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By: Amy Lutz

Today is my birthday. However, I was treated to an early birthday present in the form of a wonderfully hilarious YouTube video. Over the weekend, this campaign video from Ryan Combe of Utah was plastered all over my Facebook news feed from my left leaning friends. So, naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I wanted to fill my brain with the incredible liberal logic (an oxymoron, I know) that my friends claimed this video represented. While I couldn't locate the intelligent logic, I did enjoy the video, though perhaps not for the same reasons.

This campaign video details a conversation between a college-aged boy and his "Proud Republican" parents. At the onset of the video, the boy breaks the news to his parents that he is a Democrat. In false stereotypical fashion, both parents break into hysterics. Besides the comedic value, what I enjoyed about this campaign video was its reliance upon typical Republican stereotypes and flimsy liberal arguments. It's basically a minute and a half of the liberal platform complete with easily debunked planks. Naturally, I could not resist taking this video down a peg by taking on each of the son's flimsy liberal arguments about his party-switch. Arguments like this:

"I just want to help those less fortunate than I am."

I guess the implication here is that Republicans do not care about the less fortunate? Just because you have two different approaches toward relieving poverty does not imply that one side does not care about the poor. Ideologically, the main difference between conservative and liberal approaches to poverty is the source of the assistance. Liberals tend to believe that government should have a large hand in assisting the poor while conservatives put more of our stock into private charity. The conservative argument was clearly articulated long ago by Benjamin Franklin who stated, "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." Perhaps that seems harsh to many liberals. However, it's nothing more than common sense. Conservatives favor "hand-ups" not "hand-outs." The liberal solution to poverty is perhaps more harmful to those living below that poverty line than the conservative solution. How will someone ever rise above their situation if they are made comfortable with numerous welfare handouts?

"I don't want my student loan rates to go up; but not at the expense of women and children's preventative healthcare."

This argument refers to a plan suggested by Republicans a few weeks ago designed to keep student loan interest rates from rising automatically on July 1st. The plan passed in the House includes taking the necessary funds from the portion of Obamacare known as the "Prevention and Public Health Fund." Clearly, this is an attempt to take down Obamacare piecemeal should it not be overturned by the Supreme Court. Regardless, this plan has faced opposition from people on the right and left, including from the Heritage Foundation. At least it's a solution. To place the blame for failure to reach a deal solely on Republicans is naive. One could just as easily argue that the ball in in the Democrats court and they have simply been standing on the sidelines. Where is their plan to solve the student loan crisis? For that matter, where's their budget? But I digress...While a deal perhaps needs to be made now, at least on a temporary basis, I contend that the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing student loans in the first place.  Government subsidized student loans both lead to increased education costs and a greater burden on taxpayers. Thus, you can imagine my extreme "delight" when I opened my financial aid package last summer only to realize that I was not 100% a client of the US government.

"We should tax the oil companies to better fund education."

This suggestion is indicative of most liberal arguments in a nutshell: Instill a punitive tax and then give the revenue from the tax to education. Adding education to anything, even tax hikes, makes people feel good about themselves doesn't it? However, this fallacy didn't stop President Obama from suggesting that Congress needs to end "Big Oil tax breaks." Well, give me a break. First off, according to an article in The Daily Caller last year, oil companies do not even receive tax breaks, at least not in the way that Democrats are portraying. Although oil is an industry just like any other industry, including those of "alternative" energy, they are often portrayed as enormous, corrupt monsters of death. Talk about vilifying success. Second, increasing taxes on oil companies will do more harm than good. Liberals might not want to admit this, but the oil industry is behind a lot of economic success right now. They have provided thousands of jobs to our fragile economy. What are the odds that no one in the oil industry will be laid off if the entire industry faces steep tax hikes? It's probably about the same as the odds of Barack Obama admitting he's wrong about. About anything. Also, you want energy prices to go up? Well, then by all means, tax the oil companies. "Big Oil" is less likely to drill for new sources of oil if they're being taxed to death. America is on a freeway towards economic demise. Next stop: skyrocketing energy costs.

"I believe that men and women in this country deserve equal rights and equal opportunities under the law."

I don't even know how to approach this one. However, I'm in a valuable position, being an "oppressed" woman and all, so let me take a stab at it. Sure, men and women face different treatment in the media, workplace, etc. but that's always been a fact and the street goes both ways. However, that's a social reality, not a legal reality. Based on law, men and women are equal. I'd like to enlighten my Democratic friends with the fact that it is 2012, not 1912. I can vote, run for office, and enter the workforce just like any man. The "War on Women," is just a construct created by the left in an attempt to get their socially liberal policies enacted. Just because I don't get free contraception and easy access to abortion doesn't mean I'm being oppressed or faced legal inequality.

"I don't think that if someone loses their job or gets sick that they should go bankrupt and lose their homes."

Sure, if this happens, it's unfortunate and sad. If people weren't so dependent upon the government, the maybe private charity could step in. However, this argument is not accurate. Most people who file for bankruptcy actually get to keep their homes. It's actually bankruptcy itself which gives people the option for a fresh start. However, for liberals, this is never good enough. They always want more and more government. But the more government programs we have, the more chance of there being abuse of the system. Our government already does do a lot for people who lose their jobs, and in the end it's not exactly a good thing. The number of weeks people can spend on unemployment benefits drastically increased last year. A safety net may be necessary, but 53 weeks of paid vacation is more like a safety bed.

"I believe in good, affordable healthcare for everyone."

Obviously, this statement implies that Republicans are against good and affordable healthcare because we oppose the destructive entitlement known as Obamacare. Rather, it's quite the opposite because Obamacare will provide healthcare that is neither good nor affordable. Thankfully (or perhaps, unfortunately) we have the "great" examples of socialized medicine in Canada and Europe to look forward to should Obamacare withstand legal scrutiny. You want good healthcare? Don't go to Canada or Europe. In the UK, a 3-year-old was denied a life-saving heart surgery because there were simply not enough beds available for doctors to perform the surgery. Another woman was denied treatment because she had the "audacity" to seek out a private doctor for relief to her crippling back pain after she had been on a waiting list for surgery for months. God forbid someone seek out the advice of a private doctor.

Neither is socialized medicine affordable. The health care system in Canada lost taxpayers approximately $3 billion dollars in 2011. That's just what our failing economy needs: another bloated entitlement. No wonder the UK is moving towards privatized healthcare. In addition, you know who's going to be the most injured by Obamacare? The youth (aka Obama's most powerful voting bloc). Young people typically pay much less for healthcare, but under Obamacare, we will have to pay much more to support the increased number of people on the government's dime. If Obamacare remains viable, our nation has nothing to look forward to but healthcare rationing, poor health care services, and an even further damaged economy.

At the end of this campaign video, Ryan Combe states, "Why aren't you a Democrat? It might not be as bad as you think." Well, if I have to judge the Democratic party based upon this video filled with inaccurate, insulting stereotypes and flimsy liberal arguments, then I'll pass. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority. This video is obviously targeted at the young and uninformed voters. Many, like my peers who seem enthralled by this video, fail to pick apart its terrible arguments. This video may be an insult to my intelligence, but I actually enjoy it. Very rarely do liberals put many of their unintelligent arguments in such a bite sized form. I'm glad I could get such a laugh from it. Now excuse me, I'm going to scout out my birthday cake and keep an eye on today's Supreme Court rulings.


 
 
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By: Amy Lutz

“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth. We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young.” Jonah Goldberg, May 2012

            Goldberg continued, claiming that young people are “so frickin’ stupid about some things.” Many people in my generation (I’m currently 21 days shy of my 21st birthday) were immediately offended by that statement. I can certainly see their point. Being called “frickin’ stupid” isn’t really the highlight of one’s day. However, I can’t help but agree with Mr. Goldberg. Yet, I’m more inclined to use “ignorant” rather than “stupid.” Twenty-somethings are far too often motivated by feelings, not fact. We’re caught up in a state of blissful ignorance, a state few proactively try to escape. A large majority of my generation, therefore, remains ignorant and easily swept up by our pleasure-seeking, morally corrupt, liberalized culture.

            I don’t mean to say that I have escaped the youthful curse of ignorance. I’ll admit, I’m just as ignorant as many of my peers. However, there’s a difference between acknowledging your own ignorance and accepting it as reality. I accept the fact that 20 years is not enough to learn everything the world has to teach me. Heck, 70 years isn’t even enough. I accept the fact that I’m still naïve and time is the only cure. However, I try to educate myself as much as possible to counteract my own shortcomings. Yet, I can’t say that many people my age have gotten past the “I’m invincible and know everything” stage. I only know that because I’m guilty of such a mindset from time to time. This is exactly what Jonah Goldberg was talking about. For example, too many young people today are inclined to support socialism or Marxism over capitalism because it “feels good.” They’re wrapped up in the meaningless fluff words like “social justice” and “inclusion.” Few people in my generation move beyond superficial emotions. We’re inclined to believe the liberal capitalism-hating culture around us and rarely take a second look at ourselves.

            Similarly, we are very capable of being swept up by the culture all around us. Far too many students are liberalized and good morals are all but forgotten For example, last night I was flipping through the channels and stumbled across the MTV Movie Awards. After being bombarded with raunchy humor, several bleeped expletives and drug-promoting, women-bashing rap music, I had to turn the channel. And yes, to answer your question, I am twenty going on thirty-five. However, a large segment of my age group is swept up by this dangerous culture and our morals are going down the tubes. It’s no wonder that “YOLO” (For those of you who have been living under a rock, that stands for “You Only Live Once”) has become a common phrase in recent days. I know it’s natural for young people to be reckless and stupid; sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way. Yet, it’s important to realize that this country’s future stands on our shoulders. If we’re going to save the republic, my generation needs a large heaping of character and common sense.

            It’s no surprise that politicians scramble for the youth vote. Far too many people my age are swept up by the liberal, emotional culture all around us. We’re enthralled by the countless celebrities who support liberal policies instead of agreeing with the educated opinions of those who have been in the “real world” for years. We’re a big voting bloc because we can be easily swayed by something shiny and new. Stick a celebrity in a political ad and we’re sold. We’re more inclined to follow what we feel rather than what we know. Now when I say “we,” I mean the majority of young people. There are a few of us in the trenches fighting for our nation and accepting the reality around us. However, we are currently in the minority.

            Perhaps I’m coming across as cynical. That’s probably because I am cynical about my generation. I’m frustrated because I see the seemingly insatiable stupidity that rages all around me. How many college students plan on voting for Obama just because Carrie Bradshaw told them to do so? How many actually fell for the feel-good “hope and change?” I too am young. Reagan was out of office before I was even born. I was actually feeling old because I remember using floppy discs and cassette tapes (*shudder*). However, I may be young but it doesn’t take years to acknowledge the turmoil our nation is in right now. My generation will be hit the hardest. We can kiss the idea of receive Social Security checks goodbye. We’ll be the ones who have to pay for President Obama’s reckless spending. We should be the generation that cares the most. Too bad many of us don’t take time to exercise our common sense and foresight. Our nation is in a tough spot. The generation that needs to be the most active is mostly too ignorant to remain proactively vigilant. Sure, it’s a fact of life that young people are usually blissfully ignorant. It has been like that for generations. However, we simply can’t afford to wait for this generation to mature. I urge my fellow young people to snap out of it. Follow reality, not Rhianna. Get your act together. America needs us now more than ever.

 


 
 
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By: Amy Lutz

Congratulations, young America, you’ve reached the threshold of academic perfection. Recent studies have shown that an “A” is now the most common grade for college students in the United States. It’s nice to know that my generation is so well educated. Or perhaps not. Based upon a mountain of contradictory evidence and the environment I see all around me as an American college student, I hesitate to declare victory too soon. When you dig deeper the facts show that grade inflation is what really fuels our college students’ higher GPAs, and A today might be equivalent to a C forty years ago.

Despite the outward appearances of academic perfection, today’s students are not on an upward trajectory toward academic success. Last year, a USA Today report showed that college students make little academic progress in their first two years of college. In fact, 45 percent of students showed no significant gains, a figure which contradicts academia’s goal of educating students. College Students are more likely to focus on their social lives rather than their academic record. Professors caught up with their own research are less likely to pay attention to such habits. Additionally, students spend 50 percent less time studying now than they have in past decades. Fifty percent of students also said that they had never taken a class in which they wrote more than 20 pages in a semester. Good study habits must be developed early through hard work and challenging courses for academic success to be achievable. Even though grades may superficially be rising, good academic habits which produce long term success are lacking among today’s college students.

Please read more at The Blaze

 
 

Mirrors and Windows: When Education Becomes Indoctrination

By: Amy Lutz

Journalist Sydney J. Harris once said, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” In this case, “windows” implies a complete, varied worldview filled with solid facts and conflicting opinions. The role of teachers is to provide the frame of reference for children to use for intellectual exploration and individual deliberation. A good education teaches a child how to think not what to think. However, a metaphorical “mirror” education is one in which critical thinking and individual discovery are not nurtured. Students merely “reflect” the words and opinions of their teachers. This type of instruction is particularly harmful when the words of the teacher are based far more on opinion than on fact. In other words, this happens when the instructor crosses the fine line between education and indoctrination.

Recently, cries of “indoctrination” rose from angered parents and teachers in America’s heartland. . A bill was introduced in the Missouri House of Representative that would require “the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design” in the classroom. Should this measure pass, instructors will no longer be able to choose between creationism and evolution; they must give both equal time in the classroom. Many people on the left were immediately in an uproar over the bill. An opinion piece in The Huffington Post even labeled Missouri as “The Stupefy State” for the “wrong” and “uncaring” legislation.

Meanwhile, across the country in Virginia, cries of indoctrination were raised from the opposite site of the political spectrum. In early January, it was reported that a group of third graders in Virginia were instructed to sing a song praising the ideas of Occupy Wall Street. Kid Pan Alley, a national organization designed to bring music to schools and communities, helped the children “co-write” a song titled “Part of the 99,” which glorified the supposed “99%” while demonizing the wealthy “1%.” The organization initially claimed that the lyrics were solely the product of the children’s’ minds, but it was later revealed that the youngsters did not actually write the Occupy-favorable lyrics.

Although both the Missouri and Virginia cases are reported under the umbrella of “indoctrination,” the situations could not be more opposite. A complete understanding of the two stories requires a full acceptance of the difference between education and indoctrination. In regards to the purpose of education, Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” Education promotes intellectual curiosity and a critical assessment of conflicting opinions. Remember, for a “windowed” education, the teacher merely provides the frame. It’s up to the child to examine all of the facts within the scope of their worldview.

Indoctrination is defined as “instructing in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., especially to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.” This “biased” instructional model implies that one side of an issue is given favor over another, often at the expense of the facts themselves. Intellectual curiosity is stifled and students are not given a deep understanding from all points of view. In short, with education comes depth and debate; indoctrination, shallowness and bias.

The cries of “indoctrination” in the case of the Occupy Wall Street song in Virginia are; therefore, justified. The ideology of the Occupy movement merely represents one opinion among hundreds in the sphere of public, political debate. The third graders; however, were only subject to the ideas of this one movement. How is intellectual curiosity and critical thinking possible when they are only given one side of the story? Further, I’m sure that many of the children in that classroom could probably not even define what the “99%” represents. They were merely taught to “reflect” the words and blatant opinion of their instructors.

In the case of Missouri’s proposed curriculum, the definition of education could not be clearer. The debate between creationism and evolution is perhaps one of the most controversial battles in public schools today. No matter what side an instructor chooses to teach, they will face cries of indoctrination. However, when you present both sides, children are allowed to make up their own minds. To say that this is a case of indoctrination denies the fact that children will be allowed to make their own choices about what to believe.

To deny a child the opportunity to critique all sides of the debate is not only wrong, it’s also an attempt to impose a form of intellectual servitude. In the words of James Madison, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Knowledge is not only power, it is freedom and the eventual means to self-government. This perhaps expresses the core perversion of aspects of our education system today. Ignorance begets external control. Keeping children ignorant to the “window” of society filled with multiple, conflicting points of view may be an indoctrinator’s attempt at control. Students are to be nurtured, not controlled and kept intellectually ignorant. Education produces freedom, but ignorance creates servitude and makes our nation’s foundation principle of self-governance unattainable. Perhaps James Madison said it best when he stated, “…and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”