Friday, January 06, 2012

What's a Conservative Student to Do?

NPR interviewed three student editors of the Dartmouth Review, to get their perspective on the upcoming New Hampshire primary.  The most interesting part comes near the end:
On The Anti-Intellectualism That Some See Starting To Define The Party
Neff: "There is an intellectual atrophy. Republicans use to be the party of strong fiscal policy. Now it is the party of tax cuts. It's not an intellectual approach to just talk about cutting taxes. I feel there's a lot of populism choking off what could be cool new ideas. On education, on immigration."

Riley: "The most troubling part of the rightward shift, for someone like me who believes in evolution and the climate change issue, has been the anti-intellectualism that has infected that. I don't know if candidates actually believe what they're saying, or are just saying dumb things intentionally to appeal to the lowest common denominator."


Anonymous said...

It doesn't so much matter if the US public schools teach evolution or not. From a plutocracy perspective, the Plutocratic elite can send their legacies to private schools that teach evolution and real science and get a leg up on private and religious school children who get an incomplete education.

Evolution is one more issue that can drive the privatization of public schools and put a larger portion of the massive amount of money spent on education in the for profit sphere. Education is a multi-billion dollar potential business. Privatization of education opens a pipeline from the State and Federal Tax coffers to the crony corporate trough. There is a natural alliance between plutocrats and the religious right.

Our colleges and corporations can still recruit the best and brightest biology students from China, Korea or India where they have no compunction about teaching evolution and science in their K12 equivalents. Corporations are bought into evolution because it is at the root of genetic engineering.

There are religious groups that are very seriously anti-evolution and anti-evolution is one way that candidates can show their tribal allegiance to the religious right. There are plenty of incentives to be anti-evolution even if a candidate does not share the fundamentalist "belief" that evolution is "wrong".

On climate change, it really does not matter what Republican candidates believe because the BigOil Money will throttle any policy that cuts into their BigOil profits. If there were a way for BigOil to make money from lowering carbon dioxide emissions, we would have climate change legislation tomorrow. Incentives matter. When the potential profits from lowering carbon dioxide exceed the profits from the status quo, we will begin to see movement.

Right now most College students are completely turned off to politics. These three seem under enthusiastic. Mr Riley needs to get with the program if he wants to move up in the conservative media world.

-jonny bakho

mike shupp said...

At some point, you have to throw in the towel. Being anti-gay, anti-Hispanic, anti-science, anti-union, etc. isn't a "bug" in contemporary conservatism, it's a feature. The feature; it's the cement holding the political coalition together, and if you want that coalition to prevail you have to come to terms with those goals.

Suppose a group of teenaged kids from early 1940's Germany appeared before you who wished to make the case that National Socialism had done wonderful things -- it had brought together all the real German people, whether poor or rich, and made the country prosperous, and spurred a cultural revival that no one but fraudulent "cosmopolitans" could deny. Granted, there were some flaws, like antisemitism and concentration camps and secret police and militarism, but basically National Socialism was A-OK and its opponents should just be patient and give Germany a fair chance! What could we say, at this point in time? "Sure, you're absolutely right kids?" Or would we just sigh and tell our armored division commanders "On to Berlin!"

There's much to be said for free market economics, I'll agree. There's much to be said for conservative critiques of liberal social programs. We need to contemplate conservative notions of elites and social structure. But do we need present day "conservative" politics? I don't see it.

On to Berlin, today! (It is, if memory serves, a city in New Hampshire.)

distantdrummer said...

I can see that their is some serious thought being given to education and its effect on our society's future. In less than a year we will have an election that will definitely have an effect on our society. Global warming, 'big oil'and the privatization of education are important issues. The more immediate question is; "who will be the next president"? I do not believe that any one factor effects society more than 'war'. For the past sixty years we have had, 'on and off' wars. Consider how that vast amount of money spent, might of benefited the country ,had it been invested here.In the last weeks of 2011, President Obama rushed to get the troops out of Iraq. He did this because the Iraqi government refused to extend immunity for war crimes to US soldiers as of 2012.That was all it took for the war to be over. It begs the question, if it was as simple as giving the order to pull the troops, why did Mr. Obama not do so earlier? He had been in office for almost three years. Think about the families that lost soldiers during this time. For too long, we have had leaders that seem to be unaccountable to anyone for their actions. This has to stop if we really want to see our society become greater. Using art, I hope to engage political conversation. Voice your vote.