George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Where have you been, Nicky boy?

From Just sayin’…by George Duncan

Where have you been, Nicky boy?

Nicholas Kristof is a columnist/observer I have long respected for his incredible work with a wide variety of peoples in crisis all around the world. So it was with considerable surprise that I came across his piece in the 5/29 Times discussing the dearth of conservatives on university campuses, suggesting that liberals bear some responsibility for that – as if that were some sort of tragedy in the first place. “We are hypocritical,” Nick says. “We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.” Ouch. Apparently, liberals stormed the Times’ comments – more than 1,000 of them, he reports – pointing out the error of his ways. “You don’t diversify with idiots,” asserted one. Well, that’s harsh. Another said, “Conservatives are narrow-minded and sure they have the right answer.” Personally, I believe conservatives don’t really have an answer, they just know they have to prevent the liberal from advancing his. Why? Because liberal solutions are community based. Liberals reach out to others like the middle class, working families and the disadvantaged to “lift all boats” as the saying goes – and that costs money; namely conservatives’ money in the form of their fair share of taxes. Conservatives like to stress “personal responsibility” which is code for “you’re on your own, pal, don’t look to me for help.” Conservatives decry government spending, without ever noting what the spending is for, i.e., services. Less government means lower taxes, and fewer or less effective services. But it’s the nature of the human race to expand – like the universe – to seek growth socially and economically. Conservatives are constantly fighting for the opposite, often successfully because that view taps into that narrow strand of selfishness we all share. To me, to say that less government is the way to “promote the general welfare” of 230 million people is absurd on its face.

But back to Mr Kristof’s academia problem. He seems to suggest that liberals are practicing bigotry somehow, in the fact that there are few conservatives on campuses. He notes that “Four studies have found that at most only one professor in 10 in the humanities or social sciences is a Republican.” Why the surprise, Nick? For reasons cited above, Republicans are not interested in anything related to building community, so they avoid those disciplines. I don’t see anything else stopping them. Check the B schools and you may find them there.

Mr. Kristof also has difficulty with the paucity of evangelicals on campus as a result of “liberal hostility.” He suggests that many liberals disdain evangelicals in part because they don’t have any evangelical friends.” Really, Nick? I think it’s quite the opposite; it’s because they do have evangelical friends and they’re tired of being harassed to accept their “Christian” dogma. Evangelicals are called evangelical because they evangelize, i.e., “v. 1. To preach the gospel (to). 2. To convert to Christianity.” Don’t call me, I’ll call you, thank you very much.

In my own experience, I have found evangelicals to be relatively parochial in their life experience and frame of reference. They read Christian material – books, journals, etc. – almost exclusively, for example. Hardly an appropriate posture for an academic setting.

Finally, evangelicals are staunchly hostile to anything that smacks of LGBT. How does that fit with the cultural and social life of today’s campuses? As it happens, Nick, if you read your own paper’s Magazine Section for the same date as your column, you’ll find an example of the evangelical problem addressed by The Ethicist. But thanks for your good work at the Times and around the world. Just give this matter another think.

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Did you catch Donald Trump’s solution for how he’d allow his banned multitudes back into the country? He’d admit those who were “appropriate.” No details on how appropriateness is defined or who defines it. You go, Donnie boy!

Just sayin’…

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