Confessions of a College Libertarian: Part I

Being a college student and a libertarian are two difficult identities to hold at the same time, specifically because my professors are almost all admittedly socialist.  It wouldn’t bother me if the university had a more open attitude toward varying ideas, but often times professors are the “shut-down” type.  By this I mean that they shut down any student expressing an idea they disagree with.  Not all are like this, of course, but a significant portion are.  In addition to this atmosphere, there are numerous statements made during classes that kill me a little inside when I hear them.  Here are some gems I have heard from professors so far:

  • Germany’s hyperinflation of post-WWI was caused by capitalism.
  • George H.W. Bush was an idealist.
  • Bill Clinton sincerely cared about human rights in Third World countries and his record shows this.
  • Richard Nixon did not want to use the military if he didn’t have to.
  • George W. Bush was an isolationist.
  • Barack Obama practices non-interventionism in the Third World and values self-determination for Middle Eastern nations.

I’ve had merely one week of classes thus far and already this is what I have been told. 

I have to be frank and say that my college education is diminished every time a statement like many of the above is made.  Why?  Because I cannot move past the fact that my professors are blindly pro-status quo and often times give misleading lectures.  I understand that my skepticism of government can sometimes get in the way of my education — especially because one of my majors is Politics — but nevertheless I have a low tolerance for ignorance (this is compounded when ignorance comes from somebody with a Ph.D.). 

I’m sure many of you have encountered a similar situation during your college experience.  My best advice: Push back but make sure your argument is fundamentally sound and be prepared for a “fight.”  Be polite and don’t argue in a way which would make the profesor feel threatened.  Like most people, professors do not like to be told they’re wrong in front of a crowd, so tact is important.  If you don’t have a strong response to an argument your professor makes, don’t just go with whatever you can think of — go home, do your research, and continue a reasoned debate the next time you’re in class.

If you can craft your arguments intelligently you may have a chance of winning over your peers…or they’ll continue being sheep.  Who knows?

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