Arguments & Ideas
If you’re visiting this website, we assume you’re interested in the discussions we seek to have about Georgetown. This section is our attempt at laying out in a clear and (relatively) concise manner our views on matters of importance to the Hilltop. By reading them you’ll be better informed and prepared for the debates that follow, regardless of which side of the issue you choose.
If you find yourself agreeing more often than not with our ideas (or hey, even just one or two), take a moment to consider joining us. Doing so will not only aid your intellectual development and skills as a writer, but allow you to shape and influence conversations and events at Georgetown.
The concept of academic freedom was crafted for a very good reason: to allow professors to freely research and communicate facts and ideas in their specialization because doing so advances the mission of a university, specifically, the pursuit of truth and the dissemination of knowledge. Many professors still support this original understanding, and it’s a form of academic freedom TGA endorses. Yet over the years the concept has been distorted so academic freedom’s primary purpose is to now safeguard the jobs of professors (nearly always on the left) who wish to say and do whatever they want outside their area of inquiry, no matter how controversial, improper, or inaccurate, and avoid any and all criticism or sanction from their employer.
At a school like Georgetown, academic freedom is a buzzword used to scare people whenever someone has the temerity to suggest that perhaps certain professors or courses shouldn’t mock, undermine, or be actively hostile to Catholic clergy or Church teachings. Some professors seem to believe only in the academic freedom of the individual to do whatever he or she pleases, but not the academic freedom of the institution to expect that its mission be respected or certain ethical practices be followed. Many of these same people wouldn’t dare hire an academic who doesn’t fall in line with them ideologically, and would be quick to have fired a professor who violated certain politically correct shibboleths, making their supposed belief in free inquiry without sanction to be highly suspect.
The next time someone crows about the Catholic Church being harmful to academic freedom at Georgetown, be ready to demand a specific example. If they actually have one, (we’ve yet to hear of a legitimate case), determine whether or not the University is truly shutting down a professor’s ability to conduct research and disseminate ideas in his or her field of study. We’re certain that upon examination you’ll find claims of academic freedom being violated are grossly exaggerated, if not entirely without merit.
Many administrators are nothing more than a university-sized version of your typical government bureaucrat, which is to say, someone whose job consists of throwing up road blocks and imposing unnecessary regulations on student life in order to justify their own existence. Others are there to develop programs very few students want, and even less need, but which appease one grievance industry identity group or another. Some actually do very good work.
In case you didn’t know, administrators are the number one reason why attendance costs have sky-rocketed over the years, something which has little to do with the true cost of an education or the maintenance of the facilities. Remember that the next time some group of liberal agitators tell you how desperately Georgetown needs another program assistant that caters to their identity group. And be sure to always thank administrators when you interact with them. After all, they’re mainly responsible for the student loans you’ll still be paying off ten years from now.
The sad truth is far too many administrators fail to add commensurate value for the large amounts of money they’re paid. You could probably get rid of half with minimal effect on the quality of education on campus, which might even improve, because you’ll now have freed up funds for more professors and smaller class sizes, which anyone doing time in a required freshman seminar with a hundred-plus students can understand and appreciate.
Here’s a key thing to note about administrators if you’re attempting to bring about any type of change to the Hilltop: they have well-developed strategies, and lots of experience, when it comes to outmaneuvering you. Most importantly, they have time. They’ve been around here for years, or in some cases decades, and are likely to be around for many more. All an administrator has to do is stall and wait you out, hoping you lose interest or your idea won’t catch on with a new generation of students who can carry the torch once you graduate. Or they might try and appease you with half-measures of some sort, like invitations to be part of a committee examining your cause, giving you both a sense of importance and the impression things are moving forward when in actuality they aren’t. If those don’t work, they might even make a few threats. But most of all, they try to deflect attention and get you to focus energy elsewhere, like some grievance industry specter which will let you pretend you’re fighting injustice just like students in the 1960s.
Universities are composed of a variety of communities, which like Edmund Burke’s “small platoons,” each contribute to the work of institution. When it comes to alumni it’s worth remembering they comprise the largest constituent group of any school that has ever existed. If someone were to make a pie chart of all of Georgetown’s students, alumni, faculty, and administrators, more than 90% would be taken up with alums. One might argue alumni interests should dominate based on numbers alone. After all, they’ve spent four years as a customer and can speak to the quality of product delivered. Alumni are the ones whose successes further the Georgetown brand, even more so than the faculty. They send their kids back to alma mater and conduct interviews for applicants. And it is alumni who donate large sums of money, providing more revenue than any other group. Without them, most of the buildings on campus would never have been built, since tuition wouldn’t even begin to cover it.
Even so, at TGA we believe the daily life undergraduates, (and to a lesser extent graduate students), have on campus, means more weight should be given to student opinions and concerns, which means listening well and taking seriously what students have to say, though not necessarily acquiescing to whatever it is students (or self-proclaimed “student leaders”) desire. Faculty and administrators have a role to play too, especially since they have a certain subject matter expertise that comes from time on-campus extending beyond the four years of a student. Our point isn’t that one constituency should dominate over the others and have veto power, but that all members of the Georgetown family should take part in a conversation and be seriously listened to when it comes to decision-making regarding major issues on-campus.
It’s worth remembering all students will one day be alums themselves, and many will retain an interest in what happens on the Hilltop. It is foolish to think just because one has graduated that he or she no longer has a role to play beyond sending a check each year to support the endowment. The fact is alumni involvement can be incredibly valuable for students due to the historical knowledge and greater level of resources alumni have at their disposal, and which may help advance student interests. Alumni can leverage connections, generate publicity, provide emergency funding, and help strategize a way forward for student clubs and activities, especially for those advocating for change or engaged in a fight with administrators. In military terms, alumni provide a “force multiplier effect,” which is another way of saying they can help propel student efforts many times quicker and farther than students can do on their own.
If you’re involved at all in student life on campus (by which we mean do more than just attend classes and socialize), then we encourage you to develop your club or activity’s alumni network. They’ll be there to give some useful advice and support, assist supplemental funds when needed, and best of all strengthen your ability to remain connected to campus once you graduate.
TGA occasionally uses nom de plumes for writers and we’re willing to keep sources anonymous if requested. We see nothing wrong with this practice which is followed by every other media organization in existence.
What’s more is we believe anonymity neither diminishes the worth of an idea espoused by a writer or source, nor implies something negative about that individual’s courage. In many cases it makes sense to remain anonymous in order to avoid the crowd-sourced Twitter hate mobs, digital hysteria, and ensuing public witch trials one may endure for having a politically incorrect opinion, and which can cost someone their job or involve punishment from University apparatchiks. In others, not having an individual associated with a particular position allows it to better stand on its own merits and not immediately be brushed aside because of the identity of its messenger.
So, if you want write for TGA, or send some secret info about what’s going on in the faculty lounges or admin offices of Healy and the Leavey Center, then drop us a line. As long as you write well and make a reasonable argument in line with our Editorial Policy, then we’re happy to publish it. Check out the Submissions page for more information.
Regardless of whether administrators, faculty, or even the University’s Board of Directors choose to admit it or not, Georgetown fully belongs to, (or is “owned by” if you want to get all litigious about it), the Catholic Church, which is the ultimate authority on campus and may choose how much or how little it wishes to intervene in what happens on the Hilltop. The Church does so rarely, with perhaps the most famous and controversial instance being three decades ago when President Leo O’Donovan was summoned to Rome and ordered to revoke his and current President Jack DeGioia’s decision to fund the pro-abortion advocacy group GU Choice, which later rebranded itself as H*ya’s for Choice.
At TGA we are pleased to note GU doesn’t completely hide from being Catholic. When compared to secular schools, the University’s theology and philosophy requirements provide, for undergraduates at least, more and better opportunities to examine life’s most important questions, such as the nature and purpose of existence, the role of faith, and what it means for one to live life well. There are also campus ministry programs and off-site religious retreats meant to help nourish the student soul, which secular schools mostly neglect. And some of the Jesuits actually teach a few courses and make an effort to engage with students via extracurricular activities and campus media, though the number is low and grows smaller each year.
On the whole, we’re disappointed University administrators regularly water down Georgetown’s Catholic identity, as if it were a burden, rather than a source of inspiration and pride. What saddens us more is the Jesuit community lets them do so. The fact is Jesuits and administrators refuse to address moral questions beyond affirming the same politically correct social justice bromides one would expect to hear from officials at, say, U.C. Berkeley. To cite two of the many instances where the University has erred in word or deed, we don’t believe it was appropriate for the administration to invite former Health Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to give a graduation speech while at the same time she was actively trying to force religious institutions like Georgetown to pay for abortions in their insurance plans. Nor do we think the Jesuits in-charge of the Hilltop should allow University funds, (extracted from a mandatory student activities fee the administration collects), to go toward providing benefits to a pro-abortion group like H*ya’s for Choice. And don’t even get us started on the ideological indoctrination sessions that compose so much of the New Student Orientation program (NSO), or the constant catering to the growing and excessively large number of students, faculty, and administrators with victim complexes.
Simply put, if Georgetown wants to trade off its status as a Catholic university, we think it shouldn’t be the institutional version of what is known as a “cafeteria Catholic,” which is to say, not really Catholic. To be authentically Catholic, Georgetown should willingly and gladly seek to be in full compliance with the requirements the Church sets out for what constitutes a Catholic university. That the administration chooses not to do this is a problem. Not only does such behavior give non-Catholics, both inside and outside the University, an inaccurate understanding of what it means to be Catholic, but perhaps more importantly, it means students looking for an actual Catholic university experience are sold a bill of goods and deprived an opportunity to attend an authentically Catholic school.
We think one of the great, (and fundamentally Catholic), things about Georgetown is that it welcomes plenty of non-Catholics to the Hilltop. Truth be told, the majority of TGA’s editors over the years have not even been Catholics. But we think if you’re not Catholic, and if you find Georgetown’s religious identity objectionable and desire to minimize or distort it, then you should consider transferring. Feel free to leave and go elsewhere. You chose to come here, and the University doesn’t need to alter its mission to cater to your desires or suppress the central tenets of the Catholic faith just because you oppose them.
For a philosophy often misunderstood or twisted by liberals, there’s a lot to be said about what conservatism is and isn’t. Much more space is required than what we have here.
If anything, conservatism is a way of looking at the world, one which understands and respects human nature and emphasizes examining reality as it is without filtering everything through an ideological lens before spitting out a pre-programmed response (Capitalism is to blame! It’s the patriarchy’s fault! White privilege!). Conservatives have a strong a bias toward personal responsibility and human liberty and are suspicious of central planning and top-down government solutions, (see the Catholic principle of subsidiarity). Conservatives believe individuals, families, and communities are best positioned to make decisions for themselves, rather than some bureaucrat in Washington.
It’s true that conservatives are fond of tradition along with slow and ordered progress. This isn’t because they’re reactionaries who reflexively oppose change, but rather, due to the fact that rapid transformation often destabilizes society and makes things worse for the most vulnerable (anyone ever hear of Iraq?). Conservatism helps prevent society from moving backwards or downward and conservatives are more than willing to support change for those things that need changing, provided it is done in a measured and thoughtful way, which is another way of saying the conservative mindset is marked by prudence with a healthy dose of skepticism for the grand, radical, and utopian visions of liberals and progressives.
If you’re interested in learning more about conservative thought (and you should be), we recommend checking out our Bookshelf in addition to the following tomes: The Concise Conservative Encyclopedia, by Brad Miner; The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, by George Nash; Ideas Have Consequences, by Richard Weaver; The Portable Conservative Reader, by Russell Kirk; Reflections on the Revolution in France, by Edmund Burke; and Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman. You would also do well to read anything by former Georgetown professor George Carey (TME), along with Thomas Sowell, Allan Bloom, Charles Murray, and George Gilder. Finally, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a pretty good entry on the subject.
Diversity is a concept which, like equality, can mean different things depending upon where you stand.
Consider this thought experiment:
Your freshman year you’re required to choose between joining one of two student study groups with the same number of individuals in it. The purpose of the group is to engage in intellectual discussion with the goal of better understanding economics. One group consists of members of different races, but who all think exactly the same about every subject under the sun. The other consists entirely of members of the same race, but who all think differently than each other.
Now which group do you want to join? Do you prefer diversity of identity or diversity of ideas? Is one more suited than the other for a university setting?
TGA is not opposed to diversity. We believe an authentically Catholic university helps contribute to the diversity of higher education in America. Georgetown shouldn’t try to be a cookie cutter version of Harvard or Yale. We’d also be a lot happier if certain departments weren’t so aggressively left-wing. A few libertarians or conservatives thrown into the faculty mix would be a great improvement and contribute to the airing of diverse ideas on-campus. And we get that certain identity groups have been underrepresented or systematically discriminated against in the past, so perhaps there is a need to work harder in recruiting them, though we believe the current practice of allowing select groups to be admitted under substantially lower admissions standards is inappropriate for a university which considers itself non-discriminatory and elite. This is especially true when it comes to certain individuals in those groups who are from privileged economic backgrounds and displace less privileged but better qualified students from outside the identity group receiving preferential treatment.
Despite what most diversity advocates would have you believe, real diversity isn’t simply about having a mix of people from different identity groups. Diversity shouldn’t be an exercise in checking the box and having one black, one white, one brown, one handicapped Chinese lesbian, one dude who wants to cut off his penis and be a woman, and so on. In an academic setting, it’s diversity of thought that matters.
That's one reason we’re bothered by the recently approved and inappropriately named “Diversity Requirement” which a small but committed group of left-wing faculty and their undergraduate thralls recently foisted upon the studentry. The requirement is an attempt at forcing students to take courses that have more to do with the dissemination of propaganda than the actual discussion of diverse ideas. Since this is a new initiative it remains to be seen how implementation will go and whether or not students will be able to bypass the measure’s worst effects by taking courses they would have taken anyways, or if it is, as intended by those behind it, an attempt at ideological indoctrination and a jobs security program by liberal professors who couldn’t otherwise fill seats in their grievance studies disciplines. Rest assured we’ll be watching and ready to report what happens.
It might seem odd we’re mentioning economics, but it’s significant for two reasons. First, economics is important in all fields of life. You’ll hear us say many times over that a good understanding of economics is essential for any student who wishes to graduate from college and consider him or herself properly educated. Being familiar with basic economic principles will help you make the most optimal use of your many resources, which encompass not just money, but time, energy, attention, influence, and so on. Second, and just as important, is understanding political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom. It’s a point proven time and again: not only do capitalist societies work better than socialist or communist regimes and do more for improving the financial and social conditions of the poor and working classes, but they also increase human liberty and the number of choices available to individuals. Just ask anyone who grew up in Soviet Russia or escaped from North Korea.
From a student’s perspective, economic principles are a great tool for determining what to do at Georgetown. You have only have four years on the Hilltop, and the experience is jammed with opportunities, many of which are unlike any you will see again, and also compete with each other for your limited time and attention. Your undergraduate “career” is not just an important period that will (hopefully) lay the foundation for future successes, both professionally and personally, but it’s also one in which you are likely paying a significant amount of money, both now and in the future (student loan payments begin right after graduation). How you allocate your time, money, energy, and which courses you choose, will determine whether or not you’ve gotten the most out of the experience.
You’ll need to consider the cost & benefits of taking certain courses and choosing one major over another. The average class costs about $7,500 (and will go up every year you attend). Is that a fair price for studying a professor’s vanity project about whether or not all dogs go to heaven? Will such a course build marketable skills and help you in the job hunt, or will it hinder you if hiring managers who look at your transcript and see you’ve used your time to take frivolous classes, or even worse, those within the grievance industry which signals you’re likely a hiring risk and lawsuit waiting to happen? Should you just score a syllabus from a friend (or online), read the books on your own time, and use that $7.5K to take something else which future employers will find more attractive and which will give you a return on your academic investment? Remember too, every action has an opportunity cost, which is to say, you’ll need to make trade-offs and consider what you’re giving up by choosing one thing over another.
So how do you get the most out of your Georgetown experience? The question applies to everyone, regardless of where one falls along the political spectrum. Fortunately, you’re currently reading the best site on the internet to help you answer that question. See our Ratio Studiorum, the Bucket List, and check our blog frequently for answers.
Practically speaking, you’ll want to be able to earn more per hour for your time post-graduation than you would have had you not gone to college. Otherwise, why spend all the time, money, and effort in the first place? So consider majoring in something that will help you find a job once you graduate. There are already too many baristas at Starbucks with college degrees. You’ll also want to come out of Georgetown having secured a liberal education, (see below), which basically means you can read, write, speak, and most of all think better, and that you possess broad range of knowledge that will provide you a platform from which you can go on and do great things. A strong set of close friends and acquaintances are also key. A university education is many ways no different than buying a brand, a credential, and a network. The first two will come easily enough. The third will require some extra effort on your part, but is essential.
On a final note, consider taking an economics course or two. Frankly, we think a survey course in general economics (and another in statistics) should replace the “diversity” requirement and would be much more valuable for every undergraduate than forcing them to take a grievance studies course. When it comes to reading, start off with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s short pamphlet A Student’s Guide to Economics, by Paul Heyne. Then move on to Thomas Sowell’s more in-depth and highly-readable Basic Economics. These tomes will provide you a strong foundation and help you develop an economic way of thinking which will be of great use to you for the rest of your life. Both Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, and Fredric Bastiat’s What is Seen and What is Not Seen, are also worth reading, (each are short and downloadable free, just click on the links). These articles at Investopedia and the Library for Economics and Liberty will also help, especially if you’re short on time.
We firmly believe in equality before the law. We also think everyone should be treated fairly and with respect. At TGA we don’t care about your race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other identifying feature. What people think, and how they behave, matters most to us. Our shared humanity makes us all brothers and sisters on this earth. And despite the attempts of race hustlers, feminists, and class warriors, to foment hate and division among different identity groups, we believe there is far more connecting than dividing us. Everyone should work together to make the world a better place.
Now, it’s a fact that individuals are born with unequal endowments and the world is unfair, because we are not all born exactly the same, a mystery to be taken up with your preferred sky-god and/or religious adviser. A system has yet to be devised to achieve the sort of cosmic justice those with a fetish for pure equality claim to want. That’s a good thing. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all looked, spoke, thought, and behaved just like everyone else. We’d be like drones out of some science fiction novel. It’s our differences that make the earth such an interesting and exciting place to live, and which allows us to create new things, from technological innovations to artistic outputs. We find it ironic how those at the forefront of the diversity and equality movements don’t realize how their ideas, when taken to their logical extreme, would eliminate the very diversity they claim to hold so dear, and would lead to more injustice in the world.
At TGA, we do not believe differences in outcomes are necessarily the result of discrimination. We think more often than not they result from different life choices, in addition to the aforementioned endowments. Parents and socioeconomic status certainly play a role (as does luck), but are usually not the decisive factor and are frequently used as an excuse. We find it troubling that in America today we are constantly bombarded with claims in the media and by advocacy groups that refuse to hold individuals accountable for the inappropriate choices they make. What we as a society should expect is that the law, and individuals, treat everyone fairly and with respect, and that we help out those who need it. But we should recognize inequality of outcome has more to do with the choices and actions which individuals and their families make, rather than some devious systemic bias. We think too that many of those who allege discrimination, especially nowadays, are more often than not fake victims who cry wolf and use such claims as an excuse for their failings or inability to achieve as much as others, toward whom they are envious. Such folks are more likely than not running a scam in the hopes you’ll support transferring more resources their way.
For a good short story on the pitfalls of equality taken to its logical extreme, read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and doesn’t take more than ten minutes (click the link for a free download). You might also want to look at Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice, one of the most important books ever written on this issue. Finally, there’s Martin Van Crevald’s recently released Equality: The Impossible Quest, a great examination of the idea of equality throughout history and informative on why pure equality is neither achievable nor desirable.
A quarter century ago Pope John Paul II laid out in clear and simple language what exactly constitutes a Catholic university. He did this in a papal encyclical entitled Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which many observers consider a response to the 1967 Land O’Lakes Statement wherein the Presidents of various Catholic universities in America, (including Georgetown), called for the uncoupling of Catholic universities from any oversight by the Catholic Church.
In others words, these Presidents wanted to take historically Catholic institutions and trade off the “Catholic” brand without having to actually be, well, Catholic. Many observers think the reason was because these Presidents feared their institutions wouldn’t be considered respectable among secular schools and possessed the mistaken belief that an authentically Catholic education would be an obstacle to competing in the big leagues of higher education. One might argue the signers of the Land O’Lakes statement suffered from an extreme lack of self-confidence in their institutions, and quite possibly their faith.
Regardless of its origin, the fact is Ex Corde is the Catholic Church’s most authoritative document on how a Catholic university should operate. It follows that any university wishing to be considered Catholic would embrace it. The question is: does Georgetown? Many, after reading the encyclical and comparing it to the modern day campus, would say no. But read it yourself and decide. (Note to the sophists: Jesuits are Catholics, priests no less!, so claims that Georgetown being “Catholic, but also Jesuit,” somehow making a difference regarding how much in compliance with Ex Corde the University should be, are invalid).
We encourage all students to read Ex Corde, (nicely paired with John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University), to get a sense how a Catholic university should function, though perhaps more importantly, better understand the role of a university in society and the true purpose of a higher education. We believe Ex Corde ought to be a foundational text for Georgetown (especially if it wants to call itself Catholic) and should be required reading for all faculty and administrators.
There’s secret about professors far too many want to keep hidden. Here it is: they exist for students, and not the other way around. In other words, their raison d’etre isn’t to write books, conduct research, or appear on MSNBC. It’s to educate pupils, which means being competent, first and foremost, in the classroom. Sadly, not all of them understand this fact or are able to fulfill their basic roles as instructors.
Professors are not actually as smart they pretend to be; many are insecure, and some, if challenged, will get flustered and angry. But be careful if you do provoke such a reaction in one of them. A few, particularly the politically-driven social justice warrior types who teach grievance industry courses, will resent you for it and seek revenge in the former of lowering your grade. Interestingly enough, these latter types are the ones who give out easy “As” to the ideologically-aligned.
Here’s another bit of trivia, but it’s one you probably already know: professors at Georgetown are overwhelmingly liberal who mostly vote Democrat. One would not be wrong to say they are biased, and that if the situation were reversed, there would be calls for a great purging from the campus left. The best professors recognize their biases, are confident in themselves, and are good enough teachers to realize a healthy discussion of diverse viewpoints is vital to the academic experience. They’re also not hostile to students who disagree with them and don’t punish them for speaking out.
At TGA, we think the faculty have a duty to focus on teaching rather than research, and special responsibility to not be hostile to Georgetown’s Catholic identity. They would do well to follow the American Association of University Professors guidelines which state professors “are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject,” and that they “should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.” If they don’t, we believe they should be counseled, and if that doesn’t work, they should be fired and invited to find employment elsewhere at an institutions whose mission they do not find so objectionable. The faculty certainly don’t all have to be Catholic, though at a Catholic university it shouldn’t be controversial for 51% or more of the faculty to be actual Catholics, any more than it would be for a historically black college or a Jewish or Muslim institution to be predominately black, Jewish, or Muslim.
Our publication has been proud and honored to have some key faculty as supporters over the years, some of whom have served as either advisors or have generously written content for us. Some used their names. Others did so anonymously. Though you’ll often see us critique certain professors for misconduct or dumb statements, we happen to think the majority are worthy of high praise and are an essential part of the Georgetown community. We encourage all students to find one to serve as their mentor. Start going to the office hours, if only to chat. Professors are being paid well from your own pocket or those of your parents, and those office hours belong to studenets. Plus, most professors like it. And for faculty, if you’re reading this, feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think of our site and current happenings at Georgetown. We would be interested in publishing your thoughts, whether you agree with us or not, and are happy to use a nom de plume if requested.
Like 82% of Americans, and 100% of sane people, we don’t identify as feminists. The reason is simple: we believe in equality. Feminists regularly try claiming equality is exactly what their ideology is about whenever someone criticizes the movement. But most men and women know better, because they listen to what feminists actually say, observe how they act, and are able to recognize patterns. The clear-eyed know that modern feminists, when they’re not playing victim, are more concerned about securing preferential treatment for women and creating a culture that allows women to avoid the consequences of their own freely chosen decisions. And of course, there’s the reflexive hostility towards men, in addition to the glorification of slutty behavior, though male sexual desire, or in femspeak, “the male gaze,” is to be condemned. Then there’s the general anger with the world feminists’ exhibit. It’s like they wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning, every morning. The truth is feminists are mostly sad, unhappy individuals, though of course they’ll put on a smile (but don’t EVER ask them to smile!) when they need to try and convince someone otherwise.
A hundred years ago feminism may have been about securing equal political rights for women, a laudable effort that has been achieved in the Western world, and one which TGA fully supports. Yet the feminist movement has morphed into a shrill, man-hating beast largely bent on excreting a toxic and false narrative similar to that of race hustlers and the other identity groups they associate with in the grievance industry, and which focus on dividing people while securing special rights and preferences for their own cliques. The reason? To induce guilt and extract resource transfers (money, power, attention, etc.) with the ultimate goal of putting certain women in a superior position vis-à-vis men in every human sphere. We say “certain women” because feminists are in many cases actually anti-woman, and they’re most especially concerned with the narrow concerns of well-off white girls than the female sex in general (just Google “white feminism”). Also, if you’re a traditionally-minded woman with basic math skills and realize the so-called “wage gap” is a result of different choices people in make in their professional lives, or if you don’t wear a tin-foil hat and blame everything on the patriarchy, and if you like men and see them as having some actual problems worthy of attention (because, you know, men are human too and most women have a male relative or friend who they care about and think should be treated equally and with respect), then feminism isn’t for you.
We’ll have more to stay about feminists in our blog and are planning something special for women’s history month in February. If you’re interested in hearing more critiques about feminism, we recommend checking out Christian Hoff Sommers seminal (seminal!) work Who Stole Feminism? in addition to the writings of Camille Paglia and Cathy Young.
At TGA, we’re free speech absolutists in the classroom with the exception of obvious harassment and calls for violence. By harassment we mean when an individual or group attempts to intentionally bully and/or humiliate someone. Harassment is not a student continuing to counter false statistical claims each time an ideologue brings them up. Nor is it repeatedly giving a politically incorrect opinion that goes against the beliefs of social justice warriors who would prefer to suppress thoughts with which they disagree. And by violence we don’t mean the “psychological violence” scam the emotionally fragile use to sop up sympathy with, or more perniciously, the morally deficient leverage into silencing others. We’re talking actual, real violence, meaning threats of physical harm, and not words or opinions which are deemed “unsafe” simply because liberals don’t like them.
If a student wants to argue a particular stance in the classroom, no matter how odious or disconcerting to observers, that’s fine with us. The dialectic is a hallmark of an authentically liberal education, and if you oppose an idea, it’s best to hear it out fully and publicly so you can rhetorically tear it apart in front of witnesses. Censoring student media is another thing we oppose, since students should have a right to freely discuss all manner of opinion in the campus press. Those who disagree might as well go through the library and start a bonfire to burn all the books they find offensive. We would even go so far as to fully support student free speech outside class by letting the girls at H*yas for Abortion set up a table in Red Square and hold their pro-baby killing and dismembering rallies around the John Carroll statue. Why not? The ideas are out there anyways and allowing GU’s abortionistas to have their say provides the perfect opportunity for the pro-life community to engage them and make counterarguments, something we think the Jesuits should vigorously do, though sadly they do not.
But let’s be clear on what free speech is not. The concept doesn’t involve administrators giving official imprimatur and financial honorariums to graduation speakers or other visitors who would mock or limit Georgetown’s Catholic identity and the concept of religious freedom. We also stop short of using University money to fund student groups which violate University policy and “foster hatred or intolerance of others because of their race, nationality, gender, religion or sexual preference, or are inconsistent with acceptable conduct at an American university committed to the Roman Catholic moral tradition.” In other words, we don’t think GU should fund a hate group like the KKK, nor do we think funds should be provided for H*ya’s for Abortion. Free speech is also not about interrupting speeches on campus and preventing students from hearing invited guests, a tactic exclusive to left-of-center students, who for all their supposed “tolerance,” are really the most intolerant among us. You know the type. They have no problem acting like the thought police and tossing out false claims of racism, sexism, yadda yadda yadda, and then damning their fellow students, or even sticking a metaphorical knife in the back of one of their own if it’ll generate a headline.
At TGA, we have a long history of advocating for student liberty, especially when it comes to free speech issues (this has something to do with the fact that our press runs have been stolen and destroyed multiple times by left-wing students over the years). At the same time we recognize Georgetown is a private religious institution, and so doesn’t fall under First Amendment protections. That’s one reason why we choose to be independent, as opposed to the Hoya or the Voice, which submit to the control of the administration. In other words, we’re able to say things they won’t.
Imagine an academic discipline engaging in pseudo-scholarship and more concerned about imprinting a rigid set of political beliefs on the developing minds of easily influenced young people, than it is with discovering new knowledge or educating students to think rationally and preparing them to live successfully in the real world. You’d think in a real university such disciplines wouldn’t exist, right?
Um, well, no.
We’re hesitant to state specifically what those departments and majors are because we know there will be the usual blowback with accusations of sexism, classism, homophobia, racism, ableism, and whatever “-ism” anyone wants to use nowadays to claim victim status and be a member in good standing of the Society of the Perpetually Aggrieved. But as you may already have figured, we’re going to do so anyways. All of them include the academic’s Holy Trinity of race, class, and gender, with some America-hating and social justice warrior activism thrown in. And you’ll notice none of them include needing to know anything about math or statistics, except perhaps how to distort them for political gain. So here they are, in no particular order: the Justice and Peace program, the English Department, American Studies, African American Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and of course Women’s Studies.
Now if you are going to take a course or major in any of these programs, we HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to do a lot of research beforehand and consider whether or not doing so will actually provide you sufficient benefits, whether intellectually or professionally. While they are usually easy “As” since each tend to draw the least intelligent (math IS hard) and most rabid students who professors reward with easy grades in order to continue filling seats and justify their existence, a smart student will question whether or not paying $7.5K for a course in bull dung is actually worth it.
If you’re privileged with parents who can afford to send you to GU without suffering any financial hardship, if you don’t have to take out any loans, and if you’re family’s social network will lead to a job after graduation regardless of whether you’re an idiot or not, then by all means, don’t just take a grievance industry course, take as many as you want. If, on the other hand, you’re paying your way or incurring a lot of debt to be here, and if you don’t think your parents or their friends are going to hand to you job once you get your degree, then avoid these programs like the plague. All they’re going to try and do is make you feel guilty if you get put in the “privileged” box. If you’re not, they’ll try to convince you that you’re a victim and handicap you for life by making you feel bitter and angry with the world. Worst of all, having these courses and majors on your resume or transcript is going to signal to private (and increasingly public) sector human resource managers that you didn’t take your undergrad time seriously and are a hiring risk or lawsuit waiting to happen.
One of the first things a new student learns about after arriving on-campus is the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA). They soon learn how ineffective GUSA is and how irrelevant it is to the lives of your average student. Even so, you’ll find future presidential wannabes and other similar types will run for student government offices in the hopes of “leading” their peers and building that all important resume, (note to the ambitious: you’re better off interning on the Hill or with a think tank if you want a future in politics or public policy).
GUSA bureaucrats generally start by running their freshman year for a senate position. By junior and senior year these positions usually have one candidate who cares enough. Many move on to staff or cabinet positions within the organization. They don’t do much, but they do get a title, and in some cases, a bit of monetary compensation. Interestingly enough, it’s usually the students who built a constituency outside of GUSA and aren’t home-grown candidates that end up getting elected to be GUSA President.
GUSA is descended from a form of student government known as The Yard, which because it was linked to student clubs, was a more powerful advocate on behalf of student interests since it was able to mobilize the studentry in a way GUSA has never been able to do. The Yard was eventually replaced with model similar to those found in American high schools, and in which ambition is more dominant than service. Student politics at Georgetown have not been the same since.
GUSA is important in one respect. That mandatory student fee you’re assessed is allocated by them, so if you want a piece of that student tax you pay and don’t want it all going to social justice warrior activism, then you’ll need to mobilize your club like the student sports teams have recently done. Such clubs are, by the way, where the true power in student life lies, along with the campus media institutions that frame campus discussion, and the Lecture Fund and Program Board which bring speakers to campus and host Georgetown’s most interesting and important events. If you want to really benefit your fellow Hoya’s and work on projects where you’ll learn valuable skills that will benefit you long-term, then these are the first places to look.
A Roman Catholic priest and former Jesuit started Georgetown, (the Society of Jesus was suppressed at the time, but has been running things on the Hilltop since soon after the Order was restored). The founder, John Carroll, who would later become America’s first Catholic bishop, went so far as to write the Pope in Rome for permission to use a Jesuit model of education at his new "academy" on the banks of the Potomac. That Georgetown is a religious university should not be a surprise to anyone. That it has an explicitly Catholic mission, which may at times cause it to be out of sync with the prevailing liberal orthodoxy infecting college campuses nationwide, should not be unexpected either.
A worrisome thing about Jesuits at Georgetown, aside from being inexplicably silent on a range of issues related to the University’s Catholic identity, is the continuing decline in their numbers on-campus with each year that passes. Some say this has to do with the lack of men interested in the priesthood. Other contend the current crop of Jesuits in America and elsewhere aren’t qualified enough to serve as professors or high-level administrators, which doesn’t seem accurate to us considering the backgrounds, attitudes, and skills (or lack thereof) of some of the professors and administrators employed here. When one considers Georgetown’s prodigious use of affirmative action in hiring and admissions, it’s logical to ask why something similar isn’t done for Catholics in general, and Jesuits in particular. We’re guessing the issue has more to do with the Society of Jesus in America lacking confidence in itself and being unwilling to vigorously defended and promote an authentically Catholic education out of a misplaced fear of being looked down upon by others in the higher education industry.
The sad truth is you can attend Georgetown for four years and have little to no contact with a Jesuit beyond the occasional glimpse of one walking across campus, assuming the man in question is wearing priestly garb that day and not a business suit. In short, Jesuits at Georgetown have become like curios in a museum, trotted out when needed, and sent to sit in Wolfington Hall when they’re not. We encourage all students to learn more about them and get to know a few. We also thank those Jesuits who take an active role in teaching undergraduates and engaging with them.
Let’s talk the about the word liberal. Like feminist, the term used to mean something completely different in the past. Coming from the Latin liber, it means “to free.” For classical liberals, some of whom refer to themselves as libertarians, and all of whom believe in minimalist government and value the right of individuals to freely choose the lives they lead, the term has become bastardized by progressives and other on the left who aren’t so freedom-loving. So to be clear, when we talk about a liberal education, we’re not discussing a progressive or politically correct education, but rather, the concept that education should be “freeing” in that it liberates a person from the shackles of ignorance while giving them the tools they need to be both happy and successful in life.
So what exactly is a liberal education? Broadly speaking, it means developing sufficient critical thinking and communication skills (both writing and speaking), as well as a wide base of knowledge, so you’re prepared to enter the world upon graduation with the capabilities to go out and do just about anything in a wide variety of fields, professional and otherwise. In a certain sense, it means preparing one to be well-rounded and able to deal with complexity. A liberal education is expected to prepare one for the job market, though it is not training for a particular career. That said, one should develop some subject matter expertise in a specific area, ideally in whatever he or she considers to be their most likely vocation.
At Georgetown, the core curriculum during freshman and sophomore year provides most of what a student needs to achieve a liberal education, though much depends on how open one’s mind is, how hard he or she works, and whether or not one has the right professors. Also key is being able to confront at the world as it is and shake off preconceived notions about life and other people, with which new students may arrive. What’s extremely important is a willingness to fairly and rationally examine those ideas with which one might disagree, and an openness to developing friendships and having discussions with those who come from different backgrounds.
We have more to say about education in our Ratio Studiorum, a modern day riff off the highly-regarded Jesuit model, and in which we offer a few thoughts for how to get the most of your Georgetown experience so your time and money isn’t wasted. We’re also working on a list of the Hilltop's best (and worst) professors and courses. If you have any suggestions, send us an email and let us know who else you think should be included. We look forward to your input.
We noted in the previous comment the distinction between classical and modern liberals. Here, we discuss the latter, who are also known as progressives, and are on the left side of the political spectrum, along with communists, socialists, fascists, and other big government types.
Before we begin, we do want to say there exist some fair and thoughtful liberals out there who are swayed by facts. They understand things like math and statistics and believe in personal responsibility, free speech, and the importance of treating college students like adults, as opposed to frail little children who need to be shielded from certain types of discussion. These types of liberals are reasonable people who are capable of discussing an issue without resorting to ad homenim attacks and cries of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. We consider them friends and fellow travelers in the search for truth. Some have even written for us.
Now, it’s undeniable that liberals, contra conservatives, have a predisposition towards government intervention for the problems they find in society. Too often they think raising taxes (or student fees) on those who work (or study) and throwing more money (or tuition dollars) and bureaucrats (or administrators) at an issue, will resolve it, (Another women’s center program assistant! More funding for diversity programming! A house for Latinos!). Liberals tend to blame institutions or systems (such as capitalism) for the problems individuals have, rather than the individuals themselves, who conservatives would argue are usually, (though of course not always), in a self-made predicament because of a series of bad choices made over time. Personal responsibility, working harder, choosing wisely, and accepting the consequences of one’s own decisions, are not things many liberals seem to value.
Liberals focus on getting institutions to change, rather than individuals, so society will end up more “equal” in an abstract sense. Redistributionists are almost always liberals. They think differences in outcomes don’t result from differences in inputs such as time or effort, but rather, is clear evidence of discrimination on the part of society. To achieve equality liberals believe an appropriate response involves discriminating against groups as a whole, along with confiscating the resources of these groups for redistribution.
When it comes to the Constitution, liberals believe it is a malleable, “living” document that should be interpreted to fit whatever the times require, which is another way of saying they think it’s a meaningless text, rather than one crafted with a specific meaning and intent. Conservatives believe otherwise, adhering to the idea that words mean things, and that the “original intent” of the Constitution should be adhered to, and that if current society doesn’t like what’s in the Constitution, then, well, there is a legal process to secure amendments to change it.
From a student perceptive, it’s important to understand the pernicious effects liberals have on the cost and quality of one’s education. If you’ve ever wondered why tuition is so high considering what you’re actually getting in return, the answer is because liberals have created a bubble in higher education by flooding the market with easy to access student loans, which only encourages universities to raise tuition. There’s also the huge increase in the last few decades in the number of administrators, few of whom actually teach, and most of whom don’t work hard or add value to campus life aside from placating one identity group or another.
And speaking of identity groups, liberals are the ones who are constantly categorizing students and pitting them against one another with one side victims, and the other side either actual oppressors or complicit in the oppression. Campus liberals are the ones who want to force the entire student body to take meaningless courses centered in the grievance studies industry so as the increase the job security and influence of left-wing professors who couldn’t otherwise fill a classroom. So bottom line: whether you care about liberals or not, they sure care a lot about regulating you and forcibly using up your personal resources (time, money, opportunities, attention, etc.) to achieve their goals.
Historically, TGA’s membership has been a blend of libertarians and conservatives with the occasional objectivist mixed in. Libertarians are not conservatives and vice versa. This is because in addition to their strong belief in economic freedom, libertarians care a great deal about maximizing social freedom, which basically means letting people do whatever it is they want so long as no one else is harmed. This involves things like the legalization of drugs and prostitution, as well as allowing for free immigration flows. Roughly speaking, conservatives and liberals seek to impose certain limits on human behavior, it’s just that liberals favor economic intrusion whereas conservatives look at restraining certain personal behaviors they find destructive. Unlike like liberals, however, libertarians are sticklers for personal responsibility, so if you end up getting hurt or putting yourself in the poor house for your freely chosen actions and lifestyle, well, that’s on you, and it’s not the government or society’s job to take care of you.
Conservatives and libertarians have more bringing them together than dividing them. Both groups are natural constituencies for TGA, and if you’re a libertarian we hope you’ll consider joining us in standing against leftists on-campus. Activities include efforts to thwart GUSA types who want to increase the student activities fee they control and work instead towards implementing a system which allows the students who pay the fee to choose which clubs the money goes, to increasing student choice in determining which courses they take by removing the recently approved diversity requirement, to standing up against the social justice warriors who seek to silence speech and suppress ideas with which they disagree. There’s much to be done and we need your help.
For those who aren’t familiar with libertarianism we recommend you check out two books for a better understanding. First is The Libertarian Reader, which is edited by David Boaz of the Cato Institute and is a compendium of libertarian writings throughout history, with some great commentary included. It even opens with a biblical passage supportive of the libertarian mindset (I Samuel, Chapter 8). Also read George Carey’s Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate. Professor Carey was TGA’s faculty advisor for most of our history and before he died was considered a thought leader in libertarian and conservative intellectual circles. Finally, Reason Magazine is the best place for daily libertarian news and commentary and is worth visiting frequently.
This is a term invented by feminists and solely used to delegitimize and avoid dealing with the substance of arguments made by men who disagree with them. Accusations of mansplaining usually occur when basic statistical facts are brought up in regards to the wage gap myth and fake sexual assault numbers, the two sacred cows of the modern feminist movement, most likely because these are the top concerns of the highly-privileged and narcissistic white women who dominate feminist ranks.
Mansplaining has nothing to do with right or wrong, but everything to do with the simple matter that the person disagreeing with the feminist happens to have a penis (did someone say penis envy?). It’s not unlike “femsplaining,” a word we just invented right now and can be used to just disregard the arguments, no matter how valid, of individuals who happen to possess a vagina. But TGA wouldn’t use such a term, ever, because unlike those who complain of “mansplaning,” we believe an idea stands or falls on its own merits, independent of one’s sexual organs, which for some reason, feminists seem to be unhealthily obsessed.
If you are involved in a conversation and hear a feminist (or one of their male Renfields) ever use this term you should probably just stop speaking and walk away as there is no use engaging any further. Doing so will be a waste of your time and energy. It’s the intellectual equivalent of burning money as it accomplishes nothing. Sadly, people who use words like “mansplaining” lack the mental capacity and/or philosophic temperament to take part in the sort of thoughtful conversations you’re supposed to have in college, and probably shouldn’t even be at Georgetown anyways. Just let them stew in their intellectual rabbit holes with their moldy neuroses. They’ll be living at home after graduation or working at Starbucks as a barista, if not some non-profit where they have to con people out of money or survive off government grants to fund their existence. Look instead for someone else worth discussing the issue with and who isn’t hostile to reasoned debate.
We’ll just say it: safe spaces, like trigger warnings, are for those with mental problems. We’re not trying to be the slightest bit funny here since those with psychiatric issues deserve compassion and not jokes. The fact is if you’re an adult, and you have to retreat to as special room staffed with emotional support personnel because ideas you oppose are being calmly and rationally discussed, as Georgetown’s feminists did when a speaker they oppose recently came to campus, then you lack the capacity to make proper use of or benefit from your university experience and need to be under some sort of professional medical care, perhaps in a secured facility. Go fix yourself and come back at a later date. We’re happy to welcome you back to the Hilltop when you do.
Unless they involve threats or calls for violence, then words should not scare anybody. Those who claim the need for a “safe space” in which only approved speech is allowed are deeply disturbed individuals who encourage college students to remain children. So long as bullying, threats, violence, or gale force winds and earthquakes are not occurring in a given location, it’s perfectly safe. Those who think otherwise are pushing an agenda that has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with suppressing speech.
If we could choose one course that was mandatory for all students it would be statistics, (closely followed by another on economics). Anyone who graduates without a firm understanding of statistical methodology has been failed, either by the Georgetown, or themselves, and should consider their education as woefully incomplete. In a world that is increasingly digitized and data-dependent, it’s essential to know how to analyze the numbers put before you, whether in your professional life, a simple news article, or by politicians and advocates who regularly use false and/or misleading statistics, (Hello feminists!), to promote their agenda.
Being able to critically examine statistical claims means avoiding being made a chump or taken advantage of by certain groups who try to use numbers to get you to support their political views or who want to attack your own. (Pro-tip: if an individual or group has to use fake or misleading statistics to advance an idea or cause, there’s a good chance that cause or idea is unable stand on its own merits, and is therefore, wrong.) From professional standpoint, understanding statistics will allow you to make evidence-based decisions and help you make the most optimal use of your limited resources. And when it comes to finding a job after graduation, employers are much more likely to hire someone who can do data analysis, as opposed to someone who lacks such training.
Two books we recommend are: How to Lie with Statistics, and A Cartoon Guide to Statistics. These best thing to do, however, is just take a course in statistics so you can really learn the information and engage in some practical exercises. Don’t worry, all you need are some basic math skills and you’ll get by without much trouble. While you’re at it, take that entry-level economics course too. There’s a good chance these will be the two most important classes you take while at Georgetown.
In TGA’s mission statement we talk about defending and promoting Georgetown’s traditions. Some of these are minor and about having a shared experience with one another, like encouraging you to watch The Exorcist on Halloween in Gaston Hall or attending a Philodemic debate. Others involve more fundamental aspects of the University's identity, such as its Catholic and Jesuit heritage.
While it’s true conservatives have a healthy respect for tradition, it needs to be said that those who value tradition don’t do so just for tradition’s sake. Rather, it’s because traditions are in many ways the accumulated wisdom of the ages, which is to say, aspects of our culture which have developed organically over time because they were needed and which generations upon generations have found to be of great use. This doesn’t mean every tradition is sacrosanct or that some don’t need to be eliminated or modified. We just happen to think that such things should be done with great care and consideration and not result from the emotional reactions of society's loudest.
We’re working on comprehensive list of Georgetown’s traditions and are interested in putting together some articles that explore these traditions (and the University's history) a little more in-depth. If you’re interested, please click on the Join Us page and get in contact with us. Everyone is invited to contribute.
One day someone chalked up the wall near the entrance of the ICC with the words: “Everything is relative.” What’s always surprising when statements like these are made is the inability of the author to see how they invalidate their own argument. Like “no tolerance for intolerance,” this non-sequitur has a circular logic all its own, however misguided and self-refuting.
At TGA, we believe truth (objective reality) not only exists, but is also knowable. We use reason to discern the truth of things, and engage in the dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) to hone our understanding of the world. Contrary to what relativists say, there are such things as facts. The laws of physics and chemistry, for instance. Math would be another example. The same is true for ethics, though we admit moral truths are harder to recognize and not always agreed upon. Even so, we think reason, revelation, and tradition all point the way, and that it’s undeniable certain behaviors are always preferable to others, some of which are always wrong, no matter the situation. Don’t believe us? Then cite an example in which rape or torture is ever justifiable.
At TGA we don’t mind calling out certain types of beliefs or ideas we find untrue, immoral, or let’s just say it: evil. What’s more is we think that Georgetown’s Catholic identity should serve as a guide, particularly for administrators and faculty, but also students, when it comes to determining right and wrong in the moral realm.
The sad thing about far too many people in the world today is they claim to be relativists even though they live their daily lives as if objective truth exists. They wouldn’t, after all, do things that cause them harm, like jump out of an airplane without a parachute, or in the case of a student, be rude to a professor who has control over their final grade. And even the most relativist individuals, the ones who proudly deny the existence of a God or natural law, will constantly make ethical judgments of their own about what is right or wrong, and how others should behave. The very same people who regularly accuse religious folk of trying to “legislate morality” are constantly doing so themselves, it just happens to be their morality lacks a religious basis.
Here’s something to remember if you’re a conservative or religiously-minded student, (we get that the two are separate): don’t be afraid to believe in objective truth, or universal natural laws regarding good and evil. More importantly, have the courage say so and fight for your beliefs. This certainly doesn’t mean damning others or being rude. But you’re allowed to say something is wrong, morally or otherwise, and state your reasons for believing so, even if they’re not politically correct or may cause someone to be feel offended, or dare we say it: "unsafe". That’s part of the reason why you’re in college, after all. And trust us when we say that those on the left are not only willing to aggressively state their beliefs, but try and shame and condemn you for thinking differently. In a larger sense, standing up for truth is important in a world in which the pretty lies of the social justice warrior mob are so entrenched. As conservative icon Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Nowadays it seems everyone’s a victim. Take a nerf ball and throw it in Red Square between classes and there’s a good chance you’ll hit someone who claims victim status for one reason or another, besides being hit randomly by some idiot with a ball. There are, of course, the usual suspects in the grievance industry who some fear to speak about because of the reflexive backlash, and who appear to care more about condemning others and securing resource transfers and/or preferential treatment than taking actual responsibility for their own lives or lifting up their identity group. Booker T. Washington spoke eloquently about such people a long time ago.
We all fail in life and no one ever gets exactly what they want. How people react to this reality is extremely important to an individual’s future achievements and happiness. Some will take a failure, analyze it, find out what went wrong, and then take steps so as to increase their chances of future success. That may be gathering more knowledge, working harder, or changing one’s behavior, such as how they present themselves or interact with those around them. Others, especially those who take part in the grievance industry and buy into victim culture, will refuse to do the introspection required or the work necessary to achieve their goals. Instead, they’ll find either a person, group, system, or way of thinking, and condemn it as the culprit. This becomes a life-long habit leading to bitterness, envy, hatred, and of course, continued lack of success, since the problems really holding the individual back are neither identified nor fixed.
Here’s something important we want to say about this topic, especially to those Georgetown students who claim to be victims and supposedly suffer a lack of privilege. It’s about having perspective. The truth is every Georgetown student is lucky enough to be among the most privileged 1% of human beings in world history simply for being where they are right now, regardless of his or her identity group or socioeconomic status. The same hold true for nearly every American. Think about it. You’re at Georgetown, one of the top universities in the world, and soon you’ll have a credential, a brand, and a network, which if leveraged properly, will help you flourish in life far more than the vast majority of humanity. You’re not a kid working a silver mine in Bolivia to support his family and put food on the table. You’re not homeless or malnourished. You could be living in a country with very few social services available to you because it is low-income, beset with corruption, and lacking in the opportunities available in America. Or you could be suffering from a debilitating disease that prevents you from even going to college. You could be trying to grow up in a war zone. Or you could be in a camp for political prisoners in North Korea just because a relative of yours did something to offend the regime. But you’re not any of these things.
If you’re reading this and you consider yourself a victim of society, it's time to wake up and realize how lucky you are to be alive at this moment in time, living on the Hilltop, and with the opportunities afforded to you by the goodness and efforts of others. Lose the entitlement mindset and stop pretending you’re oppressed when the truth is you’ve got no clue what that word means. Fact is you’re likely just spoiled and have a bad attitude. That’s some truth you probably needed to be told years ago but weren’t because you were coddled. Maybe someone worked harder. Maybe you’re a jerk and people don’t like you because of your attitude as opposed to your identity group. Maybe instead of rallying against an oppression that doesn’t exist, you take responsibility for your life and go out and accomplish something. If you do, you’re a lot more likely to achieve your dreams and add value to society. You'll be a lot happier too. Sitting around complaining or holding protests about a ghost that doesn’t exist won’t get you there.
There's nothing wrong with being proud of Western Civilization or America, despite the nutty pronouncements of a certain type of half-educated professor or smelly activist filled with self-hatred for themselves and their cultural past, (or in some cases, just jealous of what the West or America has accomplished). Why anyone would be embarrassed by this amazing heritage astounds us, particularly when it’s one that has done so much to help create the modern world through advances in science, technology, engineering, medicine, economics, politics, and morals (yep, we said morals).
Sure, there are some things not to be proud of, including failures and past history or cultural practices worth regretting and deserving of apology and recompense. But this statement is true for any person, organization, and culture that has ever existed, including those who so easily damn the West or America. The fact remains the West is mainly responsible for the improved standard of living the planet enjoys, and the high-level of human freedom found in most of the world. America’s contributed significantly, especially in the last century, and despite our more recent foreign interventions that were inappropriate and haven’t turned out so well. And all of this is without mentioning a history filled with amazing art, architecture, literature, music, and philosophy.
The fact is you can point to any country on the map that is considered backwards and impoverished, and there’s a better than average chance it rejects or hasn’t yet adopted Western ways. For all the hate American and Western Civilization gets, the fact is people don’t desperately flee from America or Western nations, but rather, risk their lives to get to them. If the West or America were so horrible, immigration flows wouldn’t be that way, which is something the complainers conveniently forget to mention.
Universities like Georgetown arose directly from the Western tradition of free inquiry and liberal learning in service to the search for truth and the betterment of mankind. So whether you like it or not, the history of Western Civilization is an essential part of your heritage simply because you are studying at Georgetown, and the West’s vast achievements and its history of ideas are worthy of considerable study. We at TGA are proud defenders of the Western tradition, and we think not studying it makes one’s education incomplete. (Read Plato!)