March 8, 2017
When I watched the debate ensue at the Senate session where Turning Point was first denied, I felt a sense of fear. Everyone was fearful. I heard about how Turning Point represents the alt-right political sphere. They were racist. They supported racist speakers. They even had a McCarthistic watch list for policing professors. I was astounded by the irony of the accusations.
McCarthyism is a radical political strategy to efficiently eliminate large numbers of opponents. McCarthyism relies on fear, generalizations and ad-hominem attacks. Joseph McCarthy was a nobody senator from Wisconsin, who fought his way through politics by plastering those he opposed as anti-American. He developed a twentieth century reign of terror. Instead of calling someone a Monarchist, he instead called them a communist or a fascist.
Strategies like this effectively group people into political parties based on of the company they keep or their general ideological affiliations, rather than appreciating the nuances of human thought. “He supports welfare and his aunt speaks Russian… Communist!” McCarthyism has no patience for due process and no need for proof. It relies on the weight of the argument rather than the weight of evidence.
Yet it was those who opposed the students of Turning Point who chose these simplistic tactics which strike at the persons, rather than the principles. The logical angle of the argument was to explain how the values which Turning Point itself claims are anti-Santa Clara. Nobody made those arguments. Perhaps, the opposition didn’t find TPUSA’s mission statement weighty enough.
TPUSA’s mission statement: “to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
Frankly, there is nothing juicy about this. How are you going to say that fiscal responsibility and free markets are directly opposed to the values of Santa Clara? There was no argument against what TPUSA has explicitly said. So its opponents moved on to ad hominem attacks.
They called TPUSA racist. Not only is this a personal accusation, but it is also incredibly serious. Racism is the backwards and filthy belief that some people are more valuable, or more entitled to wealth, because of a superficial characteristic or national identity. Racism is not only evil, but it has also ruined the lives of millions of people in America alone. Thus, racism is the perfect modern blade to furnish the guillotine of McCarthyism.
This is when my fear set in. Racism is an immensely serious accusation, but I saw it thrown around along with claims that TPUSA, “both nationally and here on this campus” was “against our humanity.” The students of Turning Point were turned down based on their affiliation with the national organization.
However, this was not an argument based on the Organization’s ideologies, because, as stated earlier, they failed to address TPUSA’s beliefs. Instead, opposition relied on the radical actions of individual chapters throughout the country to stereotype the students on our campus.
This is a fallacy. It is a part to whole, because it assumes the actions of individual chapters determine the character or worth of the whole.
In short, they attacked the identity of the Turning Point students, because they were unable or unwilling to be intellectually stalwart enough to either oppose TPUSA on grounds of facts, or to accept it as an organization which they disagree with, but deserves the right to exercise their beliefs regarding the free market at an institute of learning.
Smearing your opponent by calling him a racist has no place at a University which values “an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship within and across disciplines.” Racism is a serious accusation. Don’t dish it out like Trump calls people lightweights.
Lastly, regarding the professor watch list, it is a public list and people should look it up. The list is determined based on verifiable evidence of teachers making radical statements, which include calls for white genocide and denial of the Holocaust (This particular professor’s university made duplicates of all of his classes so students could choose to not be subjected to his teaching.)
We have wonderful professors at our university, and I thankfully have not met any worthy of this list. However, the watchlist shows no signs of a witch hunt. It is a “Rate my Professor” for political bias. Students pay $4K per class. We do not take classes; we take professors. It is perfectly justified that students have a means of knowing if professors will treat them unfairly.
I would encourage people who oppose any ideology to follow the example of our Vice Provost for Student Life. The next time a debate ensues, instead of citing your feelings, learn a lesson from Jeanne Rosenberger and make decisions which follow “a comprehensive review of available information.”
Jack Booth is a first-year student studying English and economics.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.