Raising the Standard.
CAMPUS REVOLT Then & Now M. Blake Seitz
Sarah Smith on Drones Liz Ridgeway on Freshman Odyssey
Q&A: Fmr. Gov. SONNY PERDUE, p. 20
Train Wreck It’s even worse than we thought.
n the last edition of The Arch Conservative, we warned of a coming train wreck — the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At that time, we quoted Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officer Henry Chao, who had issued a dire warning earlier in the year: “Let’s just make sure it’s not a thirdworld experience.” Mr. Chao’s darkest fears have been realized as we inch closer to yet another of the administration’s self-imposed deadline. Where to begin. On October 1, amid celebratory statements from the White House, the federal health care exchanges opened. Almost immediately, problems with the website stymied the possibility of widespread enrollment. Live on air, an MSNBC reporter attempted to clear the first of many hurdles on the site, only to admit defeat after several painful minutes. During a hearing before a House committee, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius swore up and down that the site was functioning well and had only to iron out a few kinks. In an unflattering split-screen, cable networks displayed a live feed of the website’s now-familiar error message. In an even more troubling turn of events, fears of security breaches have emerged after an enrollee received notices containing the personal information of similarly-named men living states away. Estimates of the website’s cost have ranged from embarrassing to infuriating. All available evidence indicates that the administration knew the website was headed for a less-than-stellar launch, but refused to budge on its October 1 opening. The comical ineptitude of the administration and their IT mercenaries has contributed in large part to the stunningly low enrollment numbers seen thus far — which, 2 / The Arch Conservative
for those familiar with the bill’s mechanics, could lead to the dreaded “death-spiral.” We believe that the website is merely the tip of the iceberg. No doubt, conservatives are enjoying attacking the site and it’s nowinfamous stock photo denizens, and they should continue to do so. HealthCare.gov
All aboard. paints a picture of the federal government’s technical prowess that no Republican adman could ever get across in a 30-second piece. But more important than the technical troubles with implementation is the revelation that the president has been repeatedly and brazenly lying to the public for the better part of six years. “If you like your plan, you can keep it. Period.” Those words rolled off of our president’s tongue on a loop from the latter days of his candidacy until well after the bill was passed. Yet over the past year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have received cancellation notices from their insurers. The vast majority have been sent to those
who purchase their own insurance plans, while others have been sent to those whose employers cannot meet the law’s standards. In a recent poll, one in five registered voters reported that they had received such a notice or knew of someone who had. The president and his dwindling cadre of defenders are now claiming that an unspoken caveat was included in those previous rosy pronouncements: you could keep your plan if you liked it and it was through your employer and it met all HHS strictures. The people receiving these notices, it is said, had subpar care before and will now be welcomed into the exchanges to “shop around” for socially acceptable insurance. It is not the federal government’s prerogative to terminate a service paid for by an American citizen in order to nudge him or her toward an option more palatable to their image of a just society, however. What’s more, the exchange system — Obamacare’s Home Shopping Network — is itself riddled with flaws and dead-ends. A full analysis of the shortcomings of the law will have to wait for another day. Suffice it to say, conservatives are having trouble keeping themselves from yelling “I told you so.” The administration has set the end of November as the deadline to repair the troubled site. Even if the site is running like a charm in two weeks time (and it won’t be), the implementation train wreck will roll on, plagued by low enrollment, security risks, cancellations, jaw-dropping premium hikes — and a complete lack of trust in the president and his signature “reform.” We did tell you so, and we at The Arch Conservative will continue to read the score, because this administration deserves every bit of the American people’s anger. —The Editors
Winter 2013 THE EDITORS
Train Wreck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Protecting Conscience ‘Us Versus Them’
Brian Underwood. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
THE CAMPUS INFORMANT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 FEATURES
Not Quite Epic
Campus Revolt Hawk Eye
Elizabeth Ridgeway. . M. Blake Seitz
Sarah Scoggan Smith
Greek to Me
Ryan Slauer. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Across the Atlantic
Q&A: Sonny Perdue
Richard “Rebel” Lord .
Gettysburg at 150
Connor Kitchings. .
The Slide into Cynicism
Elizabeth Ridgeway .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Samuel Kirk Glaze.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 16
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
A quarterly journal of opinion raising the standard at the University of Georgia.
M. Blake Seitz,
John Henry Thompson, Elizabeth Ridgeway, WEB DESIGN David Sawyer
COVER PHOTO COURTESY ALAN CANFORA
GRAPHIC DESIGN Pranay Udutha BUSINESS Nick Derajtys Meredith Pittman
archconuga.com firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER: @ArchConUGA MAIL: P.O. Box 1181 Athens, GA 30603
ON THE WEB: EMAIL:
CONTRIBUTORS Tristan Bagala
Samuel Kirk Glaze
Sarah Scoggan Smith
Richard “Rebel” Lord
Brian M. Underwood, Jr.
Brennan L. Mancil
THE COLLEGIATE NETWORK
The Arch Conservative is a member publicaiton of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Collegiate Network. Special thanks go out to Mr. Philip Chalk of The Weekly Standard for his guidance and attention.
The Arch Conservative / 3
Protecting Conscience A right that has fallen out of fashion.
n its short history, The Arch Conservative has adopted a staunch position in favor of traditional social policies. Starting with its inaugural editorial followed by Sophie Giberga’s articulate defense of the sanctity of marriage, the publication has defended the foundational social principles that have guided our country for generations. Yet so far it has glossed over, or at least failed to mention, one of the most important issues facing social conservatives in the years to come: the ever-encroaching restrictions on religious liberty. As most learned in grade school, some of the first European colonists in America were pilgrims fleeing England to openly practice their religion without the tinkering and meddling of the Church of England. Since those first days at Plymouth Rock, the United States has steadfastly protected the right to freely exercise religion without the interference of others, or especially the government. The framers of our Constitution went so far as to guarantee that right in the First Amendment. However, contemporary society has brought challenges to the protection. The most recent affront to religious liberty is the government’s mandate — issued by Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health Davis Parker is a junior studying economics, political science and mathematics. He is a regular contributor at The Arch Conservative
4 / The Arch Conservative
and Human Services — that all for-profit, non-religious companies must provide contraception and sterilization coverage in the health care plans they offer to employees. This policy has met its most intriguing opposition from arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby, whose owners are practicing
The cornerstone. Catholics who oppose paying for “abortion-causing drugs” on moral grounds. Under the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby is required to pay $1.3 million per day in fines for not providing such coverage to its employees. Understandably, the financial burden brought about by these fines would force Hobby Lobby to close shop, in effect making its owners choose between their conscience and their wallet. Currently, Hobby Lobby is locked in a court battle with the Obama administration challenging the constitutionality of the mandate; the case, which cleared a threejudge appeals panel just this week, may one day make its way to the high court. The Supreme Court’s decision, if it does decide to rule, will either reinforce or weaken the religious liberties established by our founders so long ago. At its core, the question facing America is
this: do the consciences of religious Americans equal a legally established church? Are the hearts and minds of worshipping citizens as protected under the First Amendment as the federal government is from religion? As our culture trends away from its Judeo-Christian roots, these questions will become more and more relevant. Just this past August, a New Mexico court ruled in the case of Elane Photography v. Willock that a wedding photographer may not refuse to photograph a gay marriage because of individual religious objections. This ruling begs the question — who or what is next? Will private religious marriage counselors be forced to provide services to gay couples whose weddings they refuse to recognize? The danger of the Willock case was articulated by Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, who stated its precedent could conceivably require “deeply religious businesses to either shutdown [sic] or engage in ceremonies that they find morally objectionable.” What is most concerning about this new development in the treatment of religious liberty is the blistering speed at which these changes have occurred, and the unrivaled pace at which they will continue to evolve. Those who still hold to the principle of religious liberty will not only become a minority, but an endangered one. They will, in columnist Tim Carney’s words, be “allowed to be religious, of course, but only on the Sabbath. If [they] dare step … into the world of commerce or public service, the government will impose its morality on them.” Therefore, we must fastidiously hold to the words of James Madison, that “the religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” They ring just as true today as they did when first conceived. n
PHOTO COURTESY HAPPYSKRAPPY
‘Us Versus Them’ The Republicans channel New Deal thinking.
he presidency of Ronald Reagan is established in the minds of many conservatives as an unparalleled era for its assault on increasing state involvement in every facet of American life. True, the Gipper did more than any of his partisan successors and most of his predecessors (except Coolidge) to slow the expansion of the state and the erosion of individual liberty. Glossed over are many of Reagan’s less-thanadmirable policy decisions (e.g. EMTALA), but there is another piece of legislation that is conveniently overlooked or discounted by Republicans eager to root their agenda in Reagan’s legacy: the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Without getting into the finer points of the legislation, the law’s key feature granted amnesty to undocumented persons who entered the United States prior to 1982 and provided them with a path to citizenship. Around three million people were granted legal status as a result. Today, it is nearly inconceivable that any Republican would advocate mass amnesty for undocumented persons. The 2012 Republican presidential candidates were bent on outdoing one another in opposing amnesty and supporting construction of a fence along the Mexican border. The very notion of reforming America’s immigration system at all is drowned out by calls to “enforce existing Brian Underwood is a senior studying political science and history. He is a regular contributor to The Arch Conservative
laws,” blanking out that the current laws are both unjust and inefficient. As is so often the case, the problem is not one of politics but of perspective. Many on the right have not philosophically framed issue within the context of the laissez-faire,
Looking for work. limited government principles for which they should be advocating. They have instead taken a little-known page from FDR’s New Deal, which advocated a collectivist “America for Americans” immigration policy. From Hoover all the way through FDR’s second term, hundreds of thousands of legal residents, and even U.S. citizens, living along the southern border were deported to Mexico without due process in the name of protecting “American” jobs. The policy was a direct result of the zero-sum mentality so characteristic on the left, which believes that prospects for economic prosperity are limited and thus must be protected by government force from “outsiders.”
This is the same collectivist mentality of nativist, anti-immigration organizations in the twenty-first century such as NumbersUSA. This is the mentality that the right must categorically reject. The right must discard its fixation with the notion of “illegal” immigrants. Too often, the nature of the debate centers around the fact that the undocumented persons currently in the United States have broken a law to get here, and never stops to consider the possibility that the law itself may be the problem. If a law is contrary to the rights of the individual, then the law itself becomes a crime. After all, what crime is there in desiring to pursue one’s happiness in the United States of America? What is the crime in pursuing that desire, making a living for oneself, and perhaps even attempting to strike it rich as many of our immigrant ancestors did when they came to the United States? The sole purpose of government is to protect the rights of the individual. The extension of this is free market capitalism, which necessarily entails the free flow of goods and services — including labor — across borders. Trade occurs on an individual rather than an international level in the form of transactions between individual persons or between businesses, not between the collectivist nonentities of “us” and “them.” Thus, the government that restricts trade from occurring is violating rights rather than protecting them. In the case of restrictive immigration policies, it is violating the rights of the immigrant seeking to attain a job and the employer willing to offer it. Though not addressed in depth, the fear of many on the right that undocumented workers — if immigration and naturalization procedures were opened up — will vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when Republicans oppose legitimate, free market reforms. Adopt the immigrants of the world as our own, however, and they will adopt the ideals that drew them here in the first place. n
The Arch Conservative / 5
All Men are Created Equal But differ greatly in the sequel.
Atoning for Our Sins A contributor’s modest proposal.
s I detail in my feature story on page 10, over-the-top rhetoric is an inescapable feature of campus politics, much like Papa John’s pizza ordered by the carload. Yet another example for an already-stuffed file folder: the “No More Success Stories” panel event, which capped off Social Justice Week’s “Raise Your Hand for Equality” day. The panel was, not surprisingly, sponsored by SGA (eat your heart out, JHT). Likely, the event title was dreamt up by a too-clever organizer who didn’t stop to think about its implications. But perhaps not, so it is important to state that this kind of thinking, far from embracing variety and diversity — which was ostensibly the event’s goal — results in its devaluation. Those who seek to eliminate “success stories” to make everyone better off can do this only by defining success downward, in effect pretending no one merits reward for their behavior over anyone else. Such a notion is antithetical to the way Americans typically view success: as the reward for a job well done, or better done. UGA students want to help the less fortunate, and that is admirable. Moreover, it is acheiveable to an extent — let’s talk education policy some time. Nothing good will be achieved, however, by acting as though the accomplishments of an exceptional few are replicable for the many. That is dystopian thinking, and of the stultifying “Harrison Bergeron” variety. If the organizers of “No More Success Stories” aimed to shock by their rhetoric, they succeeded. But if they aimed to help…
n my short time on campus, I have discovered many of our school’s shortcomings: low showerheads, poor air-conditioning, complicated bus routes and gormless campus conservatives, among others. However, until I walked past Tate Plaza a few weeks back, I was unaware of the true scale of UGA’s crimes. Progress Fest, a public festival of local progressive causes, shined a light on Athens’s uglier side. First, thanks to Progress Fest I learned our dining halls do not serve real food. In an effort to rid society of trans-fats and violence against livestock, all our food ought to be free range, all-natural and vegan. If it didn’t make it into Dr. Oz’s Body Cleanse diet, then it shouldn’t be served. Second, the amount of coal this campus Battleground: Bus. burns is atrocious. Once we have had our —M. Blake Seitz way, the same wind that blows our liberated hair behind us will provide power for camThe circus comes to town. pus. Wind turbines, despite breaking my heart by slaughtering flocks of birds, are the best means of producing the electricity to recharge my MacBook. How else am I to read And the French are fearless warriors. Slate? During slow days when there is poor airflow, we will carry pinwheels with us as we dance around our Maypoles to make up he Red & Black recently reported on SGA’s efforts to make the difference. Coal is dirty — almost as dirty as money-grubbing. itself more accountable to the student body. However, SGA And there is no better example of money-grubbing capitalism seems to misunderstand that it does not have a crisis of accountthan the offshore garment factories that churn out UGA spirit ability, but of credibility. wear. While appealing to the fat wallets and fat figures of AmeriNo matter how many opportunities SGA provides students can consumers, purchasing mass-produced college apparel from to voice their concerns, such opportunities mean little if they are oppressive sweatshops makes us complicit in what are basically only utilized by the same social crusaders creating policy wars for crimes against humanity. So what if these companies pay higher no other reason than that they may have a war to fight. wages than regional employers? If we do not give these workers an If SGA truly wants to be accountable to the student body, it American living wage, we are profiting from their tears. should make itself accountable to the ninety-odd percent of UGA I applaud Progress Fest for bringing these issues out from the students that simply ignore SGA’s annual elections by going the collegiate shadows. Hiding behind fig leaves of “consumer choice” way of Marxists in econ departments. and “preference” only prevents society from moving … forward! —Brennan Mancil —Brian Underwood
SGA is Accountable
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KILROY WAS HERE.
t has been a busy semester for those of us who monitor the machinations of SGA. The long march for justice and progress presses onward, aided by our moral teachers ensconced in Student Government. Since the last edition, SGA has passed resolutions calling for:
PHOTO BY ELIZABETH RIDGEWAY
Gender-neutral bathrooms. The addition of “Gender non-conforming,” or GNC, to the list of statuses protected by the campus non- discrimination policy. Another Women’s Center. A student referendum on the “Green Fee,” calling for a fee hike.
Furthermore, SGA continues to host the now-infamous Open Forum, during which a revolving cast of campus agitators spout their most polished clichés. The Editors of The Arch Conservative have already commented on the gender-neutral bathroom brouhaha (online, “THE EDITORS: Regarding Resolution 26-07”), but what are we to make of the remaining resolutions? For starters, the objectives that a new women’s center would theoretically accomplish are already met by other campus and off-campus services such as the Cottage, the UHC Women’s Clinic, the Institute for Women’s Studies and the Women’s Studies Student Organization. The new center would be a policy remedy derived directly from the liberal reflex to centralize and duplicate existing programs in the name of identity politics. The Green Fee has been voted on in a student referendum. The tiny cadre of folks who actually voted (that is, 5 percent of the student body) supported the increase by a wide margin; it’s time for the rest of the student body to pay a little more attention to the activists lunging at their purse strings. The official position of SGA was one of institutional neutrality, but neutrality has never looked so green. Nifty Facebook profile pictures proliferated among student government types consisting of an open plea for the fee increase. The fee has increased from $3 to $4 — only a dollar, to be sure, but also only a 33 percent hike. SGA Watch has several concerns with this increase. The first is a practical one: the additional green fee revenues have not been justified. Previous expenditures have provided the campus with water bottle filling stations, previously known as water fountains, and concrete-mounted, solar-powered trash compressors. Forgive our skepticism regarding future projects. Second, fee increases should always be opposed by the organization that supposedly represents students’ interests. The nickel-and-dime approach used here does not justify the betrayal of that basic principle. Meanwhile, Vice President Uzma Chowdhury continues to churn out acerbic progressive rhetoric at an impressive clip.
Check out the main page of any campus publication (our own excluded) and you’ll be confronted with Vice President Chowdhury’s invective. Don’t feel marginalized? Try harder, says the Veep: “You have to work hard to make connections, to understand the intersectionality of marginalized groups—if you belong to one, then you belong to all of them. If you don’t feel as though you belong to any, then you must work harder.” —Chowdhury We once again caution that this is only a representation of Vice President Chowdhury’s private beliefs, in no way representing the official position of SGA, Embark UGA or the legislative agenda they proffer. Further speculation would be irresponsible. But, speaking of Embark UGA: the OASIS we all know and despise is on its way out. What to name the new program? SGA proposes a few options: Athena, Compass, and … Embark. Yes, if the trend of past votes is any indication,our new OASIS shall be named after the SGA Executive itself. For the self-aggrandizers in our midst, the fall 2013 semester at the University of Georgia will be remembered as a Golden Age. Conservative author and commentator Jonah Goldberg has written on several occasions about the confounding nature of liberal campus rebellion. Why is liberal agitation viewed as risqué or ambitiously progressive on the modern college campus? After all, the levers of power in higher education rest in uniformly liberal hands. When “The Man” drives a Subaru with an animal rights bumper sticker, where’s the incentive to stick it to him? The illustrious leaders of SGA have been lauded by many on the left for their bold, ambitious agenda — or, as it is more accurately known, unabashed liberalism. But their tired antics grow stale after a time. Liberalism isn’t new and shiny. They are the establishment they rail against. It is important to remember that. n —John Henry Thompson
The Arch Conservative / 7
Not Quite Epic The First-Year Odyssey falls short. by ELIZABETH RIDGEWAY
tudents get close to bees, bugs, and spiders,” read the UGA website headline. Its subtitle: “The FirstYear Odyssey program introduces students to academic life at UGA.” The seeming incongruity made me skeptical. In 2011, UGA instituted the First Year Odyssey program for all incoming freshmen. Designed as a unifying experience inaugurating their four years as a class together, the program consists of a series of seminars on topics from “Current Issues in Bioethics” to “Poverty in the Movies”. Students register for the course of their choice, along with regular academic classes, on a rolling basis the summer before their freshman year. The University has heavily advertised the Odyssey across campus and in summer orientation materials. In airy hyperbole, the website even touts the program as “lifechanging.” With a pessimism born of years of consumer frustration, I decided to investigate further. How does the FYO reality compare to the hype? After speaking with a variety of students, I was surprised to find the FYO seminars are fairly popular. Nevertheless, there is a discrepancy concerning what the program claims to do, and what it does. First, according to the Odyssey website, the program aims to “introduce first-year students to the importance of learning and academics so that we engage them in the academic culture of the University.” While I shudder to imagine a 12-year education which fails to adequately communicate “the importance of learning and academics,” emphasizing the primary purpose of college to students is a worthy ambition. However, the Odyssey course format does not seem to provide such an Elizabeth Ridgeway is the Publisher of The Arch Conservative.
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“Ag Hill Cafeteria.” introduction. Each FYO class awards one Because FYO seminars meet so incredit hour, meets only once or at most frequently, it is difficult — though not twice a week and usually covers a highly impossible — for professors to nurture specific topic. These topics, though not camaraderie and intellectual collaborauninteresting, are usually only related in a tion between students. I recall my Odystangential way to an sey seminar on Adam undergraduate field Smith met at 8 a.m. on of study: for example, A one-hour seminar Monday mornings. “Coffee Technology” My classmates, profes(Chemistry?) and cannot compensate for sor and I were doing “Fashion and Rock” the fragmentation of well if we remem(Music? Textile arts?). bered each other’s The courses’ narrow- liberal arts education names from week to ness cannot possibly into loosely-distributed week, much less encommunicate the gaged in conversation. requirements and broad, sweeping unMy example might be dergraduate educa- unguided chaos. something of an outlition that awaits new er, as many easily find freshmen. Meanwhile, a friend or two in their the scarceness of meetings and minimal Odyssey courses. But at base, FYO classes credit do not provide adequate motiva- cannot introduce and prepare students for tion for professors to assign or students to academic life at UGA for the simple reason produce the same caliber of work that they that they do not resemble normal college would for a regular, three credit course. courses! WINTER 2013
PHOTO COURTESY PANDORA YEARBOOK
Second, Odyssey courses tackle a difficult task: to “give first-year students an opportunity for meaningful dialogue with a faculty member to encourage positive, sustained student-faculty interactions.” Each class of 15 to 18 students brings freshmen into small, personable environments with tenured or tenure-track faculty. With many freshmen drowned in large lecture classes their first semester, this is an admirable feat, though “sustained” studentfaculty relationships are rare. Although an FYO course and shared interests could spark a continuing mentorship, all too often busy students and busier professors do not have time to foster a professional relationship apart from the give-and-take of future academic work. Nevertheless, many students enjoy engaging with a senior faculty member in their freshman year, if only
temporarily — I’ve heard tales of a learned Dante scholar and a medical imaging guru, to name a few. Third, the Odyssey classes seek to “increase student understanding of and participation in the full mission of the University” by encouraging both classroom and campus involvement. Each course officially mandates that freshmen attend three different campus events over the semester and briefly reflect on them in written assignments. This encourages students to both broaden their interests and be purposive in their time commitments. I discovered that most students favor the FYO program and remember their particular seminars as interesting learning experiences. Exceptions seemed to stem from differing conceptions between student and teacher about how much homework a
one-credit course should entail. There was, however, one general consensus against the Odyssey: that it does not introduce students to “academic life” at the University. The discrepancy, then, lies not with the seminar arrangement itself, but with its overambitious billing. The FYO program should drop the claim that it represents average university academics and simply admit that, while the one-hour classes are relatively light scholastically, they do give freshmen a fun, unifying experience in their first few months of college. Continually hyping the program as an academic introduction to UGA, but failing to deliver, weakens the Odyssey’s larger reputation on campus. Some students, observing this phenomenon and hoarding their precious HOPE hours, also balk at the classes being required for graduation. That the University instituted the FYO program in the first place points to a common cause of recent innovation at colleges and universities: the dissipation of the liberal arts in undergraduate education. Gone are the days when our UGA predecessors formed lasting friendships over common classes in Latin and logic. Today, most university students are not required to take the same fundamental courses in history, literature, rhetoric, mathematics and science. Studying the liberal arts together gives students an intellectually freeing, broadly useful education. By implementing the Odyssey, UGA seeks to provide students with a similar common learning experience — and succeeds, after a fashion. Yet a one-hour seminar cannot compensate for the fragmentation of liberal arts education into loosely-distributed requirements and unguided chaos. The liberal arts open students’ minds, teaching them how to think, read and write well as a solid foundation for future studies. The FYO program, fun as the common learning experience is, cannot fill this hole in modern university education. The Odyssey program is moving in the right direction by aspiring to academic weight, seeking to build community on campus and giving freshmen a ritual inauguration to their new school. Nevertheless, if the University truly wishes to heighten the quality of students’ education and unify the first year class, it should send students on a common journey through the liberal arts. After all, the essence of a university is companionship in scholarship — a liberal education fosters the best of both. n The Arch Conservative / 9
Campus Revolt Administrators and radicals join hands.
n 1970, a prospective student to Columbia University was asked by a recruiter what most impressed him about the school. “Its similarity to a combat zone,” he replied. This student was entering higher education during the heady days of campus unrest, as students at Columbia and across the country decided it was high time they taught the lessons, to their administrators and the country. To list just a few of their revolts, in 1968 Columbia students took over campus, holding the dean hostage and, in a late flurry of violence, paralyzing a police officer for life; in 1970, arsonous riots at Kent State and Jackson State ended in tragic National Guard shootings; that same year, future Attorney General Eric Holder took part in an armed occupation of an ROTC office at Columbia, demanding it be renamed the “Malcolm X Lounge.” Today, if you attend a campus protest you won’t see marching rows of Guardsmen, nor will you see much real violence. You may, however, see the legacy of that tumultuous decade, the Raging ‘60s, scrawled in bold letters on banners and signs: at a recent University of Georgia march, two protestors held aloft Davis’s words, reminiscent of Niemöller: “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you at night.” Clearly, college kids’ penchant for exaggeration remains undiminished. And why wouldn’t it? As the march above illustrated, the same tactics still pay dividends. The march occurred on November 8, M. Blake Seitz is the Editor-in-Chief of The Arch Conservative.
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Groovy. four days after its impetus: two vile posts left on the Facebook pages of the UGA Black Affairs Council (BAC) and LGBT Resource Center (LGBTRC). One post read, “Why can’t you dumb dirty n****** stop stinking up the place? Let UGA be RIGHT for good WHITE Christian students,” the other, “Burn in hell f******.” Subsequent posts followed, all generated by an anonymous antagonist who stole the identity of real UGA students to take the fall for his provocation. As the situation developed, the administration’s response was quick and appropriate. First, it opened an investigation with local police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who are collaborating with the security teams of Facebook and
Twitter. Second, it reached out to the recipients of the hateful messages: Vice President of Student Affairs Victor Wilson wrote personally to both groups to condemn the attacks and express support. The victims of identity theft were contacted as well. But that was not enough for some. A joint march of the BAC and LGBTRC was organized, and the Undocumented Students Alliance joined in with raised fists, and that Friday roughly 200 protesters of the BACLGBTRCUSA marched through campus, fostering solidarity by invoking communists and chanting “No Justice, No Peace” through a bullhorn. The administration responded with plodding patience in a campuswide email from President Jere Morehead, who explained the measures that had been taken to root out the cyber-weasel. He went on to affirm that the acts “do not reflect the culture of unity and inclusion which we support on our campus.” UGA professor Obie Clayton, director of the on-campus Center for Social Justice, seconded Morehead’s statement. “That it happened, it doesn’t surprise me, but looking at the university I think it’s a very isolated incident,” Clayton said. “I have to go along with what the president said in his open letter — that it is not indicative of who we have at UGA, and it’s certainly not indicative of the students, staff and faculty who I’ve interacted with on a daily basis.” Unfazed, the protestors continued to blame the incident on UGA’s culture, which they want changed — one suspects fundamentally. The administration continued to draw fire. “Of all the administrators that I’ve reached out to, only one or two of them were at the march,” BAC president WINTER 2013
PHOTO COURTESY UW-MADISON ARCHIVES
by M. BLAKE SEITZ
Carrying the torch. Caroline Bailey said in an interview with The Red & Black. “I think that if we can’t even get them to show up at marches students plan and orchestrate, then we really don’t have anything to discuss.” Not that there would be much to discuss, in any case. When asked in the same interview what more the administration could do, Bailey responded that they could “[m] ake things right. Make it inclusive. Make it welcoming and make it a home for everyone at the University of Georgia, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, immigration status, all of it. Just make it home. Make it right.” The university did not accomplish this to the protestors’ satisfaction in the week succeeding the incident, so on November 14 another protest — a “silent but loud protest” — was organized in front of the Office of the President. While the event itself was true to its billing, the BAC’s statement on
Facebook spoke volumes: after repeating a demand for unspecified change and accusing the administration of ignoring its concerns, the authors signed off with a quote by Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver: “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” Cleaver, for those who don’t know, was charged in 1968 with the attempted murder of a police officer. He fled justice to Algeria by way of Red Cuba. While it cannot be said for certain whether the organizers knew the origin of the quote, it was placed in quotation marks on the page, which indicates awareness of its history. Bailey did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the matter. That should have been the end of it. Whatever else the protestors hoped to achieve, their play-radicalism should have disqualified them from further attention. But that would be giving UGA’s institutional
figures too much credit. Two days after the silent protest, President Morehead organized a luncheon with members of campus minority groups, where they spent “a very productive couple of hours” discussing what could be done to satisfy the protestors. It appears the protestors overcame their unwillingness to negotiate with administration; it appears Morehead overcame earlier stated opposition to “outrageous online posts.” Additionally, student government president Austin Laufersweiler — whose senate has devoted its energy with single-minded fervor to activist causes — expressed his support for a culture change, which he describes as “tolerant but not inclusive.” From Laufersweiler we finally get an inkling of what a substantive culture change on campus would look like: “People of — gay students or students of different marginalized groups — they exist and they’re left alone [currently],” he said. “I wouldn’t say there is a concerted effort by many other students to include and embrace those differences.” In other words, toleration of differences, upon which the thirteen colonies were established (if inconsistently), is no longer enough. Celebration is required. And sanctimonious beatings will continue until culture improves. At press time, it is unclear what is next for this peculiar story, but it is clear the protestors have won: from a real but isolated provocation they gained an outsized platform for their cause. And so the “combat zone” campus lives on — only now administrators join students at the barricades. n
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A new weapon in the fight against our enemies. by SARAH SCOGGAN SMITH
t is a low-frequency buzzing, consistent but faint, similar to the alltoo-familiar prelude to a hunt for a ringing iPhone. This noise is made by the “mosquitoes” hovering over the region encompassing Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan. Citizens of Waziristan in Pakistan, which The Huffington Post labeled the “most dangerous place on earth,” are accustomed to U.S. Predator drones circling above their homes almost 24 hours a day, striking unexpectedly and frequently. Farea al-Muslimi is one Pakistani civilian affected by this new technology. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Farea described how a recent drone strike against his village, “tore at my heart much as the tragic bombings in Boston tore your hearts and also mine.” While Farea pledged his support for the United States, he questioned the utility of drone strikes in the fight against international terrorism. Since 2008, our War on Terror has vigorously turned into a War of Drones, signified by the 700 percent increase in funding for UAVs since President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Recently, this aspect of American foreign policy, made tragic by the testimony of Farea and others like him, has come under scrutiny. The debate for and against drones is multifaceted, with some opponents arguing against the “video-game mentality” of killer drones (think Buster Bluth’s simulation excitement in the hit comedy show Arrested Development). Others argue that the difficulty of distinguishing between insurgents and civilians in drone attacks leads to too many unnecessary deaths; still others argue against the Sarah Smith is a senior studying international affairs and history.
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legality of the strikes in general. On the other side of the debate, proponents provide one simple argument to counter these allegations: what else can be done, exactly, to monitor terrorist cells and kill their combatants? In order to make an argument for or against our new eyes in the sky, it is important to understand both sides of the story. The argument employed most frequently by critics of drone strikes concerns their effects on civilians. More poignantly, an Amnesty International investigation found that at least 19 civilians in the Waziristan region had been killed in just two drone strikes in 2012. In addition to the risk of non-combatant casualties, drones
are said to create a psychological climate of fear in regions under constant surveillance — imagine the buzzing of a small aircraft above you as you eat, sleep, go to the market and attend school. The threat of a guided missile attack accompanies your daily life, extinguishing any feeling of safety. But there are more issues even than this, critics say. Notwithstanding the debates over the execution of unprosecuted criminals (or are they combatants?) and the airspace of sovereign nations, the U.S. drone program’s unaccountability creates an issue within the international legal framework. Behind Langley’s walls are hidden much of the data about drone activity, success and failure, thus eliminating any
Buster Bluth flies a sortie.
PHOTO COURTESY SGT. EFFRAIN LOPEZ
sort of culpability for those who do wrong. International law clearly states that this sort of activity is permitted in ongoing conflict zones, allowing Amnesty International to conclude, “drone strikes in Pakistan fail to satisfy the law enforcement standards that govern the intentional use of lethal force outside armed conflict.” This judgment has been interpreted by critics like Jeffrey Bachmann of The Guardian to mean that President Barack Obama and top military brass are guilty of war crimes for their drone war. However, President Obama, the Pentagon and the CIA all argue that the War on Terror, specifically the battle against al-Qaeda, constitutes an ongoing conflict, therefore exonerating them of charges against international law. To set aside the legal question, proponents of drone strikes fire back at critics’ inflated estimates of civilian casualties. The New America Foundation estimates that of the 344 drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012, between 2,562 and 3,325 people were killed — of that number, between 474 and 881 were civilians. If you do the math, this means that on average each drone strike has killed between 0.8 and 2.5 civilians. Among these deaths were also 28 senior al-Qaeda operatives and scores of Taliban officials. The most recent addition to the kill list was Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban and Public Enemy No. 1. The crimes in Mehsud’s ledger were massive: he was implicated in the deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistanis via the coordination of suicide bombings, as well as the attempted attack on Times Square in 2010 and a suicide attack on a base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 that killed seven CIA agents. As a policy of “covert action,” the full scale of drone success remains classified, but limited release of data so far evidences their success in eliminating the ringleaders of terror organizations. Proponents also appeal to a little known fact about drones: that, despite their characterization as aerial murder machines, wiping Bedouin villages off the map, they very rarely function in an offensive WINTER 2013
The MQ-1 Predator. capacity. The principal role of the CIA’s drone is intelligence gathering and analysis. The remarkable success of the CIA in disrupting al-Qaeda activities in Pakistan and Yemen has come from its ability to establish targets on the ground by combining “HUMINT” (or human intelligence) with the “TECHINT” of drones. The constant buzzing over Waziristan does not often trumpet the coming of missiles, but it does trumpet a resource of paramount importance in the U.S. intelligence cycle. Drones are used to monitor terrorists’ transfer of supplies, their communication between groups and the whereabouts of their leaders. They are quite literally our eyes in the sky throughout the Middle East and contribute vast amounts of intelligence (more than 416,000 video hours’ worth) about terrorist activities. Concurrently, drones are just one element of our overall counterterrorism strategy. As showcased through the recent execution of an Al-Shabaab top commander by U.S. Navy SEALs, the United States does not rely much on drones for the elimination of terrorist leadership. If it did, the ending of Zero Dark Thirty would have been far more anti-climatic. So, now that the facts are on the table, should the United States keep drones in the skies of Pakistan, or park them in an airport hanger in Arlington, Va.? Whatever decision is made will be controversial. But at this point in our counterterrorism efforts, there is no other asset that can achieve the results of our Predator and Reaper UAVs.
To those who still oppose drones, a simple question must be asked: would you rather have captured Hakimullah Mehsud — at great risk to U.S. ground troops and Pakistani civilians alike — and brought him to the United States for a trial? Or better yet, sent him to the Hague so the International Criminal Court could determine his fate? Or are you pleased this terrorist mastermind and killer or thousands is no longer a threat to the United States? While many find the ethical justification for our drone program ambiguous, with proper guidance the United States can ethically operate the program. The practical justifications speak for themselves: drones are effectively curtailing a significant portion of al-Qaeda networking and activity. Rather than filibustering new counterterrorism efforts or criticizing the use of UAVs, the backlash brigade in Congress needs to focus on formulating a clear drone policy, wherein accountability and transparency are introduced into the bureaucratic politics of drone warfare. The declassification of drone activities may be a tall task for lawmakers. Nevertheless, with the right mindset toward the technology, Congress can create the kind of drone program our country needs to maintain physical and tactical superiority in the world. As our country fights with itself instead of the enemy, however, our drone program remains where it is: perched above the Middle East as the hawk eye of American national security policy. n
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Greek to Me What the Ancients offer us today. by RYAN SLAUER
The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. —Alfred North Whitehead
The influence of Plato in Western thought is difficult to overstate. Aristotle’s writings assume the reader has an intimate knowledge of Plato’s dialogues, and many of them (Politics, Poetics, Nicomachean Ethics, etc.) either complement or challenge his teacher’s thoughts. Cicero, the influential Roman statesman, was indebted to Plato, and his De Republica is a Romanized version of Republic. Plotinus, a late antique philosopher, developed a system of philosophical thought and religious belief based on Plato’s works. This Neo-Platonism was very important to the thoughts and writings of early Christian apologists, especially St. Augustine. Continued analysis of his work has kept Plato influential: many modern philosophers, including J.S. Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg Hegel and Voltaire offer both praise and criticism of the ancient teacher. The decrease in university enrollment in the humanities (from 14 percent of degrees in 1966 to 7 percent in 2010) has coincided with the notion that the humanities are irrelevant. No impression could be further from the truth, but rather than offer general praise for Classics and humanities, here I will extol them with a specific example of their brilliance — Plato’s Republic. In the words of English professor Mark Bauerlein, “Exposure works better than explanation, Ryan Slauer is a senior studying economics and Latin.
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participation better than entreaty. The humanities defenders, mistakenly, try to persuade and coerce when they should intrigue, excite, fascinate, and inspire.” Republic is a dialogue between Socrates and a group of friends, and is therefore ideal for “exposure” and “participation”: as readers, we are sucked into the conversation and grapple with the questions and topics that arise between Socrates and his fellow interlocutors. As Socrates presses his companions to determine whether they truly understand the subject, we cannot help but question our own understanding. For example, in Plato’s Symposium, the participants in the story praise and discuss the nature of Love. Socrates’ contribution to the topic is perplexing on its surface and probing in its depth (no spoiler here, go read it!) We scratch our heads and ask with his listeners, “What is Love? Why is it so powerful?” The dialogue in Republic discusses the nature of justice and the characteristics of an “ideal” city-state. What is justice? The difficulty in answering this question is underscored by the fact that by the end of the dialogue, the question still stands. Various characters in
the dialogue reveal contemporary notions of justice: the aged Cephalus argues that justice is speaking the truth and paying debts, actions facilitated by wealth. Polemarchus contends that justice is doing good to friends and harm to enemies. Thrasymachus states that justice is simply the advantage of whoever is in power. Socrates deduces his understanding of justice by asking the following question: what is the ideal city-state? In a conversation riddled with fascinating and controversial conclusions, Socrates defines justice as the condition where each individual in the community, or each element of the human soul, performs his own unique “task.” Farmers farm and cobblers repair shoes, but both are subject to the guardian (administrative) class; similarly, the appetitive part of the soul hungers and thirsts but is subject to reason. This is justice, and it leads to harmony in the ideal city-state and in the ideal individual. To the average reader, Socrates’ contribution is unfamiliar. This “ideal city-state” does not, and likely cannot, exist, so what WINTER 2013
good is this discussion? Socrates himself confirms the discussion’s shortcomings and implies that much more can be elucidated regarding justice. Nevertheless, the progression of the conversation provides much for us to think about. Consider the following articles regarding justice in the United States. “Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?” appeared in The New York Times in January 2013. It tells the story of Conor McBride, a young man who shot and killed his girlfriend in Florida. The victim’s family was willing to forgive Conor, and this led to their unprecedented pursuit of “restorative justice” in the prosecution. In Conor’s case, this approach facilitated discussion between the parties involved and led to a 20-year sentence with 10 years of parole, when either life in prison or the death sentence was the precedent. Many disapproved of this outcome. One comment below the online article stated, “I dont think forgiveness should be included in the justice system as it is the JUSTICE system. Forgiveness is what the victim should work on personally. You killed someone, then you should be punished by law. Thats the only way I see the guilty resposible [sic] of his crime.” The article “Too many laws, too many prisoners” appeared in The Economist in July 2010. There, the author discusses the growing number of increasingly stringent laws against petty crimes, and concludes, “Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country.” A photo of a man in prison is captioned, “Society wants retribution.” Like the interlocutors in Republic, we think we understand justice when we read it in these contexts. Only when Socrates begins to question us do we doubt our grasp of the concept. These articles discuss justice in the specifically legal sense — the sense supported by Thrasymachus — where justice entails adhering to the letter of the law. This is evidenced by the commenter’s remarks on the first article and by the quotation from the second, in which the word “Law” could be substituted for “Justice” with no change in meaning. Yet Socrates questions this Thrasymachean interpretation of justice: Are lawmakers infallible, or are they likely to err? If fallible, justice must transcend the law, and justice might conceivably require opposing the law. Justice in the United States involves WINTER 2013
Knowledge springs from this Grove. more than criminal justice. Civil rights advocates of previous centuries fought for justice for mistreated peoples, thus the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle.” The second article and the above quotation answer Socrates’ question: lawmakers are most certainly fallible, as evidenced by obscure and unnecessarily harsh laws (the elderly gentleman in the article was arrested for “smuggling” flowers) and by the Jim Crow laws that brought King to endorse civil disobedience under the banner of justice. With this view in mind, equating justice with the law seems overly simplistic. Furthermore, justice has a strong connotation of punishment in these articles (and in the quoted comment). Polemarchus espouses this understanding of justice: suum cuique (“to each his own”). Socrates quickly points out that the just man acts in others’ best interests and in order to make others more just, but because man is often ignorant of others’ nature this is not easy. In this vein, Socrates questions whether the just individual should harm anyone and thus
risk making the harmed behave unjustly. Therefore, the claim that justice is rigid adherence to prescribed punishment might also be too simplistic. These points give an interesting perspective on the question of forgiveness posed by the first article: “Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice?” If justice is not the law merely, nor punishment simply, then perhaps forgiveness ought to play a role in criminal justice; perhaps justice and forgiveness are not mutually exclusive, and perhaps “restorative justice” should play a larger role in our penal system. What is justice? Having read this article you might not know the answer. Having read Republic you might feel similarly. But as we have done here, reading Republic gives us the tools to analyze our common understanding of difficult concepts. Furthermore, recognizing the gravity of a question, with its intricacies, applications and nuances, will forever be Plato’s defining characteristic. Socrates can be frustrating, but he reminds us that learning to ask the right questions can be more valuable than being given the answers. n
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Across the Atlantic Learning from a different tradition. by BRENNAN MANCIL
arvard professor Willmoore Kendall described scattered mid-century conservatives as “isolated outposts over a wide front.” Without unification and coordination, Kendall believed, conservatives had succumbed to the overwhelming force of statism. Ideological isolation of this sort is not uncommon today. Politicians who cite great thinkers often limit themselves to those of American origin or to those shaped by the American tradition. Activists look to domestic developments as their primary source of case studies and history to guide decision-making. Americans remain unfamiliar with other systems of conservative thought which are applicable to their lives and actions. However, much can be learned from our counterparts abroad: the wealth of political ideology found throughout the world provides excellent examples of human behavior and thought. Specifically, Great Britain provides a treasure trove of knowledge for conservatives. There we find institutions as old, and older, than our own, with great thinkers to match. Discovering the relevance of British conservatism to our own is an enlightening exercise, uniting two “outposts” with an ocean between them. Contemporary conservatism begins with one of history’s greatest statesmen, Edmund Burke. Born Irish, Burke nonetheless idealized the venerable heritage of England. Drawn to its social majesty and historic order, he went to London in 1750. In 1765, he became the private secretary for Prime Minister Charles Watson-Wentworth, who was also head of the Whig Party. Burke entered Parliament the same year Brennan Mancil is a freshman studying political science and international affairs.
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with Whig ideals. Although he had Tory friends, he could not ardently support their belief in royal superiority over Parliament or their push for stern regulation of the country and its innumerable colonies. Perhaps more importantly, the Whigs needed Burke more than the Tories did, equipping him to easily ascend into leadership.
Burke. Burke’s significance in British conservatism largely stems from his political theorizing on government and society. To govern effectively, Burke argued, political leadership must come from the educated class. Many misconstrue this to mean Burke desired a plutocratic aristocracy, but “[his] basis of power was far broader than nobility and gentry” according to his American historian Russell Kirk. Burke’s times associated land ownership and leisure — which give individuals the time and means to conduct state business — with intelligence. Burke refrained from supporting universal suffrage because he believed the uneducated would not be able to make prudent decisions in matters of state:
according to Reflections on the Revolution in France, the uprising of pure democracy during the bloody French Revolution was an affront to true liberty. Burke’s fervent disdain for the French Revolution seems at odds with his passionate support for American independence, but in fact both positions stemmed from the same pattern of thought. In the American colonies, the wealthy, landowning gentry fought for traditional rights against royal infringement. Across the English Channel, Burke saw an usurpation of long-established tradition and authority by mobs and unfounded intellectuals — the result was a reign of terror, and the destruction of institutions and customs that protect liberty. While the French Revolution led to terror, violence and ultimately dictatorship, America was able to form an orderly society with a constitutionallyrestricted government. Burke wholeheartedly endorsed intellectual liberties (free religion, free press, free speech, and the like) while disputing the value of a priori rights. Should liberties weather the test of time and experience, Burke supposed, they should be extended to more people, as far as prudence dictates. But rights should not be treated lightly, as faux-liberties formed in periods of impassioned political upheaval only weaken the unstable social climates in which they are created. Society, Burke recognized, is an everfluctuating spiritual union. More than the sum of its parts, society comprehends the real interest of every person. All professions and all classes of men are joined in interdependent necessity, with a social hierarchy to balance competence and influence. Attempts to create new “societies” without preserving the traditional roots of their predecessors destroy generations of accumulated knowledge about how best to WINTER 2013
PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Disraeli. live in community with one another. To detract from heritage, then, is to detract from stability. As the intellectual founder of conservatism in the British tradition, Burke left an unmistakable impression on political history. His influence is so pervasive that even Harold Laski, former chairman of the British Labour Party, remarked, “Burke has endured as the permanent manual of political wisdom without which statesmen are as sailors on an uncharted sea.” The original conservative compass, Burke guided his successors to their own ideological conclusions. The Conservative Party, formed in 1834, reunified the remnants of an ailing Tory Party into an electoral force. Sir Robert Peel, a Tory widely considered the first Conservative PM, and others in the party initiated the resurgence of a new conservative movement in the British Isles. However, these men were first and foremost politicians determined to win elections, not redefine an ideology. It wasn’t until Benjamin Disraeli’s prime ministership in 1868 that the country was led by a Conservative political intellectual. Disraeli’s leadership of the U.K. was largely a reaction to a changing global society and evolving domestic political climate. Among the more important national developments was universal (male) suffrage. The near-elimination of property requirements meant that poor urban populations who were previously disenfranchised could vote. Disraeli took steps to ensure the WINTER 2013
Conservatives met them with open arms, Unionists, a party unified around the issue recognizing that pure ideology is worth- of full political union with Ireland, merged less if it lacks elected representatives in with the Conservative Party in 1912. Varigovernment. ous coalition governments came and went The Conservative Party’s political op- in the early decades of the twentieth centuposition, the Liberal Party, actively cam- ry, and little was accomplished. Then came paigned for the vote of the lower class, the British Bulldog, and conservatism exwhich threatened to severely disadvantage perienced resurgence once again. Winston Disraeli’s government. While Peel had ar- Churchill, stubborn as he was, was bulwark gued for Tories to appeal to middle-class of traditional values. support, Disraeli thought it better to apChurchill’s significance stems largely peal to the lower classes. When Peel’s from two facets of his character: his firm, middle-class initiatives — like the repeal of unwavering resolve and his willingness to the Corn Laws — failed to strengthen the challenge the establishment. These are eviTories, the Peelites broke rank and joined dent throughout his long career: in his vowith the Liberals. Despite the loss of an cal opposition, as co-founder of the Antientire wing, Disraeli gave life to the ailing Nazi Council, to Prime Minister Neville party. His strategy was to unite both ends Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitof the economic spectrum — the wealthy ler; in his resistance to Indian home rule; landowners and the poor workers — to in his cultivation of a “special relationship” fight the middle class and the Liberals’ with the United States — all are examples commercial interests. This movement was of steadfast beliefs that, at the time, flew in labeled Tory Democracy, as the former the face of political expediency. Churchill Tories opened political opportunity to the did not back down. when he thought he masses. was right. Instead, he pressed establishAt this time, the forces of Marxism were ment forces to conform to his views. When mobilizing, attempting to he was first consow discord and provoke sidering running class warfare. Marx arfor PM, Consergued class warfare is invative and instituevitable; Disraeli wholly tional leadership disagreed. He declared thought him too that the real interests of extreme to effecclasses are bound totively lead the nagether in the nation’s weltion. Far from disfare — channeling Burke, suading Churchill, he stated that inter-class this strengthened struggle destroys the so- —Harold Laski, Labour his conviction that cietal order needed for he was the man prosperity. Disraeli fought Marxism on for the job. His diligence paid off, and he all fronts: he took issue with the term “the led the Empire through the worst war in people,” a quasi-biological term misap- history. plied for political motivation, maintained Churchill’s resolve seemed to hurt the that all classes have a common interest and Conservatives in the short term. As an agemphasized that even the poorest of Brit- ing statesman, the party tapped Anthony ish citizens were not forgotten by the broad Eden to take over. But Churchill refused to social structure. His actions led Labour MP cede leadership to Eden, a seemingly illogiAlexander Macdonald to observe, “The cal stubbornness that opened a schism in Conservative Party have done more for the party. However, when Churchill finally the working classes in five years than the retired in 1955, what followed was one of Liberals have done in fifty.” Disraeli’s long the least successful prime ministerships in war with the Liberals, especially the Peelite British history, sunk by a crisis in the Suez William Gladstone, only cements Disraeli that allowed Soviet influence to take root as the conservative champion of the nine- in the Middle East. Had Churchill retired teenth century. sooner, communism could have lured Eventually, the Liberal Party faded into more of the newly-independent African political insignificance and the Labour and Middle Eastern states to adopt soParty filled the oppositional void against cialist policies, and thus shift the balance the Conservatives. Meanwhile, the Liberal of power away from the West. Although
Burke has endured as a permanent manual of political wisdom without which statesmen are as sailers on an uncharted sea.
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prominent conservatives like Buckley have faulted Churchill for taking it too easy on the Communists, a domino effect” of destructive radicalism was averted by his tenure as a prudent conservative leader. Churchill was the first in a train of conservatives who mastered the arts of short-term electioneering and intellectual preservation, inspiring Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Considered the British Reagan, Thatcher displayed the same unwavering resolve that Churchill embodied. So severe was her political perseverance, especially against the Soviet Union, that a Soviet military organ, the Red Star, labeled her the “Iron Lady.” Thatcher’s conservative contribution was the modernization of Britain’s economic policy. Her platform, appropriately named Thatcherism, consisted of classical liberal economics coupled with the reinstatement of the “self-help” social paradigm drawn from nineteenth century Scottish reformer Samuel Smiles. Considered a libertarian in the Conservative Party, her position on the day’s issues kept vibrant the economic ideas of Burke. Today, the Conservatives are led by Prime Minister David Cameron. Because
Thatcher. 18 / The Arch Conservative
Churchill. they did not win enough seats to constitute a majority, a coalition betweenConservatives and Liberal Democrats was needed to counter Labour influence. That means Parliament mostly focuses on coalition issues of personal liberty and economic freedom rather than targeting conservative issues of social hierarchy and order. Cameron’s government is working toward British independence from the European Union, which it hopes to make an issue in the next election. Domestically, the Conservative Party encourages economic growth in much the same way that the Republican Party does in the U.S.: through deregulation, low taxes and fiscal responsibility. The Conservative-led British government has also worked to instill traditional national values through new citizenship tests and British authority over Eurozone policy. The current Party is certainly more political than ideological, meaning that its values will be realized upon electing conservatives to office who can eventually act on their convictions. While economically conservative, the presence of powerful intellectual figures is lacking relative to its history. The constraints of this article make it impossible to discuss every facet of British conservatism. However, American conservatives can learn a great deal from its example.
First, a political ideology must have historical intellectuals to act as guideposts. For the British, Burke fills this role. In the United States, our Founding Fathers and early statesmen serve as role models of conservative behavior. Second, populism leads to long-term electoral victory. Disraeli kept the Conservatives either in power or, when not ascendant, at least relevant by advocating universal suffrage. The fear of untested popular rights kept conservatism isolated in Parliament and among the intellectual community. Once the masses proved capable of responsibly exercising their liberties, the concentration of political power could diffuse from aristocracy to popular authority. Third, working with the ally across the pond can unify movements and strengthen national power. Churchill actively worked with American presidents, even when they didn’t share his ideology. Reagan and Thatcher, the supreme example of trans-Atlantic conservative cooperation, brought both countries out of malaise and toppled the Soviet Union. Fourth, and most importantly, maintenance of conservative principles amidst fluctuating methods is what keeps conservatism viable in an evolving society. While liberals and progressives effect rapid social change, conservatives are the lonely champions of Burke’s traditional society and “ordered liberty.” Failure to retain these foundations threatens the loss of far more than first appears. The legacy of the British conservative tradition, in addition to keeping the U.K. protected from demagogues and revolutionaries, provides an excellent example for how to keep America vibrant. Just as Britain has flourished under conservatism, our nation too can weather storms of uncertainty and instability. It requires due diligence to our cause; it requires your support. British conservatives have learned that their values cultivate the best society. We must conclude, within our prevailing principles, how to do the same. n
Gettysburg at 150 Lincoln reminds the nation of its values.
by CONNOR KITCHINGS n November 19, the United States heralded the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Lincoln made countless speeches and took innumerable actions that kept the Union together during the Civil War. Yet of all these events, schools choose to teach students the Gettysburg Address, a testament to the speech’s importance. The 270-word dedication of Soldier’s National Cemetery is Lincoln’s most famous oration. Enshrined on the Lincoln Memorial, the Address inspires still today. Almost all Americans know the beginning (“Four score and seven years ago”) or the end (“government of the people, by the people and for the people”) of the Gettysburg Address. Many love to joke about a myth that Lincoln quickly scribbled the speech on a scrap of paper while riding the train to the memorial. Nevertheless, most people do not appreciate the speech’s full significance or understand what makes the Gettysburg Address such a brilliant renewal of American aspiration. One must appreciate the context of the speech to appreciate its true meaning. America has not always followed through on its stated belief that “all men are created equal.” At the time of the Civil War, the law did not recognize non-whites as full citizens; most could not vote. Furthermore, even though the vast majority of citizens in the North supported Lincoln’s efforts to bring the Confederate states back into the Union, a sizeable portion of his supporters were unwilling to accept blacks into society if slavery was eliminated, let alone grant them citizenship rights like the vote. For example, the American Colonization Society, which included powerful men like Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, had previously formed with the goal of freeing Connor Kitchings is a freshman studying economics and political science.
blacks from slavery and sending them back to Africa instead of allowing them to stay in the United States. These views became divisive when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation, contrary to common belief, did not abolish slavery (the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 finally ended the practice). It merely freed slaves in the states that were currently in rebellion. This provision strategically avoided controversy by excluding the border states of Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri, without which the Union could not have won the war. The Emancipation Proclamation also maintained the legality of slavery in those localities within the Confederacy which had chosen to remain loyal to the Union. Many people in Lincoln’s own party treated the Emancipation Proclamation with contempt: it changed the subject of the Civil War away from the primacy of Union and the limits of states’ rights to the issue of slavery. The latter was an issue many people were not ready to confront. Even a great number of abolitionists were not ready to face the Proclamation’s eventual ramification: the constitutional necessity of accepting blacks as their equals in society. Lincoln continued to push for equality in the Gettysburg Address, frustrating many. He was charged with threatening the resolve of the North in its fight against the Confederacy: shifting the focus of the war to ideas less popular in the North would not be good for Northerners’ already-flagging morale. After two years and more than 100,000 deaths, many were losing the martial spirit, and some had already begun to accept the separation of North and South. Lincoln’s political opponents took advantage of the issue during the election of 1864, which pitted him against Democrat George McClellan, who favored an
immediate end to hostilities with the South. Lincoln faced immense pressure to avoid the slavery issue altogether, yet he persisted and dedicated the national cemetery for the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil with ideals of future harmony and equality. That is the greatness of the Gettysburg Address. The speech was not just about dedicating a cemetery. It was about working toward a reaffirmation of the ideals of freedom and liberty that had made the nation great. Lincoln said, “It is for us the liv-
The great task remaining before us ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. —Nov. 19, 1863 ing, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” Dedicating a cemetery, after all, means almost nothing. The living must continue to finish the work of the dead: to truly honor them, America must strive for a united — not divided — tomorrow. The Gettysburg Address has been a reminder of American principles for 150 years and will continue to serve as such. It is not enough for America to have beaten the Confederacy, or Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. It is not enough that America put a man on the moon. It will not be enough to win the War on Terror. The work of the United States of America is never finished, never half-hearted. And, thanks to Abraham Lincoln, it will always be dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. n The Arch Conservative / 19
Sonny Perdue Sonny Perdue served as the 81st governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. He was the first Republican governor to serve since Reconstruction. Perdue sat down with The Arch Conservative’s Richard “Rebel” Lord to discuss 2002, partisan politics and more. REBEL LORD: Do you think you would have won in 2002 had you had been a Democrat running against [then-Governor] Roy Barnes? SONNY PERDUE: No, because of how the primary system works. You know, Johnny Isaakson would not be a U.S. senator today had he not been elected as a congressman in a special election — the primary system just would not have tolerated that. In fact, I’ve got a theory I want you to start talking about in Dr. Bullock’s class. I think reapportionment … well, we’ve already talked about what happened in 2002 and how wrong it was — — All of us, both Democrats and Republicans have gotten much better with the technology available to draw these lines. I have a feeling that our country would be better off if we forbade
Former Governor Sonny Perdue. 20 / The Arch Conservative
the use of any demographic data whatsoever during redistricting, so the only factor would just be geography and centers of economic influence. Make the districts as compact as you can down to the number, without knowing what color somebody is, what gender somebody is, what they like to buy and ultimately how likely they are to vote. You know, there is big data out there now in politics, and I can get information on you and predict whether you’re going to vote Democrat or Republican. If I’m in a Democratic district, then I want you out, and if I’m a Republican I want you in. It is the landslide districts, in my opinion, that are the biggest problems in Washington today, and that is why we cannot come to a resolution on anything — everyone up there in D.C. is beholden to a particular point of view. They certainly are providing representative government to these districts, but we just have so many homogeneous districts on both sides because representatives have been able to split up people by their views. As you well know, there is a certain political sorting going on nationwide. If you are more comfortable … you know, a lot of people from the northeast are not gonna stop in, say, Georgia, because they are more comfortable with the politics of coastal Florida. REB: They probably won’t be stopping at Cracker Barrel. SONNY: (Laughter) That’s right. And you know, people from Georgia or South Georgia are probably not going to move to Maryland — that kind of thing. There is macro-level demographic sorting that goes on every so often, but these congressional districts and these state legislative districts that we draw by virtue of having so much information about voters has essentially created two sets of representative governments with landslide districts, neither of which has any incentive to come together to resolve issues. Because with every Republican candidate, the primaries have become the battlegrounds. In every primary, every Republican candidate will face opposition from which side? REB: The right. SONNY: ...And every Democratic candidate will face opposition from which side? The left. So that, in my opinion, is a huge part of what is happening in Washington. REB: Do you think the sort of blind apportionment you are referring to ensures a more conservative government, federally and statewide? SONNY: I don’t know that I said it would ensure a more conservative government, but I think it can insure a more representative government. As a conservative, I happen to believe our doctrine makes better sense than the other options. Take the national debt for instance: the laws of economics are like gravity — you cannot spend more than what you take in for long, until you crash. On entitlement issues and spending, most people at the ballot box get the conservative position, so elections would be a lot closer. So, by virtue of how right conservatives are on the issues, I think the country would become more conservative. But you know, that’s just a theory. I don’t know if that would happen or not. But again, I’m a huge believer in the notion that our ideas are better than other ideas. Ultimately we represent the spirit of what originally made this country great, more so than the transfer economy which we are seeing now. The way things are going, the country may run off the tracks before people come back and see the error of their ways. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, though. n WINTER 2013
The Slide into Cynicism Despair is no substitute for constructive action. by SAMUEL KIRK GLAZE
He is missing one key distinction, however: the difference between modern cynicism and criticism. Criticism, especially construcn 445 B.C. Antisthenes was born in Athens, Greece. A former tive criticism, stems from knowledge of a situation and recognizes student of Gorgias, one of the great rhetoricians of the time, problems based on a standard for how the world ought to be. Antisthenes was a follower of Classical cynicism seems to be Socrates and founded the classimore closely related to criticism cal philosophy of Cynicism. This than to modern cynicism. Classical school of thought rejected societal cynicism recognized the way things conventions about how to live; inshould be by using the standard of stead, classical cynics focused on natural law, and could therefore seeking happiness by living a life of make recommendations for imvirtue. provements leading to greater hapIn the 21st Century, cynicism piness. Modern cynicism is content is a barely recognizable cast-off of to wallow in jaded negativity as long what it once was. Modern cynias it provides the platform for a few cism emphasizes rejection of social satirical jokes. It never steps into the norms while the importance of livrealm of efficacy. ing a life of virtue has been left by Antisthenes’ first teacher, Gorthe wayside. The contemporary gias, belonged to the school of definition of “cynicism,” as defined thought opposing classical cyniby The American Heritage Dictioncism: sophism. As a rhetorician ary, is “an attitude of scornful or and sophist, Gorgias was one of the jaded negativity, especially a general original moral relativists; he argues distrust of the integrity or professed in The Gorgias that an action is motives of others.” right or wrong based on whether it In recent years, such cynicism brings pleasure to the doer. Society has become all the more prominent has shifted closer and closer to this among younger generations. The way of thinking over the years. In Institution of Politics at Harvard pop music, for example, songs like University released a “Survey of “The Motto”, “Give Me Everything”, Young Americans’ Attitudes toward or, my personal favorite, “I Don’t Politics and Public Service” in April. Care,” represent a culture of dissolvOne of the survey questions asked ing values. Use your head. 18-25 year olds how often they trust This is a sophist’s — or moddifferent branches of the governern cynic’s — paradise. When we ment. The trend since 2010 is one of decline with Congress land- replace objective standards of what is right and wrong with indiing at only an 18 percent approval rating in 2013. According to a vidual judgment, a cynic does not have to offer a solution to recPew poll, this attitude of distrust in the government seems to have ognized problems. As the classical cynics acknowledged, we need started with President Johnson and was further perpetuated with a standard of judgment to be critical. Formerly, this standard came the Watergate Scandal. in the form of accepted traditional values, whether they came from Distrust in and of itself is not an agent for harm. Nevertheless, religious institutions or family tradition. Our new “standard,” by when the dialogue regarding government action is met with pas- contrast, seems to be a lack of one. We try to “respect” others’ besivity and defeatism, nothing is accomplished. Such responses lead liefs by saying everyone is right — a misnomer, since therefore no to helpless inaction, akin to melodramatic teenagers who, exas- one is right. perated, throw themselves on their beds and assume the world is With a critical mindset rather than modern cynicism, effecting against them, without considering the possibility of taking matters societal improvement becomes possible. A return to Antisthenes into their own hands. and classical Cynicism would help us to solve societal problems, Julian Baggini of The Guardian wrote an article in July 2013 not merely identify them. We need critics, because critics make called “In Praise of Cynicism,” arguing the merits of modern cyni- pragmatists and pragmatists solve the problems the modern cynics cism based on its tendency to recognize problems that need fixing. won’t. n
The Arch Conservative / 21
810 Our unwieldy identifiers. by ELIZABETH RIDGEWAY
number on your job application as it did when you were waiting at the DMV to take your driving test.” That is to say, hours. Not udged solely by difficulty of access, my UGA library account that I’m bitter. Then there are phone numbers which, at 10 digits is more secure than my student financial account. The latter long, give one adequate time while dialing to decide whether the system prompts me for the “MyID” username and password call is really such a good idea or not — and it’s usually not. For linked to all my other campus the few who enjoy telephone accounts, including parking, conversations, there are 10 registration and email. UGA digits separating you and Libraries, however, prompts your friend from invigorating me to enter my 810 number, dialogue. (Speed dial was inlast name and a unique PIN vented by an extrovert.) code that is impossible to And of course, Social Seretrieve each time I want to curity is the government’s renew a book or view the curbirthday gift to all babies. My, rent GALILEO password. how the feds do improve our Hackers may view my tudaily lives —after all, a Social ition and housing bill, but Security Number is key when never shall they see my overapplying for jobs, getting due book fines. (Incidentally, medical care and spending I forgot my debit card PIN quality time with family and number about the same time friends. I memorized my library PIN While memorizing so code. It was an exchange of many different numbers may brain space, and I’ve been left be frustrating, ultimately I’d with stacks of books and an rather do that than twiddle empty wallet. A worthy trade, my thumbs under just one. perhaps — eating dinner is so Having many layers of idenpassé.) tification reminds me that Today, numbers serve to (sigh) bureaucracy is alive The Ministry of Information. identify. Obsessed with effiand well which, all things ciency and clarity, not altogether to our detriment, we have pep- considered, is better than the ruthlessly efficient, despotic alternapered our records with endless strings of numerals. Gone are the tive. After all, we will rue the day when we have to learn just one days of clumsy Vs and MXLs (what did the Romans do when they number: Щ-854. n ran censuses?). Instead, we’ve embraced Arabic numerals, attaching them to everything from students to client jobs to paychecks to Chick-fil-A combo meals. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich What does the “810” at the beginning of my UGA ID number A Classic by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn . mean, anyway? According to Wikipedia, the year 810 A.D. was largely uninspiring, but transferred to our alphabet, 8 = H and 10 = Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s records of life in the Soviet Union revealed to the world the ugly innards of communism. J. The conspiracy theorist in me sees a reference to the University’s Solzhenitzyn’s tenure in the infamous gulags, or labor new president: “Hail Jere.” camps established for Stalin’s enemies, allowed him to Then there’s the digit at the very end of your 810 number, the write with the fervor of an eyewitness about the physical numeral you must type for entrance to dining halls, dorms or art cruelty and suppression of individual liberty perpetrated buildings containing dangerous equipment. Mine is 1, not 0. Urin the name of the Revolution. His slim volume One Day ban legends abound, but this is perhaps due to the fact that I lost in the Life of Ivan Denisovich poignantly follows a single my original student ID card the summer before my freshman year worker (Щ-854) unjustly meted ten years of hard labor. — that is., about a month after orientation, before I even moved From waiting in roll call lines with other numbered prisoners, to bricklaying in freezing temperatures, to scroungto Athens. That’s right, one of my earliest college experiences was ing for food by performing extra tasks, Ivan accepts his dropping $20 for another ID card. So I have 1 strike. Every time I situation with the pragmatism necessary to survive. In type in “810…1” to eat or sleep, I remember that Freshman Twenty. such a life, despair is a yawning chasm that means death. It’s not just the 810 number, either. Driver’s license numbers are quite lengthy, as if to say, “It will take you as long to write this 22 / The Arch Conservative
PHOTO BY HOUSTON GAINES