Beyond partisan politics

by Beacon Staff • September 13, 2006

This is the intended goal of any school, as least.

Since the time of Ancient Greece, teachers such as Socrates have taught their pupils through "dialectic," or contradiction and fostered critical thought.,It is September, and Emerson College students are preparing for another semester in which they will hopefully learn ad grow through experience.

This is the intended goal of any school, as least.

Since the time of Ancient Greece, teachers such as Socrates have taught their pupils through "dialectic," or contradiction and fostered critical thought.

Here at Emerson, such topics as film, performance and methods of communication are carefully analyzed and challenged, much as a young Athenian may have done millennia ago.

Yet there is one topic at Emerson that remains stagnant: politics.

Our student body's liberal political views are no secret.

In fact, they are a part of the school's character and a defining factor of Emerson's unique culture.

A vast majority of students and faculty share similar political ideas, which seems to manifest themselves in uncritical acceptance of Democratic Party figures and talking points.

Such thinking leads to animosity toward opposing views.

It creates a group mindset regarding politics and, in the absence of balanced debate, ultimately limits critical reasoning.

The lack of critical thought is not only a byproduct of Emerson's near universal liberal sentiments.

It's also a result of out nation's two-party system, which fosters collectivism damaging to the individual.

Rather than think about individual legislation, policies or philosophies, students identify with one or two main platforms.

They then simple classify themselves as either a Democrat or a republican, without further contemplation. As the philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand once said, " There is no such thing as a collective brain.

Men can learn from one another, but learning requires a process of thought on the part of every individual student."

If students do not truly question the beliefs of their sect, they are blindly loyal towards their party.

Our founding fathers also had concerns about the negative effects of a two-party system. In his "Farewell Address" letter. Geroge Washington warned the American people that "the nation which indulges toward another habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."

This animosity or affection is what so often limits those at Emerson College. The deep liberal sentiment carried by students here creates one-track thinking,often unchallenged by peers.

These beliefs are neither right nor wrong.

What they are, however, is simply intellectually limiting.

It is unfortunate that the question has become "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" The question should be, " in what do you believe?"

Where do you stand on Torte Reform? What are you feelings about the Estate Tax? How about Eminent Domain? What is the solution to improving our school system?

Every issue deserves thorough thought and not default responses based on part affiliations.

When important issues are discussed this semester, let us not rely on platitudes and preconceptions.

Instead we should talk; discuss, research and debate, and do out best to challenge each other and ourselves.