Volume 12, Issue 1
PHOENIX The Voice of Conservatism at Wabash since 2007
A Race to Where? Shooting Themselves in the Foot Will Folsom
Hear Now, Great Man! Isaac Taylor
Our Duty to Save Sparks Center Jeremy Wentzel
Also Inside S.E. Cupp: This Issueâ€™s Conservative Babe
Our Mission & Editorial Policy 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. All opinions expressed herein reflect the views of the individual writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Wabash Conservative Union, The Phoenix, or Wabash College. Especially Wabash College.
A Letter from the Editor: Autumn is in the air, and the Wabash Conservative Union has seen a lot of change come with the turning of the leaves. For one, you may have noticed that this letter does not have the familiar photo of Editor-in-Chief Zach Churney attached to it. This semester, Wabash College decided to whisk Zach off to Europe to study in Heidelburg, Germany. Let’s hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble. In any event, I am the editor of the Phoenix this semester. Zach isn’t the only change of faces you will notice within the Conservative Union this semester. Sadly, we lost a great faculty advisor this semester, Dr. Stephen Webb. In this issue, Isaac Taylor ’15 asks the question of where he went. We are excited to work with our new advisor Dr. Ethan Hollander. We also welcome an energetic class of freshman who are eager to defend the ideals of conservatism at Wabash not only with pen and keyboard, but also through grassroots activism. In addition to keeping busy with The Phoenix, we participated in the 9/11 Never Forget Project and sent four Wabash men to the “Front Porch Republic” conference in Holland, Michigan, sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The title of this issue is “A Race to Where?” The focus of the Nation this fall semester is on the presidential election. Even tucked away here at Wabash one can’t escape the constant bombardment of news stories and political rhetoric. Unfortunately, for all of the talk, neither candidate has been focusing on the right issues. From the left has come an onslaught of outcries over social issues, while on the right there is talk of fixing the economy but with very few specifics as to how to accomplish that goal. Like the nation, Wabash College is currently undergoing uncertain changes. The Wabash community this summer was disheartened to learn of President Patrick White’s departure this upcoming June. On top of this, our faculty is largely untenured and free speech among the faculty is few and far between. To say the least, Wabash students have great concerns beyond the elections. This issue’s intent is to inform the Wabash Community of the real issues facing our nation and campus. We humble writers for The Phoenix may not be able to shift the nation’s focus, but we know we can inform and impact the men of Wabash College. There’s nothing we love doing more. In Wabash and the future of our nation,
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In this Issue: 6 Shooting Themselves in the Foot Will Folsom ‘15 8 Hear Now, Great Man! Isaac Taylor ‘15
Cover images: wallpapers.brothersoft.com, Politico.com
Money and Banks 24 Christian Lopac ‘16 Being the Foreign Exchange Student 26 Zach Churney ‘14
11 Paradise Loose Matt Michaloski ‘14
At Home with Seton 28 Seton Goddard ‘15
12 The Second Bill of Rights Patrick Bryant ‘16
Where’s Webb? 29 Isaac Taylor ‘15
14 Our Duty to Save Sparks Center Jeremy Wentzel ‘14
The Art of Civil Discourse 30 Bailey Combs ‘15
18 S.E. Cupp: Conservative Babe of the Issue
Wording Pictures or Picturing Words 32 Fabian House ‘16
22 Liberal Lies Countered Andrew Dettmer ‘15
Chapel Sing, 2012
In Politics, Ignorance Is Not Bliss 33 Ben Bradshaw ‘15
Source: Wabash College
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Our New Contributors Patrick Bryant ‘16 Layout Editor
Patrick Bryant, a member of the class of 2016, is a life-long resident of Indiana. A graduate of Carmel High School in Carmel, IN, he was a four-year elected member of the Carmel High School Senate, where he served as a committee head (youngest in the event’s history to do so) for the nation’s largest high school dance marathon, raising $1 million over four years. He also served as managing editor and business manager of Indiana’s largest-circulation high school newspaper, the HiLite. Patrick also served as a charter member and treasurer of the Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council. Patrick enjoys talking about current events, U.S. history, and how the two compare and contrast in everyday life. A Wabash College Lilly Scholar, he is looking forward to the coming year and the opportunity to write for The Phoenix.
Christian Lopac ‘16
Christian is a freshman from Cokato, Minnesota. He is majoring in English and philosophy, and minoring in German. Writing is one of his greatest passions, and he is a published author of short fiction and poetry. After completing his undergraduate studies, Christian plans to enter law school (though he would love to write full time, as well). His other interests include books and literature, history, and swimming. In addition to writing for The Phoenix, Christian has written over twenty-five articles, and continues to write, for the political website TheCollegeConservative.com. To be completely precise, Christian defines his political views as classically liberal, though he takes the moniker of (true) conservative or libertarian. Christian is also a staunch Austrian, and especially admires Ludwig von Mises and Frederic Bastiat. He cites John Locke as being a great influence upon him – viewing Locke’s Second Treatise on Government as being a major point in the formation of his political views.
Fabian House ‘16 Freshman Fabian M. House resides on-campus in Martindale Hall. He was raised by Kent and Susan House, who nurtured him and his five siblings in Muncie, IN. House is currently undecided about his major. He is a blogger for the Class of 2016, and also writes for the The Bachelor. On campus, House is involved in Wabash Christian Men, the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies, Best Buddies Indiana, Pre-Law Society, and the Independent Men’s Association. An athlete, House plays soccer and will run track in the fall and spring seasons.
Ben Bradshaw ‘15
Ben Bradshaw will be joining The Phoenix as a new contributor this year. Ben grew up in Russiaville, IN, where he attended Western High School and ran cross country and track. He is pursuing a double-major in English and Rhetoric, and plans on minoring in Economics. At Wabash, Ben is active as a Peer Career Advisor, sports reporter for “This Week in Wabash Sports,” and writer for The Bachelor. He also participates in Pre-Law Society, Investment Club, Volleyball Club, and Cooking Club. In his spare time, Ben enjoys vacationing with family and friends, fine dining, working out, and playing sports. Ben is a brother at Beta Theta Pi fraternity. In terms of his political beliefs, Ben leans towards the right, especially with regard to fiscal policies.
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What We’ve Been Up To The Wabash Conservative Union has been
very busy this semester. The night of September 10th, we participated in the Young America’s Foundation 9/11 Never Forget Project. We set up 2,977 American flags on the Mall in memory of the 2,977 Americans who lost their lives on that day 11 years ago. The photo on the right was taken by Wabash College public relations on September 11, and it proceeded to receive over 345 ‘likes’ and 90 shares on Facebook. It was the largest and most successful social media post in the history of the college. Wabash Never Forgets. Source: Wabash College Public Relations
Our New Faculty Advisor
Both photographs courtesy of Wabash College
Et ha n J. Hol la nder is a n Assista nt Professor of
Political Science at Wabash College. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. He teaches classes on diverse topics such as the Middle East, Europe, Nationalism, and Statistics. In fact, he’s currently teaching a freshman tutorial on “Bugs”, where he explores the impact of bugs, insects, and other small arthropods on everything from science and literature to politics and religion. The Wabash Conservative Union welcomes Dr. Hollander for his love of Wabash and his commitment to preserving its unique and sacred traditions.
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SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT Why Libertarians and Republicans Need to Stop Arguing About Social Issues By Will Folsom ‘15 Managing Editor
et me start off by saying that this year’s election is all about the economy. Many Americans, about 8.3 percent of them according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, know this all too well. And that is not even taking into account the millions of other Americans who are “underemployed” or have simply given up looking for work. The Left has no sensible economic strategy to fix the economy. Instead they continue to shift peoples’ attention to social issues that are, at the moment, extraneous. That is the only way that the Left is going to be able to win the election, and they know it. The problem is that within the conservative movement—where we see actual concern for the economy’s wellbeing—there exists a rift between traditional Republicans and libertarians. Both sides agree on economic issues, but the traditional Republicans, or more specifically the social conservatives, keep
“If the economic conservatives are to win in November, they need to unite under the economic beliefs they share and not be torn apart by disagreements over social issues.” getting drawn into debates on issues like gay marriage with the left. Consequently they are not only losing favor among libertarians and moderates but are also allowing the focus of the nation as a whole to be distracted from the real issue: the economy. If the economic conservatives are to win in November, they need to unite under the economic
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beliefs they share and not be torn apart by disagreements over social issues. Whether the traditional Republicans like it or not, young Republicans are gradually becoming more libertarian and relaxed on social issues like gay marriage and marijuana control. This does not mean that young conservatives do not have values any more or that they’re turning into socialists. Many young conservatives just recognize that there are some social issues that are worth fighting over, like abortion, and some that are not, like gay marriage. Republicans needs to do likewise in order to be more palatable to libertarians. They cannot afford to lose invaluable support from people who share their economic views because they continue to vocalize their stances on social issues. For example, one has only to look at North Carolina or at the proposed Minnesota “Marriage Amendment,” which would rewrite the state constitution so that
legal marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Even with the economy as bad as it is, there are social conservatives out there making such a big deal out of gay marriage that they think it is worthwhile to amend the state constitution to ensure that gay people cannot be married. I mean, come on. This is classic progressive crap these people are pulling. Progressives are the ones that pass stupid policies like prohibition and eugenics. No matter how you feel about the issue, amending the constitution, even be it a state constitution, is a big deal. You amend the constitution for important things like ending slavery, not to go pass things like the “Marriage Amendment.” The rest of America is starting to yield on gay marriage; Republicans need to stop being so combative and need to start compromising on social issues, or else they are going to be left behind. It is a two way street, however. I have spoken to many libertarians who claim that they are proud to be “lost votes” of the Republican Party. Libertarians, and even some younger Republicans will be voting for Gary Johnson instead of Mitt Romney in November because they feel that Romney is not fiscally conservative enough on some issues, and is not relaxed enough on certain social issues. They claim that the economy will not improve under either Obama or Romney and that it is only a matter of who gets blamed for the continued recession. Many libertarians contend that for a Republican or Libertarian candidate to win in 2016, Barack Obama has to win in November and take the blame. They may be right, or they may be wrong. It depends on how conservative you think Mitt Romney is. Whatever the case, the fact is that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are the frontrunners of this election. They are neck and neck, and when they square off in November the left has a very good chance of winning if the Republicans scare off independents and libertarians, splitting the conservative vote. You know what happens when the Conservative vote gets split? Scumbags like Woodrow Wilson happen. Allow me to explain why history repeats itself. One hundred years ago in 1912, there was an election. It should have
been an election like any other year, with the Republican’s William Taft facing off against the Democrat’s Woodrow Wilson to see who would be the next President of the United States. Unfortunately for the Republicans, however, Teddy Roosevelt came back into the ring and ran as a third party candidate, splitting the Republican vote. Consequently, 1912 was arguably one of the weakest years for Republicans in history. The Bull-Moose Party’s Roosevelt and the Republican’s Taft received 27.4% and 23.2% of the vote respectively, while Democrat Woodrow Wilson captured 41.8% of the popular vote and picked up states that had not swung Democratic in decades. Consequently under Woodrow Wilson, the United States was subjected to
“There are millions of Americans without jobs, and no one is working together to reverse that trend.” new tariffs, the income tax, and Prohibition. We need to keep our focus on the economy. If either the libertarians or the Republicans truly want to defeat the Left and fix the economy, they need to compromise on social issues or at least stop burning bridges on their account. There are millions of Americans without jobs, and no one is working together to reverse that trend. We have Democrats on one side claiming that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women” just because Republicans do not want to pay for birth control pills. Then we have some people out there that are hell-bent on making sure that gay people cannot get married, because, let’s be honest, gay people getting married is un-American. Seriously though, where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal government should define marriage or pay for birth control pills? It is unlikely that Democrats and Republicans will come to a consensus any time soon. There just really is not enough common ground. There is common ground, however, between libertarians and
Republicans. To come to this consensus however, libertarians and Republicans cannot continue to bicker and argue about gay marriage and wars. Traditional Republicans need to realize that society is changing, and that the world is not going to explode if gay people can get married. Likewise, liberals and some libertarians need to remember that the gay couple across the street won’t be able to afford to get married as long as they are unemployed. Uncle Dan won’t be able to afford to roll doobies in his van down by the river as long as he’s unemployed. No one will even be able to paint “give peace a chance” signs if they are all unemployed. None of these social issues mean anything as long as the economy is as bad as it is. As the philosophers Mick Jagger and Keith Richards put it, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.” Is it likely that Republicans and libertarians are going to come to some miraculous understanding in the time remaining before the election? No, but they do need to come to one in the coming years, especially if Barack Obama wins a second term. Progressives are not serious about fixing the economy. In fact, I would go as far as to say that some liberal politicians would rather keep the economy weak. Just like FDR did during the Great Depression, instead of giving businesses and families an opportunity to become self-sufficient again and instead of letting the free market do what the free market does, the government has created a state of dependency in the United States. Hard-core Progressives want the people to be dependent upon them. They want a state where the government provides for the people, instead of where the people provide for themselves. Of course no one wants to shoot Santa Claus, so it makes complete sense that there is no better way to create a state of entitlement and dependency than handing out “free money.” If Obama wins and the economy continues to fall apart, Republicans and libertarians need to unite. They need to unite under the banner of economic freedom, capitalism, and individual liberty. The future of our nation depends on the conservatives.
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HEAR NOW, GREAT MAN!
Thoughts on Women, Human Love, and Manly Relationships By Isaac Taylor ‘15 Secretary
have said it before, I am saying it now, and I know I will say it again: Wabash College is a strange, uncommon place. The idea of willing oneself to live for four years without any considerable womanly counterpart is rather foreign in the context of current society. Surely, the binding of oneself to this institution requires a special kind of man. Before I say more, however, I need to note that these words are written to address our new freshman gentlemen who may still have yet to realize what it truly means to be at an all-male establishment. You should gather now that I have implied that there is more to the mix than simply living without women; what is now important is how this prospect will be dealt with as you grow in your experiences here at this College: in short, how you will adapt to being only with men in addition to how you will handle being without women. There is a distinction. In seriousness, though, the realization that one will suffer from a deficit of the female form is usually enough to frighten away such boys who are incapable of a commitment to the self through the control of carnal desire— something which certainly requires a higher order of thinking than that which tends to exist among the faculties of the average young male.
“It seems to me that Wabash men are in a peculiar predicament in that because we are generally more mature than other males of similar ages, we are capable of more mature emotion and more mature human interactions.” This is good. It saves us from the weak excuses of men who reject this College simply because there are no women and for that reason only. Conversely, it is not true that men who do not attend this College are weak because they do not educate themselves here; weak are those who refuse this place only because they are afraid of the absence of women. As we all know, some men choose not to attend this College for very practical reasons— just reasons. Many times the discussion stops there. Rarely does anyone talk about what happens after the grand arrival, after the distance between man and woman is firmly established. How do the men of Wabash College handle the fact that there will be fewer women less often? For those who attended a standard coeducational public school like I did, the initial shock is inevitable. After spending the
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better part of thirteen years with and around girls of similar ages (including all the unimportant “problems” and drama many of them faced), the sudden absence of nearly everything female is astonishing—depressing for many, appreciated by some—for reasons I just mentioned—but unnoticed by no one. To be fair, of course, I have to recognize that it is not as if women are never on campus. Indeed, a good number of Wabash men have girlfriends whom are wonderful and very much enjoy spending their weekends around such gentlemen. (This is good for the boyfriend as well because it only helps affirm that she picked the right man.) Besides girlfriends, it is not uncommon for guys to have girls come for a concert, after which they bring them to parties. It does not take long to understand that an able Wabash man works to bring his girl-friends to campus as often as possible, and for obvious reasons. Given these facts, however, I think we men only learn to appreciate women more, realizing that they are valuable beings whom we should treat with the utmost respect and love. I must address a thought that arose the very instant I typed the word “girlfriends” above. I consider it to be extremely important, and it is something that is not often talked about amongst us
men here at the College. The issue is that Wabash men are sometimes treated with less respect than they deserve by the women they choose to pursue. I have witnessed these cases a few times in which a friend has been pushed around, teased, and ignored by his woman, much like a careless owner neglects an adorable puppy who only wants to love and to be lovedâ€”a noble desire, a simple request. It seems to me that Wabash men are in a peculiar predicament in that because we are generally more mature than other males of similar ages, we are capable of more mature emotions and more mature human interactions. Thus, we are more than willing to invest unnecessary amounts of time and pain in women that are incapable of understanding what we can be for them, and what
we want them to be for themselves. Many men here are lucky enough to find a woman that is capable of those things; some are not so lucky. Yet do the unlucky try! This comes from the fact that a good Wabash man understands commitment as it applies to all facets of life, so it is understandable why Wabash men love their women even if those women may not always love them back. This, my fellow men, must stop! If your woman is making you run after her and you cannot imagine a substantial reason for running, then you must stop running after her! If your woman is taking your focus away from your own success, demanding you to place her before yourself and your own happiness, then you must cast her aside! If you love someone, it
can be hard to force yourself to do this, but you have to understand that it is a moral imperative to do so because you do not deserve the pain; it is in fact immoral to continue to submit yourself to a woman who repeatedly denies you her love. And why is it so difficult to realize this? Why would you refuse to let yourself go and let chance find another woman who actually loves you? Do not deny yourself happiness. Wabash men get attached to the people they love. They dedicate themselves both to women they love and to men whom they love as brothers. This propensity to attachment is exactly why Wabash men are susceptible to relationships of pain, but it is also why they develop true friendships amongst themselvesâ€”ones that do
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not die even after that fateful day of graduation. Any worthwhile relationship involves appropriate pain: pain for the other person, but not pain because of the other person. Good friends long for each other and for each others’ happiness, and it is through this longing that pain introduces itself. It is an enjoyable pain for which they should be thankful, yet pain nonetheless. And it is for this reason that good men seek to help each other; this is the description of the manly relationship. The above description of my understanding of the true manly friendship may be more than what many modern men wish to ponder, and understandably so. This description seems to better fit the common conception of the proper relationship between man and woman, but why should good friendships be limited to the opposite sex? The real man seeks happiness for all whom he loves. Perhaps the word “love” is the issue for many. Most men do not feel comfortable saying they love their male friends, and even when they do, they often do not truly mean it. Even so, a man should not be afraid
to admit his love for those whom he genuinely loves. He understands what he means, as does his friend. It is not a sexual love—and this may best illustrate the issue: that popular society tends to equate love among those of similar ages with sex; what an utter social disaster this is!—it is an impeccable desire for happiness and success for a friend. My experience at Wabash College has shown me that such love between men is possible, desirable, and fulfilling. In many ways, men are forced to realize this during their time here. You cannot desert back to our women and live out mere associations among men. You have to devote yourselves to each other. And in an educational institution as taxing, albeit rewarding, as this one, rejection of human love is not an empowering option. To a freshman experiencing this whirlwind of change, deciding what to do is particularly important. How can you be bold? How exactly can you succeed and be happy? My perspective is that in order to be a great man—besides being a great man who goes to Wabash—you should be unafraid to open yourself up to a friend. You should share
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your secrets, your past, and your hopes. When you share your being in confidence with someone, who in turn shares his being with you, a true manly relationship is born, and it is undeniably beautiful. To the freshmen, I issue a welcome. Welcome to the place of manly relationships. Welcome to the place of true understanding. My hope is that you all will find a fellow Wabash man with whom you can develop the perfect friendship. All too often, people choose to invest their time and happiness in human relationships that are doomed to fail, but here, the investment is guaranteed to produce an unquantifiable return—a best friend. And when you have realized the beauty of the manly relationship and have been blessed with an actual best friend,
“This propensity to attachment is exactly why Wabash men are susceptible to relationships of pain, but it is also why they develop true friendships amongst themselves—ones that do not die even after that fateful day of graduation.” you will be able to grow without ceasing, becoming the most capable kind of man that any woman would want and that any good woman will pursue. Once you learn how to love a man as your true friend, no marriage will ever have to end, and no child will ever have to endure the inappropriate pain of an unloving father. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that once you learn to truly love a friend, you will never stop loving yourself, and you will always find joy in living.
PARADISE LOOSE By Matt Michaloski ‘14 Copy Editor
merica is in decline. It’s not what it used to be. However you measure a nation, America is less than it was. Uncle Sam lost his footing somewhere along the way, and he slipped down the slopes of depravity. We lost our Protestant work ethic, and we lost that gritty old American spirit that made us great. Now we’re just a tired old empire waiting for our Visigoths to come. The trade deficit rises, the churchgoers shrink, and the average American youth is more familiar with our national catalog of viral videos than the Constitution. You hear it everywhere: the media, sermons, comedians, politicians… Everyone is talking about it. It seems like everyone enjoys talking about it. It’s like some juicy piece of national gossip that everyone is proud to know first and repeat to his friends. It can’t be escaped. Today I hear it from the middle-aged couple seated at the dinner table next to mine. They’re talking loudly and trying hard to outdo one another’s pessimism. It’s everywhere. I almost wonder if we’d have anything left to talk about were the country to improve somehow. “Not to worry,” says one of the noisy, sexagenarian diners overhearing my thoughts. “The country’s headed for hell in a hand basket. It’s a sure thing.” He smiles smugly. He seems satisfied at having been the one to remind me of our doom. I’m taken aback. I’ve always thought it was a load of rubbish. The USA is the greatest country on earth, isn’t it? I’ve certainly had a good life here. Even growing up in the knee-deep depravity of the 1990s and the digital age, I never once doubted that I lived in a country full of resourceful, patriotic people where I’m free from the fears of tyranny and oppression. After all, this is the country that defeated the British Empire, and squashed the Axis, and put a man on the moon. This is the land of
freedom and justice for all. We’ve done pretty good, haven’t we? Just how loose is our grip on greatness? “Looser than you think,” says my neighbor who has now gotten up and joined me at my table. “Your faith is only possible because you weren’t around to see America before it was depraved. Did you know that young men used to hold doors for women and took their shirts in and greet their elders?” I try to protest and tell him that I still hold doors and use my yes-sirs. He doesn’t hear me. He’s still talking about the far gone days when travel by air was pleasant and you could hold a conversation with a youngster without competing against a texty-phone. He does have a point of course. Something us young conservatives have to acknowledge is the fact that we were never around to see any time in this country’s history other than our own. It makes it harder for us to argue about things like changes, and trends, and the direction we’re all headed. Still, I’m not convinced that the average American is any more rude, or thick skulled, or downright depraved than he ever was. Come on, people have always had a stupid streak, haven’t they? And are our national problems truly worse than they ever have been? Was there ever a time when people couldn’t find any kind of politics or economics to complain about? Hasn’t this panic-for-the-future-“worst pledge class ever” rhetoric been around for a while? Have we really lost the mandate of heaven? Is depravity really all around us? The questions build, and I feel bold enough to speak: “But, Sir, are we really that far gone? Is the country really in worse shape than it’s ever been before?” My friend smiles knowingly. “Open the menu,” he says. Nervously, I obey. I don’t have to scan if for more than a moment before I see what he’s getting at. There on that page, displayed
prominent and prideful on a plate with French-fried potatoes, is a “Quesadillaburger.*” Read that word again and imagine my disgust. Some twisted, sinful soul had decided to place a hamburger inside a goddamned quesadilla and sell it at a restaurant for ten dollars. There was a special deal on it. They weren’t even ashamed. It’s too much. A light clicks off in my head, and I get it. I am suddenly overcome with all the shadowy waves of cynicism and doubt that I have avoided so long. I have beheld the perfect symbol of our lost innocence. The weight of human darkness falls heavily on my shoulders all in an instant, and my chipper young legs buckle under the weight. “This is depravity!” I shout. “This is how far we’ve sunk!” My friend is beaming. “It wouldn’t exist if America still had scruples,” he says. “The horror!” I find that I’m smiling as I scream. I finally get it. Embracing the darkness feels good. Pessimism is fun. Fear is stimulating. Staring over the precipice of our superpower’s achievements and gazing into the waiting pit of doom is inexplicably liberating. It’s no wonder we spend so much time dwelling on our national follies and the decline of American values. It’s soothing. It’s cathartic. I spend the whole next day preaching our doom. One of my naïve peers approaches me. “But if America’s really that far gone, then what’s the point of caring enough to point out all our flaws?” Ignoring the killjoy, I grin and show him some figures on the trade deficit. “It’s only a matter of time till China claims us.” --Dedicated to Russell Baker, my unwitting mentor . *I didn’t make this thing up. You can buy one.
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Courtesy of the Wabash Archives
THE SECOND BILL OF RIGHTS
Changes in entitlements under the Constitution raise serious questions about fiscal sustainability. By Patrick Bryant ‘16 Layout Editor
hen the US Constitution was ratified in 1789, one of the key parts ensuring its passage by the states was the Bill of Rights, a 1791 compromise meant to appease the Republicans and provide ten basic rights to citizens. Within that Constitution, there is also a preamble, a statement of what the federal government is determined to do, or in other words, what its role is: We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America. It’s a line of sacred American text which many citizens were forced to memorize in middle school. Although those words have been ingrained in the minds of generations of Americans, the attempts to rewrite them in the past and the attempts today to stretch the powers of government to the ends of the Earth is beginning to make the words unrecognizable. It begs the question, is an American citizen in 2012 entitled to what he or she was entitled to in 1789? Obviously one cannot quantify whether or not things are “tranquil” domestically, or whether or not “general welfare” has been promoted. Further, some would
argue that it is up to the government to ensure that every single human being living within the borders of the United States be served directly by the government, no questions asked, to the point that all they “need” is provided for them. Some argue that the government should act based on the circumstances of the individual and apply it to the general populace. I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that if government is to act truly efficiently, and truly ensure general tranquility and welfare, it ought to be a force of general freedoms and liberties put in place so that the individual can gain what the individual views as prosperity. This isn’t meant to sound arrogant or meant to put class against class or race against race; rather, this argument is made only to be certain that a government that does promise those freedoms found in the Bill of Rights is sustainable and able to survive without the influence of
“How could he ever think his second bill of rights would be sustainable? I wish I had been a member of the White House press corps in 1944. I would have a few questions for Roosevelt.”
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foreign creditors. There is absolutely no question in my mind that up until about fifty years ago, there were American citizens, namely at that time African-Americans, who were not being properly served that right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which they were promised. I think it is now safe to say in the year 2012 that any American regardless of race, religion or political affiliation has the same rights to vote, speak, practice religion, obtain an education and have justice served, in as free and equal of a manner as is possible. It has taken time, amendments have been made, wars have been fought, but all in all, those ten rights promised in the Bill of Rights, and that mission statement spelled out in the Constitution’s preamble mean as much today and arguably even more, than they ever have before. What more could anyone ask for or expect? Well, Franklin Roosevelt had a few more things in mind when he made his State of the Union address in 1944. He wanted a second bill of rights, a more economic-based one, for this country. He argued for a right to housing, employment, education, medical care and social security just to name a few. His argument to the American people was that “necessitous men are not free men.” The argument I have for our beloved court-packing, alphabet soup President is this: Will the efforts of the government to provide for the “necessitous” not end up
making us all necessitous? Will a government that goes out of its way to make amends for all not force the whole to lose those unalienable rights for which the government was established to sustain in the first place? It’s unfortunate that many of the programs in which Roosevelt and later Lyndon Johnson put into place, namely Social Security and Medicare, will likely be dried up by the time our generation is ready to retire. Would it be nice if everyone could have every one of the things on Roosevelt’s list? Yes. Is it sensible? No. Is it worth borrowing to the financial point of no return? Once we get there, it won’t be our say as to what our rights are. Those goals mentioned in the preamble will then be in the back seat to the agenda of the foreign creditors holding the country hostage by its own IOUs. How could he ever think his second bill of rights would be sustainable? I wish I had been a member of the White House press corps in 1944. I would have a few questions for Roosevelt. One would go something like, “how, in times of a recession, will you ensure those rights be carried out?” I guess jobs will have to be made up so that everyone can be employed. And in order to pay those workers, I guess bonds will have to be sold to support them. It’s a vicious cycle that today’s liberals still attempt to force the United States into. More recession, more jobs to create, more borrowed money, more recession, more jobs to create—get the picture? Every time we get a paycheck from one of the ESH jobs we may have on campus, a portion of our gross pay went to the government in the form of a FICA tax, an amount matched by the employer, which goes towards Social Security and Medicare. Each and every pay period, I and every other employed American have the pleasure of essentially writing a check without any control over who is in the “Pay to the order of ” section. Isn’t it a
Source: A Informed Citizen
shame we couldn’t just all keep our money and save it for ourselves for the future? No, I guess it’s best that the whole should give their earnings to a Social Security trust that likely won’t be sustainable till the time we retire. Yet, bear in mind, this is a right I receive from the government. Social Security and Medicare, the two programs I, as a natural-born United States citizen, hold near and dear to my heart. So far, it’s a government IOU to me and a tax I pay with no accountability in how it’s spent. I guess that’s how the founders of the second bill of rights intended it all along. I think the issue of entitlements is one of the most difficult and delicate issues to talk about. Believe me, I feel bad saying the government shouldn’t help the poor and unemployed, but it really shouldn’t. It’s not what government was created for, and even if it was, there is no way to support that without a socialist-style government. A government that would ensure prosperity for all would be forced to tax the employed to the point that they are financially equal to the poor. What goes up must come down. A government under the second bill of rights would ensure that. Government
cannot be a charity. But the liberals in Washington don’t care about that. Mr. Bernanke will continue to print dollars that are worth less and less every day and the government will continue to spend money it doesn’t have. Is it not possible for anyone in Congress to just say “we can’t afford it”? No wonder so many Americans have huge amounts of credit card debt—they follow the example of their government. Just like their government, they act on impulse, on specific wants instead of overall need and purchase whatever makes them say, “oh, wouldn’t it be nice if…” That’s not realistic. I could do that too, but I don’t. My parents could do that, but they don’t. It’s a little thing called responsibility. My parents and I don’t want to put ourselves in a difficult financial position. And how does our government repay us? They tax us so that we can cover those whose once excessive spending has left them with foreclosure and a need for government assistance. That’s despicable. And each and every time the government does that and continues to borrow, they put our rights on the line, they put the Constitution on the line, and they put this country’s future in jeopardy.
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OUR DUTY TO SAVE SPARKS CENTER
Thinking Critically to Save History and Promote an Inherently Sustainable Sparks Center By Jeremy Wentzel ‘14 Treasurer & Events Coordinator
he Board of Trustees and Wabash community is discussing a project that might greatly impact the rare and unprecedented Frank Hugh Sparks Center. The proposed “student
center” has been a continuing discussion, only recently becoming a lower priority with the formation of the presidential search committee and early completion of the Challenge of Excellence. Like many
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Source: Wabash Archives
things at Wabash, change comes very slowly, which has a great amount of merit indeed. Yet, in a recent workshop on diversity, an overwhelming amount of faculty, staff, and student attendees placed a new student center as a top priority for Wabash College. The student body must become more engaged as discussions surrounding the future of Sparks Center are being tossed around without a clear understanding of why the structure is so special. All too often around the nation, colleges and universities tear down historic structures in hopes of gaining new amenities and popularity through a new building. Of course, for purposes of admissions and public image, the new buildings are increasingly being sold as ‘aesthetically pleasing’ or ‘top-of-the-line’ or ‘sustainable.’ There are many myths behind the construction of new buildings that will unintentionally destroy a piece of history, as well as the non-sustainable impacts that construction creates - regardless if the new building is sustainable in nature. I hope to illuminate the rarity and value of our Frank Hugh Sparks Center, and promote thoughtful renovation to its interior to best serve the current needs of students at Wabash College. Hearing many discussions of a proposed student center are enlightening, yet admittedly
baffling. Two common themes arise in conversations among students, faculty, and staff regarding the construction of a new student center. The talk of renovating Sparks Center is an option in these conversations, however, the popularity of an entirely new building many times outweighs the option to renovate Sparks. The first common theme is a desire for space that creates campus unity by integrating fraternity and independent students, as well as faculty and staff, in a large enough space for communal events reaching upwards of 600 or 700 persons. The unity of the Wabash community is of great importance, indeed, and should be addressed in conversations regarding the improvement of spaces on campus. The second theme relates to the presence of a café to remain open late into the evening, serving coffee, food, and light alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. The reasoning behind this space is to provide an incentive for faculty, staff, and students to casually commune in a space on campus that facilitates food, drink, and great conversation. This latter reason is also of great importance, considering large communal gatherings might not occur consistently, whereas a spacious café might accommodate larger crowds and interaction on a continued basis. These reasons are legitimate in making adjustments and renovating Sparks Center, however they do not seem to warrant a new building—certainly not one that will likely come at the expense of Sparks Center. However, this thinking is not the result of a desire to destroy Sparks Center. Instead these suggestions are made by folks who don’t have a stake in preserving Frank Hugh Sparks Center. Perhaps those folks will have a different perspective by the end of this article. The following will give an
Source: American Battle Monuments Comission
overview of the significance and also the original utility of Sparks Center. Perhaps this information will lead those in favor of erecting a new student center to reconsider. Sparks Center opened in 1954, and was designed by legendary architect Eric Gugler. Gugler designed many other buildings at Wabash including Morris and Wolcott, Lilly Library, and Baxter Hall. The robust columns of Sparks Center bring a sense of superiority, confidence, and classical style to a small Midwestern town. Beautiful white iron gratings visible on Gugler’s structures at Wabash are reminiscent of a unique cuttingedge style which Gugler was known for. In a 1954 Wabash Bulletin, Sparks Center was described as a “fast Georgian architecture style” and later that of an “unusual architecture” by the Indy Star Magazine in October of 1954. In fact, Wabash College was not the only place Eric Gugler designed modern, yet stately buildings. Most notably, Gugler was responsible for the design of the West Wing of the White House. An April 12, 2006 article of Crawfordsville’s Journal Review newspaper reported that Gugler worked with President Franklin
Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on various projects. Gugler was responsible for the design of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. as well as an instrumental role in establishing the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Most unique to Wabash is the fact that Gugler built a near replica of Sparks Center in Italy. The Sicily-Rome American WWII Cemetery and Memorial is located in Nettuno, Italy and is about 38 miles south of Rome. The cemetery is a memorial for American soldiers who primarily perished in the liberation of Sicily in 1943. It is not known if Sparks Center was the inspiration for this memorial in Italy, or the other way around. What we do know according to the research of Wabash Archivist Beth Swift is that Sparks Center was completed in 1954, two years prior to the dedication of the U.S./ Italian memorial in 1956. Either way, the fact remains that Gugler incorporated American themes of design in communion with a higher standard of Italian classical architecture. The inspiration was impeccable, and is manifested within the customized structure we all know as Frank Hugh Sparks
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Center. Why is it that most members the Wabash community look at Sparks with a mild disdain? Perhaps it is because the original intent of Sparks Center has been lost through years of transition at Wabash. The utility of this building is currently limited to independent meal service, a small café downstairs with limited hours, a bookstore, and some offices. When looking to the past, one begins to see the truly innovative utility of what was once termed a “campus center.” In the December 19, 1952 edition of The Bachelor, plans were released including the announcement to hire the firm of Gugler, Kimball, and Husted Architects out of New York City for the design of this new building on campus. The same article most eloquently stated the purpose of the new “student center”: “The snack bar-recreation area in the basement should prove to be the most popular area in the building. The snack bar will be furnished with juke-box and space (small but cozy) for dancing. The various committees have not planned on providing girls for this activity. Can’t you visualize a typical Friday evening in the new building? A number of couples dancing in one corner of the snack bar, a group of students and faculty members carrying on a high-level, hot-coffee discussion at one of the big round tables, other groups in the bowling area and the billiard room, someone playing a piano in the small lounge upstairs, President Sparks working his magic on some members of the Board of Trustees in the private dining room, the Political Forum listening to President Eisenhower in one of the upstairs meeting rooms.” We learn a number of things from this beautifully written vision of the new building at Wabash. Most obviously, the administration and students were referring to the
structure as a “student center” and not “Sparks Center.” The conception of Sparks Center from the beginning was to be a “student center” ripe with interaction among the community during the offhours. From this article, we also learn that the entire basement of Sparks Center was to be devoted entirely to recreation for students. The Scarlett Inn relocated to its current location. The space which is now occupied by the bookstore was a room that housed about five pool tables. In the side room that aligns with the bookstore (where textbooks are currently stocked) was a bowling alley, complete with two lanes. The downstairs was open, spacious, and entertaining. It was a place in which all students interacted with each other and with faculty and staff members. It was a small place that encouraged
“Why is it that most members of the Wabash community look at Sparks with a mild disdain? Perhaps it is because the original intent of Sparks Center has been lost through years of transition at Wabash.” congregation, not a place to spend all of one’s time but perhaps a portion of a weekend day or throughout the week. This 1952 article from The Bachelor intended to project a vision of the utility and value of the future student center. This vision was carried through to the time of the new building’s dedication in 1954. From the October 30, 1954 dedication program, we can visualize Sparks Center through photos. We learn that the Scarlett Inn did in fact relocate to its current
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space downstairs. The photo inside the Scarlett Inn showcases students and faculty conversing over chilled mugs. Over the counter, two beer taps become visible, signifying a time in which the college embraced student-faculty interaction over responsible alcohol consumption. From the dedication program we also learn that Forbes Lounge had a baby grand piano, large mid-century lamps, “luxurious furniture”, geometric wallpaper, and fresh flowers. The lounge resembled a current yet warm area for relaxation, expression, and conversation. Among all of these spaces, October 24, 1954’s Indy Star Magazine recounted the timeless fact that “You can get an argument on any subject from the probable outcome of the WabashDepauw game to the application of DeMoivre’s Theorem.” Moving to the kitchen area, the Wabash Bulletin reported that the new student center had “Indiana’s Fanciest Kitchen” boasting the “modern kitchen entirely equipped with stainless steel.” The Indy Star Magazine raved about the cutting-edge Great Hall which displayed “drapes from England, wallpaper from Japan, rugs from the Orient, chandeliers from Italy.” By the way, the original chandeliers are still hanging in Sparks Center’s Great Hall—a testament to a timeless beauty that has lost its dynamic story to the whims of time. Perhaps the stories behind the construction of Sparks Center might make us smile—in particular, the story regarding the origins of the wooden beams along the ceiling of Great Hall in Sparks Center. The Indy Star Magazine proclaimed the significance of “Twenty gigantic beams [that] support the ceiling. They are a story in themselves.” Trustee Parish Fuller of Oakdale, Louisiana was determined to ensure the ceiling not have the originally
planned cement beams spanning across the Great Hall. Fuller owned a timber company, and embarked on a mission to find the best timber in North America for the new student center. Fuller immediately sent his timber scouts to Sabine Island, a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. The scouts were to find tall and matured trees of a special wood. After cutting down a few trees, Fuller discovered the wood at Sabine Island was not of the highest quality, and thus not suitable for his alma mater. Therefore, he settled upon the Virgin Tidewater Red Cyprus Tree of East Texas. Fuller immediately transported the timber which was estimated to be 250 to 300 years old. As students have dined in Sparks Center for decades, they have done so under a representation of meticulous detail and charity for Wabash College. It is of great importance to understand that Sparks Center is a building which has an unprecedented historical value. To remove this innovative building from the makeup of Wabash College is to remove the vision of a building that is sustainable and timeless. The quest for new amenities and new services far too often results in colleges and universities tearing down historic buildings. The case has been made for the value of recognizing history in these forgotten structures. However, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has recently published a study that utilized the Life Cycle Approach (LCA) to new construction. This approach quantifies the amount of carbon released as a result of extracting new resources for a new building, transformation and refinement of raw materials, manufacturing of new supplies, transportation of new supplies, and use of the materials as well as construction equipment to construct the building. In
Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation
short, the environmental impact of choosing new over preserving or renovating the old is astounding. The same study reports that “savings from [building] reuse are between 4 and 46 percent over new construction when comparing buildings with the same energy performance level.” More shocking are the time estimates in which new ‘green buildings’ take to overcome the environmental damage done (using LCA) by building them in the first place! According to the same report, “it takes 10 to 80 years for a new building that is 30 percent more efficient than an average-performing existing building to overcome, through efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts related to construction.” We currently have a “student center.” Its name is Sparks Center. Small remodeling projects
will return us to the original intent of the structure. We must act in a responsible, not rash, way to ensure the needs of the Wabash community are met. In order to do this we must consider actions such as moving Sparks Center basement offices to other areas, in addition to the college bookstore. We must consider action with Bon Appetit to extend the hours of the Scarlett Inn to include being open 7 days a week, and for much longer periods of time. The utility of Sparks Center must no longer be limited to that of eating, but that of campus engagement in areas of entertainment, discourse, and latenight food and drink. Through the vision and design of Eric Gugler, we are all challenged to think critically about Frank Hugh Sparks Center. Let’s do so in a financially, historically, and environmentally feasible way.
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Conservative Babe of the Issue
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S.E. Cupp was born in 1979 in California and raised primarily in Andover, MA. She was a classically trained dancer and danced for Ellicott City Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Boston Ballet for a period of ten years. After high school, she studied art history at Cornell University and worked for her college paper, the Cornell Daily Sun, as the Arts & Entertainment editor. During college, she worked for the Vose Galleries in Boston, the Whistler Museum, and the Johnson Museum as an intern. She graduated a year early and worked for short periods at an online magazine and a PR company. In 2002, she was hired by The New York Times to write and edit for the Index Department. She holds a Masters degree from New York University in Religious Studies. She regularly appears on Fox News, CNN, and is a co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle.” Cupp is the author of Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity, and has written for The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, and The American Spectator. S.E. follows the Mets, the Packers, and NASCAR, and enjoys fishing, target shooting and travel. Source: redsecupp.com SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 21
LIBERAL LIES COUNTERED
Why Voter ID Laws Are a Good Thing By Andrew Dettmer ‘15
uppression. Bullying. Racism. These are all labels the left would use for the efforts by many states to require a photo ID in order to vote. They claim that these are efforts to keep minorities and the poor, traditional Democratic voting blocks, from being able to vote. In the liberal mind set, requiring a voter to have an ID when voting adds an unnecessary barrier that will discourage thousands from showing up to the ballot box. The belief is that it is too time consuming or too expensive for somebody to get an ID if they lack one. Liberals also tend to claim that there are no problems with voter fraud and that these are made up concerns, that this a conservative scare tactic used to rile up voters and help them wrongfully stop other voters from voting. The reality is that most Americans agree with these laws. According to Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent of voters believe voter fraud is a problem, and nearly 70 percent believe the requirement of photo ID to vote
“We have had out share of suppression, particularly in the American south, there is no question about that, but this is not suppression.” makes sense. The fact is, there are no good arguments against voter ID laws; it’s just common sense. The first concern I’d like to address is the idea that minorities will be disproportionately affected by these laws, which has been proven to be simply untrue. As former Democratic Representative Arthur Davis said at a conference on voter ID laws, “This is a Virginia driver’s license, also known as a state issued photo ID, it’s pretty innocuous looking,” Davis said while holding up his ID to the audience. “This is not a Billy club. It is not a firehose… It’s not some kind of a weapon or club
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that southern sheriffs used to keep people from voting.” He went on to state, “Reasonable people shouldn’t disagree on one point: We have had our share of suppression, particularly in the American south, there is no question about that, but this [Voter ID] is not suppression,” Davis said. “How can it be a burden to ask people to do something they do all the time?” Now this is an African-American who represented Birmingham, AL in Congress. Who better than someone like him to discuss what is or isn’t voter suppression or unfair treatments of minorities. But it’s not just respected men like Arthur Davis who say the law is not discriminatory. A Heritage Foundation study published on July 25, 2012 by Hans Spakovsky and Katie Beck with the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections Act said the following: “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach recently lead the effort to get the SAFE program or Secure and Fair Elections Act passed by both Republicans and Democrats in his state.
The act was passed in April of 2011 and early results of the SAFE Act are already positive. In the first six months after the law went into effect, the state held 53 local elections. During those elections, 68,000 votes were cast and of the 68,000 voters just 84 people showed up at the polls without photo ID although most of those people actually had ID but chose not to bring it to the polls for one reason or another. Out of 1.6 million registered voters, only 32 people in the entire state took advantage of the free photo ID offer from Kansas’ government.” The refutations do not stop there: “Of those 32 people, 80 percent were white, 10 percent were black, and the race or ethnicity of 10 percent was unknown.” So clearly the effect on minorities is not what the left claims that it is. Secondly there is the idea that the poor should not be required to do this, because they are not able to afford the IDs or the cost of the time it takes to get an ID hurts the poor. This also was proven to be false by a study of Kansas’s SAFE Act. “…with a turnout of 68,047 voters. In those elections, a mere 84 people failed to present a photo ID at the polling lots. According to the Office of the secretary of State, the great majority of those 84 voters had Kansas driver’s licenses but simply forgot to bring them to the polls. Of those, 39 had their provisional ballots counted after they showed a photo ID to county election officials prior to the county canvas. Thus, only 0.06 percent of voters failed to show a photo ID to cast a ballot in those local elections, but many of them could have done so…” Even though the Kansas experience demonstrates that these laws are easily complied with, and only 0.002 percent of the voters in Kansas expressed the need for an ID to vote, liberal groups such as the Brennan Center continue to insist that upwards of 11% of eligible voters will be affected. However, the Brennan Center bases its numbers on a survey they conducted that has faulty methodology. The Brennan Center did not use likely voters or actual voters, or even registered voters. Also they worded their questions with a bias towards
“...not only demonstrate the risk of voter fraud real, but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.” a particular response. The Brennan Center is opposed to the idea of ensuring that everyone who votes shows a photo ID, but at the same time they want all major donors to political campaigns to be forced to disclose these donations. Hypocritical much? The fact is that no portion of our population is so burdened by these measures that they will be unable to vote. Next, we come to the claim that there is no problem with voter fraud in the United States. That is a blatant lie. As the Supreme Court stated in its 2008 ruling to uphold Indiana’s voter ID law, stunning examples of voter fraud, “have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.” As such, these “demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.” What are these examples? In 1844, 135 percent of the electorate of New York turned out to vote. A 2003 mayoral election in East Chicago, IN and a 2005 Tennessee state senate race were both overturned because of voter fraud. Also in the 2008 Presidential Election thousands of fake voter registration forms were uncovered that had been sent in the mail by the organization ACORN. According to a study of the US Census and State Voter Registries done by the non-for-profit election accountability group, True the Vote, there are hundreds of counties around the US where more than 100% of their population is registered to vote, and there are an estimated 2,000,000 deceased still listed on the voter registries. The most famous example of voter fraud in recent history was in 1982 in Chicago where it is estimated over 100,000 votes were cast by people that do not exist, were long dead, or no longer lived in the district.
This was caused by a party machine in Chicago ensuring that its choke hold on the city was not lost. Without bipartisan checks on the system, the Democrat Part precinct chairmen had spent years learning and perfecting a system to stuff the ballot boxes of Chicago. It was only after an FBI investigation that this system was uncovered. Party workers who felt betrayed for not receiving the positions they were promised came forward and blew the system wide open. A survey of just 10 percent of the 3000 Hispanics registered to vote in California’s 39th Assembly district revealed, “phony addresses and large numbers of registrants who admitted they were not citizens.” The days of party machines may be behind us, but as the number of illegal immigrants grows so too may the risk of non-citizens voting. Despite these ungrounded concerns, Americans widely support voter ID laws and are indeed concerned about voter fraud. This can be demonstrated in the rapid growth of the organization, True the Vote. In 2009, Catherine Engelbrecht was working the polls and saw numerous cases of voter fraud at these under-staffed polls in Houston. Originally planning to be a local group in just Houston, True the Vote is projected to provide over 1,000,000 poll watchers nationwide to help ensure that our electoral process is indeed “True” this year. I had the opportunity this summer to meet and speak with Mrs. Engelbrecht, and she pointed out “In 2000, the US Presidential Election was divided by just 500 votes.” Mrs. Engelbrecht is a focal point of many average Americans’ concerns. If my vote may be nullified by someone who shouldn’t be voting, what’s the point? The American people deserve better. They deserve an electoral system that ensures that their vote counts. As Secretary of the State of Kansas, Kris Kobach, said of the SAFE Act in his state, “The system is really designed to ensure that it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat.” That’s the type of system all Americans deserve, not a system being held back by liberal lies and worries.
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MONEY AND BANKS
The Ignored Matter and the Coercive Status Quo By Christian Lopac ‘16
here are certain policy areas that will always be addressed during elections: the economy, government debt, foreign policy. These essential topics will always be discussed—they are integral questions about government policy. The areas of health care, Social Security, gay marriage, immigration, and securing the border have become important topics in today’s politics. There are, however, two topics that are absent from this growing list of important policies—money and banking. Pondering the role of these institutions, one comes to the realization that they are of critical importance. The issues of monetary policy and banking should be at the forefront of political discussion, along with questions of economics and war. But in fact, these questions are not prominent in the current political debate. In examining both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s views on money and banking, one will find that—as is the case in other areas—both candidates’ policies are lacking. Perhaps it is best to begin with an inquiry as to why the public is not concerned with the American dollar or the Federal Reserve. While I cannot speak for the greater American public, there is always room for speculation. One reason might be that it is not naturally interesting or that it does not have a visible effect upon most voters. We know that economic policy affects all, which makes it a top issue. Foreign policy is also easy to grasp. We see soldiers running for cover on the news, blackened and bloodied survivors of bombings, and rural Afghans watching American soldiers on patrol. These images are easy to grasp. They are simple and concrete. Money and banking, on the other hand, will immediately draw mental cries of “I give up!” It is true, even on economic issues, that many people think they cannot understand these matters. They don’t have a doctorate and are not “geniuses.” This may be true for some economic dogmas, but most of those are erroneous. The economic philosophy which, in my view, correctly offers economic, monetary, and financial explanations and solutions is that of the Austrian School. This is one of the few economic philosophies that can be explained to those without any background in economics without seeming complicated or confusing. So, good people, prepare to read the business section of the newspaper with confidence. Though before we do examine the fundamental doctrines of the Austrians, it is first prudent to analyze the policies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney that we oppose. Barack Obama’s monetary and banking policy has been strongly Keynesian. Along with one of the other prominent stooges
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of Keynesian thought, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, he has inflated our currency and introduced generous amounts of quantitative easing (i.e. printing more money to cause inflation). Obama, as one would suspect, has not done anything to remove the Federal government from the sectors of money and finances. As one would expect, he has done nothing to change the policies of the Federal Reserve. One might hope that Romney’s monetary policies would be a great improvement over Obama’s. But on this point, Romney has been oddly silent. Obama has not been any better, but we have the actions of his last four years to indicate his policy. Romney believes in the audit of the Federal Reserve but does not want to eliminate the Federal Reserve entirely. On the gold standard, Romney has said nothing. I realize that it does seem hard to believe that with the unfailing memory of the internet there is not some instance of Romney speaking on these terms. But upon exhaustive research, there truly appears to be nothing. One point of interest, in regards to Romney, is one of his advisors—Ben Hubbard. In an interview with Reuters, he spoke
well of the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, and the Fed Reserve’s policies. While Hubbard doesn’t literally speak for Romney, this does say something about Romney’s own views on the topic, considering that Hubbard was chosen as a top advisor. It is also necessary to lay out the current state of the economy and financial system of the United States, for the sake of clarity. Last time I checked, the national debt was at $16,035,921,700,000—with that number constantly increasing. Current unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor, is at 8.1%. The falling value of the American dollar hangs over our heads. And, adding to this, the net worth of the United States of America dropped forty percent, as reported by Forbes in June of 2012. With figures like these, perhaps it is a good idea to put monetary policy at the front with the other important policy issues. With the background information already laid out, let us go to the heart of the problem. What caused this “great recession”? Some have pointed to big banks and corporate greed. While these are natural things to point at—especially by those of an anti-free market mind set—these are not the real problem. The true problem may be explained in terms of a prominent, though often attacked, economic theory—the Austrian business cycle theory. In short, this business cycle theory states that when interest rates are tampered with—in the sense of not being regulated by markets, but by governments—it creates an artificial “boom.” There is prosperity during this time, but it cannot last. Eventually, everything falls apart and the “bust” happens. The Austrian business cycle theory is not only applicable to our current economic woes but to those of the Great Depression and beyond. The solution to this problem is obvious. If government is the problem, then government needs to get out of the way. Of course applying ideas such as the Austrian business cycle theory are not easy. But it is necessary to understand these concepts before there are any thoughts of application. Just as we explained the current economic crisis with the view of Austrian
economics, the same may be done with the other areas of monetary and financial policy. First, though, a bit of history is in order. It may be said that the Austrian School began with the economist Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics (published in 1871). There were other, older influences upon the Austrians, as well. Some of these influences include Frederic Bastiat (a name familiar to many conservatives and libertarians) and JeanBaptiste Say. After Menger came many other influential Austrian thinkers—such as Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Henry
“In examining both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s views on money and banking, one will find that—as is the case in other areas—both candidates’ policies are lacking.” Hazlitt. The tradition has been carried into contemporary thought and politics by Ron Paul, Steven Horwitz, Peter Schiff, and Andrew Napolitano. What makes Austrian thought different from all other economic systems is its methodology. While Keynesians, and many members of the Chicago School, rely heavily on mathematics in their economic methodologies, the Austrians reject this approach. They believe that it is inconsistent with logic—due to the fact that humans are unpredictable and their actions cannot be charted and predicted. Other features of the Austrian system include a belief in natural rights (i.e. life, liberty, and property), a completely free market, and property as a cornerstone of civilization—along with other things. As with anything of this nature, there is always more that may be explained, but this condensed explanation must suffice. Needless to say, the Austrians are overwhelmingly in support of the unfettered free market. The Austrian solution, then, for the
current economic troubles is to remove the government from these areas of money and banking. The concept of a de-nationalized currency might seem absurd to some, but it has been in place at many points in history. This concept of de-nationalized currency has been called “free banking.” Simply put, this lack of a government system allows the free market to create its own currency—each currency having its own backing and origins. In other words, banks would create their own currency, and consumers would be free to choose which they would use. Businesses may choose what they wish to accept, as well. Why is this good thing? First, this is a matter of philosophy. The current state of currency (i.e. a government monopoly) is based on a coercive policy. The American dollar is not backed by gold, and not subject to market changes. Rather, the dollar is controlled by the whims and machinations of the Federal Reserve. Second, multiple currencies—even including gold, silver, and other precious metals—would ensure that, in times of recession or depression, the entire economy is not brought down by its reliance on a single currency. If such free-market measures were taken, with regards to currency, there would be no need for the Federal Reserve—an institution despised by many on the right. The arena of banking is also a matter best left to the free market. It may seem absurd to declare that the government—thought by so many to be a great protector and defender—should not have any part in banking, but that need truly does not exist. Many worry about what the “evil banks” might do, and, to a certain extent, this is justified. We should be careful and somewhat cynical. But, that does not mean that the banks could rob the populace en masse. Wouldn’t the banks be checked by legal repercussions? This exclusion of the government from the financial sector also includes bail outs. The whole issue is so riddled with errors that it could be expounded upon at great length. The entire bail out concept may be demolished by a single point. What is the role of the government? If it is to be confined to the precepts of classical liberalism (i.e. the roots of conservatism and libertarianism), then the purpose of the government is only Continued on page 34
SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 25
Photo courtesy of Zachary Churney
BEING THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT Experiences, Views, and Revelations About Being an American Abroad By Zach Churney ‘14
t has taken me a while to figure out what I want to say in this article. This semester I am studying abroad, and something that has been going through my mind continuously is how drastically different my perspective in regard to America has changed. Being a native-born American brings about a certain blindness when it comes to talking about patriotism, I feel. Since being abroad, however, I have pushed myself into living with a different group of people, have had to grasp the use of another language, and have been presented with entirely new questions about my identity. This, I believe, is important to write about. I have been in Germany studying abroad for the past month or so, and I must
say that European culture is a lot different than what I thought it would be. In March of 2011 I had the opportunity to travel to Austria with a German course I took, but spending only eight days wasn’t enough to produce culture shock—let alone the fact that I was with other Americans whom I knew from home. This time, though, I came to Germany alone and was faced with being alone in another country, living with a couple German guys I don’t know. The experience, up to this point at least, has been a very interesting one. I love Germany, and I love the people here, but it definitely isn’t America, and I learned that very quickly. Some might interpret this article as one affected by a degree of culture shock,
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and that might be true, but my intent is to elaborate on the things I have found to be startlingly true, and most of what I have seen is not what I expected. These are a couple of areas I have seen as culturally significant in my experiences thus far: Language – Of course, one of the major factors to consider before living in another country is the possibility of having to speak another language. Before I came to Germany a lot of people had told me, “Oh, everyone there speaks English! It will be so easy.” Let me just say that this is a very ignorant comment. While it is true that most high school (here it is called the ‘Gymnasium’) and university students speak very good English, the rest of the population does not.
Furthermore, a lot of Germans don’t really want to speak English from what I have seen. The other day a friend of mine went into a restaurant and tried to order in English, and the woman at the front simply looked at her and said “Schuldigung, ich verstehe Sie nicht.” (“Sorry, I don’t understand you.”) I was slightly shocked by this. My preconceived notion was that I would never meet anyone like this in Germany, but I have met many who could not understand English very well. The effect of this, though, was a deep and sincere appreciation for my own language. I found that my brain loves it when I speak English. In the program I am in, it is forbidden to speak in any language besides German (which is understandable). At the end of the day I tend to have a throbbing head from the constant exertion of energy it takes to converse in another language, and when I finally get to speak in English I am relieved. No longer will I judge the foreign exchange students who eat lunch together and speak in Mandarin or Spanish, because now I understand completely. It feels good to speak your mother tongue. The issue of language has definitely been something that my eyes have been opened to in a personal way. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said so beautifully, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own,” and I agree completely. After speaking German and understanding more of its connotation, I now know that English has an entirely different meaning to me. Fashion – A very important part of cultural immersion is learning how a people dress and express themselves in clothing. I will begin by saying that Germany has a very different culture when it comes to dressing. I do not mean this in a negative or inappropriate way, but the boundary between what pertains to men and what pertains to women here in Germany is not as distinct as in the United States, especially in the Midwest. The typical outfit here for women right now is a sweater or jacket, leggings, a skirt, boots, a scarf, and sometimes a hat. For men, it is popular to have a sport jacket or cardigan, a low v-neck shirt, a scarf, skinny jeans, and ankle boots. This is clearly very different than what we see in the Midwestern United States! I brought this up with one of my German roommates, and his response
was, “Yes, it is true that men here dress very feminine by your standards, but we think wearing baggy pants, t-shirt, and tennis shoes all the time makes your men look like they don’t care about anything and they’re slobs. We like to look good, is that bad?” This statement in and of itself was enough to give me culture shock. I consider myself to be a fairly decently dressed guy most of the time, but here even my Calvin Klein v-necks and Paper Denim and Cloth skinny jeans don’t hold up against the other guys I see. I guess, then, that I will look like an American slob
“I love America, and now I believe in it even more than I did before.” while I am here in Germany. This stark difference has caused me to ask questions about my own views on how people dress. According to my roommate, a lot of European men enjoy dressing well because they feel that it makes a positive statement to have their hair done, their skinny jeans tight, and their D&G sport jacket dry cleaned—in the Midwestern U.S.
these European men would most likely receive a few gay slurs if they were to be walking down the street, especially in a town like Crawfordsville. Do American men really find it more masculine to look like a slob, though? I’ve been challenged to ask myself this. The People – I miss Americans. Something that has been a brick in the face for me is the drastic difference between the way Americans and Germans treat one another in public. For instance, I feel that most of the people on the street here are suspicious of one another all the time, which has caused a lack of good social vibes in most places. Americans—let’s be honest—are generally loud, like to have fun, and don’t care who else wants to join in their fun. Germans, on the other hand, keep to themselves and do not like others to bother them. The other night I was out at a bar with some friends and there was a table of people laughing and having fun and going around trying to talk with other people in the bar—we knew they were Americans, and surely enough they were. Of everything I miss most about America, it’s probably the close-knit feeling I have with others. We are all connected through this common bond, but here in Heidelberg, Continued on page 34
Photo courtesy of Zachary Churney
SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 27
AT HOME WITH SETON Domestic Tips for the Wabash Man By Seton Goddard ‘15 Courtesy of Wikimedia
all is upon us, and I’m pretty excited. Even though this will only be my second autumn on the campus of Wabash, I have come to the conclusion that few places are as beautiful in the fall. As the air gets colder and the leaves turn various shades of oranges and yellows, I find myself craving all things associated with autumn: squash recipes, apple cider, raking leaves, and crisp morning jogs. In the spirit of autumn, I’ll share some of my favorite things that make the home a great place to be this time of year.
Candles Last Thanksgiving and Christmas, my younger sister had a seasonal retail position with Yankee Candle at their location in Green Bay, Wisconsin. While she worked there, our home became infiltrated with candles and candle products. However, I learned a valuable lesson: candles are fantastic. When I returned to college this fall, I brought some of our family’s favorite scents with me (in the form of reed diffusers, of course). Many of them included some great fall scents. Since I have a really difficult time enjoying intensely sweet or fruity scents, I have become partial to Yankee’s “Tree House Memories” and “Mountain Lodge” scents. They’re very natural, and they will make any home smell
like autumn has arrived. Conversely, if you are not like me and happen to enjoy sweet scents, I would also recommend Yankee’s “Macintosh” and “Pumpkin Spice”. None of these will leave you disappointed.
Product Review Before we completely store the lawn mower and pull out the snow blower, the daunting task of raking leaves must be completed. At my family’s house, we have a massive, one-hundred-plus-yearold tree in our front yard. While it’s an incredibly beautiful tree, it also completely covers our yard and our neighbors’ yards with leaves. Some people might invest in a leaf blower. Not my family. After doing some research and testing the best rakes, I have found a great rake for covering a lot of ground. The Fiskars Leaf Rake ($22) is wide and it grabs a ton of leaves. Placed on Real Simple magazine’s list of Best Rakes, this rake earned strong marks in an intense review process. Check your local hardware store and they will probably have it. Otherwise, visit the Fiskars website (www3. fiskars.com) to find out where your nearest retailer is. While you’re at the hardware store, be sure to pick up some gloves if you don’t already have some. Extensive raking can lead to extensive blisters on your hands.
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Home Tip When I was growing up, my sister and I would return from school every day with a wealth of worksheets and craft projects we’d completed throughout the day. My parents were great about finding places to display our most prized artwork, but I suspect that it became a hugely strenuous task. If you are a parent in a similar situation, fear no more. Head to your local post office or mailing center, and pick up some mailing tubes. Find some aesthetically pleasing labels, and use them to label each tube with your child’s name and/or semester or year. This way, when you’re ready to retire previous projects and replace them with the latest and greatest, you can neatly and safely store and organize them. Also consider using them to create a collage. Another option would involve picking up two pieces of poster board and tape. Tape three sides of the poster boards together, and you’ll have a huge envelope to store paper projects of all sizes. If you need a place to store larger, more complex craft projects (or anything else around the house), consider ordering some Canvas Storage Totes from Lands’ End. With a very wide, flat bottom and firm sides, this versatile storage system is durable and flexible. For a small additional fee, you can also have the bags embroidered.
WHERE’S WEBB? Seriously.
By Isaac Taylor ‘15 Secretary
erhaps the most crucial component of the art of thinking critically is the necessity of asking questions. We Wabash men are encouraged to do this, even if the question is inconvenient or uncomfortable in nature. That is how I view this obligation, at least. It is not unknown that many students here are unafraid to ask questions of everyone, even administrators. Some may prove to be more tactful than others, but the simple act of asking questions is important nonetheless. This is why I am relaxed in asking the question that is the title of this article: where is Dr. Stephen Webb, why do I not know where he is, and what is the reason for his disappearance? Numerous students have noticed his absence besides me, yet to my continued amazement, not one of those students has known the uncontested truth of where Dr. Webb is. Most with whom I have talked resolved that he is on sabbatical leave, and this thought greatly intrigues me. The first issue I have with this claim is that, if Dr. Webb was planning on taking a sabbatical either this semester or both semesters this year, he would not have had planned to teach any courses this semester. I know that such was the case because I had originally included a class on my schedule for this semester that was to be team-taught by Dr. Webb and Dr. Brouwer. Of course, I ended up having to remove this from my plan once the College found out that Dr. Brouwer would not be returning this year. An additional reason that I find this claim to be strange is that if Dr. Webb was only on sabbatical, the Conservative Union would mostly likely have not decided to choose a new faculty advisor. I must note that there has been
Source: Valparaiso University
an official word from the Office of the Dean of the College. Before I wrote this article, I wanted to make sure that I had spoken with Dean Gary Phillips on behalf of the Conservative Union. He graciously responded, saying that Dr. Webb was “on leave” for the academic year of 20122013. Does this mean sabbatical leave? Was it because of a personal or urgent situation? Or is there another reason? We all understand that certain, sensitive information about employment status just cannot be revealed, but those questions still remain. Friends of mine who have attempted to speak with Dr. Webb about his position at Wabash College have all said that such attempts yielded no results. Therefore, no one knows for sure what the deal is, and perhaps we will not know for some time. Regardless, the students at this College should not forget to keep the question of “Where’s Webb?” in their minds as they go about their days throughout the rest of the year. It is no secret that Dr. Webb was totally unafraid to speak his mind. In fact, many of us who admired him—even some who may not have so much—often affectionately referred to him as a “loose cannon.” Indeed, I believe that being as
unabashed as him is ultimately a good thing. This particular quality is why he was the perfect choice to be the advisor for the Wabash Conservative Union when it was only a brand new organization. His fiery dedication was exactly what the founders of this magazine needed as they broke off from The Commentary and worked to give new birth to the conservative movement at Wabash College. That was over five years ago. The Conservative Union has been and is still changing, so the time to think about choosing a new advisor was impending. Yet, we should not have had to do so under such circumstances, not even knowing why our founding advisor left nor for what reasons. Dr. Webb, on behalf of everyone at The Phoenix, I wish to thank you for your service to our organization. Without your guidance and insight, the rebirth of the conservative (and now also libertarian!) movement at Wabash College may never have come to fruition. While we may not yet know why we are not seeing you around campus this year, we will continue to do what you did: ask tough questions and not accept the status quo just because we are expected to do so.
SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 29
THE ART OF CIVIL DISCOURSE
Why Discussion Is Important to the Wabash Experience and Life After Wabash By Bailey Combs ‘15
abash, the premiere private college for men, prides itself on being a college that strongly encourages peer-to-peer discussion inside and outside of the class as part of the experience. Our president of the college, Patrick White, reminds us every year as he rings in the freshmen that the people to our left and the people to our right are going to be our best teachers during our tenure at Wabash. This image of Wabash as a place to expand one’s mind through positive, personal relationships with other students and faculty is very appealing and was one of the main reasons why I chose Wabash. However, what happens to a student when these relationships are not positive? I hear on campus all the time about students who are not getting along well with others. Sometimes it has to do with a roommate’s personal habits or a student who thinks a professor is singling him out in class, but I feel that most of the conflict on campus at the moment is centered on political beliefs. It is at Wabash, that first step outside our parents’ home, that many of us are exposed for the first time to political thoughts and theories that our parents did not have or even discouraged. The college sets us up for this by diversifying the student body and faculty in hopes that exposure to multiple points of view as well as having our personal beliefs challenged will make us more well-rounded
men. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Personally, I feel that I have gained greatly from learning about others’ thoughts and beliefs on politics but I also have seen how they can tear a rift in the relationships between other people and myself, even amongst my own friends. For some reason, students can get the idea that the way one wins a political discussion is to be the loudest and most justified person there. I don’t know, but I speculate that this is a result of us being under our parents’ thumb for eighteen years where our parents would simply brush off our inquiries, protests, or requests with a blusterous, “Because I say so!” Students are thus programmed when they come into the
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college to believe that in a discussion where there is any disparity of beliefs or motivations there must eventually be a winner. This idea that a discussion is just a synonym for an argument is inappropriate. The point of a discussion is to blend and meld the ideas and beliefs of many people with the option in the end for the people involved to agree to disagree and remain friends on a personal basis. Sadly, when a student perceives a discussion as an “us versus them” situation because their beliefs may potentially be challenged, the discussion turns from a lively and constructive exchange of knowledge and ideas to a shouting match between students who think they have all the answers. Merely thinking that a
Source: Princeton University
discussion should have a clear and decisive winner sets up the discussion to fail and have it degenerate into an argument. I believe that even thinking that discussions have winners is extremely irresponsible. The results of this kind of “discussion” lead to discontentment in the discussion because no ideas or knowledge are traded. In my opinion, however, the more serious consequence is that students are now discontent with each other. They can begin to believe that the other side’s inability to collaborate properly is the reason why the discussion didn’t work and thus, in order to cut out the potential of future failures, they begin to disassociate themselves with those whom they cannot discuss things well. This breaks down the Wabash staple of peer-topeer relationships, and the Wabash experience is threatened severely for several individuals. I am not advocating that the Wabash experience is falling apart at the seams in some sort of largescale catastrophe, but for some, it is. Those who don’t learn to discuss in a cordial manner are often shunned by fellow Wabash men and suddenly find themselves without the peer-to-peer relationships that build the Wabash experience. Therefore, they don’t have opportunities to graduate in the true image of a Wabash man. Some would say, “Why worry if it is just a few students and not a campus-wide issue?” The trouble is that it is a campus-wide issue. We are a small college, and that is well known. Since there aren’t very many of us to begin with, anything that threatens a single student’s experience at Wabash should be dealt with in earnest. Otherwise, we stand the chance of losing a brother, and he may graduate without having truly been at Wabash. We, as these men’s peers, have then failed them as much as they have failed us. We have also failed then to become well-rounded individuals. Both sides have taken the easy road
Source: Rajendra Agricultural University
out by removing those who disagree with them from their experience here at Wabash, and as a result they did not learn how to handle the realworld situation of having a boss or coworker or spouse who may not share their views completely. There are other crucial issues for these men if they are not exposed to the big picture of any issue: they become polarized in their beliefs, which results in only seeing
“This idea t hat a d i s c u s sion i s ju s t a synonym for an argument is inappropriate.” value in their own beliefs; they only associate themselves with like-minded people; and the beliefs of people not like them are seen as stupid and having no value whatsoever. It is men like this that Wabash, and I am sure many other colleges where students are not wellrounded, is putting into the world. With the world, the United States in particular, being filled with men who do not know how to handle disagreements with others, I would not be surprised to find out that this
correlates to why political bodies, such as Congress, are having trouble. If one party has control of the House of Representatives and the other controls the Senate and presidency and neither side has a grasp of how to reconcile with the opposing side’s stance on an issue, then it is no wonder that an institution like the United States Congress doesn’t accomplish as much as we would expect it to. Imagine what the economic crisis that the United States has been dealing with recently would be like if both major political parties in this country knew how to discuss properly and come to some common ground to get the job done. The argument can be said that they have to represent the interests of their constituents and might not have the luxury of being able to truly compromise with the other side. To me, this only furthers my observations, because if the constituents did not learn in high school or college how to discuss in an orderly fashion, then they may also be polarized in their beliefs. If their beliefs are polarized then they are less willing to allow their elected officials to do their job. This would mean that the educational experience and the peers of the constituents have failed them just as much as they did for the politicians.
SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 31
WORDING PICTURES OR PICTURING WORDS The Meaning Behind the Pursuit of Happiness By Fabian House ‘16
t may surprise you that the age old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” is inaccurately translated. These words have been echoed numerous times in your life, and not knowing it, you may have found yourself using these words. The literal meaning of the phrase when accurately translated is, “a picture’s meaning can express ten thousand words.” Maybe knowledge of the true meaning of an ancient Chinese proverb streetcar advertisement does not mean much to you. To the Chinese, however, the word “pictures” conveyed the importance of both words and pictures in the meaning of a production. The “pursuit of happiness” has become one of the most defining phrases written in the Declaration of Independence. An understanding of why Thomas Jefferson used the phrase “pursuit of happiness,” comes from John Locke’s equally prolific words, “life, liberty, and property.” The meaning of “pursuit of happiness” has different meanings to different people. To Europeans, the pride America has in its foundation and government shows the uniqueness and remarkable nature by which our nation was established. To civil rights activists, these words mean freedom from discrimination under the law. To most citizens, the words “pursuit of happiness” has lost its intrinsic meaning.
The achievement of life’s physical attainments has come to define the pursuit. Attainments such as a good job, a nice car, a membership in the Rotary Club, or participation in the annual 8k Run/Walk. All these are good, but standing alone, these reasons fail to embody the full meaning of the pursuit. In 1690, John Locke wrote an essay: “Concerning Human Understanding.” In it we find the original inspiration of Jefferson’s phrase, “pursuit
of happiness.” Locke says: “The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action, and from a necessary compliance with our desire, set upon any particular, and then appearing preferable good, till we have duly examined whether it has a tendency to, or be inconsistent with, our real happiness.” The words “pursuit of happiness” encompasses the same spirit Jefferson had when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Locke asserts that liberty is a byproduct of happiness. Locke’s analogy comparing happiness as a prerequisite to liberty does not devalue the price of liberty, but elevates the meaning of the word happiness. He says: “The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness.” It becomes evident that liberty is not measured by happiness but the pursuit of happiness. It is easy to put too much emphasis on the word “happiness,” and not enough on the word “pursuit.” This is the same trap we fell in with the first quote, “a picture’s meaning can express ten thousand words.” Continued on page 34
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IN POLITICS, INGORANCE IS NOT BLISS By Ben Bradshaw ‘15
ith the upcoming presidential race bet ween President Barack Oba ma a nd Republica n nominee Mitt Romney tightening up, ma ny A merica ns are quick to voice t hei r opi n ions on t he matter. With help from social networking websites like Facebook and Tw itter, and media out lets such as Fox News and MSNBC, it’s almost impossible to go a day without hearing news related to the candidates. The aforementioned media out lets are cer tainly helpf u l in enter ta i ni ng a nd i n for m i ng us on t he politica l f ig ures a nd their policies. However, the fact that a citizen with little interest in polit ics ca n turn on a news channel for a half hour and pick up some information proves to be a double edge sword. Sure, the cit i z en may be more i nfor med then they were before, but they a lso may t h i n k t hey a re much more informed t hen t hey tru ly are. How many times in the past few months have you seen a friend post somet h i ng on Facebook or s e nd a t we e t a nd t hou g ht , “I’ve never seen this person care about politics in the past, and I really don’t feel like they k now what t hey a re ta l k ing about now”? If you’re like me, a few too many. Far too many members
of our society are taking tidbits of information they come across because of media and basing their political views on these things. A negative Facebook post about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, a positive tweet revolving around O b a m a c a re : I s upp or t B a r a c k Obama. A Facebook post about Obama’s golf ing and a positive news seg ment about Rom ney ’s success in economics: I’ll vote for Mitt Romney. Both parties have ignorant members; those who don’t do any
“When we post about a candidate or his policies on a social media site, we are endorsing that person as someone we wish to be in office.” re s e a rch, i nste ad ba si ng t hei r views off of what others push onto them. The youth of our country are often viewed as the members of society who make these rash decisions. By coming to Wabash, we chose to be viewed differently, and as Wabash men we are taught to think critically. Yes, this refers to politics, too. Just as thinking critically is a continual process, so is learning. There is a lways another article
on a candidate to read, another record of nu mbers to a na ly z e, and another television program with views to consider. My fellow Wabash men, I urge you as I urge mysel f, to i m merse you rselves i n t he cont i nua l process of polit ica l lea rni ng, especia l ly during election season, in order to become a more informed citizen and voter. As Wabash men, when a state-school buddy from back home asks us about our thoughts on t he up c om i n g e le c t ion we shou ld be able to give a sound answer. As a liberal arts student at Waba sh C ol lege, we shou ld attempt to grasp an education of both candidates and the platforms t he y r u n on b e fore m a k i n g a decision. W hen we post about a c a nd id ate or h is pol icies on a social media site, we are endorsing that person as someone we wish to be in office. Vote Democrat, vote Republican, or don’t vote at all, but as a Wabash man make sure to put in the time to educate you r s elve s on t he c a nd id ate s . W h e n s om e one s e e s t h at y ou support a certain candidate and a s k s “ W hy? ”, b e s u re to h ave a n e duc ate d a n s wer. Wa ba s h men, educate yourselves on the election if you plan on publicly announcing your support for a ca nd idate, because i n polit ics, ignorance is not bliss.
SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 33
Money and Banks
won’t really be anywhere like the U.S. I’m not saying whether this is a good or bad thing, but Continued from Page 25 it’s something that has become evident to me. No matter how small we think the world is to protect natural rights, guard the borders, getting, it is still divided culturally. Something and protect the populace from enemies else I have gained from these experiences is a (though this may be subject to debate as deep love for my home, for my country. I love well). Nowhere in this framework is there America, and I believe in it even more than I room for bailing out anything—whether did before. Yes, right now our government is banks or car companies. very messed up (that is an entirely different article) but our people aren’t. I think it’s such “It may seem absurd a beautiful thing that I come from a land of immigrants and children of immigrants, to declare that the that we all have a lot of motivation and a lot government—thought of ‘fight’ in our blood. We are a great people, and I love the United States. I love Germany by so many to be a as well, but there really is something so special about America. I hope that I will continue to great protector and have great experiences here and that I learn defender—should more than I thought I ever could, but when it’s time to come home, I will be very excited not have any part in to be back.
banking, but that need truly does not exist.”
During the next four years, the monetary and financial policies of the United States will not likely change. The Federal Reserve, monopolistic controls over currency, and controls over banks shall remain. Indeed, even if there was to be a president who believed in Austrian principles, one can imagine that his task of reform would be difficult. Therefore, we must not look first for political solutions, but for philosophical ones. We must both learn more about the topic, and educate others. For it is from these
Exchange Student Continued from Page 27
Germany I would never go up to a stranger and ask for directions, nor would I expect anyone to talk to me unless it is in the proper social setting. For a socialite such as myself, this has been very difficult to cope with. I love talking with people and being around others, but here that is something that society looks down upon. So, what have I come to realize through all this? I think that I realize now that no matter what country I’m in there
Pursuit of Happiness Continued from Page 32
In this phrase, the author of the quote had a distinctive reason for using the words “a picture’s meaning can express” rather than “a picture is worth.” The words that the picture “can express” show the similarity between a picture and ten thousand words. You may ask the question, “Are pictures words or are words pictures?” According to this Chinese proverb, the meaning is one and the same. Understanding the significance of words holds true when assessing the words “pursuit of happiness.” Happiness is not given, but pursued. This idea was expressed in the 2006 movie “Pursuit of Happyness.” Will Smith plays the part of Gardner, a struggling salesman doing his best to put together a decent life for both himself and his eight-year-old son. This movie emphasizes the “pursuit” over the “happiness.” Did Hollywood do a good job of accurately portraying happiness,
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or is it misrepresenting Jefferson’s intent? The movie is a good rendition, but the pursuit itself is a measure of liberty, not happiness. All too frequently we find ourselves caught up with the pursuit of happiness rather than the virtue and character we build in order to get there. In Locke’s writing, Jefferson likely connected strongly with the words: “The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness . . . the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action.” In other words, happiness is not defined as a feeling. Happiness is defined as the moral compass that guides one through the avenues of life. The pursuit of happiness becomes an understanding of civic virtues such as courage, honor, and strength of character. Too often the actual meanings of phrases and clichés are hidden in more popular translations. Sometimes the true meaning is not missed, and the central meaning remains intact. Other times, the context of a few words makes a huge difference. Truly, “the pursuit of happiness” is not the pleasure that life can offer, although it does not have to exclude this element. Happiness is found by living a virtuous life and practicing selfsacrifice for the good of the public. The meaning of the “pursuit of happiness” is an integral part of the meaning of what it means to be an American citizen. You may ask the question, “What is the difference between someone who is pursuing happiness and someone who is happy about the pursuit?” Like the Chinese proverb “a picture’s meaning can express ten thousand words,” you cannot distinguish between one and the other. Instead, strive to be a person who understands the “pursuit of happiness” as clearly as a portrait and as lucidly as ten thousand words.
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SEPTEMBER 2012 • THE PHOENIX 35 Courtesy of the Wabash Archives
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