The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Shame of SMU

Get up, stand up

The Smiths have a song called “I Know It’sOver” with the following line:

“It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate,it takes strength to be gentle and kind.”

In context, the word “laugh” refers to laughing withscorn and derision.

I’ve been thinking about the feeling expressed in thatlyric in light of events on this campus over the past couple ofyears, particularly in recent weeks.

Specifically, I am referring to the antics of the members of thegroup calling themselves the Young Conservatives of Texas.

As a history student, and as somebody who tries to pay closeattention to current events, I often find myself pondering the verytrite question of why people do some of the things that theydo.

I could probably think of dozens of examples, but for nowI’ll use labor history, since it’s a particularinterest of mine.

As a worker, it has a particular resonance for mepersonally.

I wonder why not long ago Americans had to face ferocious (andsometimes lethal) violence to organize in the struggle for decentworking conditions and acceptable wages.

I cannot understand the kind of ethical bankruptcy necessary torun a sweatshop or anyplace similar, let alone the kind of pureevil needed to unleash brutal force to preserve the status quo.

Some people say that humans are naturally mean-spirited.

Others say that we are not mean-spirited by default, but crueltyis simply easier than kindness.

Either way, I have seen with my own eyes how attractive it isfor many people.

A little more than a year ago, I noticed someone from YCT tryingto recruit followers with a sign that said something like,”Because the alternative is to be a tree-hugging, granola-eating peacenik.”

I wasn’t sure what’s objectionable about lovingtrees, eating healthfully and objecting to war.

So, I hugged a nearby tree, flashed the peace sign and bought agranola bar, which I deposited on the recruiter’s table,saying he looked like he needed some granola.

That autumn, SMU was the scene of a ridiculous series of eventsthat destroyed whatever faith I had remaining in this place.

YCT deliberately violated university procedures to force theshutdown of its anti-affirmative action bake sale, thereby givingthe group an opportunity to complain about its free-speech beingviolated.

I’m particularly angry with the officials who took thebait.

Conveniently, a forum on affirmative action was already imminentwhen this incident occurred, which provided an opportunity to sitthrough a series of idiotic comments from people speaking on allsides of the issue.

The lowlight came when two YCT members took the microphone. One,shaking like Goebbels in his bunker, misquoted Martin Luther KingJr. in a moment that would have pleased Freud.

Does this student not know that the FBI harassed King and triedto manufacture a sex scandal, or that shortly before his suspiciousdeath, King said that America was the greatest purveyor of violencein the world?

Another YCT member launched into an incoherent rant, complainingabout a lack of conservative professors, proclaiming himself to bea “proud white male” (tell it to the Cherokees), andreminding the audience that he had been in the military beforeenrolling here. Strange, both of my parents were in the militaryand neither one feels the need to remind everybody.

It got worse this semester. One brave student spent most ofthree days in a cage to obtain signatures in support of a Chinesepolitical prisoner. Day after day, YCT members harassed her.

The following week, they staged another asinine publicity stuntin opposition to Earth Day. Would they take a swig from the RioGrande, or live on a Native American reservation with rampant birthdefects due to pollution?

Noam Chomsky wrote that those who call themselves”conservatives” today are “advocates of apowerful state, which interferes massively in the economy and insocial life. They advocate huge state expenditures and a postwarpeak of protectionist measures and insurance against market risk,narrowing individual liberties through legislation andcourt-packing, protecting the Holy State from unwarrantedinspection by the irrelevant citizenry … the preciseopposite of traditional conservatism.”

The young conservatives are a foul and shameful disgrace to thisschool.


Scott Charney is a senior history and English double major.He may be reached at [email protected].

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