('76 Contributors) People seem resigned to America as a nation of fragmented political groups. We are separated—red state, blue state; Republican and Democrat, liberal against conservative; and so on. Americans have different viewpoints, and there is no way we can agree on issues, so goes the argument. Our once distinguishing motto, E Pluribus Unum,—out of many, one—seems to many outdated and unattainable.
Of course, people are not going to agree on matters ranging from birth control and religion in public places to our health care system and foreign policy. However, we ought to be able to agree upon a set of principles that are central to democratic thinking. Otherwise, our republic is in jeopardy.
Americans need to understand the United States as an idea sustained through debate. This debate is about the tension between core American values. To participate productively, citizens must develop and cultivate a democratic mind capable of debating two conflicting values while noting the essential merit of both. It doesn’t matter if a person is Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, capitalist or socialists, religious or non-believer, white, black, brown, or yellow.
The mark of an enlightened citizen is the ability to reconcile four sets of values: 1) law versus ethics, 2) private wealth versus common wealth, 3) freedom versus equality, and 4) unity versus diversity. These value pairs or tensions are inherently antagonistic, yet together hold the promise for a good society. Let’s briefly explain each value tension.
We describe the United States as a nation of laws and believe in the rule of law with the duty of citizens to abide by laws. At the same time, many American heroes have been lawbreakers. George Washington led a rebellion against his sovereign government; he was a traitor. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and violated a Supreme Court ruling to maintain the union of American states. Rosa Parks broke the law on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to advocate for civil rights. The list goes on. How will American citizens balance the law with ethics and advance the cause of liberty and justice in the twenty-first century?
America’s quest for private wealth has been a driving force behind the nation’s economic development. Yet, investment in the public infrastructure—schools and universities, streets and highways, electric grids, gas utilities, and even parks, hospitals, libraries, and museums—benefit private businesses. Maintaining the common wealth enhances private wealth, but without thriving industries, tax revenues would not be available to adequately support public goods and services. How will we revitalize the nation’s aging infrastructure of old bridges, frayed electrical systems, deteriorating schools, and inadequate levees and also build the new technological infrastructure that the 21st century demands?
The balance between freedom and equality is an essential fabric of American democracy. When conventional wisdom favors freedom, resources and money flow into the hands of the few. Left unattended the imbalance of wealth and power undermines democracy. In contrast, when government acts aggressively to redistribute wealth in the name of compassion and economic justice, personal liberty suffers.
With a growing disparity in wealth and income among its citizens, made greater by recent economic policies, are we at the dawn of a new “gilded age” in America with power shifting from the many to the few?
One of the finest achievements of the United States has been to create a stable, political culture made up of different languages, religious traditions, and races. But unity has been a persistent struggle. Typically, new immigrants to America over the years have faced discrimination, distrust, and abuse while occupying the bottom of the nation’s job chain. Economic diversity has always been evident, but the power of opportunity has been a unifying impulse for all. We have been a place for many religious denominations. And we have reveled in our regionalism as northerners, southerners, midwesterns, westerners and more while fiercely maintaining a loyal nationality.
Nowadays, we find people clustered into like-minded groups, as a result of the power of media combined with the decline in civic education. People of different persuasions increasingly sort themselves in isolated communities, viewing slanted cable TV, and listening to divisive talk radio. Can we retain the rich balance between unity and diversity that has been so important to us as a nation?
Taken to their logical ends, freedom leads to anarchy, equality to collectivism, diversity to tribalism, unity to totalitarianism, common wealth to communism, private wealth to plutocracy, law to fascism, and ethics to nihilism. Together, in a dynamic civil debate, they represent the ethos and aims of the United States.
Students would take a much greater interest in history and civics were it approached from the proposition that “representative democracy is developed and sustained through debate.” And citizens could more effectively address national issues viewing them through a prism of the value tensions.
This essay was jointly written by Richard D. Van Scotter, H. Michael Hartoonian, and William E. White. They are the authors of a new digital history and civics program for high school students developed by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia.
(CCU Faculty) As a professor of European history, I often travel to where tolerance supposedly reigns supreme. Many Europeans consider Americans to be very intolerant. During my last visit to Britain, while in the social hall of an Anglican parish, I endured over an hour long tirade on how ignorant and intolerant Americans were. The speaker was Laurence, a leftwing intellectual and lay leader of the parish, who decried Americans protesting against the mosque at ground zero. I found his arrogance extremely hard to tolerate, as he lumped all Americans together as ignorant bigoted tea partiers, who supported Sarah Palin, whom he equated with Adolph Hitler.
How much should we tolerate? Should I have tolerated Laurence’s tirade? I did. Should we tolerate the mosque at ground zero? I would. But how much do those supposedly tolerant people tolerate me? Do they tolerate those who smoke, those who wear fur, or those who voice their opinions on whether a mosque should be built at ground zero?
As a graduate student at the University of California, a seminal work in my doctoral research on toleration in late 17th century England was John Locke’s Letter on Toleration. A key quote from that book is Locke’s declaration that “Every man is orthodox in his own eyes.” Laurence is convinced that he is right, the protestors at ground zero are convinced they are right, and the Muslims wanting to build that mosque at ground zero are convinced they are right. Locke concluded, that the government has no right to persecute those who follow the dictates of their own conscience, but he never advocated that individuals be forced to abandon the dictates of their conscience, or deny others their right to peacefully criticize what they find objectionable.
At an interfaith gathering in a “progressive” church here in Colorado the topic was toleration. To the best of my knowledge I was the only conservative in attendance. At my table sat a Sufi Muslim, a new age guru, an openly lesbian clergywoman, and a DU professor of religion. The professor declared that toleration was insufficient. What was needed, he advocated, was something greater…affirmation. It wasn’t enough merely to tolerate another person’s aberration, we must affirm it. Those who refused to affirm the aberrant idea or behavior were considered intolerant. I responded, that I preferred the word “toleration”, for to affirm every aberration may violate certain values which I held. He was clearly uncomfortable with the fact that I even had values, at least any values that would not allow me to affirm the aberrant views of others.
I continue to prefer toleration to affirmation. I can put up with things with which I disagree, yet still wish to maintain my own values. However, when forced to affirm what violates my values, I lose my freedom to hold those values. Surely the value of freedom trumps toleration or even affirmation. I will allow others the freedom to be aberrant, but they must allow me the freedom to disagree. How ironic it would be for us to impose tyranny in the name of toleration.
If Scripture is authoritative, it should guide not only religion on Sundays, but politics, economics, and academics the other six days of the week. That's the premise of the Saint Louis Statement, a position paper issued by some friends of mine.
They were concerned about the many Christian schools and churches that buy into relativist, collectivist, and leftist ideas in disregard of biblical teachings to the contrary. We can all think of examples. (Colorado Christian University, sponsor of this blog, thankfully is not one of them; not in the least.)
The statement, entitled "The Bible, the Republic, the Economy, and the Academy," is posted here. Those of us already listed as signers welcome comments and discussion, as well as anyone wishing to add his or her signature.
Faced with another fellow’s misfortune, some genuinely yearn to help. Some believe that they do, although they may not acknowledge a less honorable motive, not even to themselves. Some witting or not truly seek either ego-strokes or control or both.
A profoundly significant difference delineates the truly humane helper from the self-serving one: their objective -- for the genuine helper, a beneficiary; for the others, power. But determining the subtle distinction requires seeing beneath their surface similarity.
The false helper’s quarry is people who have been, or can be persuaded that they have been, victimized. When a helper identifies a victim, he offers to alleviate the victim’s real or imagined hardship. It doesn’t matter whether or not the helper actually can significantly change anything, or even whether or not he actually intends to try. The objective has been gained.
But at whose cost? The false helper will not pay. Rather, he will find a means for luring or forcing others to do so. Worse, the victim pays with his freedom and his dignity.
Except for those self-activating ones who refuse the role, the victimization sequence becomes self-perpetuating. Once defined as a victim, the susceptible person absorbs the role of helpless dependence. The acquiescent victim comes to require subsidies, special treatment and privileges, emotional and financial support, ever more aid. Spiraling downward, the “victim” finally does indeed become a victim, ruined by the helper -- well-meant or insidious.
In the July-August 2010 Centennial Review and his presentation at the 2010 Western Conservative Summit, author and business professor Arthur Brooks observed that, far less than monetary rewards, it is satisfaction that motivates achievers. Effective people crave a sense of accomplishment. By drowning a victim in welfare and ease, the helper denies him of any chance for achievement and robs him of his self-worth.
Moreover, Brooks noted, the satisfaction-starved victim naturally becomes increasingly unhappy. Never strengthened and thus never empowered to surmount life’s challenges, the victim cannot savor simple contentment. Thus the victim develops a genuine grievance.
At that point the true helper feels deep frustration, for his well-intentioned efforts have only worsened the victim’s plight. But, for the false self-serving helper, this is the moment! Now he has power and control. Now his ego gleams.
All false helpers gain a powerful ego-rush. What could be more self-elevating than the role of rescuer? By declaring another as victim, the helper feels soaringly superior.
So addictive is this ego-rush, self-serving helpers constantly seek out new victims -- unsuccessful people, threatened species, even our planet. Find or conjure a problem, declare an enemy, sally into the limelight, bask in the warm glow of feeling powerful and significant and popular.
That woeful victimization sequence also demonstrates the fundamental and lasting difference between Conservatives and the Left. Of course, Conservatives demand fiscal responsibility and Constitutionality. In addition, Conservatives care deeply about social and environment problems. Indeed, Conservatives’ generosity and efforts in aid of true misfortune outshines any doubt. Nonetheless, Conservatives address suffering entirely differently.
First, Conservatives do not create victims because Conservatives do not seek the power, the control, nor the ego-rush. Quite the contrary, Conservatives cherish independence and empowerment for all.
Even more illustrative is the means that Conservatives or the Left apply to alleviating problems. The Left immediately calls forth the State, legislating regulations and compelling taxpayer support. In contrast, when a Conservative encounters a genuine problem, he pursues a solution on his own or through the voluntary cooperation of like-minded companions perhaps a civic club, faith group or local charity.
The Left’s goal is diminishing the victim to perpetual dependency, whereas the Conservative’s goal is restoring him to success. Conservatives work to empower individuals, whereas the Left culls power from citizens to the State.
All Statist regimes, even the originally well-intentioned, must garner more and more power over an ever wider spectrum of activities involving larger and larger segments of the population. The eventual outcome is tyranny. Thus the helpers become oppressors and we all become the State’s victims.
Simón Bolivár concisely declaimed this dire destination, “A state too extensive in itself or … its dependencies ultimately falls into decay, its free government … into tyranny; it … finally degenerates into despotism….”
How to escape this devolution into tyranny? Preserving precious individual freedom requires courage, perseverance and vigilance, ever asserting our right to self-activation, ever rejecting intrusive “help.” Preserving individual freedom further requires demanding adherence to Constitutional limits on overweening government. Individual freedom must have as its foundation the Rule of Law. As truly compassionate helpers, we Conservatives strengthen our fellow citizens and thus strengthen our nation to withstand the false self-serving helpers’ persistent onslaught. Then we may all thrive.
(Denver Post, July 4) Hecklers, on guard. On this Independence Day, in a stormy election year when Americans are out of sorts, I’m fool enough to mount a soapbox and orate upon the proposition that “politics” should be an honored word, not a dirty word, in our vocabulary.
Politics deserves its bad name, you scoff. It’s a hustle wherein we are lied to and led on, defrauded and dumped on. H. L. Mencken nailed it, you say, when he groused that an election is but an advance auction of stolen goods. Will Rogers was right that just as “con” is the opposite of “pro,” so Congress is the opposite of progress. Fie upon the politicians, the parties, and all their tribe.
I concede your indictment up to a point. But before you let fly with the rotten vegetables, remember that the Greek derivation of POLITICS, 2500 years and counting, simply denotes those things concerning the community, or CITY, and its individual members, or CITIZENS. Can we write off those things? Not unless we’re prepared to live in solitude as hermits or in servitude as slaves. I’ll take my chances with politics, messy as it is.
Like any human endeavor, politics can be done in a noble way or a base way. July 4 commemorates the noblest political moment of all – our nation’s birth in genius, blood, and fire. But the Fourth also looks forward, reminding us how timeless our political challenges are across the centuries, powdered wigs and parchments aside.
Prove it to yourself today by reading quickly through the Declaration of Independence. The Framers, after a lofty opening argument on “laws of nature” and “self-evident truths,” enumerate specific grievances like hammer-blows to pound home the case for change. They deliver (speaking of indictments) a 27-count rap sheet convicting king and parliament of intolerable misrule.
It’s as gritty as a police blotter and, at many points, as current as this hour’s 9News crawl. You’ll notice amazing relevance of these issues from 234 summers ago, into a 2010 campaign over whether Betsy Markey and the Democrats or Cory Gardner and the Republicans control Congress; whether Colorado’s legislature stays with the Dems under Sen. Brandon Shaffer or shifts to the GOP under Sen. Mike Kopp.
Jot a number by each itemized act of tyranny, and follow along with my examples. Taxation without consent, top of the Cliff Notes but only Item 17 for the revolutionaries, remains a flashpoint for TABOR defenders today. Immigration and ill-defended borders, Items 7 and 27, fester still as the Arizona model beckons many Coloradans.
Bureaucratic bloat with “swarms of officers to harass our people,” Item 10, will be a target as McInnis or Maes battles Hickenlooper for governor. Judicial impartiality and accountability, Items 8 and 9, will animate this year’s Clear the Bench campaign. Redistricting, Item 3, will polarize next year’s legislature.
Correlating the colonists’ complaints to issues in present-day Washington is equally easy. Civil-military jealousies, Item 12; federalism, Item 2; trade, Item 16; and counter-terrorism laxity allowing “merciless savages” to plot “undistinguished destruction,” Item 27, all have their 2010 counterparts.
As the Bible observes, there’s nothing new under the sun. Ever since Samuel warned the Israelites in 1100 BC that they would regret forsaking decentralized rule under the judges for a centralized monarchy – because taxes might hit 10 percent! – the struggle between limited and unlimited government has raged.
Peruse the magnificent Declaration for five minutes before you sleep tonight, and you’ll know what the men and women of 1776 knew: Politics matters inescapably. Unchecked, political power will “eat out our substance” and “reduce us under absolute despotism.” But harnessed to “the consent of the governed,” it can uphold both liberty and community. The choice is ours.
Bill Armstrong and I as conveners of Western Conservative Summit 2010, together with Centennial Institute Fellows Kevin Miller and Greg Schaller, have drafted a statement of vision and principles for American conservatives in the coming decade, entitled "Freedom in the Balance: The Lone Tree Declaration."
The declaration will be taken up on Saturday, July 10, by participants at the Summit, which is scheduled for July 9-11 at the Denver Marriott South. (The hotel is in a town called Lone Tree, with mountain views south to Pike's Peak and north to Long's Peak.)
We will invite all to add their names as signers. Afterward, the Lone Tree Declaration will remain on a dedicated website where conservatives across the country can affix their signatures as well. Here is the text:
FREEDOM IN THE BALANCEThe Lone Tree Declaration
Proposed for Signing by Participants atWestern Conservative Summit 2010July 9-11, 2010
We gather as grateful Americans, on the week of Independence Day, in the shadow of the Continental Divide at Lone Tree, Colorado. Our signatures on this declaration, to which we invite others not present to add their names as well, affirm six tenets of who we are and what we stand for:
1. In our adherence to the self-evident truths of the American Founding, we are conservatives.
2. In our debt to the civilizational heritage of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia, we are Westerners.
3. In our concern for the mounting threat to liberty, seeing freedom in the balance, we convene with solemn purpose at this Summit.
4. We seek a conservative renewal for our country through civic action that puts principle above party, resists the corruption of power, bridges intramural disagreements or rivalries, and protects an open public square centered on the nation’s Judeo-Christian core.
5. We commit ourselves unswervingly to a political and social order that upholds individual freedom and personal responsibility, limited government and the rule of law, free enterprise and private property, traditional family values and sanctity of life, compassion for the poor and voluntarism in service to others, natural law and morality, strong defense and secure borders, all in keeping with the original intent of the Constitution.
6. We reject, and will resist, the socialist temptation, transnational progressivism, secular utopian illusions, appeasement, disarmament, or capitulation to jihad and sharia.
Reminding our compatriots that with 2010 America enters a decisive decade for its survival as a free society, and appealing to God for His mercy and help, we declare our fidelity to the Spirit of 1776. To its revival we mutually pledge our solemn faith.
Proposed on July 2, 2010, by:
John AndrewsDirector, Centennial Institute
William L. ArmstrongPresident, Colorado Christian University
Kevin MillerChairman, National Freedom Initiative
Gregory SchallerAssistant Professor of Political ScienceColorado Christian University
(Centennial Fellow) As we observe the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July, we should consider the unique form of government for which our Founding Fathers chose to risk “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” against the militarily-superior British. The definitive passage in the Declaration reads: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In these 57 words, the Founders established that: • Our rights -- better understood as "freedoms" -- are given to us by a power higher than government. No matter what you believe about creation or evolution, you must acknowledge that government did not give us life. • Government's legitimate purpose is to protect the rights of the people. Just as government did not give us life, it did not give us our rights. • Government's legitimate powers are limited to only those given to it by the people. "The whole point was to show how government might arise legitimately, not to assume its existence," writes constitutional scholar Roger Pilon in "The Purpose and Limits of Government" published by Cato Institute. Pilon's insights are particularly useful because, as a libertarian, he does not advance a religious conservative agenda. Yet he acknowledges that the Founders' common view of "the laws of Nature and Nature's God" provide the cornerstone for all that follows: We hold these truths to be self-evident.... The signers of the Declaration didn't negotiate and compromise to define truth. They agreed that certain fundamental truths were obvious. For example: ...That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... In that each of us exists because of the same creative process, the rights to which each of us are entitled are necessarily equal. Such rights are best understood as freedom from interference, whether by government or by other people which, of course, implies that others are entitled to be free from our interference. Freedom encompasses not simply the opportunity to make choices but the responsibility for those choices. Freedom does not mean that, because my choice seems superior, I can bend others to my will through the power of government, nor does it mean that when I make an irresponsible choice I am immune from consequences. ...That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Once the Founders established a broad universe of rights, they discussed government, its sole purpose to protect those rights. Again it is imperative to understand "rights" as freedoms — not as an entitlement taken at the expense of another. When government legitimately protects our freedom, it simply does that which we have a right to do ourselves. By contrast, government does not act legitimately if it secures my rights by taking the life, liberty or property of someone else. When the rights of two people may conflict and neither can fully exercise freedom without adversely affecting the other, the Founders reasoned that in these circumstances, the boundaries between competing rights ought to be drawn by the people whom government serves. However, "consent of the governed" does not empower majority rule to deny freedom to the minority. This concept of a vast ocean freedoms and tiny islands of government power bears little resemblance to our federal government today, which is why it is so vitally important that we understand the foundation of our government before electing someone to lead it. As Ronald Reagan warned, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Mark Hillman is a Centennial Institute Fellow. He formerly served as Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
Well, well. So my former legislative colleague and adversary Andrew Romanoff now styles himself a man of "backbone" in the Democratic Senate primary against Michael Bennet. Interesting since for upwards of 15 years, as Lynn Bartels noted in a Denver Post blog, yours truly has been using the imaginary town of Backbone Colorado USA to symbolize the qualities Americans must uphold if our country is to survive.
Given that Andrew, the liberal Democrat, and Andrews, the conservative Republican, agree on little besides our love for the Broncos, one of us must be dealing wooden nickels. Which is it?
Is backbone more truly expressed in the self-reliance, self-restraint, and self-assertiveness that built this free society, and in the rock-ribbed original Constitution that guards our liberties -- or in the manipulation and government dependency exemplified in Romanoff's approach to such issues as health care and energy, facilitated by an invertebrate Constitution easily bent by imperial judges?
I'd love to debate the brainy and likable Romo about this, but he is no doubt busy with other things until the primary in August; perhaps all the way to November; and just possibly for six years of a Senate term after that. As to the latter, I hope not. The wishbone he mistakenly calls spine is already far too prevalent in Washington, DC.
('76 Contributor) Father Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., is well aware of me and my personal conservative activism on the Regis University campus. When the university’s president arrived at my table, where my family and I were seated, at the Family Weekend breakfast in September, he looked down at me, shook my hand and joke, “So, what evil are you up to today, Jimmy?”
With many campus presidents, that might be a signal of the kiss of death. But at Regis, that’s not the case at all. In fact, this humorous greeting was playfully done with a smile on Father Sheeran’s face, demonstrating the humor and lack of sincerity in the question. I cannot say for certain where he stands politically, but I do know where his institution lies when it comes to academic freedom: 100% behind it.
I recently watched the film Indoctrinate U, an excellent, insightful documentary about the extreme left-wing, liberal bias on college campuses in America. The film explores the common practice amongst universities and colleges across the country—the so-called “safe-havens” of academic freedom—to shun or disadvantage expressions of conservative views on campus. This includes professors, students, faculty and staff.
Wikipedia defines academic freedom as “the belief that the freedom of inquiry by students…is essential to the mission of the academy, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts…without being targeted for repression, job loss or imprisonment.”
While there is, as most students seem to agree, a decidedly liberal slant amongst Regis faculty (a tendency for universities throughout the country), when it comes to student expression of views, Regis deserves a great deal of praise and credit for standing true to this doctrine and following through with the principles therein. In doing so, they permit various views on political and religious issues to be expressed, including conservative perspectives, which are often discriminated against on the college campus.
I would like to cite my own personal experiences in my first two years here to underscore this, specifically my position on Regis’s Highlander student newspaper, the weekly radio talkshow I host (“Seng Center”) and my status as President of the Regis College Republicans.
First, with regard to the Highlander, I take pride in helping preside over a paper that welcomes the views of all students, regardless of ideology or viewpoint, to join the staff or submit letters to the editor. If you’ve been reading the paper and have noticed my consistent array of conservative-leaning articles over the last year, rest assured that this is not because I have brought some “right-wing bias” to the Highlander. It is because I choose most frequently to publish perspectives pieces, just as others have their favored sections.
Anyone can do it, and I strongly encourage more students and faculty alike to take advantage of the chance to submit articles of their own on virtually any issue, political or otherwise, when the paper reboots next semester.
But the critical point with the Highlander is this: Oftentimes, many conservative students are passed over from publishing political opinion pieces on an edition-by-edition basis due to their ideological standpoint; moreover, I have heard stories about quiet discrimination against conservatives in leadership positions at other colleges, or about students’ difficulty in distributing papers on campus, even though the publication follows the rules (such as a recent Auraria campus case).
Not only have I not encountered any problems with expressing my views on issues here at Regis—no one else has, either. At least, not since I’ve been here. This goes for all political persuasions—liberal, conservative and otherwise.
Then there’s my weekly radio show, Seng Center. Anyone who walks outside on the Quad between the hours of 6 and 8 on Thursday nights can’t without hearing, for better or worse, my loud voice blaring across the Quad, talking about politics from a clearly conservative perspective, with such guests as Republican U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff.
Moreover, it is the only radio show of its kind on Regis’s KRCX radio station (and in Colorado, to my knowledge), and it streams online as well. Thus, it indirectly but indiscretely represents Regis.
Easily I could be censored, as happens on many colleges, to present a certain “preferred image.” I could be denied the program because of some sense for an arbitrary need for greater “balance” (a sort-of “fairness doctrine” on campus) or restricted on what topics I can talk about, who I can bring on to the show, etc.
But I’m not. As long as the things I say and do on the program are appropriate—or, shall we say, “Father Sheeran Approved”—everything’s a-okay, lest activities director Dave Law sick Chuck Norris on me. (God have mercy on my soul if that happens!)
Besides, just like with the Highlander, every student has an equal opportunity to share their views on subjects ranging from religion to politics to anything else. When a single complaint came in about my show, I was readily defended by the powers-that-be for that very reason—just as I should have been, under the principles of academic freedom.
College Republicans on campuses across the nation consistently face discrimination, and many have to jump through hoops for representation at club fairs, access to rooms on campus and other considerations.
Here at Regis, not only do the College Republicans feel confident in their ability as a club to freely carry out activities and host events—like the one first semester with radio talkshow host Mike Rosen and this semester with ex-jihadist Dr. Tawfik Hamid—but we are given the utmost support and assistance by student activities, RUSGA and the college at large. Every time help is needed or a question requires an answer, we got it with no problems or hesitations. Regrettably, many Republican clubs don’t get that.
When I talk to most reasonable-minded people about this, they rightly reply, “Well, of course. Why shouldn’t Regis allow students to speak their mind, irrespective of their ideology?”
I can’t disagree with the implications of that statement at all; every college campus should be open to such ideas. But when you talk to conservative and Republican students at many other colleges in America, and when you talk to conservative college graduates (who think of CU’s leftist ex-professor Ward Churchill), it really does matter a good deal.
To them, Regis is a diamond in the rough—and that’s exactly why I think the university deserves much credit for truly standing behind the idea of “academic freedom.”
No matter what your political or religious persuasion, you’re welcome here at Regis. And even more importantly, you’re welcome to express those views however you wish, so long as you do so respectfully and with the kind of analytical thought prescribed by a Jesuit education.
So the next time a certain Jesuit priest asks what evil you’re up to, just reply, “No evil, Father. I’m just exercising my academic freedom.” And for that, Regis is, to its credit, ahead of the pack.
The Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem of the founding of Rome, provides a "gateway to civilization" for every thoughtful reader through its exploration of timeless truths of the human condition, a CCU audience was told on March 15. Dr. Michael Poliakoff, a classics scholar with degrees from Michigan and Oxford who recently served as vice president for academic affairs at the University of Colorado, spoke at the latest Issue Monday forum of the Centennial Institute. The moral and ethical struggles of Aeneas in love and war illustrate an attitude of "humility, skepticism, doubt, debate, and self-examination" that equips us for civilized life together because it "recognizes we are imperfect beings," Poliakoff said. A maturing effect comes from grappling with the poem's lessons, he argued, noting C. S. Lewis's observation that "no man who has once read it with full perception remains an adolescent." We can even see in Virgil's model of conduct for the individual and society a point of congruence between Greco-Roman thought and Judeo-Christian thought, suggested Poliakoff -- since the pagan idealism of the Aeneid aligns closely with the biblical injunction to."do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8). Michael Poliakoff's lecture slides are linked here. A full audio podcast of his talk is linked here.