Student op-ed: We don’t need to hear conservative voices

February 10, 2019 • 8:45 am

I don’t claim that this op-ed, by a staff writer for Student Life, the student newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis, is typical of all college students. But this kind of dismissive attitude is spreading, and it’s not just mushbrained but positively dangerous. For it’s only one step from claiming that conservatives have nothing useful to say to banning or censoring their speech. And we’d be all the poorer for it. The editorial is, in fact, a call for fascism by the Left.

Click on the screenshot below to read the piece:

In a college atmosphere that rightly calls for “inclusion” (and by that I mean treating everyone with civility), it’s remarkable but telling that the one group that doesn’t get included are those with the Wrong Ideology—conservatives.  Author Sean Lundergan first equates all conservatives with Republicans (not always true) but also with Trump supporters, which is definitely not true.

He begins with the Orwellian claim that censorship is freedom:

To say that conservative students somehow deserve special consideration is to misunderstand what an academic community is supposed to be. Rather than stifling debate, dismissing unproductive conservative ideas can open up our opportunities for meaningful discussion.

But the worst part is Lundergan’s imperious and complete dismissal of anything conservatives have to say:

It’s a logistical fact of living in human society that not every idea is fit for the public forum (Hey, that’s the name of this section!). We only have so many hours in the day. In general, it’s taken for granted that some belief systems are either unnecessary or detrimental to serious discourse, and that’s especially important in an academic environment.

We don’t make it socially acceptable for chemists to talk seriously about alchemy, for example. Our highly-regarded medical school isn’t highly-regarded because of its openness to using leeches to treat disease. This is true of political philosophies, too: Few serious people advocate absolute monarchy, and I think we’re all perfectly fine with that. We don’t feel the need to carve out a special space for Bourbon restorationists in our political science classes. Similarly, there’s no reason to actively accommodate conservatives—especially fans of the president—because their ideas add little value to our discourse.

Conservative ideas do not deserve equal consideration to that afforded liberal and left ideas, because conservative ideas are not equal to liberal and left ideas. There is no legitimate argument for supporting Donald Trump and his allies, at least not one that holds up in any academic community worth its salt. Advocating nativism, sexism, government by oligarchic graft and anything else the president represents is not productive in a space meant to contribute ideas to the world.

Equating conservativism with alchemy or the ancient use of leeches (Lundergan seems ignorant of the fact that leeches are indeed used today in some cases of microsurgery), or with absolute monarchy, is simply not fair. Not all conservatives advocate “nativism, sexism, and government by oligarchic graft.” In fact, conservatives do have ideas worth debating, including the value of affirmative action, the use of abortion, what to do about immigration, economic policy and taxation, and so on. I nearly always align with the liberal positions on these issues, but that’s largely because I’ve heard both sides. Lundergan doesn’t think that one side should even be heard.

In fact, he thinks that once there is a consensus on liberal issues—as there is in most colleges—it’s simply not worth continuing the debate. Just shut down the other side.

We’ve already reached tacit agreement on this. We’re an overwhelmingly left-leaning student body—73 percent of respondents to the Student Life survey mentioned in the original WU: In Focus piece identified as “very” or “somewhat liberal,” compared with only 8 percent who reported being any degree of “conservative.” Instead of propping up fringe ideas out of some sense of “bipartisan” openness, we should embrace the fact that so many of our students are liberal. Instead of wasting our time and mental energy on some right-wing argument no one really believes, we should spend time having meaningful conversations. How can we guarantee everyone health coverage? What’s the best way to redistribute wealth? How can we mitigate climate change, a thing we all agree is a problem?

Alas, Lundergan’s prescription—to adopt the liberal position, ignore conservatives, and then figure out how to implement liberal policy—neglects an important reason why conservatives (or anyone with unpopular ideas) should not only speak, but should be listened to. And that, as John Stuart Mill argued in On Liberty, is because without hearing the other side, how do you know your own ideas are well formed and rational? Have you considered the best version of the other side’s views before rejecting them? If not, then you are incompetent to hold your own opinions.

Further, shutting down conservative opinions means that each generation of students must, if they are to be rational advocates of their views, relearn conservative ideas on their own initiative, and not by hearing them from the conservatives who “aren’t welcome.”

Lundergan’s last paragraph is a masterpiece of snide dismissal and hauteur:

Of course, we can—we must—allow conservatives to have their conservative clubs and discuss conservative ideas. It’s also fine that lefties might have conservative friends—I have a few token right-wing pals myself. But we shouldn’t create an impulse among the student body to pretend, out of politeness, that there’s anything valuable in the Republican policy agenda. The Republican Party primarily exists to enrich a small group of already-rich people, and does so quasi-democratically by scaring old white folks about people with darker skin. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s a party or an ideological flank that I’d like to offer a whole bunch of special treatment to.

Besides the wrongheaded analysis of why people are conservatives, Lundergan seems to equate “freedom of speech” with “special treatment”. It’s not. Letting a conservative speak is not the same thing as endorsing conservative views.

What we have here is a close-minded ideologue who simply stops his ears and cries “nyah nyah nyah” when a conservative speaks. Yet there are more conservatives than he thinks (after all somebody elected Trump), and some of them have power. Imagine if he were to encounter a related argument, but one made by conservatives, at a place like Bob Jones University. Would Lundergan even be able to defend his own views on abortion and immigration? I doubt it. But he wouldn’t be able to because he wouldn’t be allowed to speak.

Alternatively, what would happen if Lundergan’s speech totalitarianism were carried to the extreme? Well, one of the commenters on his piece tells us:


I have considered the possibility that this article might be satirical. But I don’t think it is.

152 thoughts on “Student op-ed: We don’t need to hear conservative voices

  1. Even the idea that all liberals pretty much believe the same and have the exact values indicates this student has a long way to go in his own party on understanding. He needs to hear that old saying – you come with two ears and one mouth and why do you think that is true.

    1. It’s true because your brain can detect phase differences between the same sound picked up by each ear and enable a sense of sound direction, which is an important survival factor affecting natural selection.

      (Sorry about dragging biological evolution into the discussion.)

  2. I agree with you that this kind of mindset is spreading, in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Both sides need to take a step back and realize the other has good points to bring to the table, and shutting down debate leads to no progress and no solutions.

    1. Exactly. Further, it’s not so long since conservatives were the majority and some of them advocated completely shutting down all liberal speech as worthless. In those days, US liberals relied on the constitution.

      As you say, the debate is important. It’s impossible to know which ideas are best if solutions aren’t discussed.

      As well as this there’s the issue of banned ideas getting popularity simply because they’re banned. For example, in Germany, where holocaust denial is illegal, some young people wonder what is being hidden. They believe conspiracy theories that the holocaust actually didn’t happen because of the ban and that’s led to a rise in right-wing political groups. It’s not a small %age either who think this way.

      In Britain, there’s a small but significant number of people that either don’t believe the holocaust happened or know little about it.

      20% of non-Christians in France (where holocaust denial is also illegal) have never heard of the holocaust.

  3. This is exactly what I was talking about the other day with regard to hate speech laws: eventually, the censorship is applied to legitimate policy positions that those with the power to censor want suppressed. The idea is to shut a significant portion of the population out of the conversation on how their own country should be run; to take away the voices of fellow countrymen; to stop the promulgation of all ideas and positions counter to the censorious institution’s.

    Someone argued in that thread that “right wing” ideas were simply too dangerous for them to be allowed public space, and hate speech laws were necessary to stop people from being attracted to the “far right.” Of course, everybody’s idea of “far right” is different (for most of the authoritarian left, anything rightward of their own views is “far right” and often equated with hate speech.”

    “Rather than stifling debate, dismissing unproductive conservative ideas can open up our opportunities for meaningful discussion…

    …We only have so many hours in the day”

    Ah, those poor college students. They don’t have enough time in their day to discuss ideas that are not their own. The only productive discussion of ideas is discussion of their own ideas.

    1. I agree most strongly. When a Ctrl-lefty reacts to another lefty that is to the right of them, they immediately categorize them as being on the right. They describe themselves as representing the left, and they simply don’t. Well, not yet they don’t.

    2. “Someone argued in that thread that “right wing” ideas were simply too dangerous for them to be allowed public space, and hate speech laws were necessary to stop people from being attracted to the “far right.””

      I think this is referring to me. I didn’t say that right wing ideas are too dangerous to be allowed in the public space. In response to a comment of yours about social media companies facing fines for hosting hate speech, I replied:

      “When we’re seeing a massive resurgence of the far right across the western world, we can’t just sit back and do nothing about hate speech and far right propaganda, most of which is propagated over social media.”

      I was referring to propaganda that seeks to incite hatred, not about mainstream conservative talking points. I wouldn’t be happy with antisemitic or white supremacist posters going up in my neighbourhood, as I think they would make my Jewish and black neighbours somewhat uncomfortable (massive understatement). Not sure why we should tolerate such material being online either.

      Obviously we have to discuss right wing ideas, both mainstream and extreme; this is not the same as allowing the promotion of hatred.

      1. The problem with your idea about banning hate speech is that many people construe hate speech as what comes out of the mouth of Peter Boghossian or Christina Hoff Sommers. In Sommer’s case, when she takes issue with statistics about the police and shootings of black people, she’s accused of hate speech and people want to ban her. Same with Ben Shapiro.

        So who is going to define hate speech? YOU? Sorry, but there’s no clear line for the Left between hate speech and speech that makes people uncomfortable.

        1. The fact that there are difficult cases that not everyone can agree on is not generally a reason never to take action against a harmful form of behaviour. The fact that there are cases of alleged sexual harassment that people disagree over isn’t a reason to do nothing about sexual harassment, for example.

          1. Okay, this conversation is over. You fail to realize that what some people vehemently say is “harmful” is “productive discourse” to other people. That is the issue.

            Nobody is saying that sexual harassment is okay, least of all me. It’s wrong and it is ILLEGAL. The points I made were about things like discussions of mmigration and affirmative action, which many consider hate speech and “harmful behavior.” You don’t seem to have grasped that point, nor that nobody here is advocating sexual harassment.

          2. “Nobody is saying that sexual harassment is okay, least of all me”.

            To be fair to Phil Brown I don’t think he is suggesting anyone on here is saying sexual harassment is OK. If I understand him correctly he is using this as an example of something we all agree should be banned but making the point that despite our agreement on the general principle there are cases where there might be disagreement as to whether a particular person’s behaviour actually was sexual harassment. By analogy – in his argument – there may be cases where it is difficult to decide which side of the “hate speech line” a particular statement or comment lies but that does not mean that the principle of banning hate speech is wrong.

            You may or may not agree with that argument but I don’t think that in making it PB was in any sense seeking to characterise the views of anyone here regarding sexual harassment.

            Personally, I take the view that free speech should in general mean exactly that and should be constrained in only very limited circumstances. Free-speech by definition means allowing people to say things that we don’t necessarily all agree with or are comfortable with.

          3. Phil Brown,

            You may take whatever legal action to shut down hate speech you desire…EXCEPT…action to ban it!!
            Perhaps your speech will be next:
            Do you remember “First they came for…”?

          4. I’m with Phil on this point. There is *always* a line that has to be drawn, whether it’s what constitutes ‘harassment’, ‘hate speech’, exactly how much ‘free speech’ is protected, or any other field of disagreement.

            What is the difference between “legal action to shut down hate speech” and “action to ban it”?

            Myself, I would ban** slippery-slope arguments, which are almost always prejudicial and fallacious. Because *everything* is a gradient, slippery or not, and it’s just a question of where to draw the line. I think claims that ‘free speech’ can somehow be defined to be exempt from this otherwise-universal law of nature are fallacious.

            **Well, not exactly ‘ban’, because I can’t see how to, and trying to define what is and isn’t a ‘slippery-slope argument’ would be a monstrous headache. The problem always arises with the borderline cases.

            (And I don’t agree with that half-baked student op-ed, of course).


          5. “Myself, I would ban** slippery-slope arguments, which are almost always prejudicial and fallacious.”

            I find this pretty hilarious because the argument over free speech/how much should be censored is an argument about a slippery slope. That’s the biggest fault with censorship. Slippery slope arguments are very often not only useful, but a central issue to something being discussed.

          6. It is a truth universally acknowledged that, anytime a legal line is drawn, there will be cases that fall very close to that line, but on opposite side of it, that will be all but indistinguishable.

            Instances of legal line-drawing that involve restrictions on speech create two particular problems that are not generally applicable to non-speech legal restrictions. In the US, where free expression is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our federal constitution, those problems are known as the “overbreadth” and “chilling effect” doctrines.

            “Overbreadth” occurs where constitutionally protected speech nonetheless would be facially proscribed by a law that was designed to prohibit other speech. “Chilling effect” occurs where people self-censor their constitutionally protected speech out of concern that such speech might be so close to the line and that it would subject them to prosecution.

            Out of concern for these problems, any rules restricting free expression must be narrowly tailored to address only that speech which is to be outlawed, and the line between protected and prohibited speech must be drawn clearly enough so as to give people fair notice whether what they’re about to say or write might subject them to prosecution.

            I’ve yet to see a proposed formulation for a “hate speech” law that satisfies these requirements, though I’ve often invited hate-speech law proponents to provide us with appropriate statutory language.

          7. @BJ: My definition of ‘slippery-slope argument’ is one that takes an issue to its absurd extreme and attempts to argue on that basis. “If we allow elective abortion next we’ll be killing unwanted babies” sort of thing.

            That is what I was objecting to.

            I do not deny – in fact I would strongly affirm – that most arguments about practical realities do involve a ‘slope’ (slippery or otherwise) and where the line should be drawn, and I don’t think it’s ever possible to avoid that.

            @Ken: I agree with most of that. I agree a precise definition of what is permitted would be desirable; I just don’t think it’s feasible in practice. Real life is too complicated. You still have laws against kiddie porn, against slander/libel, against incitement to violence, for example, and all of those must involve drawing a line somewhere. As I’m sure you know, any laws can be misinterpreted/misused.


          8. I fine with banning hate speech but I recognise the line of what it is is somewhat blurred and it needs to be well defined for a law. I think I would draw it in the same place as Jerry (at least I think he draws it here, I’m may be presuming too much) i.e. direct incitement of violence against specific persons or groups of people.

            The law as it applies in my country (England) does not define the line very well and leads to such nonsense as threatening people with prosecution for putting signs up in their windows saying that religions are fairy tales.

  4. Whether this op-ed reflects the author’s genuine belief or is a cynical ploy to generate publicity, it doesn’t speak well for a Washington University education.

  5. “I have a few token right-wing pals myself.” Wait, what? You’re actually *friends* with these sexist, misogynistic, homophobic scum? Surely that means you’re their *ally*, and need to be purged as an alt-right-adjacent fellow traveler. Purge him! Purge him!

    (For the humor-impaired: satire. :->)

      1. You know, that common trope – that “Some of my best friends are xxx” must contrarily be an indication that one is xxx-phobic – is, I think, quite misleading and mischievous.

        That fact that an alibi (‘I was somewhere else at the time’) is often falsely claimed by miscreants, does NOT invalidate the power of genuine alibis.

        Similarly, “Some of my best friends are xxx” surely strongly suggests that a person is NOT strongly xxx-phobic, or he wouldn’t have any xxx friends at all. Always, assuming, of course, that the statement is true.


        1. Asserting “Some of my best friends are xxx” is not a subtle kind of racism, as the ability to tell which friends are black and which aren’t requires only functioning eyesight and the knowledge that society makes race an issue.

          1. That’s not really what I was taking issue with.

            What I object to is the cynical trope that saying “Some of my best friends are black” automatically means I’m a racist, when (if true) it should logically count as evidence weighing to the contrary. The bizarre result is that even if some of my friends really are black, I don’t dare say so in so many words.


        2. Of course, you don’t normally see the word “token” thrown in. “I have a few token black friends” sounds racist to me.

          1. I am not sure how the circumstances of the case would affect this. Surely friends are friends. If you attache the word ‘token’ to them you are saying they are not really friends but people labelled as such for the sake of appearances or to fill a quota. “She was the token woman on the board” implies that the writer thinks ‘she’ is not on the board because of her leadership qualities but simply to fill a diversity quota. I think describing someone as a token friend carries a similar implication of the ‘friend’ not really being qualified to be a friend.

    1. It is a true thing that many Cuban immigrants identify with the right, and so do many immigrants coming up from Mexico and points south. I am sure they feel rather traumatized about the current atmosphere against such immigration coming from the Republican party, but in other areas they can hold common views.

  6. “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views and then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views!”
    This is one of my favourite William F. Buckley quotes. Apparently, we have gotten worse. We are now so shocked and offended that we don’t even want to give a hearing.

  7. “Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

    — Justice Louis Brandeis, dissenting in Olmstead v. United States.

  8. Just this morning I found myself watching Richard Dawkins’ 2009 lecture “The Purpose of Purpose”, on YouTube. I was amazed to see P Zed introducing him and saying pleasant things, Richard praising the US for returning to a position of respect for science, and to see him share a resolution put forth by the Oklahoma House of Representatives trying to stop the university from inviting him to speak. My how things have changed.

  9. This attitude really needs to be be stopped, and soon. Many of these kids are just exploring politics, and will move on to more moderate beliefs.
    Unless we allow the momentum to build and the movement to feed on it’s own energy. We can look at a number of cases historically where this has happened, and led to horrors.
    It only takes a nudge for someone like Mr. Lundergan to move on to the belief that “Yes, those people probably should be loaded on rail cars and sent somewhere where their views cannot contaminate society”. I think it likely that he already believes this, but knows it would be unseemly to say so at this time.
    Angry revolutionary youth cannot do in the USA what their cohorts did in places like Cambodia. For one thing, the Kulaks are armed, and likely to be military veterans.

    But it is polarizing, and damages us as a nation. I don’t want to have to choose sides. I am a centrist, even a radical moderate, coming from a family that suffered tremendously under both left and right wing regimes in the 20th century.
    But there is no way I am marching under the red banner of socialism with the kid who wrote the source article.

    1. “This attitude really needs to be be stopped, and soon.”

      How are you proposing an attitude be “stopped” — I mean, other than by following young Mister Lundergan’s prescription for stopping conservatism.

      1. Stopped through argument and debate — which, ironically, is the problem in the first place.

        A friend of mine belonged to an interfaith organization and was put in charge of setting up annual “Diversity Panels” — representatives of many religions placed on a long table for the purpose of educating the audience (and each other) on their beliefs and practices. The idea was to learn to understand different viewpoints. I asked which religions were represented, and she proudly read out a list of mostly liberal churches, pagan groups, and iirc a Muslim and a Jew.

        What about conservative churches? The Assembly of God’s, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Lutherans and Catholics and Baptists and fundamentalists? And what about an atheist? Did you even ask?

        No. The event was about embracing diversity. Those viewpoints wouldn’t fit.

      2. To begin with, stop teaching kids and young adults that silencing those who disagree with them is an appropriate response.

        When such an opinion appears in a school newspaper, those with authority to do so should step in and explain that censorship and related authoritarian behaviors are unacceptable.
        It is a university, and able to enforce a code of conduct. We have discussed here how free speech protections are best integrated into a university’s code.

        I have no problem with the kid experimenting with progressive politics. That is a thing that undergraduates do. Maybe he will be a lifelong democrat or whatever. Good for him. I don’t care about his political views, I want to stop his authoritarian tendencies.

        When I was at university, there were all sorts of student groups, art performances, and invited speakers. You either attended or you did not. I went to quite a few events just because I though it would be entertaining to listen to eccentric people.
        What I never heard of was anyone trying to stop others from voicing their views, and it was unimaginable that anyone would try to keep spectators from attending.

        The only exception I remember is the Palestinian student group. We knew they hated the Jews, and were likely to heckle Jewish speakers or hold up some signs. But the atmosphere was never threatening.

        Once again, I do not care about the kid’s political views, except his view that he can dictate what others write or speak or think.

        I don’t care if a person has strong religious views either, or what they are, until they start thinking that they can put me in stocks for dancing on the Sabbath, or want to behead me for being an infidel. Or if their religious views, or lack thereof, lead them towards the behavior mentioned in the previous paragraph.

        1. “I don’t care about his political views, I want to stop his authoritarian tendencies.”

          Most thoroughly agreed.

          Authoritarianism is the real enemy of civilised society (in my view).


          1. I agree wholeheartedly. My question was prompted by concerns that when one talks of “stopping” an “attitude” rather than merely engaging in intellectual or moral suasion against it, one seems to be slipping into that authoritarian mindset oneself.

          2. We are talking about an article by a college freshman, presumably a minor. My remarks about “stopping that attitude” were intended to reflect that.
            His basic argument sort of precludes reasoned debate on the issue. But as he is a student, I at least have hope that someone at the institution can step in and instruct him. His high school civics instructor apparently failed him already. If my kid wrote that screed, he would definitely get his attitude adjusted.

          3. No “reply” link on your last question.
            “Do you think Washington University should have pulled his piece from Student Life?”
            If the piece was published, it could have included an editors comment about the importance of civil dialog.
            I would have preferred it not be published, and the editor send him a private note about free speech and civil discourse.
            One of the resources we have in abundance is college freshmen filled with zeal over their newfound political views. The word for it is “sophomoric”, although the author is not yet a sophomore. Most people go through this phase. The normal thing to do is be polite and humor them, knowing this will likely pass.
            What you do not want to do is tell them how brilliant they are, express amazement that they have come up with wholly original insights, and invite them to make policy.

            There is a reason that so many revolutionary movements (and military forces) employ youths to perpetrate many of the worst atrocities. Once they have identified someone as an enemy, it is their nature to turn it right to 11.
            I have frequently observed this in real world situations.

  10. I mostly agree with the student author, but it is also mostly vapid. He writes:

    Of course, we can—we must—allow conservatives to have their conservative clubs and discuss conservative ideas. It’s also fine that lefties might have conservative friends—I have a few token right-wing pals myself. But we shouldn’t create an impulse among the student body to pretend, out of politeness, that there’s anything valuable in the Republican policy agenda.

    Some of the things he writes simply doesn’t mean anything. For example, what does it mean to make views feel “welcome”? That’s not how people work. If you aren’t interested in someones views, you’re going to dismiss them. I agree that nobody needs to make it a point to listen to the usual, poorly thought out, hypocritical conservative “ideas”. I am also annoyed at Dave Rubin who rides this line that “all ideas need consideration” which simply means to abuse the goodwill of a liberal audience to listen to far right ideologues.

    In reality, everyone who wants to, can just tune in to far right sources as long as they want. And the author agrees that conservatives can do their thing.

    Most of the piece is simply empty propaganda without meaning. The rest is just the usual patronising wokeness, for example it’s not his businesswho who his friends with whom, and it doesn’t require his or anyone’s approval.

    1. Between the lines of Mr. Lundergan, I see a message that the “conservative club” should exist somewhere else and not pollute his precious campus. I don’t think he would allow them to “do their thing” on any turf over which he has any control. When he writes that they should not feel welcome or be listened to, he means they should not be allowed to emit public sound or script.

      Besides, it is bizarre in a democratic country divided roughly in half into right-wingers and left-wingers to say that right-wingers are OK because they can “just tune in” to their sources, while left-wingers have at their side professional bullies in positions of power (e.g. campus diversity officers).

      1. I have no idea what this means. The author speaks of “conservative clubs” and at no point says that conservative speech should be banned or restricted. Instead, he argues that that no efforts should be made to “welcome” such speech. This is the problem. Like your words, I consider this empty speech that is too abstract to be meaningful, and in the abstract, there is no problem there.

        It looks to me that the USA has plenty of “fair and balanced” media, which already gives undue airtime to crooks and loons. Add Fox News and talk radio which is entirely bizarro universe with no resembles to reality as we know it. Not only is US politics centre to far right wing, the current administration is Republican, too. Americans are still unsure about climate change, or evolution. Conservatives are creationists and so on. There really is no place for that on a reputable academic institution. Of course, if it doesn’t affect someone’s work, someone can have all sorts of outlandish views, including conservative ones.

        1. If there are entire departments teaching that sex and race are social constructs, then it is only fair to allow creationists, provided that they do NOT teach creationism.
          As for climate change, as long as the practical recommendations concerning it are dubious and are endorsed by loons such as AOC, people will continue to doubt it.

  11. The left is very uncomfortable with open debate because they know they would most often lose. Totalitarianism is the more comfortable option for them. If the left didn’t have the plurality of media and academia carrying their water conservative ideas would resonate with the American people. Hence the plan is to stifle debate, import millions of pliant new voters, stoke them with ethno narcissistic grievances, and override the wishes of the native electorate.

    The nonstop mainstream propaganda is effective, but the new media is gaining a foothold and proving to be resilient for the moment. That’s why the left is now trying to ban memes in Europe.

    1. The GOP cannot survive an honest election. This party of crooks and criminals knows this, and uses every dirty trick, gerrymandering, vote obstruction, propaganda to stay in the race. They get funded by oligarchs, which is widely known. GOP is the party of dirty money, tabacco, guns, pollution, and wars. Only billionaires and undertakers have legitimate reasons to vote Republican.

      Also, it is my understanding that only citizens can vote in the USA. A “native electorate” doesn’t exist, or do you mean native americans, or is this dogwhistle for “white people”?

      1. You just proved the point that conservative views are not welcome among liberals. Well done.

        Or was that satire? Hard to distinguish satire from bad ideas and beliefs.

        1. Well, take a look at some stats on crookedness by party. Or consider a study on how much average citizens influence US politics (spoiler: not at all).

          I am also no “proof” of anything. You can prove in math, not politics; I am not a US citizen; and I personally do listen — voluntarily — to all sorts of channels and voices. Ben Shapiro, for example is a joke. Joseph Paul Watson, laughable. Every republican ever, raving hypocrites, crooks, and god-botherers.

          Even though I want to know what goes on in the world, conservatives will never own my time. I want to decide myself who I want ti listen to.

          And of course, conservatives have their own bizarro universe provided by talk radio and Fox News — so much for listening to other perspectives.

          I also don’t think highly of the Democrats. They are a also a typical right wing party with a few liberal positions thrown into the mix. They’re like Tories or Christian Democrats. The US has no left that deserves the name. Occupy once was a decent direction, but they were destroyed by the woke.

      2. By native electorate I mean American citizens, many of whom aren’t white. Funny how leftys always hear a dog whistle.

        Your canard that Republicans are the party of the rich is laughable and might have been true 30 or 40 years ago. These days, tell that to the Koch brothers who hate Trump but love them some open borders, as Bernie would say.

        “dirty money, tabacco (sic), guns, pollution, and wars.”

        Please. Just to address the last article on your list and refresh your memory, Hillary was the war candidate having voted for the Iraq war, been a chief proponent for the disastrous overthrow of Libya, and many more hawkish perfidies while Trump is trying to fulfill his campaign promises of no new wars and extricating us from the Middle East.

        1. But the e-mails? You’re partisan, I am not, see above. True, Democrats have been hawkish, too, and Hillary Clinton proudly took credit for Libya, which was indeed disastrous. However, war on terror, Iraq wars, Afghanistan, most American shenanigans that come to mind (e.g. Iran Contra) tend to be Republican. But I also detest the meth-head J. F. “Napalm Death” Kennedy and wrote that into a comment on this site.

          1. Who said anything about emails? You’re getting your lefty talking points mixed up.

            Just as with your outdated notion that Republicans are the party of the rich you’re behind the times in blame for military interventionism too. As I pointed out, given the choice Trump was the clear anti-war candidate in the last election and it’s the establishment from both sides of the aisle that are trying to stymie his efforts to bring our troops home now. Plenty of “liberal” voices these days expressing grave concerns about ending endless wars because Orange Man Bad.

          2. Virtually everyone calls the Republicans the party of the rich. It is hardly out-of-date as Trump’s tax cut for the rich demonstrated once again. People who believed Trump and the GOP are now filing their taxes and scratching their heads, “Huh? So what happened?”

          3. It is perhaps more accurate to say that the Republican Party is the party FOR the rich, not OF the rich (although it has the support of many of the rich). The Republicans could not have electoral success if only rich people voted for them. We know that the Republicans for many decades now have depended on the white working class for votes. The cultural demagoguery has been a Republican Party showpiece since at least Nixon’s southern strategy. Trump is counting on this giant con to sweep him to victory in 2020. We’ll see if he’s right.

          4. If that’s the case why is it that Hillary raked in DOUBLE the campaign cash Trump did, much of it from the ultra-wealthy while Trump banked nearly 300 million from small donations of $200 or less? Are all of these super rich people just dumb and donating against their own interests?

          5. Get with the program, Ameris; the Right doesn’t want to deny black folk the vote. It merely wants to limit how many of them get to vote through purging the voting rolls, closing polling places, reducing early voting hours, enacting pointless voter-ID laws, and other voter-suppression measures.

            Oh, and then they limit the impact those votes have through ruthless gerrymandering of congressional districts along racial lines.

          6. That seems to split a hair too far. Republicans don’t want to “deny black folk the vote” but they do want to suppress their vote? It sounds like they don’t want to SAY that they are against black people voting but they just want them to stay home on voting day. What’s the diff?

        2. “By native electorate I mean American citizens …”

          In case you don’t know, only US citizens — not aliens, legal or illegal — are eligible to vote in US elections. Ever, under any circumstances. There is not now, nor has there ever been, any pending US legislation or constitutional amendment that would change that. Even legal resident-aliens (i.e. “green card” holders) must wait a bare minimum five years before applying for US citizenship.

          Thus, no one — Left, Right, or Center — can “import millions of pliant new voters.” To claim otherwise is plain silly, though that claim continually recrudesces in the right-wing fever swamp.

          1. Wrong. Who said I was talking about illegal immigrants? Massive legal importation of an underclass from the third world through chain migration seems to be working quite well for them.

          2. Chrissakes, man, what part of legal US aliens CAN’T vote don’t you understand? Only US citizens are eligible to vote.

            Or are you looking to deny the vote to naturalized US citizens? Or maybe it’s only to deny it to naturalized US “underclass” citizens from “third-world” shitholes?

          3. Dude, I’m talking about the massive, increasing importation of under skilled immigrants who become legal citizens and are then free to invite their entire extended family to do the same.

            Nobody’s looking to deny any naturalized citizens their right to vote and I’ve never come close to advocating that. It’s offensive of you to suggest it. I’m merely pointing out a strategy of the left that I believe should be severely curtailed.

            Are the tone police on duty or am I the only one who gets a summons?

          4. “… under skilled immigrants who become legal citizens and are then free to invite their entire extended family to do the same.”

            Hey, why you gotta drag Melania into it?! 🙂

    2. “The left” is a very broad group — as is “the right.” Jerry and many of us are mostly liberals engaged in calling out an extreme version of people who self- identify as liberals while jettisoning some of its most foundational values.

      And I’ve no doubt there are conservatives who find many of the extremist groups on the right appalling. They don’t represent conservative values.

      The point of the OP then is to recognize the nuances on the other side and refrain from equating either “ the left” or “ the right” with its extremes, thereby fracturing our common commitments and falling into conspiracy thinking and simplistic black and white divisions.

      So knock it off.

      1. Relax. In case you haven’y noticed, political labels are extremely fluid and shifting these days. “The left” is a adequate term to describe who I was talking about above as I was not only referring to the “regressive left”. And not for nothing, but the “mainstream left” is increasingly embracing “regressive left” tendencies these days, as has been pointed out many times on this site.

    3. ‘Cause the rightwing has such a sterling record on free expression. Conservative censors have run the color spectrum, from blue-noses to red-baiters to black-listers.

      True it is that there are conservative ideas that merit serious consideration. Those were the ideas of the conservative movement of my youth, the full panoply of principles voiced by conservative thinkers running the gamut from moderates like Everett Dirksen to arch-conservatives like William F. Buckley — foundational ideals like free trade, balanced budgets, personal rectitude, the rule of law, due regard for norms and institutions and traditions, strong international alliances, and opposition to Russian expansion and aggression.

      But today’s Republican Party has thrown that all away to chase the golden calf of Trumpism — nativism, protectionism, xenophobia, bigotry, and non-stop demagoguery and deceit in the service of fear and anger and resentment. (The flame of the old conservatism is being kept alive now by the never-Trumpers, the way medieval monks kept alive the wisdom of ancient world by assiduously transcribing the texts of the Greeks and Romans and Egyptians. Those never-Trumpers are more likely to show up now on the so-called “liberal” news outlets, rather than on Fox News or the alt-right “new media,” where their heresies against Trumpism are considered anathema.)

      The Trumpist “ideas” (if I may use language so loosely as to label them that) should be fully aired and discussed, too, on campus and elsewhere. But the notion that they could ever out-compete their alternatives — Right or Left — in the free marketplace of American ideas is risible.

      1. “‘Cause the rightwing has such a sterling record on free expression. Conservative censors have run the color spectrum, from blue-noses to red-baiters to black-listers.”

        Historically I agree with you but that’s not what’s happening in the White House today.

          1. Oh, you mean like seizing phone and email records from reporters, using the Justice Dept. to spy on reporters, threatening a reporter as a co-conspirator for reporting on North Korea, prosecuting three times as many whistle blowers as all previous administrations combined, and more? Oh wait, that was the great Obama who did all that.

            Er, what was it that President Trump has done to restrict the press? Sent out mean tweets?

          2. He’s tried to strip the press credentials from a disfavored reporter. And he’s promised to weaken the the libel laws so reporters and media companies can be sued out of existence. He’s also held just two regular press conferences during his two years in office, only one of them in the White House briefing room, reducing the press corps to shouted “sprays” on the White House driveway where he’s free simply to walk away as soon as he fields a question he doesn’t want to answer.

            And have you never watched one of his Nuremberg-style rallies, where he goes into full-on demagogue mode about “the enemies of the people” — where Trump fans scream “Lügenpresse!” at the assembled reporters and walk around with t-shirts saying “rope, tree, journalist — some assembly required”?

            Let’s also not forget he’s bent over backwards trying to excuse the Saudi Arabians for the cold-blooded assassination of a WaPo journalist.

          3. Jim Acosta was rightly stripped of his credentials for refusing to give up the mic after hectoring the President with several ridiculous questions that Trump answered. Acosta was editorializing, arguing, and being extremely unprofessional. He’s a joke.

            Trump has weakened no libel laws, nor will he.

            You’re wrong about Trump’s accessibility. He’s actually one of the most accessible Presidents in history:


            Yes. He criticizes reporters. Many of us agree with him. The press has beclowned themselves with this administration and consistently proved themselves to be disgraces to their profession. Fake news abounds, ALL of it going in one direction. That’s not journalism. That is actually a grave disservice to the American public.

            Trump rightly didn’t turn the Khashoggi murder into an international incident. The facts were murky, there were serious international consequences at play, and frankly it was none of our business.

            Not one of these things is remotely close to the incomplete list of tangible actions Obama took against a free press that I posted above.

      2. Trumpist ideas, as you call them, were fully aired and discussed and did quite well in the 2016 election. Remember?

        1. “… did quite well in the 2016 election.”

          I suppose that’s one way to look at it. Another is that, despite all Vlad’s hacking and all Vlad’s malign-influence campaign, Donald Trump managed to back into office by an unprecedented minus three million votes.

          1. Ha! Still sticking with “muh Russia” narrative? Keep up the good fight. I’m sure those wild conspiracy theories will be proved any day now…

            Minus three million votes? Was that enough to win the Electoral College like our Constitution requires? I think it was. Yeah, I prefer a reality based way of looking at things.

          2. Dude. Seriously. Tone down the pwning the libruls rhetoric. You sometimes have good points to make and they get completely overshadowed by the way you’re making them. It’s hard to read your comments when they’re laden with so much aggression, animosity, and naked provocation for no reason.

          3. Point taken, that one may have been skating the edge. But “Russia”? Seriously? Sometimes it’s hard…

          4. @rustybrown

            Tell it to the 34 people who’ve been indicted on well over 100 criminal counts by the Special Counsel’s office — including a dozen Russian GRU intelligence agents, Putin’s favorite chef-oligarch, three Russian corporations, and the Russian Internet Research Agency, all indicted for running a active-measures/malign-influence campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

            And that doesn’t include the Southern District of New York’s ongoing investigation into all the filthy pro-Russia Ukrainian money that found its way into Donald Trump’s inaugural slush fund.

            You think “it’s hard” now, wait until the indictments drop inside Trump’s immediate family.

          5. @rusty

            I just meant in general. You often have good points to make. Hate to see them get drowned out by the rhetoric.

          6. Yeah, a lot of indictments for process crimes and the like. Nothing to do with Trump conspiring with Russia to win the election, which was the point of the whole thing. Those indictments of Russians oversees? A joke.

            I was never under the impression that a team of government spooks given a massive budget and a wide open mandate to conduct a multi-year fishing investigation into ANY President’s inner and outer circle would come up empty, were you? Of COURSE they’re going to find plenty of dirty hands around. Politics ain’t beanbag, as the saying goes.

            But have they uncovered ANYTHING evidence of Trump colluding with Russia or being under their influence in any way? Or any illegality regarding Trump whatsoever for that matter? Not a speck.

          7. Why commit “process crimes” if you have nothing to hide? The fact that so many of Trump’s henchmen have lied tells the obvious story that they felt they needed to lie. While we don’t know the extent and nature of those crimes, I’m guessing Bob Mueller does.

            One thing we do know is that Trump pursued a Trump Tower Moscow deal right up to the last minute. He likely only stopped because he became president and, more importantly, plans to start it back up again when he’s out of office. Making this deal obviously requires that Trump keep on Putin’s good side. This means that Trump is letting this influence his Russia policy, as well as any other foreign policy where Russia is involved which, these days, is just about everywhere. Trump and his crew knew this was a problem and so they lied about it to the American people.

          8. “One thing we do know is that Trump pursued a Trump Tower Moscow deal right up to the last minute. He likely only stopped because he became president”

            Another way of saying what you just said without losing an iota of meaning is: “One thing we know is that this international developer pursued an international development deal as a private citizen until he became President” Now, how in the world is that controversial in any way? Before Trump, nobody would have batted an eye. Is the new standard be private citizens wishing to run for office must cease their means of making a living while they’e campaigning?

            What evidence do you have for your allegation that he plans to start up the Russian development deal again when he’s out of office?

            When did Trump lie about this issue as you allege?

          9. Yes, if it is a clear conflict of interest with his new primary job of POTUS. He lied about it so I guess Trump doesn’t agree with you. He knew it was a problem. His admin has lied over and over about meetings with Russians. I’m not going to waste my time running through the details with you since you would just ignore it anyway.

            My evidence for Trump continuing to pursue the deal is that Trump continues to be friendly towards Putin and Russia against the advice of pretty much everyone else.

          10. OK, so it’s your position that a private citizen give up their livelihood upon declaring that they’re running for office. I think that’s a bizarre opinion not shared by many people that would be disastrous to our system.

            Again, I’ll ask you to point me to when Trump lied about Russia. I’ll take your non response to be acknowledgment that he never did.

            Your evidence of Trump continuing to pursue the deal is not only circumstantial, it’s imaginary.

    4. The left is very uncomfortable with open debate because they know they would most often lose.


      You think the left would lose the debate on climate change, trickle-down economics, free and open elections, fiscal competence, basing ideas on science or even embracing science, gun control, civil rights, health care? The blue tsunami of 2018 is an indication that they won the debate on immigration. No f’n wall.

      1. “The blue tsunami of 2018 is an indication that they won the debate on immigration. No f’n wall.”

        I’m mostly not on the side of rustybrown in this particular thread, but this is very poor logic. First, these “waves” have been a known phenomenon for decades. According to, “From 1918 to 2016, the president’s party lost an average of 29 seats in midterm elections.”

        Furthermore, in 2018, the Dems gained 40 Congressional seats. in 2010, the Republicans gained 63 seats. Was the 2010 Republican wave an end to the debate on Obamacare, with America clearly shouting “no f’in Obamacare”? Or “no f’n [insert Obama policy here]”? No.

        1. True enough, BJ. But by raw numbers of total votes and percentages of the electorate, the Democrat’s win in the midterms was overwhelming, and would have been even more decisive in terms of seats won were it not for the ruthless Republican gerrymandering of the House (not to mention Republican voter-suppression efforts) and were it not for the worst Senate map in US history for the Democrats in 2018.

          Republicans looking at those results, and at Trump’s miserable approval ratings, have to be getting nervous, given that the GOP must defend a similarly daunting 22 out of 34 Senate seats in 2020 — and given that Trump, unlike all of his predecessors who’ve suffered a shellacking in the midterms, has done nothing to move toward the center or to broaden his base. To the contrary, he’s become even more entrenched in his unpopular policies, while the scandals surrounding him continue to mount.

          1. It was certainly at least partially a referendum on Trump. It definitely wasn’t a referendum on immigration, though. I have a feeling most people don’t know what we should do about border security, but most people do want something done, and aren’t happy with either party when it comes to that.

          2. Also, while the sheer vote numbers are larger for the Dems in 2018 than they were for the Republicans in 2010, the Republican vote count in 2010 represented a swing of 9.1% in their favor, and an 8.1% downgrade for the Dems. In 2018, the Dems managed a 5.4% swing in their favor, while the Republicans went down 4.9%. 2018 is not an anomaly in any sense.

            2020 will likely be disastrous for Republicans, but, as you noted, that is more due to the map than anything else.

          3. My best prediction is that the Republicans will try to persuade Trump not to run in 2020 and let Pence take over. Pence has remained untouched by the scandals surrounding Trump and has a pretty harmless personality. That would be their best move, if they can pull it off.

          4. There is just one flaw in that idea, and it’s a pretty yuuge one.

            ‘try to persuade Trump’

            How would one go about starting to do that? [vbeg]


          5. I think there’s a good chance Trump doesn’t really want to be President for another five years. If that’s the case, he needs to be convinced that not running again isn’t losing, but winning somehow. Like, “dude, you totally owned that 60% of the country that hates you. You could walk out a hero now and it would be like one last big middle finger to all of them. And think of all the money you could make off of your four years as President. Why waste another four years not making that money? Not running is the best way to win.”

            All he wants is to win. Convince him that leaving is winning.

          6. Sure, I think most GOP pols would much prefer that Trump not run in 2020. But, if Trump’s still around, they’ll have to give him the nomination. If they don’t, he’ll threaten to run as a third-party candidate and take his hardcore, dead-enders (which appears to be about half of all registered Republicans) with him. It would split the GOP, and perhaps finish the Party for good.

            Which is why I think there’s an outside chance Republican senators may eventually decide that impeachment is their most viable option.

            Imagine Republican incumbents facing the prospect of running for reelection having Donald Trump — with a sub-40% approval rating, mired in scandal, and fronting a possibly sluggish economy — at the top of their ticket.

            Mitch McConnell has no interest in giving up his Senate majority leadership. He and the other congressional Republicans may yet be unwilling to follow Donald Trump like lemmings off a cliff.

          7. “Which is why I think there’s an outside chance Republican senators may eventually decide that impeachment is their most viable option.”

            Hell no. Nearly every one of them would lose in their next primary. Maybe the newly elected ones who will still have five years until then could do it, but I doubt it very much.

          8. I’ve zero illusions about Republican senators acting on principle. But I’ve no illusions about Republican senators having any personal loyalty to Trump, either.

            It will all come down to a cold calculus of what is in their political interests. If some senators in the most electoral jeopardy crack, they all may. I think they’d rather hang together than hang alone.

  12. “Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s a party or an ideological flank that I’d like to offer a whole bunch of special treatment to.”

    Nah, Sean, ya ain’t crazy, but you’re sure-as-shit uninformed and jejune.

    College oughta be a time for taking on all comers, intellectually speaking. If not then, when?

    1. The funny thing is that he thinks allowing conservatives to actually speak their ideas out loud in the classroom (or, I guess, any other place on campus that isn’t clubs solely for conservatives) is to give their ideas “special treatment.” Which one is special treatment: allowing all students to speak and discuss their ideas freely, or only allowing left-wing ideas? Remarkable.

  13. If someone wanted to present their case on the benefits of a monarchy would it be better to stop that person from speaking or present a cogent thoughtful rebuttal, which I assume the student has based on his statement in the op-ed. Perhaps he doesn’t which is why he prefers no free speech for all.

  14. Dismiss them all you like kid, but conservatives are your only allies against the 40% who support Trump and the extra 10% that Republicans can easily add to that if they have to.

    1. Which is precisely why we USians have a Bill of Rights — to put certain liberties beyond the whim of the majority.

  15. I don’t think the post is as bad as all that. It is vague in what it is proposing, which opens it up to multiple interpretations as to what he really favors.

    “Rather than stifling debate, dismissing unproductive conservative ideas can open up our opportunities for meaningful discussion.”

    What this really means depends on what the author means by “dismissing” and “meaningful discussion”. Does he mean to include the conservatives in those discussions?

    Unless I missed it, the author doesn’t propose suppressing conservatives’ speech or say anything against free speech. His take on the Republican party in its current mode is not wrong as long as we leave out Never Trumpers.

    ‘There is only so much discourse to go around, and we shouldn’t squander any of it having a balanced discussion on “Should people have to die because they’re poor?”’

    Hard to disagree with that. Still, it is hard to know what the author really hopes to achieve with this. I get the feeling he’s responding to some kind of call for equal time by a conservative group. If so, then I would agree.

    1. The Cuban exile said it. To me, this post also reminds of the communist government propaganda in my youth. But, unlike the Cuban, I am not traumatized because I am at a safe distance from Mr. Lundergan and his wildly proliferating kin.

  16. …the Student Life survey mentioned in the original WU: In Focus piece identified as “very” or “somewhat liberal,” compared with only 8 percent who reported being any degree of “conservative.” … Instead of wasting our time and mental energy on some right-wing argument no one really believes…

    I found this particularly upsetting — dumping on a minority. 8% is not “no one.” And, given the general zeitgeist it’s probably more than 8%, for it surely take courage to admit it. If you’re liberal, the recognition of the rights of the minority to not be ignored is fundamental.

    Would the author accept the same reasoning used against the LBGTQ community?

      1. He says that they should not “feel welcome”. This is an open call for harassment at best and physical attacks at worst (remember when Murray was invited and his host was attacked and injured in the neck). Otherwise, there is a lot of dog whistle in the text, but it is fairly transparent to anyone aware of the Ctrl-Left mindset and the current atmosphere at US campuses.

      2. From what I can tell the “special treatment” consists of allowing conservatives to speak publicly like normal people.

        Sort of the way some conservatives considered it “special treatment” of gay people to allow them to marry like normal people.

        If it’s a flawed argument, it’s a flawed argument.

          1. But he makes clear he’s talking about conservative speech in his article, and he says that they need to stop allowing “unproductive” speech and ideas. What other speech could he possibly be talking about? Unless you take his words out of context, his meaning is quite clear.

          2. True enough but he never makes clear what he means by “stop allowing”. In fact he never says this. He does say that conservatives’ beliefs “aren’t welcome on campus”, conservatives don’t “deserve special consideration”, their ideas are “unproductive”, we shouldn’t “actively accommodate” them, and “their ideas add little value to our discourse”. All of these are vague and may hint at censorship. On the other hand, he concludes with something of a nod to free speech:

            “Of course, we can—we must—allow conservatives to have their conservative clubs and discuss conservative ideas.” And finally,

            “Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s a party or an ideological flank that I’d like to offer a whole bunch of special treatment to.”

            I’m not sure I would give the opposition “special treatment” either, whatever that is.

          3. I mean, you literally quoted him saying that all they need to do is allow them to discuss their ideas in their own clubs. If that’s the only thing they “must” do, then what is the possible implication here other than that they don’t need to allow conservative views to be discussed anywhere else? You’re bending over backwards to misinterpret this article. This is like when you weren’t answering Jerry’s points about free speech. We can’t have a conversation when you simply refuse to address the obvious facts and arguments.

          4. I’m not arguing that the author is for or against censorship, just that we can’t tell from what he’s written here. The fact that he can write all this without nailing it down tells me he is a sloppy thinker or being deliberately vague. Perhaps he is against free speech in practice but doesn’t want to be labeled as such. Who knows?

            As to his “conservative clubs” statement, that could just be his way of saying that he wouldn’t invite conservative speakers on campus but that it is fine if others do. He didn’t call for the conservative clubs to be abolished and he didn’t say that other liberals couldn’t go hear their speakers.

          5. You don’t even need context, you just need to not ignore other sentences in his article. Did you miss this?

            “Similarly, there’s no reason to actively accommodate conservatives—especially fans of the president—because their ideas add little value to our discourse.

            Conservative ideas do not deserve equal consideration to that afforded liberal and left ideas, because conservative ideas are not equal to liberal and left ideas.”

            Please explain how this is open to interpretation.

          6. What do you think he means by “actively accommodate”? It could mean anything. It has been said many times here, by our host and by commenters, that observing free speech does not require one to give bad ideas a platform, which might be one such “active accomodation”. Likewise, “Conservative ideas do not deserve equal consideration” is something a liberal debater might say about their conservative opponent’s thesis.

          7. If you’re going to deny that it’s almost completely impossible to read it in any way but what everyone else read it and as the author clearly intended from the context of his entire article, there is simply no discussion to be had.

          8. He doesn’t call for censorship and mentions conservatives having discussions. I see no other way to read it. He simply asks that they be given no “special considerations”. There’s no way you can twist that into censorship. About the only thing he is clear on is that he doesn’t like conservative ideas. There’s nothing wrong with that. While I wouldn’t dismiss all conservative ideas like he seems to, he certainly has a right to that opinion.

            I rest my case. You have done nothing here to convince me otherwise than to say that everyone else believes as you do. Sorry, but that’s not convincing at all.

    1. Probably not, something I’ve encountered is the idea that the ‘purpose’ of Free Speech is to ‘promote equality’.

      If speech does not promote equality, then it should not be free and the person uttering the speech is a Fascist and has NO rights.

      That is the danger with this viewpoint, those who agree with the speaker and their positions are protected, those who disagree are not.

  17. I think there are quite a number of conservative arguments that are not worth hearing:

    1. Climate change is not real, and even if it is, it not caused by humans.

    2. There is lots of voter fraud, that’s why we need restrictive voter ID laws.

    3. Illegal immigrants are all robbers and rapists, so they must be stopped with a wall.

    4. Tax cuts for the wealthy will induce them to build lots of factories that will employ and grow the middle class.

    And so on.

    Each of these is based on lies, not facts. They are the political equivalent of creationism, and on their own merits they do not deserve the respectability afforded by a public debate.

    Which is not to say that all conservative ideas are based on falsehood and should be ignored. The cap-and-trade system behind the Clean Air Act is great.

    However, the more that conservatives trade in arguments based on falsehoods, the more people on the left will want to dismiss all conservatives out of hand. Every time Morning Edition (NPR radio) brings on a Republican, and he starts spinning more lies, my emotional response is to find it that much harder to respect any conservative. The cumulative effect of all of this lying is corrosive, and it is a real shame.

    1. Many would argue about your No. 3 and 4. I would not say that ALL illegal immigrants are robbers and rapists, and I’d call this a strawman, but I’d say that any government is obliged to prevent illegal entry, and border fences are a standard means to achieve this goal in Europe and Israel. And my country, after abandoning the counterproductive progressive tax, has a flat tax and better revenue. If non-conservatives had addressed these points seriously, esp. the former one, the world might have been spared Trump.

    2. These are strawmen. People of every stripe use false stats and BS “facts” to support their arguments. You’ve conflated the policy positions with the falsehoods sometimes used to promote them.

      On point one: most conservatives now admit that climate change is real and at least partially driven by human activity. The question on point one is how big a deal it is and how to handle it.

      On point two: the question is how much voter fraud there is, and what to do about it. While I disagree with restrictive voter ID laws, I don’t think it’s an argument “not worth hearing.” Regardless of what I think, it’s still a legitimate policy proposal, and there are many, many different types of voter ID laws, so you can’t just throw them all into one bin and be done with it.

      On point three: the question is about immigration, both legal and illegal. How many people should we let into our country legally, and how should we decide who they are? How should we handle border security?

      On point four: there are many different types of economic models. Decreasing taxes for the rich won’t induce them to build factories, etc., but there are still arguments to be made that aren’t based on BS. Again, I don’t agree with them, but you’re conflating the BS arguments some people use with the policy position so you can dismiss the position out of hand.

      What you did can easily be done with any party, ideology, or political movement.

      1. To me, your confusing Republican politicians with Republican voters. When I read Charlie’s comment, I assumed he was speaking at politicians, not their constituents.

        Point 1: Republican leaders don’t admit climate change is real. Trump spent exactly 0 seconds discussing the issue in his State of the Union.

        Point 2: the question isn’t about how much voter fraud there is. That question has already been answered; there is virtually none. (I hope you don’t need a citation.) Based on the fact of no voter fraud, special voter id’s are most definitely an argument “not worth hearing”. Just because there are a lot of different voter id laws does not give them legitimacy. How does your logic lead to this? States like Washington, California and Oregon (among others) that actually encourage the populace to vote will never entertain the regressive idea of a superfluous “voter id”. States that embrace Democracy don’t purge voters, stop ex-felons to vote, cross-check, etc.

        3. I agree. But a wall is beyond stupid. Immigration is far from the most pressing issue facing America anyway. “The Wall” is simply Trump’s device for rhetorical demagoguery. Trump and his supporters are obviously obsessed by His wall, so the broader questions you ask above are lost in this single-solution approach. Republicans aren’t asking the questions you ask. They are taking a cleaver to solutions that have worked in the past…like work visas and DACA and a leash on ICE. Thanks to Miller.

        4. Trickle down economics has been proven at least twice in America (will be a 3rd time under Trump) that it doesn’t work. Period. End stop. I agree that Charlie’s argument is thin here, but I think he’s talking about the general bullshit of trickle-down that started with Reagan and has proven disastrous for the majority of Americans since.

        Again, I want to stress; I’m talking here about Republican policies, not the electorate. I don’t see straw men or the ability to attribute this to “any party, ideology or political movement.”

        1. First of all, Charlie Jones said “conservative arguments.” Second, I don’t think he’s right even if you’re talking about Republican politicians, because now you’re just conflating all of them into one giant blob of specific ideas, which is not how real life works. Plenty of Republican politicians now accept global warming and that human beings play a role in it.

          I’m not going to go through the rest of this yet again.

  18. Additional note, I too am a Cuban immigrant.

    The campus progressives, as well as many in the Democratic party, are near ideological copies of the tactics and ways that Communist totalitarians approached, and continue to approach, ideas they consider heretical.

    Bit of homework: Google “Tania Bruguera”, an artist, and see how the regime deals with her. She is somewhat protected by her international fame.

  19. Please excuse the multiple postings. But, another question:

    Let’s say it is satire, What difference does that intent make if the content matches so closely the thoughts and actions of many on campus and elsewhere?

    In other words, what is true on campus and elsewhere is indistinguishable from parody.

    1. If it’s satire, the people being satirized can make a better case that the opposition is creating a Straw Man because their views don’t match the parody. In fact, if the majority of people being satirized spot right off that it’s not something they’re likely to write, they’ve got a good case.

  20. “Similarly, there’s no reason to actively accommodate conservatives….because their ideas add little value to our discourse.” “Conservative ideas do not deserve equal consideration to that afforded liberal and left ideas.”

    The cream of the jest is that young Mr. Lundegren asserts that conservative thoughts should be dismissed from the public sphere because conservatives constitute a small minority (but evidently the wrong kind of minority). Our campus pop-Leftists call exclusion “Inclusion”, call the dismissal of alternative views “Diversity”, and identify this utterly illiberal outlook as “Liberal”. Underneath Lundegren’s dicta you might hear a dry, ghostly chuckle from the shade of George Orwell. [I concede that Lundegren’s editorial might, just conceivably, be satire.]

    BTW, the comment from the Cuban-American student brings up an important implication. The more Lundegren & Co. come to dominate general perceptions of “The Left”, the more all other ideas associated with the Left will be tarred by exactly this association—just as Florida Cuban-Americans, as a result of their experiences in their home country, instinctively vote Republican here.

    1. You are right that the Left (what a pun!) becomes associated with nonentities such as Lundegren, it will be hurt. Time will tell whether any significant number of voters will be dissuaded from voting for Democrats (which Rightists invariably associate incorrectly with extreme Leftists) because of the ramblings of college students. I think not. People vote based on their perceptions of the world around them and what candidates will enact policies they approve of. They don’t scour the Internet to be vexed by the likes of Lundegren.

        1. If AOC’s “Green New Deal” ever becomes a serious piece of legislation, it will likely be much more mainstream than is reflected by her current rhetoric and will have solid, respected, and seasoned politicians behind it. Assuming AOC is still around by then, her arguments will likely come from the playbook created by the coalition supporting the bill.

  21. Nice rebuttal Jerry…now if only Student Life would publish it.

    I’m curious to know if today’s rampant misunderstanding of free-speech starts in High School or even earlier. An off-shoot of helicopter parenting perhaps? Or maybe caused by the decline of teaching civics? I know it’s a complicated issue, but there never seems to be much thought about its root cause other than- it starts on campus.

  22. A minor point: It is natural for young people to think that the world begins with them and their time (I used to be the same), but Mr. Lundergan’s contempt to past realms of human thought is extreme. I actually think it might be good if middle-school chemistry courses began with a historical review including the struggles, errors and achievements of alchemists. Someone (Titania McGrath?) should inform him that his attitude to alchemy borders Islamophobia!

  23. ” the service of truth is nothing other than the service of freedom.”
    no one is or should be exempt from this service. The problem is the motivation and desire to find it and work it out. Any extremes of left and right ideology seem to bring the worst of human nature with it.
    Human genetic influence like the innate propensity to be ‘left’ or ‘right’, extrovert or introvert plus environment one does not have a choice, tolerance is your only option in the ‘service of truth and freedom.’
    Biases as we all know if not paying attention is subject to selective hearing or not hearing at all.
    I think the gist of the post is correct, if you have not heard the other side and everything inbetween how are you to gauge your position and correct it if need be for further discourse, for the purpose of moving on.
    The student author? is in a rush to bury these conservatives regardless and i thought i was on the short end. Nevertheless so much for truth if you think your in possession of it and it’s perfect.

  24. Intelligent people deliberately not exposing themselves to arguments that a sizeable portion of the population adhere to, as well as being actively promoted by politicians on one side of the political spectrum. How could this possibly end badly…

  25. “Would Lundergan even be able to defend his own views on abortion and immigration?”

    I am not convinced Lundergan would be able to defend his own views based on evidence and logic, regardless of what others had to say. The Regressive Left seems to be undermining their own claims to intellectual respectability while also denying it to others. Why on earth should someone believe their claims over those of their opposition?

    But more seriously, when I hear folks on the Right reasonably and rationally picking the Left’s arguments apart, when I see the Left playing the part of the stereotypical “Libruls” the Right so loves to taunt and make fun of, I fear the unearned credibility leftists are lending to the Right, potentially driving voters either back to Trump or to stay home on election day.

  26. This was highly disturbing for me to read. I can’t imagine why you would want to make a substantial portion of your incoming freshmen students feel unwelcome an alienated. Has it come to this? Students can say what they want in their own paper, but I hope that the university addresses and denounces this.

  27. The most charitable take on this I can come up with this is the position that one could put like this:

    – (oppressed group) has won its freedom to some degree
    – conservative X argues against this winning of freedom, or more commonly, acts to diminish it
    – hence to avoid retread, we should not listen to X

    This has some merit. However, the conclusion is too broad. Moreover it ignores that “conservative” is vague – in the US it is often taken to mean “Republican” when it should really read “Democrat”, with “Republican” read “radical on the right”.

  28. I do remember the age where Liberals were the biggest advocates of free speech, but it has turned so much on its head that I wonder sometimes if that time was just a dream. The attack on freedom of speech and freedom of thought is one of the major reasons I stopped being a liberal. I can’t support censorship. Freedom of speech and thought are a cornerstone of Western Civilization, and without it our values and beliefs will decline without freedom.

    1. Surely that’s not why you quit being a liberal. Most liberals still believe in free speech, as do most (all?) readers and commenters on this website. I have to believe that most liberals in the US still support free speech. The SJWs dominate the news but they are still in the minority as far as I can tell.

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