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Political thought flourishes, even at a university

I love it when people state that institutions of higher education are nothing but clubby havens of weepy-eyed liberals who are doing everything to overthrow America’s democracy and turn the U.S. into a socialist dictatorship.

Sure, we have some of those.

But we also have nut-job libertarians who think everything the government does is corrupt or wrong and who, in sputum-flecked essays, argue that the road to hell is paved with extended unemployment benefits.

For instance, there is Jim Bellano, who teaches political science and wrote a newspaper op-ed piece in October that included this sarcastic statement:

Democrats like to use George W. Bush’s name as a pejorative. They’ve blamed the former president for everything from the state of the economy to the omnipresence of “The Jersey Shore’s” Snookie. Using the mantra, “Bush Tax Cuts” to describe the almost decade-long marginal rate structure is a cynical attempt to paint calls for maintaining the current rates as a negative, i.e., associate them with the unpopular, George W. Bush of 2008. It’s not working.

Dr. Kevin Gutzman, the professor of history and non-western culture, is probably the most well-known of our right-of-center political commentators. (He was quoted recently in The Washington Post.) Gutzman promotes a view that the Founding Fathers intended for the Constitution to constrain the president and legislature to do, well, nothing. Here is an article that commends Gutzman for his good work in promoting “constitutional conservatism.”

Add to the list Dr. Richard Proctor, professor of accounting, who created a blog ominously named “Cassandra’s Hypothesis,” which generally features an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it view of the U.S. and world economy.

Here is Proctor’s post from Dec. 6, a rant from a writer who predicts chaos in the municipal bond market:

Whenever folks from Washington or Wall Street try to persuade you that the Great Debt Crisis is now “over,” I suggest you shake their hands politely, usher them to the door, and tell them to never come back.
They didn’t see the crisis coming. And they have no idea when or how it might end.
The reality: We now have not one — but FOUR — sweeping debt crises striking at the same time …

Proctor says he doesn’t agree with all the theories he posts but at the same time he notes that Cassandra, a figure in Greek mythology who could predict the future, famously pointed out that “Forewarned is Forearmed.”

I would like to make clear that I have never seen any of these men eject sputum. I know them to be thoughtful and reasoned.

But I don’t want to hear any more about how we’re all daisy-picking, Prius-driving, moccasin-wearing flower children.

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Paul Steinmetz

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