may be destroyed and resurrected around a notion of enforced equality. Such housing situations will also destroy the safe-learning environment of our residence halls and rather actively encourage a culture of promiscuity, and reject traditional moral ideas of pre-marriage living arrangements. Allied In Pride and other campus progressives are saying to students that the traditional role of sex in society is reactionary, and our new morality should reject tradition completely to achieve absolute freedom. In our post-modern age, where the decline of the family is a serious problem, there is no reason for the University to supplant our gender and moral norms with the cultural relativism that permeates our society today.

This debate, while voracious as it is, will most likely be all for naught. The same Nov. 16 issue of The Hatchet reported that Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said the University had no current plans to introduce gender-neutral housing to the residence halls. Chernak stated that, as of now, “The concept of gender-neutral rooms for unmarried undergraduates is not under active consideration.” With a surely more conservative Board of Trustees who have to take into account donors’ and parents’ reactions to this radical policy, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the implementation of gender-neutral housing anytime soon.

Sam K. Theodosopoulos is a junior majoring in political science and the editor-at-large of the GW Young America’s Foundation Blog.


Brown’s victory another blow to an ever-encroaching state

January 20, 2010

The Following was originally published and is the sole property of The Daily Caller.

Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race last night greatly complicates the House-Senate discussions on the health care bill. However, if the House passes the bill and President Obama signs the $871 billion Senate health care overhaul into law it will be the largest expansion of federal health entitlements since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago. It is expected to extend coverage to more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans.

Such a massive expansion of government’s role in our everyday lives and the adding to our already unsustainable federal entitlement programs, begs the question, do we Americans have a right to health care? It is certainly not in our political and philosophical tradition to argue yes.

Progressives and modern liberals have long argued that in the words of Barack Obama, health care “should be a right for every American.” In FDR’s 1944 State of the Union he declared that health care was on the list of economic provisions that should form a second bill of rights that would serve as a supplement to the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. Many liberals such as Roosevelt, Johnson, and now President Obama have attempted to link the right to health care, like other positive economic “rights,” to the American political tradition: a natural right of some sort, or a civil right necessary to put into effect the natural right to life or the pursuit of happiness.

Health care is certainly not a natural right in the Lockean, and thus, American political tradition. In the view of our founders who followed the philosophical thought of John Locke and his ideas of natural right and the social contract, natural rights exist prior to the formation of government. Therefore, since there is no government in the original state of nature, there cannot be a right to government supplied health care in the state of nature. Then maybe perhaps, guaranteed government health care could be regarded as necessary because of its relation to the natural right to life or the pursuit of happiness. This is problematic as well. Even if the right to life led to a government obligation to provide health care, that right would “logically be restricted to medical actions essential to preserve life, especially emergency measures.” However, doctors and other medical professionals already provide emergency treatment without any “grand declaration of rights.” In terms of the pursuit of happiness, there is no evidence that government guaranteed health care is positively correlated with happiness. For instance, 85% of Americans say they are personally happy, which ranks in at about 15th in the world in a survey of 90 countries. Countries with universal health care such as England, France, and Germany lag considerably behind the U.S. in happiness. The founders named in the Bill of Rights among other documents, the civil rights they thought necessary for the execution of natural rights. There is no way possible to establish a right to health care based on the American political tradition.

The late historian and political scientist Samuel P. Huntington once asked, “Who are We?” as he thought America is in the midst of a national identity crisis. His solution was a return to our first principles. In other words, America needs to be reminded that we still hold our founding principles to be self-evident truths. To insist upon universal government health care for every living person in America, is an attempt to change our Lockean philosophical tradition into a Rousseauian utopia. It is an attempt to supplant our republic’s key political principles. If America accepts a positive government obligation to fund health care it would lead indefinitely to a Leviathan without limits. Last night’s victory in Massachusetts will certainly help the conservative effort in the fight against an ever-encroaching state.

Sam K. Theodosopoulos is the Editor-at-Large of the GW YAF Blog.


Reid’s Bill Could Be the End of Private Insurance

January 14, 2010

The Following was originally published and is the sole property of FrumForum.com

The left blogosphere is denouncing Obamacare as a triumph for private insurers. But Robert Book of the Heritage Foundation argues that it is much more plausible the operations of the plan will extinguish the private insurance industry.

The Senate bill would force private plans to spend a minimum amount on paying medical claims and tax excessive premiums. The tax on those premiums however would not count towards the limits.

As Robert Book explains:

It would be very easy for regulators to become to develop a plan “with a minimum benefit package that is high enough (say, above $8972 in average claims) that makes it literally impossible for health plans to break even, let alone make a profit.

Sam K. Theodosopoulos is the Editor-at-Large of the GW YAF Blog.


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