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December 2011

Volume 10, Issue 2

The Phoenix The Voice of the Conservative Movement at Wabash

Who’s The B*tch? Also Inside: Michaloski on Patriotism at Wabash Goddard, Folsom on Homecoming Freeman on the Press


The Phoenix editor-in-chief Zachary Churney ‘14 business manager, director of events Jeremy Wentzel ‘14 copy editor Robby Dixon ‘13

staff Bob Cassady ’12 Steve Henke ’12 Zachary Rohrbach ‘12 Michael Jon Mondovics ’13 Ted Plummer ’13 Alex Robbins ’13 Ronald Allman ’14 Micah Chowning ’14 Andrew Domini ’14 Matt Michalowski ’14 John Plaiss ’14 Zachary Schenkel ’14 Patrick Stroud ’14 Carter Adams ’15 Zak Cassel ’15 Zachary Crozier ’15 Will Folsom ’15 Nick Freeman ’15 Seton Goddard ’15 Isaac Taylor ’15

Subscription inquiries & letters: Wabash Conservative Union Post Office Box 375 Crawfordsville, IN 47933 www.wabashunion.org To reach the staff: editor@wabashunion.org

A Letter from the Editor: Dear Readers, Winter is upon us and the final push of the semester is in full swing. Among the many adjustments on campus this year is the change in editor-in-chief for the Phoenix. I have taken on the position of editor-in-chief, following my predecessor Jake Nettnay ’12 and am excited for what the future holds for this organization. I am so lucky to be able to work alongside our executive leadership this year and would like to welcome the newest additions to our team. Our freshmen staffers are a great addition to the Conservative Union and have shown a great deal of enthusiasm and confidence. This issue will present questions concerning the current push for the college to add a gender studies requirement. I hope that our lively cover sparked your curiosity, as it reflects an informative talk delivered by a faculty member. Please take the time to read about this growing topic of discussion amongst faculty and students. Also in this issue, we will address the European Union and its economic state, what it means to truly be a “Wabash Man” according to Greg Castanias ’87, Republican theory, freshmen reflections on homecoming 2011, and more. As discourse is present on campus, we want to make sure that we are a voice in conversations and discussions. We appreciate all the support we receive from faculty, alumni, students, and readers. I hope you enjoy this issue of The Phoenix. In Old Wabash,

Mission Statement The Phoenix, a student-run publication of the Wa­bash Conservative Union, seeks to promote intellectual conservatism on the campus of Wabash College through thoughtful debate and civil discourse. Following the best traditions of the conservative movement, The Phoenix will attack ideas, not people and will do so with both honesty and integrity.

Editorial ditorial PP olicy olicy

A l l opin ions expressed herein ref lec t t he v iews of t he ind iv idua l w riters. They do not necessa ri ly ref lect t he views of the Wabash Conser vative Union, The Phoenix , or Wabash College. Especially Wabash College.


In THIS Issue: Cover Features On Gender Studies

Zachary Churney ‘14

6

7

Collegiate Patriotism

8

Homecoming

Matt Michalowski ‘14

Will Folsom ‘15 Seton Goddard ‘15

10

Interview with Dr. Hollander

16

The GOP Race

17

Thanksgiving

19

Castanias ‘87

20

Republicanism

Zachary Churney ‘14

Page

Jeremy Wentzel ‘14

12

Nick Freeman ‘15

Page

Matt Michalowski ‘14 Ronald Allman ‘15 interview Dr. David Kubiak

14

Page

Matt Michalowski ‘14

Jeremy Wentzel

Robby Dixon ‘13

18

Page

Dr. Alexandra Hoerl


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DECEMBER 2011

Around Wabash Conservatives Discourage “Book Reading” The other day one of Wabash’s professors made the bold claim that conservatives are restrictive when it comes to education and that they are even against “book reading.” If this is the case, why then are there organizations such as the Cato Institute, ISI, the Collegiate Network, and the Heritage Foundation? In reality, conservatives are for a more traditional and broad education. It was not the conservatives that removed all theories except the theory of evolution from being taught in school as a viewpoint. If education is supposed to be “liberal” or broad, why do liberals put such restrictions on ideologies taught to students? This whole school voucher system should be embraced by liberals if they are indeed more concerned about the students rather than the educators. Conservatism and Libertarianism desires for education to be free-flowing and available to all students.

The Printing Situation The terrible, ridiculous, restrictive, unfair printing situation has already had enough attention. It should suffice to say that next semester needs to be different. Having Wabash students prioritize assignments because of the print quota is absurd. If the professors are the ones assigning papers, why don’t they have a say in the amount of printing needed for the students in his/ her class? Some classes require more printing than others. In the beginning of each semester, each professor should

determine a safe amount needed for the course, the amounts are collectively sent to the IT department, and each student receives credit to print just enough to last the semester. This is one solution to the problem.

The GOP Candidates The Republican campaign is the most popular drama series in America. The attacks on Herman Cain, the namecalling, the record of Rick Perry’s “shady background”—why would anyone choose a boring, typical soap opera over this? The GOP needs to get it together. Conservatives and Libertarians want the current administration out, but that is not going to happen unless there is a strong candidate on the other side. America isn’t seeing one yet.

Greece in the U.S.

This is a good analogy: Greece is to the European Union as the Federal Government (and the ideals permitting massive spending without consequence) is to the United States of America. Unfortunately, the federal government does not have a Germany to bail it out.

The Ringing of the Bell The terrible, ridiculous, restrictive, unfair printing situation has already had enough attention. It should suffice to say that next semester needs to be different. Having Wabash students prioritize assignments because of the

print quota is absurd. If the professors are the ones assigning papers, why don’t they have a say in the amount of printing needed for the students in his/ her class? Some classes require more printing than others. In the beginning of each semester, each professor should determine a safe amount needed for the course, the amounts are collectively sent to the IT department, and each student receives credit to print just enough to last the semester. This is one solution to the problem.

Wabash Students Studying Abroad Years ago, before the economy tanked, nearly twice the amount of students as today are selected to study abroad. This year in particular, I have heard, the competition is fierce. More than ever students’ GPAs, application essays, and majors/minors are looked at very closely. In reality, language majors/minors should have the greatest priority when it comes to applying for a foreign nation of a different language. As it is approaching the final stages of the application process, Wabash students just hope they will be one of the few chosen.

Ivy Tech in Crawfordsville

A new addition to Ivy Tech is being constructed in Crawfordsville. Does that mean that construction of additional businesses will take place as well? So many Wabash students claim that there should be a Starbucks or Chipotle here. Perhaps if the trend continues, in the future Wabash students will have more variety in dining and coffee.


New Contributors! Nick Freeman Nick Freeman, a freshman at Wabash College, is excited to be a new member of the Conservative Union. Freeman is originally from Indianapolis and plans to major in Political Science and minor in Economics. He is excited about writing for the Union and looks forward to his college years.

Will Folsom

Will Folsom is a freshman at Wabash College who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska. He’s very excited to be a part of the Wabash Conservative Union and The Phoenix. In his spare time, he enjoys to read books about history, go hunting or hiking with his Dad, and play guitar. They say that conservatives cling to their God and guns. Now that he’s in college, Will Folsom clings to his God, guns, and any chance he gets to eat anything his Mom cooks.

Seton Goddard

Seton is a freshman who hails from the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. At Wabash, he is a Political Science major with a Biology minor. Seton is an Independent and is involved with several clubs on campus in addition to the Wabash Conservative Union. He is hoping to attend medical school and has a strong interest in pursuing work on health care policy. Despite being a (somewhat conservative) Democrat, Seton thoroughly enjoys learning more about the views held by the conservatives of Wabash. He is looking forward to continuing his involvement with The Phoenix and WCU.


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DECEMBER 2011

Cover Feature I

A Gender Studies Requirement? Zachary Churney ‘14 Editor-in-chief

On Tuesday, November 15, Dr. Warren Rosenberg, along with students Reed Hepburn and Devin Kelley, delivered the 2011 Bankart Gender Talk, titled, “Either I’m the Bitch, or He’s the Bitch: Why Wabash Needs a Gender Studies Graduation Requirement.” The talk received quite the attention. The talk was held in Center Hall room 216 and by the time the presentation began, there were people practically sitting on one another, eager to hear what Dr. Rosenberg had to say in regard to an enforced gender studies requirement. The talk was a way for the feelings of many of the faculty to be expressed. The reception by the students that were there seemed to be of understanding, but not necessarily of agreement, toward all that was said. The argument made as to why Wabash, specifically, needs a gender studies requirement was based largely off the fact that we are an all-male school, and there are problems to address in the area of gender. Dr. Rosenberg started his talk off with a very true statement, and one that probably drives this entire controversy. “I don’t know if it’s the ‘B’ word or the ‘R’ word, if it’s the ‘B’ word or the requirement, either one, it’s stimulating a lot of interest.” He went on to say how a great deal of the teaching staff here at Wabash have been discussing their courses and are trying to figure out what the “next iteration of their curriculum will be.” Something that has come up is this issue of “masculinity and gender studies” as a requirement. Dr. Rosenberg restated his feelings toward the subject in his opening statements: “I gave the first Bankart lecture in 2009 on roughly the same subject, so this will be a reiteration but with a bit of variation…I have been talking about teaching gender since 1980, when I

first came to Wabash.” Believe it or not, this whole question of gender studies is not a new one, just one that seems to come up every so often. In fact, the Bankarts, who used to teach here at Wabash before retiring, had a large role in pulling gender studies onto the table for discussion during their time as professors. This time there is greater support from the teaching staff; Dr. Rosenberg is not alone in his desire to have a gender studies requirement, and there are many professors in agreement with him. Part of Dr. Rosenberg’s argument, and a view shared by many, is that because Wabash is one of the few all-male colleges in the twenty-first century, gender needs to be taught intentionally. If Wabash is to remain all-male, it should adopt a gender studies program that is required for graduation. Dr. Rosenberg put a lot of emphasis not on female gender, but on masculinity and the problems we face as men. “Men define themselves, in essence, against women…and that’s a process that starts early. There’s a term called ‘policing,’ when gender roles are ‘policed.’” This is something even Wabash College students have faced. Rosenberg elaborated on how one of his students came to him and told him that when he was younger he enjoyed the color pink and playing games that were traditionally “girl games.” When the young man’s mother noticed this “irregular behavior” she had him get therapy. This is one of the examples Dr. Rosenberg gave to illustrate how gender has a role with Wabash students and why there is a justification for a requirement in the area of gender studies. “Wabash defines itself by gender. We are a college for men; asking and understanding why makes sense.” Dr. Rosenberg claimed that part of his core argument is that we need to be asking ourselves why we are a college for men. Does gender have a huge role

in making Wabash what it is? “If we think about the college’s mission, to think critically, act responsibly, live humanely, and lead effectively, there is actually a gender component to each of those things.” Rosenberg looked at requirements such as freshman tutorial and now EQ and asked why the study of gender is not paired into those required courses. If Wabash, as a place more or less centered on the very definition of gender, is not requiring a course focused on such a crucial area, we must ask ourselves why. “So many people are scared of the word requirement,” and this is the problem a lot of students have with a gender studies requirement. “We feel that being required to do something takes away from our masculinity, but that’s not the case. There are so many things we are required to do in our lives. We require you students to do a lot, actually.” Rosenberg argued that students are fearful of the course being a requirement for no reason. Another issue many are facing is this fear of feminism taking over and dominating the gender study courses. Reed Hepburn ’12 addressed this issue by saying, “There’s a lot of false assumptions we are operating on here…gender is not simply masculinity [or femininity]; gender is gender. A lot of students also think that gender equates to feminism, but this is totally untrue; gender is gender…there’s also this idea that feminism equals this anti-male propaganda…this is not true either.” Hepburn elaborated on the false notions that some form of militarized feminism would take over the course. He described some of the things he has experienced personally from taking some gender studies courses and completely rejected such a notion: “We need to get past the stereotypes we have concerning masculinity, feminism, and gender studies.” Hepburn argued that by taking courses continued on page 22 (Requirement)


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Perspectives

College Kids and Patriotism Matt Michalowski ‘14 Staff Writer

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a committed punk. I used to have very long hair. I love metal music. And I’ll often forgo the double-Windsor for the much lazier Four-in-hand method when I’m tying my tie for church. I just can’t be tamed. I think everyone my age has a little bit of this same rebellious streak, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Let’s face it: there are aspects of authority and of “the institution” that are unjust and need to be fought against. I’m awfully grateful, for instance, that the Founding Fathers of my country decided to be “punks” and fight against a tyrannical government. I’m glad that even before t hat there were Puritan “punks” who weren’t satisfied with t he refor m s of the Anglic a n C hu rc h and came to America to practice their f a it h f re ely. Sometimes there are good reasons to question the system. But there is one attitude that irks me even despite my hardcore counterculture roots, and it is an attitude that I think is both very prevalent among college students and very unfortunate. It is the idea that it has somehow become “cool” for college students to hate America. I suppose this trend began sometime in the 1960s when students were protesting Vietnam and exploring eastern philosophy while high (I was not alive in the 60s, so I am admittedly drawing from stereotypes). Against the backdrop of all the monumental changes and problems of the twentieth century, the

notion developed that there is a “man” working against the common welfare of the people and that we have the right to “stick it” to him. I can certainly respect this philosophy, and I’m not trying to say that hippies are evil. I like the Beatles, and Scooby-Doo, and all that other groovy stuff as much as the next guy. I think that this same idea of going against “the man” led us to be wary of big government and to start the fight for civil rights. But I think it’s important that we think critically about just who “the man” is, because I do not think that it’s fair to blame America for the social problems we learn about in school. My high school environment, while a wonderful experience, was decidedly liberal. My studies would often focus on the

tion, but most of the Americans I know do, in fact, hold themselves to a higher standard than this lovely image. I think America becomes an easy target for students’ discontent simply because we are the largest, wealthiest nation on earth and because there aren’t any alternatives that are as easy to blame. This notion is unfortunately reinforced by teachers and other students. Many college students support European politics and culture without, in my opinion, really understanding why. I was certainly guilty of this attitude when I was younger. These alternatives seemed attractive to me simply because they went contrary to the western system that I had come to believe was antiprogressive. Many people my age act as if patriotism is an antiquated, western concept that is counterproductive to modern s o c ie t y. It is assumed that if I love America then I must have some irrationa l fear of the rest of the world, and of human progress, and health food. I am here to say that I want to work towards solving the world’s problems as much as the next guy, but that I also take pride in my country for its rich traditions and its commitment to personal liberties. My country’s history is not perfect, but I also believe that America is not the source of all the world’s inequalities and violence—neither is capitalism. To borrow from my good friend, Billy Joel, “We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning.” I’d like to conclude by complement-

Against the backdrop of all the monumental changes and problems of the twentieth century, the notion developed that there is a “man” working against the common welfare of the people and that we have the right to “stick it” to him. shortcomings of capitalism and rarely on its merits. We would often touch briefly on America’s commitments to liberty and justice and focus more intently on our historical mistakes. There are consequences to this learning environment: I think our liberal academic atmosphere has conditioned students to focus disproportionately on America’s problems and not enough on her merits. The good student will see the stereotypical Americans as an obese, gun-toting cowboy who can’t name the three branches of his government because he’s too busy running over endangered species with his monster truck. Maybe I’m an excep-

continued on page 23 (Patriotism)


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DECEMBER 2011

Wabash

A Song of Chapel Sing

On Freshman Homecoming 2011

Will Folsom ‘15 Seaton Goddard ‘15 Staff Writer

Homecoming weekend. It’s exciting, it’s stressful, and like just about everything at Wabash, it’s teeming with tradition. For Alumni and many upperclassmen, Homecoming weekend lasts about 72 hours, from Chapel Sing to whenever the victory celebrations cease Saturday night (more likely Sunday morning). For us freshmen however, preparation for some aspects of Homecoming began weeks in advance. It all began with Chapel Sing. We Independents were approached by some older Independents who were asking for volunteers to participate in Chapel Sing. Eighteen of us volunteered to represent our fellow Independents and committed to attending mandatory practices. Why? Who knows? Some of us came because we were bored and thought it sounded like it might be fun. Some of us came because we felt ashamed not to. Many of us came because as Wabash Men, we knew it was the right thing to do. As two first generation Wabash guys from Nebraska and Wisconsin, we didn’t really know how big a deal Chapel Sing was and what it was really like. We wouldn’t really know that until we walked off the mall six weeks later. But over those six weeks, we eighteen Independents practiced behind Sparks from 9:00 to 10:00 PM, five nights a week. It started off slowly as we learned the song, but it eventually progressed into marches and mock Chapel Sing line-ups, complete with the non-stop singing, red cards,

screaming, and cigar smoke. It was tough, but at those tense moments when you had three guys all screaming in your face about their latest romantic encounter with your mother, three things kept you going: One, your zeal for Wabash (Of course!). Two, your fellow G.D.I.s. Three, the knowledge that some poor, sad sack pledge had it five times worse than you…and at 6 A.M. Finally, the day of Chapel Sing arrived, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect day. It was sunny and the temperature was neither too hot nor too cold. After our respective tutorial classes, we met behind Sparks

resulting sound was more reminiscent of a dying animal than “Old Wabash”. Some groups immediately started off fast while others started more slowly. It didn’t take long for each of us to set our own pace. The entire time, we were just praying that we wouldn’t draw attention to ourselves. Staying focused was another struggle. Some of us got lucky and made it through, but the Sphinx Club members seem to have an innate ability to smell fear, and once they were able to find a target, they were damn good at messing you up. When we finally got the okay to stop singing, it was one of the greatest senses of relief we had ever known. It was over. Once we were able to breathe at a norma l rate and swallow ou r sa liva in the typical fashion, it was even better. There was no more yelling. No more red cards. No more nightly practices. We were finished. We independents did a respectable job at the end of the day. We had one guy who couldn’t make it because he had a bad cold, so we had 17 guys, and we counted three Ws. Your humble authors were fortunate, and neither of us got Ws, but some of our good friends weren’t so lucky. Still, the Independent upperclassmen told us how proud they were of us regardless of whether or not we got a W. Chapel Sing was only the beginning, however, and almost immediately we started our preparations for painting the bench and building our float. During the past several weeks, we had gone around all of the independent

Many of us knew members of the Sphinx Club and knew that they were nice guys, but on that morning, they seemed more like tigers in red and white stripes, ready to pounce on us black-andwhite-clad sheep. one last time. The older guys were all there to wish us luck. We put our hands together and, at the count of three, yelled “GDI!” Rudy, our spunky and animated leader, led us out onto the mall single-file. It was great seeing all of those people, students, faculty, and members of the community out there cheering everyone on. It was also nerve-wracking. We could feel the sweat running down our sides and our legs out of pure nervousness. Many of us knew members of the Sphinx Club and knew that they were nice guys, but on that morning, they seemed more like tigers in red and white stripes, ready to pounce on us black-andwhite-clad sheep. When Tyler Wade got up on his ladder and commenced the Sing, the


DECEMBER 2011

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Wabash living units asking for donations to respect, and good, old-fashioned fun. fund paint and float materials, and by It was a rewarding experience. Thursday night, we had most of the For our float, we built medieval materials that we needed. So we split stockades which included Kenyon up into two groups, one to paint, and fans (purple clothing stuffed with one to start on the float. Almost all of copies of The Bachelor) in them and a the guys who participated in Chapel giant 18-feet-tall “Executioner Wally,” Sing helped with the bench and float, which, thanks to a collaborative effort, but the cool thing was that countless we free-hand drew, painted, cut out, other independents also showed up, and constructed over the course of the and without their help on Thursday night. Dozens of freshman indepenand Friday nights, we wouldn’t have dents descended on Martindale to help been able to get done in time. Painting the bench went well for the most part. We did a simple red and white color scheme with the phrase “GDI Till I Die” on the front. Over the next couple of days, we would get numerous positive comments, especially from fraternity guys, on how cool and creative our slogan and paint job was. The only mishap during the night was a funny coincidence. Who would Public Affairs Photo have thought that on the same night us out. The older guys were also there the Independents were painting the supervising us. Then the language senior bench, there would be a break interns came to hang out. Apparently, out from the local insane asylum, and they heard about how cool our fire that those escaped patients would chant was. It was a lot of fun, not only pelt eggs and balloons at us, all while seeing our project come together, but exposing themselves? No serious harm also to see everyone having a great was done, however. The escaped men- time listening to music, eating pizza, tal patients had pathetic aim. and hanging out. The following night, we shifted our A few guys had to pull all-nighters, focus to our float, banner, and fire but we finally got our float done in chant. For our chant, we decided on a time to be judged Saturday morning. rendition of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Our banner was also done, but we had Yellow.” We dubbed it “White and to make one more last-minute run to Scarlet,” and it became an instant hit Walmart to buy some things for our at fire chant. When we performed our homecoming queen. Upon heading chant, donning patriotic parapher- down to the local Walmart for what nalia and bearing an American flag, was likely the twenty-seventh time, everyone cheered us on, shouting en- we (and Seton Goddard’s Visa card) couraging things like, “What an awe- were welcomed with open arms by the some chant!” and “Go independents, cordial host of greeters. Few things are you guys rock!” The event was really as exciting as a hearty Crawfordsville what ended up defining Wabash life “Welcome to Walmart!” When we arfor everyone on campus: camaraderie, rived at the stadium before halftime,

the fraternities’ banners and queens impressed us. Some of them had put a lot more time and effort into their banners. FIJI’s was particularly impressive. Our banner was based on the Don’t Tread on Me flag, except our snake was red and was devouring a lord. As the two designers of the banner, and as members of the Wabash Conservative Union, we thought it was pretty clever. If any future generations of freshmen read this, we would like to bequeath some advice to them concerning homecoming queens. A) When picking between a football player and a swimmer for your homecoming queen, pick the swimmer. B) It’s never a good idea for your queen to flash the judges, especially when there are feminists among them. Overall, homecoming was great to be a part of. Floats and football games are a staple of most college homecomings; however, the great thing about Wabash College is that we take something like homecoming and add our own traditions to it. Chapel Sing, painting the Senior Bench and the homecoming “queen” contest are all unique to Wabash. Wabash Men have a passion for tradition. We don’t walk under the arch for fear of terrible things to come, we succumb to participation in Chapel Sing, and we pull all-nighters painting the Senior Bench, all in the name of one thing: Wabash tradition. Dean Raters reminded us after Chapel Sing that up until just a few years ago, Independents didn’t participate in Chapel Sing and that he was proud to see Independents volunteering to participate. He said that, “Chapel Sing is not a Fraternity thing. It’s not even a Sphinx Club thing. It’s a Wabash thing.” Now, it’s understood that a little friendly rivalry is healthy and that a little heckling never killed anyone, but even though we compete during homecoming as Independents or as Betas or as FIJIs, we should remember that we are Wabash men first and foremost and that these great traditions belong to all of us.


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The Phoenix

DECEMBER 2011

Perspectives

The Troubles of the European Union: An Interview with Dr. Hollander

Zachary Churney ‘14 Editor-in-Chief

doubt in the sustainability of the Euro and are actually predicting the Mark to take over for the Euro in Germany. I wanted to ask someone who has taken this into consideration, so I interviewed Dr. Ethan Hollander, a Doctor of Political Science and professor here at Wabash.* The answer he gave me to this question was so straightforward I had to put it in here. Dr. Hollander’s reply was this: “Let me put it this way. What would you do if you had a friend

The other day I was listening to National Public Radio (I know, ironic) and, as I am both a political science and German major, I could not help but listen to the ever-growing concern about the European Union. For those of you who might not know, which I am not even sure is possible unless you live in a cave, there is a crisis on the other side of the pond and its name is debt. It’s odd how that seems to be a common problem in the world today. A Reuters report claims that by the end of this year, Greece’s debt will be 162 percent of its total economic output. In other words, Greece is nearing a crisis and, unfortunately, it is not the only EU member facing such a problem. Nations such as Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain are also feeling the pull from the 2008 recession, but not to the extent that Greece Public Affairs Photo is. German Prime Minister Angela who racked up huge debts at the CacMerkel and French President Nicolas tus and now wanted you to help him Sarkozy have had a lot to discuss as out? All those nights he was out parboth Germany and France are playing tying, you were home, doing what you hero in the present crisis. Germany is [were] supposed to do, saving money doing well, excluding the population and eating at Sparks. issue, and has done quite a bit thus “On the one hand, the right thing far in helping other members of the to do is to help your friend out—he is, European Union. The question I as well after all, your friend….and he promises as others are asking is this: What is to that he’s learned from his mistakes, happen now with Germany, France, that he’ll pay you back, that he won’t do Greece, and the rest of the European it again. But you’ve given him money Union with the issue of economic debt before, and your friends have too, and uncertainty looming over Europe? and you saw what he did with it, and One possibility for Germany is— frankly, you don’t really believe him. prepare yourself—leaving the Europe- You don’t want to lose his friendship, an Union, getting rid of the Euro, and to sever ties or to kick him out of the readopting the Deutsche Mark. Ger- house. And you sincerely wish him man publications such as Handelsblatt well. But you also can’t afford to bankand Der Spiegel have been preaching roll his economic security when yours

is also in question. And so you’re about ready to call it a loss and to go your own way. Well, which would you do? I can’t [say] which is the right choice, but I can assure you that neither is really good.” This is a very true statement. On one hand Germany could look out for itself and pull away from the Union, but what would that do to other nations who have invested so much and have built their infrastructure around the unionization of itself and other nations? If Germany were to do what is best for itself, it would readopt the Mark and take a position similar to the one the U.K. has taken. However, if Germany intends to fight for European stability and economic unity in Europe, it would remain a member of the European Union. One solution to this problem is a bailout created by France and Germany. The feelings from French and German citizens about having to bail out Greek and other European markets is not positive. Dr. Hollander explained the situation well: “…Germany and France face a terrible dilemma…As part of EU integration, the rich (some would say ‘responsible’) countries of Europe share an economy with the poor (‘irresponsible’) countries of Europe—they trade with one another, they share a currency, they cooperate and they build things together. As a result, countries like Germany and France will suffer if countries like Greece (not to mention Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain) go bankrupt. In a way, their only choice is to help. But as you might imagine, this isn’t very popular with the citizens of Germany and France, who, quite reasonably,


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Perspectives don’t understand why they should pay for the mistakes of other countries. You see, Germany and France don’t typically spend money they don’t have—and so if they were to give money to Greece to pay Greece’s debts, the people of Germany and France would have to pay for it in the form of higher taxes. Nobody likes paying taxes. But taxes are particularly irksome when they are raised to pay for someone else’s mistakes!” This is such a true statement and it is difficult to really say whether France and Germany should continue to bail out other nations. In my opinion, this could be a very slippery slope Germany and France are embarking on. Let’s say that Germany and France bail Greece out and all is well. However, what about the multiple other nations that are facing economic crises? If Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain need help, will France and Germany come to their rescue? If France and Germany continue to help out other nations by the hands of their own economies, what will the outcome be? Playing banker could be detrimental to France and Germany, especially with the world market being so fragile. So, what exactly can the United

States learn from Europe? Perhaps the United States’ government should learn what Greece’s has: you should not amass a debt exceeding the economic output. Greece faced the issue of an economy in recession, and according to Dr. Hollander: “Greece’s solution to this problem was to spend money it didn’t have, a wonderfully sound public policy in the short term—and one that many countries, including the U.S., are starting to follow. But not something that works particularly well in the long term when the people who lent you the money—the money that you spent on things that you now can’t afford—return and want their money back. Many a U.S. homeowner is very familiar with this situation.” Looking at Greece’s example, the United States should definitely be making long-term decisions instead of these very shortly lived programs that are costing billions and even into the trillions of dollars. Can future generations handle the amount that we are spending right now? Greece is incredibly small in comparison to the United States, but even to economic giants such as Germany and France, the debt it has created is a large problem. If the comparatively small debt Greece

has produced has become such a large problem in the eyes of the world, what will the debt of the United States look like when it finally gets to that point? The great debate in 2012 will be about the economy. Let’s be completely honest, the economy will be the foremost argument in the Presidential race. If the question is what we can learn from Europe’s current crisis, then the straightforward answer is to stop spending money like a teenaged girl who just got her first credit card. Although this is a harsh reality, fiscal conservatism is proving to be the logical approach to the economy and even Democrats are beginning to agree. I have no doubt that Germany and France will pull Greece out of its economic crisis, but will there always be a Germany or a France to bail out less fortunate nations? In our case, probably not.

*A special thanks to Dr. Hollander for his continuing support for the Conservative Union and productive discourse. We appreciate all he has done and is doing for our organization and other organizations on campus.

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DECEMBER 2011

Cover Feature II

Out of Touch

Why Gender Studies Should Not Be Required Jeremy Wentzel ‘14 Events Coordinator

“Either he’s the Bitch, or I’m the Bitch.” It’s a phrase that has certainly made its way around campus. Attributed to Mr. Devin Kelly ’12, the phrase was a discussion point in his senior seminar English course on gender, and has become the catch phrase for the gender studies requirement discussion on campus. The notion is that the term “bitch” has a negative female connotation that men seemingly flee from. This helped frame the discussion of why Wabash men should be required to look into issues and definitions of gender and identity. After Dr. Warren Rosenberg’s talk on Why Wabash Needs a Gender Studies Requirement, the question still remained. In a packed Center Hall 216, students were asked to hear the case, and then discuss the implications and voice questions. The talk essentially examined why gender studies is a good thing, and should be included in the curriculum. However, it neglected to entertain reasoning on why gender studies should be compulsory for all Wabash men, besides the fact that Wabash is an all-male college that does not explore the subject enough. The talk also leaves open the question of possible implementation strategies for such a requirement. While Wabash is a college that clearly changes lives, we must examine whether this happens in the classroom or whether it is a result of critical thinking outside the classroom. I would argue the latter. Advocates for this requirement claim that there would not be an inherent bias pressed upon students, yet they also claim that there would be a degree of bias within the readings. A large point that was discussed at this talk was the fact that all Wabash professors have an agenda to bring to the table. Certain professors will have certain perspectives

that shape their approach in classes. However, the question that remains is which perspectives will be presented within the gender studies requirement, and which will be discussed with less prevalence. In the current system Wabash men can choose certain courses to take, which professors they want, and what area of exploration they feel is necessary. They can choose a class which they feel tackles the issue of gender most eloquently. In fact, there are 27 courses to choose from that can go toward the current gender studies concentration at the college. In a gender studies requirement, this is not the case. Students may be forced to look at a specific agenda when selecting courses: one in which the end goal is to break down traditional gender barriers. An angry gender studies advocate might ask, “Why would you not want to break down traditional gender barriers and roles?” The response is simple: I would like to see traditional gender roles less traditional. I do think more women should work and be breadwinners in the family, and perhaps more men stay at home. I do think that men should not be afraid to express themselves, and not be afraid to be “the bitch.” I might even think that we should reject the notion of “the bitch” altogether! This line of thinking reflects the opinion of hundreds of other Wabash men who have not taken a gender studies course. In fact, our society as a whole is more gender conscious than they were a century, half century, decade, or perhaps even 5 years ago. Wabash men are a step above. This student body has already explored or is currently exploring their gender and identity on their own time (isn’t the Enduring Questions course meant to help freshmen explore identity and gender?). We do not need another required course to replace or ‘enhance’

our personal thoughts or actions in regards to gender—especially in a field of study that has become prominent only recently! In a gender-conscious world, most Wabash men already have a progressive mindset when it comes to gender and sexuality. This is why so many Wabash men find themselves taking one or more of the college’s 27 gender courses that already exist. Yet, even if a Wabash man does not take a course on gender, it is completely out of touch to think that he is unfit or will not explore his identity outside the classroom. Therefore, why is it so important for advocates to push a gender studies graduation requirement into the Wabash curriculum? While different advocates have different positions on the issue, it is worth asking the following questions. Why is it presumed that Wabash College has been long overdue for a gender studies requirement? Is this an alternative route to channel the over-and-done-with coeducational debate? If gender studies at Wabash College are strictly for Wabash men to explore gender, why does it have to be more than an elective course or area of concentration? With these questions in mind, it is necessary to compare the structural models of C&T, Enduring Questions, and Freshman Tutorial to a proposed gender studies requirement. If the college were to implement a gender studies requirement, it would legitimize the course to the level of EQ or Freshmen Tutorial. A required gender studies course would be a semester, as are the current required courses. Are we prepared to compare the legitimacy of a gender studies course to that of Freshmen Tutorial, Enduring Questions, or the late C&T (may God bless it)? These questions are critical, but also crucial when determining the roots of gender studies. The “Gender Studies is about Wabash men exploring their own gender” reasoning only goes so far when there


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Cover Feature II is a required course that explores identity and gender, Enduring Questions. In addition, 27 other elective courses address the same subject. Therefore, Wabash men want to know why the current modes of exploration are not enough, and what other agenda is at work in this push for compulsory gender studies that would affect all Wabash diplomas, moving forward. More importantly is the argument that Wabash men need a semester of gender studies to assist them in the real world and life moving forward. Many students would be offended to know that there is a perception that most Wabash men have been overcompensated with masculinity during their time at the college. This then translates to the idea that, as a college, we should sensitize these brute men and teach them how to feel confident and comfortable with their gender and with other genders. The implied end result is that if we don’t do this then bad things could happen to them if they make such blunders in the future. The reoccurring theme of feminism has been prevalent in this counter-argument. It is completely understandable that feminism is overused in the argument against gender studies. Yet, it is completely false for gender studies advocates to pride themselves on a class requirement that is not feminist. The issues will come up and the result will be feminist readings. Perhaps men will be able to examine themselves, and become more comfortable with

their own masculine side as a result of the proposed requirement. However, the core ideology is that students can choose to take a course on this matter now (and many Wabash men do), as opposed to being corralled into requirement distributions with high demand (what will most likely happen if the college decides to make this a requirement). Mr. Reed Hepburn ’12 formed a clear argument around why a seminarstyle gender studies classroom setting is the right place for this discussion. A senior seminar has limited occupants, as well as advanced coursework and in depth discourse. For Mr. Hepburn and his fellow classmates, the discussion has been fruitful. He claimed there has even been debate against feminist agendas at times. However, this would be completely out of the realm of possibility with a new gender studies requirement. 900 students being forced to take a course that deals with gender over their four years here will simply become a logistical nightmare. The current 27 courses (and their current rate of offering) will not be enough to accommodate all Wabash men in a small seminar class size of less than 15. Therefore, we would be asking faculty to reteach these courses in higher frequency, leading to a possible reduction in other distribution courses being taught. A small number of professors wanting to reteach these courses more frequently will be in limited departments at this college, and will have

a greater stake in wanting to expand gender studies at the college. In addition, there would need to be additional courses developed to accommodate the surge in students taking the course. What might this new coursework be composed of? Clearly, it would most likely be lecture format as opposed to discussion format to accommodate larger numbers of students taking the course to fulfill a distribution. I would argue that the feminist and/or LGBT approach would be a popular choice to begin structuring new courses with. Again, these courses would interfere with Wabash men discovering what sexuality or gender actually means to them personally through outside-the-classroom critical thinking. In addition, is it not true that we discover what we need to know in regards to sexuality, gender and identity from personal relationships with family, friends, and coworkers? In final reflection, Wabash College does not need a gender studies requirement. It’s very clear that an all-male student body is one of the primary factors in driving the push for compulsory gender studies. Perhaps it’s a legitimate factor, but why is it a driving factor? In addition, this requirement assumes that Wabash men exploring gender, identity, and sexuality on their own time in their own lives is not enough. Why is critical personal reflection and development not enough? Lastly, it will be a logistical nightmare continued on page 22 (Out of Touch)

Merry Christmas!

from the Wabash Conservative Union


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DECEMBER 2011

Cover Feature III

The Wimpification of Modern Academics Dr. Kubiak’s Response to Gender Feminism

Matt Michalowski ‘14 Ronald Allman ‘14 Staff Writers

It was the morning of November 15th. The gender issues committee was sponsoring a presentation and light lunch that day. They planned to pitch their proposal for a new course requirement to the student body and clear up any misconceptions about the nature of their mission. The talk was titled: “‘Either I’m the Bitch, or He’s the Bitch’: Why Wabash Needs a Gender Studies Graduation Requirement.” I was skimming through my emails that morning and quickly deleting the bulk of them when a campus-wide invitation to the event caught my eye. I read the email and decided to write down the time and room number for the talk. The offer of lunch was attractive. I found my pledge brother and fellow WCU member, Ron Allman, and proposed that we attend the talk together. He quickly agreed. The offer of lunch was attractive. Besides, we figured, we might learn something interesting about the gender studies debate and how it will affect us. We arrived early and ate lunch before the talk began. It was not disap-

pointing. There were sandwiches from Johnny Provolone’s and A&W root beer, which is far superior to Barq’s, the preferred root beer provided by most campus organizations when they want to entice students to participate. It ended up being an above average incentive. Ron agreed. We sat down and turned our attention to the speakers, which included Dr. Warren Rosenberg, senior Devin Kelley, and senior Reed Hepburn. The speakers mounted an interesting defense for instituting gender studies, which had been largely snickered at by myself and fellow classmates upon first hearing about the proposition. Gaining interest in the topic, Ron and I decided to ask Dr. David P, Kubiak if he would be willing to share his views on the debate. We are both students in his Classics course, “Topics in Masculinity,” which has been offered this semester and have had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Kubiak express his views on feminism, academia, traditional values, and masculinity in all its aspects. He agreed to meet with us and did not disappoint. Wabash Conservative Union: One

of the major messages that the gender studies advocates tried to get across at the talk was that the field of gender studies is more than just feminist propaganda. Are they justified in saying that the proposed gender studies course will not devolve into feminist indoctrination? Dr. David Kubiak: The gender feminists have their own catechism. It’s a way of life. For them to impose it on students is like me going in and trying to convert my students to Catholicism. And I think they are being a bit disingenuous in claiming ideological neutrality. Gender Studies are a manifestation of academic gender feminism and that is that. If you question faculty closely enough this will emerge, and particularly in what is termed masculinity studies. All the leaders of the group – people like Harry Brod – will say that their foundation is in academic feminism, and it is through that lens they are proposing to look at men. So my colleagues may talk about ideological neutrality, and perhaps in their own minds they are being honest. But it’s not going to come out that way. When you examine their own intellectual commitments it is academic feminism that they are going to teach. Most of the faculty are indifferent to the issue. The only ones who really get excited about it are the ones who are ideologically wedded to academic feminist approaches. As I said, to me it’s a religion. And I don’t think we should be shoving any rel ig ion dow n st udents’ throats.

When you pit two people against each other in a conflict, one of them is going to come out the winner and one is going to come out the loser. Its one of the delusions of the academic gender feminists that we can all live in this world where everyone comes out on top all the time and everybody is a winner. That’s just not the way life is.

WCU: W hat threat does t he academ ic


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Cover Feature III feminists’ way of thinking pose to masculinity and traditional values? DK: It’s just not the real world. I don’t think it’s preparing you for the real world, so that’s one danger. My sister is a very successful advertising executive, and when I tell her some of the things that are proposed at our gender panels she laughs out loud. And I do think that despite rhetoric to the contrary there is a deep-seated misandry involved here: a dislike, a distaste for regular guys, the salt of the earth types that are the core of Wabash College. The more one attacks that kind of man the more one attacks the essence of the College. So ultimately I think the gender feminist influence is not desirable as a College-wide influence. Individual instructors can teach whatever they want in their own classrooms once you hire them. That is academic freedom. What feminist ideologues do in their own classes I have no desire to interfere with, but when they start proposing that this perspective should be imposed on all the student body that’s another issue, and I think I’m entitled to an opinion about it. WCU: The gender studies talk focused largely on a sentence brought up by senior tight end, Devin Kelley, during a classroom discussion on masculinity when he brought up his perspective as an athlete. He described his mindset before making a play: “Either I’m the bitch or he’s the bitch.” Is this a good reflection of masculine values? Is there danger in simplifying masculinity in a way that it only represents conflict? DK: First, I don’t think in this context the word “bitch” has any kind of literal meaning; it’s apparently athletic vernacular to describe who wins and who loses in a contest. (I would compare the expression “---- you”, which has nothing much to do with sexual intercourse.) From the Greeks on athletics involves winners and losers, and it’s not pleasant to be the loser, as Pindar tells us. It is one of the delusions of gender feminism that we can live in a world where everybody is a winner. That’s not the way life is. When

conflict is stylized as it is in athletic contexts, I can see how the desire for dominance would be verbalized in various ways, and I’m not at all sure any of us has the right to invade the verbal privacy of our athletes or any other of our students. “Bitch” is not a word any student would use in conversation with me; that’s all I have the right to demand about it, I think. To make a student stand up and confess publicly his gender feminist transgressions, as I gather happened at that panel, is just too close to a Maoist show trial for me. WCU: If gender studies were to become a required course, what would be a more constructive approach to the topic than the gender feminist perspective? What should we study? DK: If you study literature you have to talk about men and women. Originally I thought that Gender Studies proposed simply to do that, but as I said I quickly discovered that what was really meant was academic feminist studies. The older I get I become much more committed to the idea of naïve readings of literature. Theory has been the death of the appreciation of art and literature among students today. They have no aesthetic appreciation of art. That is chiefly due to the triumph of various kinds of academic theory. To bring to bear on Henry James or Homer a massive ideological construct is not helpful. That is what angers me most about gender feminism and masculinity studies, I think. They are no friends of art. WCU: You have said that gender studies is highly academic and detached from reality. Do you believe that studying it will have few applications to real life? Could it even have drawbacks? DK: I don’t think women are interested in wimps. You go out into the real world and you interact with women, you become attracted to and court a woman perhaps. I don’t think they are interested in these wimpy, neutralized guys that gender feminists are trying to create: men who are not committed to constructive struggle and conflict

and fighting for a cause and coming out the winner. I think these are deepseated human, even biological, values, and it is hybristic of gender feminism to think that they can suddenly be erased from human experience.

Our talk with Dr. Kubiak was enlightening. Clearly he is opposed to the gender studies course being required, and he clearly encourages us to be on guard against the invasion of academic feminism in the classroom. Could gender studies give us a constructive look at ourselves and our school? Or are our fears justified? There was much to ponder as Ron and I strolled quietly across the mall back to our house.

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The Phoenix

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DECEMBER 2011

Perspectives

Can __Win?

Addressing media bias in the presidential elections Nick Freeman ‘15 Staff Writer

“Can _ _ _ _ _ _ become the next President of the United States?” “_____ doesn’t have a chance.” ”Let us talk instead about our big two frontrunners!” This is common not only from our voices, but from the media on both sides. The media’s habit of picking frontrunners hurts not only the diversity of the field of candidates, but also discourages primary voters from voting for whom they think is right to become the next President of the United States. In order to prove this, we shall explore first what exactly being a “frontrunner” means. Next we will address how this hurts our choices as voters in primaries, and finally what can the common voter do to curb this media bias and encourage thoughtful and critical thinking when deciding the leader of the free world. A frontrunner as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a leading contestant in or as if in a rivalry or competition.” This term is traditionally used late

in primary seasons when it becomes abundantly clear who has a chance to win. Now, not one vote has yet been cast in this election, so why is the media using this term? The answer is quite simple: the media wants to pick our candidate before we can read into everyone and decide for ourselves who should lead. This from the New York Times illustrates this best: “Measured by national polling, media attention and millions in the bank, the Republican field appears to have come down to a bout between two heavyweights: Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, vs. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.” This was published Oct 10 2011, according to the October 10th Gallup Poll it has Romney with 20% and Perry with 15%, but there is no mention of Herman Cain, who in this Gallup poll had 18% of the vote. Based upon this it is clear that there is no frontrunner and we should not be picking the national candidate until after we begin going to the polls, which at this point is still 2 months out. This frontrunner idea has also been

proven false by the huge gains by Herman Cain after winning the Florida straw poll with a whopping 33.5% of the vote, and yet the media at first tried to spin this win as a fluke, which has since been proven otherwise. This utter belligerence is only the first of many examples: the total exclusion of Ron Paul, the implication of “hopeless” campaigns of the “bottom” runners, and that candidates have to “win” quick or they are done. Now this frame of mind is not healthy. It is detrimental when we put on the blinders and say: “Nope, only he can win, no one else has a chance,” especially when perfectly good candidates are just as popular as the “frontrunner.” When someone is labeled a frontrunner it puts out a negative mindset that makes the actual prospects of a presidential field look as if we have to “settle” for less than stellar folk just because he is the anointed “frontrunner.” Settling for less when you haven’t even voted is such a tragedy that we may actually miss the diacontinued on page 23 (GOP Nomination)


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Perspectives

Be a Thankful Turkey Matt Michalowski ‘14 Staff Writer

Thanksgiving happened recently, and it was an awfully good day for me! I’d spent an entire year storing up things to be thankful for, and, frankly, I’m not sure I could have dammed the tides of my thankfulness very much longer. When the morning finally arrived and my alarm went off promptly at 7:30am, I sprang from my bed and began listing all the things I had to be thankful for. The list was long and sincere, and every word I spoke caused me to take another mental draught of the sweet, intoxicating liquor that is gratitude. By dinnertime it had completely overcome me, and I was whirling around carousing in a thankful stupor. My “thank-you’s” were becoming so frequent by the second course that I had difficulty chewing my turkey, which incidentally is something I was incredibly thankful for. Yes, I was thankful for a million different things. The list included many things – from the greater blessings like my family and friends, to questionable blessings like my pledge brothers, right down to the simple things – the third piece of pumpkin pie and the gravy stains on my sweater vest. It was a gracious day, and now all I’ll have to look forward to is Christmas. This account of my day is exaggerated – but only moderately. I love Thanksgiving, and it is a holiday that we ought to hold in high esteem. Though, unfortunately, it does not receive the credit it is due. How many folks do you see getting genuinely excited about Thanksgiving? There is often plenty of criticism around December-time that Christmas has become over-commercialized and that the true spirit of Christmas gets

buried under a pile of wrapping paper. I think the same evil forces are at work with Thanksgiving. It is easy to enjoy the pies, and hams, and turkey, and football and to forget the underlying values of Thanksgiving – gratitude and honoring the legacy of our forefathers to whom we owe a massive debt. Evidence of this under-appreciation can be seen all around us in stores and shopping centers shortly after Halloween. I visited the drugstore earlier this past November to pick up a prescription, about one week after Halloween, and those villains had nutcrackers for

lieve it is extremely important to be grateful for all the blessings in life. So many of the things we enjoy are given to us and are only ours as the result of another’s sacrifice: We have our country and our freedom which is the gift of a large collection of individuals ranging from our nation’s forefathers to its veterans and its great thinkers throughout its history. We have the privilege of attending Wabash College, which was built upon and preserved by the work of many individuals. Our teachers, preachers, coaches, and parents have taught us valuable lessons and raised us with enough sense to get into this wonderf ul school. We owe particularly special thanks to our parents for our upbringing in this charming world. I believe that we are a lot more dependent on our past, our communities, and fate’s guiding hand than we regularly admit. We’ve racked up a massive debt for all these wonderful things, and the only thing we’ve really got to pay it with is gratitude. If you’re still reading at this point— and God bless you if you are—then I would like to issue this challenge to you: take a minute or two to reflect on all your manifold blessings and say a little heartfelt thank you. And take caution that you don’t take life’s turkeys for granted. Just as Santa smiles when folks reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, so must the pilgrims smile up in heaven when they witness genuine thankfulness.

We would often touch briefly on America’s commitments to liberty and justice and focus more intently on our historical mistakes. sale already. This is not a rare find: the Christmas shopping season is a voracious beast that respects no boundaries or social courtesies. Together with the well-timed Halloween, it schemes to annually overshadow Thanksgiving and distract us from the merits of a holiday that is genuinely valuable despite the fact that you don’t get presents. Case in point, I believe (and lament) that Turkey Day is becoming lost in the shadow of more flashy holidays1 and treated as a free dinner that you pay off with a one minute “I’m thankful for…” speech. Just as the Christmas season is (ideally) a month-long celebration of the value of giving—complete with decorations and carols that build excitement and remind us all month long of the coming holiday—so should Thanksgiving be given its due season to build anticipation and give us adequate time to reflect on what we are thankful for. I don’t mean to preach2 , but I be-

1

Be it known that I do not dislike Halloween and Christmas. They are wonderful holidays. I would also argue that Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday too. 2 Truthfully, I do.


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DECEMBER 2011

Cover Feature IV

The Failure of Gender Studies Robert Dixon ‘13 Copy Editor

Lately, there has been a lot of stir at Wabash over proposed changes in the curriculum of the college. One of the hottest topics has been whether Wabash students should be required to take a class in what is called “gender studies”. Is there something about Wabash or something about education in general that makes studying gender necessary for liberally educated men? It’s easy to see that while requiring students to take classes in it may be a separate question, thinking about it in some way is necessary. The purpose of Wabash College is to educate men. That has been true ever since the founding of the College. However, the meaning of that fact has changed. When Wabash was founded, that the students were exclusively men was not a unique feature. In fact, it was a feature that was shared by every college in America at the time. Now, however, it is not only almost unique, it is a very deliberate, self-conscious part of Wabash’s identity. The allmale student body is one of Wabash’s constitutive, self-defining characteristics, one of the things that separate us from other schools. We as a community define ourselves by gender (among other things). Hence, forming a self-definition that is reflective and meaningful requires finding a way of thinking about gender that is relevant to Wabash. The next question, then, is: what is gender in the first place? This is where we start to see some of the complications that make gender studies such a polarizing issue, for there is no consensus even on the first fundamental question. One of the first points to come up is always whether gender is socially and individually constructed and, as such, endlessly pliable, or whether it is a fact of nature that cannot be changed. Those who take

the former position are suspected of being hubristic, godless, secularist Frankensteins who want to subvert, deconstruct, and reinvent human nature. This, of course, is simply an instantiation of the familiar nature vs. nurture debate in psychology, but psychologists themselves have long abandoned treating that question as a simple binary. People’s experiences and the society they live in interact in complex ways with their genetics, and trying to separate the two rigidly with artificial walls—or clinging, as many people do in the area of gender, to a sharp distinction between the biological and the mental—is not only unspiritual but unscientific. Those who get too riled up, then, when they see people “confusing” gender and sex are a little confused themselves. Gender only comes in two basic flavors, masculine and feminine. Academics are interested in studying both, but this does not assuage the fears of students who think gender studies is an excuse for feminist indoctrination. It’s quite true that academia these days is heavily slanted toward feminism. Now, it seems that every time this point comes up, someone claims that feminism is simply a matter of equality and fairness—equal pay for equal work and such. This is a half-truth at best. A wide range of things go by the name of feminism, and it is not talk of equality that makes many students fear that feminism is an assault on manhood. As we shall see, those fears have a quite rational basis. Occasionally there are events on campus with the avowed purpose of demonstrating the value of applying the dialectical techniques of the liberal arts to questions of gender. Dr. Rosenberg’s argument that we need a required gender studies course was the most recent such event; another was the talk by Tom Digby that I wrote about in this publication last year. Sharp-eyed observers have noticed a

pattern in these events: all of them take an attitude toward traditional masculinity that is a priori distrustful, and this leads to conclusions about certain masculine characteristics that would not hold up for a minute if these traits were given the benefit of the doubt and presumed innocent until proven guilty. The evils of masculine competition, for example, are a common theme. It is frequently pointed out that athletic competition—especially the “manly” sports like football—involves players trying at least symbolically to subjugate each other. The one who fails and comes under the other’s yoke assumes—we are told—the degrading role of a woman. His masculinity has failed and he has lost his identity. It is easy to see the terrible psychological consequences this will have on the practitioners of such competition—the fear, the stress, the deliberate rooting out of compassion and love, the emotional stuntedness. The loser is forcibly stripped of his human identity and the winner, in order to force his will on the loser, must dehumanize himself, only to go on to further oppress women, whom he has deprived of their dignity by symbolically associating the loser with them. It is a horrifying story. But it’s a dubious one. It contains much that is true, but it is applied with a broad brush. The broad application is usually implied, not stated. It is often presented, when the question comes up at all (and it does not unless someone really presses it), as a possibility, as something that happens some of the time, as something to keep in mind. That is, rarely will anyone come right out and say that traditional masculinity is unredeemable. No one has to say it. Like a teenage girl who has been absorbed in reading the Twilight books until love, to her, comes to mean a devouring, obsessive passion that literally sucks life away, the feminists continued on page 22 (Failure)


The Phoenix

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Perspectives

Castanias ’87 has it Right on Men and Wabash

Jeremy Wentzel ‘14 Director of Events

It was just recently that National Association of Wabash Men president and member of the Class of 1987 Greg Castanias delivered a chapel talk on the implications of what it means to be a Wabash man, and how the prevalence of Wabash men is so small, yet far too unique to discount. He delivered the following statistics that would humble the positions of many ‘gender studies’ advocates. Bachelor’s degrees will be earned in the following statistical manner this year: for every 2 men, 3 women will receive degrees. Women are earning 60% of master’s degrees. 51.4% of professional positions in America’s workforce are held by women, yet 75% percent of jobs lost during the recession have been positions held by men. In the coming years, however, 13 out of the top 15 positions projected to grow will have a majority of female employees. As Wabash men, we must examine ourselves in this new world we live in. Men no longer dominate the workforce as they used to, and they no longer have such a powerful presence in the home. Some argue this is bad, most argue this is good, and some argue that it’s not good enough. Regardless of the position, Wabash men must take seriously the unique education that is in front of them. It no longer is about a degree, but a cultural, life-changing overhaul. In a society of declining morality, increased self-righteousness, and drastically reduced loyalty, the demand for a gentleman in the workforce, country, and world is so incredibly great. We must embrace the exclusiveness of this campus, and never neglect the responsibility it brings in permanent life-growth. Wabash College is the place that changes lives, and forms the gentlemen that take on this changing world!

But, I would argue that most Wabash men have neglected to realize the full potential this institution can do in their lives. In fact, many have neglected to even acknowledge the challenge (and duty) to mold themselves into true Wabash men (whatever positive change that means for them personally). I will try awaken some of the men on this campus through the valuable insights delivered by Greg Castanias ’87. The following outline is where we must proceed to fully value the unique brotherhood we have within the Wabash Community. 1. We must first realize that we are an elite society of men that will be spread all over the world once leaving this institution. Many will become doctors and lawyers, some will serve the American public, some will serve the world in some capacity, and some will contribute in the private sector. Yet, we all will remain lifelong thinkers and learners. It’s inherent in all men that walk this red-bricked campus. As a result, we must realize that Wabash men are rare, and commit to loyal friendships and loyal professional networks. Castanias pointed out that there are more undergraduates at Indiana University Bloomington this year than Wabash men in the history of the college since 1832. Therefore, the potential for lifelong friendship (even in the future days) is much more likely. 2. “In a college of this small size, everyone should and can lead something sometime. You can’t hide at Wabash. You should never hide—not at Wabash, not anywhere!” Castanias called students to step up the game and take on a leadership role of some sort. Wherever these roles may be, public knowledge or not, take them on! 3. In addition, Castanias took bold steps to ensure that all Wabash men are recognized and cherished in this elite society. As a college, we have welcomed the Malcolm X Institute with open arms. Wabash has always been

ahead of the game in including African Americans on this campus. Over 100 years ago, Wabash College admitted and graduated the first African American man on campus, John Evans. Our student organizations represent all major nationalities on campus, and the Dean and the President of the College just recently traveled to China to work toward expansion in the Asian Studies concentration. Yet there have been few official efforts on behalf of the College to include gay Wabash men. Castanias went on the record to address this for the first time publically. “Now, in 2011, some of my very closest friends within the alumni body and some of the most passionate supporters of this college in financial terms, and otherwise, are gay men and their partners.” As Wabash men, our society is far too small to exclude anyone who wishes to uphold the sacred traditions of this college and call it his home. We should always continue to welcome debate, think critically, and ask the tough questions with all of our Wabash brothers. It would violate the tradition of this college to not take on and embrace these issues with our fellow Wabash brothers, just as it would violate the tradition of the college to settle on one ideology or the other without vigorous questioning and debate. With these outlined principles in mind, the mission and presence of Wabash will never die. We are to change our lives at this school. Over the course of 4 years, we should pay more attention to the growing demand for who we are as people, as opposed to what we know. It’s clear that in a liberal arts institution broad knowledge is highly regarded. To that point: it’s not all about books and theories; it’s who we are when we walk down the street or when opening up the door for folks. People notice, and they spread continued on page 22 (Castanias)


The Phoenix

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DECEMBER 2011

Perspectives

A Primer on Republican Theory which reinterpreted the principles of Dr. Alexandra Hoerl Roman republicanism in radical ways Faculty Contributor by suggesting that division between

Republic. Res publica [the things of the people]. A word with a long and seductive history—but what does it actually mean? The difficulty with writing about republicanism is that the republican tradition began in the classical period and held a position of some prominence until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so it is impossible to do justice to the entire tradition in one short article. However, it is possible to highlight some of the major thinkers in the tradition and to highlight some of the major claims associated with republicanism. I also want to reiterate that I am writing about republicanism from the perspective of a political theorist, not an historian or a philosopher or a classicist or a scholar of literature. Scholars in these disciplines would understand republicanism through a different lens. Republican Theory in (Incomplete!) Historical Perspective When considering major thinkers in the republican tradition some scholars begin with Aristotle while others turn to Cicero. While the example of Sparta is important, Spartan theory does not loom very large in republican political theory because little of it is extant. After the fall of the Roman Republic there were few, if any, serious developments in republican theory for quite some time. However, republican institutions began to re-emerge on the Italian peninsula as Venice, Florence and a number of other Italian cities experimented with various forms. Given these developments it is not surprising that an Italian author sparked the next wave of major revolutionary developments in republican theory. (Those of you who know me know what’s coming!) In the early 16th century the Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli finished his Discourses,

the orders of people in the republic could actually protect liberty. Machiavelli was not the only 16th century author writing about republicanism; his friend Francesco Guicciardini was among many others writing about republican principles, albeit in the older way that emphasized the importance of unity in the republic. Republicanism emerged as a form of government in northern Europe in the late 16th century with the creation of the Dutch Republic. English authors were also increasingly interested in republicanism, at least as a literary device—William Shakespeare used republican principles in his plays. However, as the 17th century progressed and discontent with Charles I’s policies grew, English republicanism morphed from literary plaything to concrete political desire. Republicanism in northern Europe also grew because the increased liberty of republicanism became connected to central concepts of Protestant theology like liberty of conscience. The prominent English republican theorists of this period were contributing directly to a passionate and frantic discourse about how to manifest political and religious liberty. John Milton wrote about the need for freedom of speech in Areopagitica, Algernon Sidney defended republicanism in Discourses Concerning Government (a book that was used as a “witness” against him in the treason trial that led to his execution), and John Harrington developed the most sophisticated treatment of republicanism since Machiavelli in his Oceana. Classical liberal thought emerged as a competitor to republican theory in the long 18th century, but the mantle of republicanism in the English speaking world was ably carried by many authors such as Trenchard and Gordon

(authors of the Cato letters). However, two of the most important republican authors of the 18th century were French. Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws praised the British system, while Rousseau’s work channeled the spirit of early republican works by defining the res publica as the general will and focusing on the total development of the individual citizen. The Federalist and anti-Federal authors continued to develop various perspectives on republicanism in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Madison and Hamilton drew upon Montesquieu, Machiavelli and other English republicans, in addition to classical liberal authors, in developing arguments for faction in Federalist 10 and the energetic executive in Federalist 70. Thomas Jefferson, among others, was identified with a tradition of agrarian republicanism that emphasized the self-sufficient citizen-farmer. Other anti-Federal authors emphasized citizen virtue and warned of the dangers of luxury. With the exception of the Federalist, American republican thought was characterized by contributions from many minor authors on a few key themes, not by revolutionary work from major figures that redefined the tradition. Republican Theory in Conceptual Perspective Given the long history of this tradition it is difficult to say that any one set of concepts absolutely defines republican political theory. However, most republican theorists are or were sympathetic to the following concepts: Existence of a common good: Republican theorists believed that there was a res publica, or common business of the people. However, there was little agreement across the republican tradition on what the res publica actually was. Roman republican writers focused on the glory of the city of Rome, whatever that meant; Rousseau


The Phoenix

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Perspectives focused on attaining the general will, whatever that meant; writers in the English-speaking republican tradition focused on attaining various liberties of conscience, whatever those meant; Machiavelli focused on attaining a stable republic that could satisfy reasonable ambition while still protecting liberty, whatever that meant; and so on. Veneration of the law/rule of law: Most republican theorists were concerned with the founding moment and founding laws. Those founding laws determined the character of the republic and had to be carefully constructed to ensure the stability of the republic whi le a llowing the citizens to f lou r i sh . Cicero, Machiavelli, and Rousseau were just three of the major republican theorists who talked about the importance of laws and the lawgiver. Representative institutions: Republican political theorists embraced representative institutions, from the Roman tribunate to the House of Commons to the United States Congress. Republican theorists generally believed that representative institutions are a good protection from the unreflective will of the mob or tyranny of the majority. Rousseau is an outlier here; he was more skeptical about the dangers of representation. Naturally, there was disagreement on how to implement this principle. Older republican thinkers preferred aristocratic representation, since the aristocracy was supposed to be the bastion of wisdom and political virtue. Relatively modern republican thinkers like Madison defended more open

representation. Madison contributed greatly to thinking about representation with his argument in Federalist 10 defending faction and large republics. He argued that we could use representation to mitigate the problems of large territory and citizen disunity, while maintaining the benefits of citizen energy and diversity of opinions that citizen disunity and large territory permitted. Development of citizen liberty: All republican thinkers believed that the citizens of a republic should be free. Once again, what that actu-

that citizen liberty could be attained via citizen virtue. However (stop me if you’ve heard this before), there were many competing definitions of citizen virtue. Most definitions of republican virtue included duty toward the republic as a key component. The classic description of republican duty—that the citizen must contribute to the republic instead of merely engaging in the contemplative life—is found in Cicero’s On Duties, a book that was widely printed in the early modern period and influenced many important political theorists. Another key component of republican virtue was the rejection of luxury. As Roman s u m p t ua r y l aw s i nd icate, the rejection of luxury happened more often in theory than in prac t ice, but republican theorists across the tradition argued that luxury created wide class distinctions that were not healthy for republics and created slothful citizens who would not strive for liberty or independence. Independence of the citizen: One could argue that most republican theorists saw the “independent citizen” as the ultimate product of the best republics. The independent citizen was a citizen who owned property and used the proceeds from that property to sustain himself and his family. Thus the ideal citizen-farmer of the agrarian tradition. Since the independent citizen was not in thrall to others, and since he had a vested interest in the republic (his property), he would be willing to train as a soldier and fight for the republic when necessary. This citizen-soldier is a very powerful figure in

WORDS FROM

WABASH ally meant differed from thinker to thinker. For Milton, a free citizen was someone who could speak freely and practice religion (within certain reasonable bounds—no one was suggesting the practice of Catholicism or similar absurdities!). For Machiavelli, the truly free person was able to practice virtue and live in a republic with well-formed laws. For Aristotle and Rousseau, the free person was one who had been highly educated and developed his fullest sense of humanity. As a general rule, more modern conceptions of republicanism adopted a less ambitious conception of citizen liberty, while older republican theorists were more likely to believe that citizen liberty required the republic to help form the citizen through education, civil religion and other practices. Development of citizen virtue: Most republican theorists believed

continued on page 15 (Republicanism)


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Failure

continued from page 18

(pardon me, but the label is convenient, since that’s invariably what they are) fail to describe situations other than the sensational one, so that what is ostensibly a worst-case scenario becomes the master narrative. It would be foolish to claim that the suspicion of traditional masculinity has no grounds at all. If it did not, no one would ever have experienced fear or stress because of sports. No child would ever have been ostracized on the playground for being a slow runner, no boy would ever have been beaten in an English boarding school for skipping a football match, and no one would have been led by social pressure to waste hours watching games on TV that bore them to tears. That would be a better world than the one we have. What goes wrong in these situations is that what should be a game is assigned the importance of something in real life. Play is supposed to be a safe way to enact situations that would be painful or dangerous in real life. A football field represents, and in a fortunate person’s life substitutes for, a battlefield. There are opportunities there for physical prowess, bravery, and the camaraderie shared by people who fight together, but nobody dies. The bleachers are the home front: the spectators have the thrill of cheering on an army without the usual moral complications or danger to themselves from air raids. In 1886, when a meeting was held to decide on a college color for Wabash, the most favored choice was heliotrope (for those who don’t know, heliotrope is a rather too precious shade of purple) until a student stood up and yelled,

Out of Touch continued from page 13

to implement. In the end, all departments in the college will most likely not have a stake in the gender courses being taught, unlike the case of Freshmen Tutorial or Enduring Questions. As a college, we need to discuss the cost-benefit of a student taking a whole

The Phoenix

“Heliotrope hell! We want blood!” That is the origin of our beloved Wabash scarlet. In a similar vein, before this year’s “White Out Depauw” bell game, some students could be heard to say that after the game, our white sweatshirts would have turned red, soaked in the blood of Dannies. These students were right. That kind of thing does no harm to anybody. However, if the feminists we have discussed are consistent, they find Wabash students talking about the blood of Dannies about as acceptable as a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation would find a politician talking about the Blood of the Lamb. No one thinks that gender should not be talked about or studied. However, there are severe problems with the way it is usually talked about at Wabash. (The problem is undoubtedly as bad and probably worse everywhere else, but Wabash is my concern here.) Feminism’s desire to cross-examine traditional conceptions of gender is commendable, but it doesn’t adequately cross-examine itself. Students who are skeptical of gender studies have not been won over by the quality of the discussions that have been presented to convince them. Furthermore, they interpret the distrustful attitude toward masculinity as distrust of them as persons, contrary to Wabash’s great tradition of trusting students (whence comes this thing called the Gentleman’s Rule). I can’t blame them for either of those things. The conversation about gender at Wabash is still rough and lacking in many respects. It has not yet reached the point where we have any grounds for confidence that we will benefit students by prescribing it, as it is practiced now, for all. semester to bypass another valuable course (perhaps for their major or area of interest), in return for fulfilling this requirement. Wabash College is a place to change lives. Personal, social, and identity development should be attributed to Wabash men thinking critically about themselves. A compulsory gender studies course should not interfere with this process.

DECEMBER 2011

Castanias

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the word. Perhaps that’s why our application rates are rapidly increasing each year, but our standards are not lowered. The message resonates in the Midwest. The demand for an all-male school is certainly not dwindling—in fact it is increasing. Yet, we do not take in exponential increases in students on a yearly basis. This Wabash society will remain small and elite for eternity. This is a result of our passionate supporters that give this college one of the highest endowments per student in the nation. Wabash College is a shining beacon of hope in the United States of America. As Wabash men, we must never forget how we will shape the world, and the responsibility associated with that task. More importantly, when we lose sight of our call to be gentlemen, we lose an enormous amount of hope. The American workforce is changing, the American family is changing, the American culture (for better or for worse) is changing. However, the tradition of Wabash College will be kept sacred by this publication and other organizations, by this student body, and by the alumni around this small world. Let us move forward as a college in this changing world by leading, becoming closer as a student body and alumni association, and through lifelong openness to character improvement. Cheers to a traditional Wabash College with a traditional close-knit brotherhood that acknowledges all brothers!

W


DECEMBER 2011

The Phoenix

Requirement continued from page 6

revolving around gender, he saw past the stereotypes and has now come to support the idea of Wabash requiring its students to take a gender studies course. “These classes are not being dominated by one ideology, but are simply pulling these issues onto the table for us to discuss.” Dr. Rosenberg and Reed Hepburn both argued that it is a false belief to say that one particular ideology will overshadow others within the courses. The argument Rosenberg proposed is one that is becoming a large topic of discussion on campus and is one that will surely be debated among the student body and the faculty. Whether Wabash will or will not ever require course credit in gender studies is unclear, but it is definitely a question

that should be asked. If you have any comments you would like to propose on the subject feel free to email me at editor@wabashunion.org.

GOP Nomination

bat this: First, do your own research. Pick someone you like, not who Chris Chrisite likes, and do not believe everything pundits say about candidates. Take all their comments with a grain of salt. Doing your own research is very easy to do. The internet is nearly perfect for this: do a Google search, read from each candidate’s website, figure out for yourself whom you would like to see most in the Oval Office of the White House. This will take away part of the me d ia’s hold on how you think and will enable you to make choices that you decided were correct. The second point builds on the first: use your own mind when deciding who to vote for in the primaries. It’s your vote. Make it count! Voting based on your beliefs will show the glory of the American system of government, how the power flows down from “we, the people,” who in our interest decide who our representatives are. The third by this point will be

continued from page 18

mond in the rough. As Americans our heritage is being able to make something greater out of ourselves, and it is actions like this that betray this value. For if you anoint a frontrunner before a single vote is cast, it creates that sense of hopelessness that can plague the hopes and dreams of not only the

Republicanism continued from page 13

Roman republicanism, as well as Machiavellian republicanism. Machiavelli consistently argued against the use of mercenary troops and firmly believed that any republic whose citizens were unable or unwilling to defend it was a

Doing your own research is very easy to do. The internet is nearly perfect for this. current candidates, but also people as a whole. This hopelessness can and will lead to a loss of American exceptionalism, the driving force that allows you to be something greater than you were told you could become. Such a loss would truly tarnish if not remove the American Dream from the minds of future Americans. Now what can you do to combat this bias? There are three crucial things everyday Americans can do to com-

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weak one. George Washington, who admired the Roman dictator Cincinnatus and had Joseph Addison’s Cato performed for troops, also admired the citizen-soldier. However, American republicanism is more generally identified with the citizen-farmer. There are still contemporary theorists of republicanism, but republicanism does not hold the pride of place that it once did. Despite this, it is essential to understand republicanism, as this venerable tradition has profoundly influenced other varieties of political thought, including the now-dominant paradigm of democratic political theory. Any student who has questions about this article or would like to discuss the issue further can find me in Baxter 127 or email me at hoerla@ wabash.edu.

natural because when you have your own opinions based on your weighing of the facts, you will be able to catch when pundits are trying the frontrunner game. When the pundits hold less power over you their power weakens, as it does with every other American out there who does the same. Over time they will be rebuffed and the media in its staggering loss of power will shift back to becoming a source for fact, not partisan bias. “Frontrunners” would be a word rarely seen during election cycles, and future Americans can be assured that the American dream lives on and is still going strong.

Patriotism continued from page 6

ing Wabash for not practicing the antipatriotism that is expected by today’s college. I think that our inclinations towards tradition and critical thinking empower the Wabash man to separate his analysis of politics and history from his respect for our great nation. This is basically what I’m arguing for: we can be skeptical, critical thinkers and still be patriots.


December 2011  

Volume 10, Issue 2

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