The political environment of higher education has always had a distinct liberal favor (with a nutty aftertaste). As a staunch libertarian in college, I have found myself politically alienated from even my closest friends. I’m in no way against people having different beliefs than myself; it’s what makes democracy great. No, what I am against is political ignorance and how it has spread through my generation and our universities.
Anytime I attempt to discuss politics with classmates I find while I argue facts, they tend to argue emotion. When I overhear my fellow students exclusively blaming Wall Street greed for the credit crises I naturally attempt to correct them. Most people are ignorant of the economic manipulation undertaken by our politicians through government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to promote its housing agenda. Fannie and Freddie, combined with the government mandates imposed
by the government by the Community Reinvestment Act resulted in the extension of credit to consumers whom under normal market conditions would never have qualified for home loans. This explanation falls on deaf ears, I’m literally ignored. I’ve received responses such as “I don’t care about this…” or “Well, it was also George Bush and his deregulation”. The first response infuriates me; they simply don’t understand my explanation so it must not be true? They don’t even want to hear about any other explanation that clashes with their world view. As for the second explanation, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and Barney Frank are more the blame than the Bush Administration. Social engineering and not deregulation distorted the economics of the mortgage market.
Another controversial topic on campus is gun control. As a libertarian, I believe the 2nd amendment is crucial in ensuring the safety of our families, homes and property criminals and malcontents. Most of my fellow students seem to feel differently. If I express my beliefs about gun control or even express interest in owning a gun, people gasp. “If guns were illegal, people wouldn’t be able to kill each other with them” said one student. Making something illegal doesn’t stop criminals from getting it. Drugs are illegal and plenty of people possess and use drugs. Alcohol is illegal for those under the age of 21 and yet it too is widely used by minors. No, making guns illegal will take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens and insure the only ones who have guns are criminals, police and the military. I don’t want to live in a country where only the police and military are allowed to have guns. To face the blunt reality, I ask, if someone breaks into your home with a gun what would you rather have in your hand, a gun or a telephone? You can call the police, and they’ll show up just in time to take pictures of your body. Better yet, who would you call to protect you from the police? Most of my fellow students simply tune out of the conversation at this point. Most are from urban or suburban areas where guns are foreign to all but hunters and law enforcement.
Now, let’s explore Senator Obama’s philosophy on taxes. While just about anyone that works hates paying taxes, an overwhelming majority of my fellow students were over eager to elect Obama to the white house on his promise of “spreading the wealth around”. His policy of increasing taxes on the “wealthy” (a contrived political label) while giving breaks to the middle class attracted huge numbers of my generation to pull the lever for him. I’m glad everyone in my age group is so eager to be generous with other people’s money. They have yet to pay any discernable amount of taxes in their young lives but were eager to impose tax increases on others. I have argued in vain with my classmates that a tax on the most productive members of society will only harm the economy in the long run. Not a single pro-Obama classmate even had a notion of the new marginal rate being proposed by Obama. Most were ignorant to the additional impact of social security taxes and state and local income taxes. Most couldn’t even give me the definition of a capital gains tax let alone tell me the proposed new rate. I would explain that high earning people living in high tax states such as New York and New Jersey would have an effective tax burden of around 55% and pay capital gains taxes of 30%. I further explain how this would provide disincentives for people to invest or for small business owners to expand. I would further explain that Obama would tax away more of their future inheritance through higher estate taxes. I close by indicating that Obama’s claim to provide tax cuts to all Americans is a sham and simply a vehicle to transfer wealth. But the arguments are to no avail. My classmates were still very eager to go to the polls and vote away billions of dollars of other people’s money in the name of social equality.
It’s not surprising that my generation fell for Obama’s sloganeering hook, line and sinker. We are taught a revisionist history by the left wing survivors of the 1960’s and their hand selected heirs.Our text books present a history where America’s wrongs are highlighted and all that is good about it is ignored. The new group-think says that if Obama says something is wrong with America he is probably correct. We trust our voters to know something about our economy yet most students can graduate without taking a single economics course. But there is one thing that gives me comfort. When my uninformed liberal friends return to their home states and get jobs their first paycheck usually leaves them in a state of shock. That’s when they find out that their blind faith in Obama’s proposed social equality has a cost to them…called payroll taxes.