The central role of former CU Boulder guest researcher John Eastman in Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election is well documented in the new book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Your opinion ?
It’s embarrassing to admit that I defended Eastman in this space a year ago. I did this based solely on his academic argument. His memo on the 2020 election results made a similar point – an obscure legal strategy to try to invalidate or postpone the results. It was not a call for insurrection. Nonetheless, his behavior revealed questionable character and poor judgment. I freely admitted in a later article that Eastman was not a good fit for the visiting conservative scholar. The university struggled to fill this position with a reasonable candidate. Still, I would like to see them try again.
The University’s Diversity Office actively recruits faculty and students of color and other under-represented groups. While such diversity undoubtedly enriches the college experience, isn’t it even more important to recruit diversity into political thought? Shouldn’t the diversity of ideas have at least an equal footing with the diversity of skin colors? After all, the purpose of college is to think, to learn to think, to question one’s ideas, and to defend them in vigorous intellectual discourse. No university, and even less our flagship school, should be an echo chamber for any political ideology, including the liberal left.
Not all diversity is good. We don’t want diversity in the quality of our academics. We don’t want both bad and good teachers. We only want the “right” kind of diversity. And having academics who lean to the right, even strongly to the right, will enrich the learning experience at CU.
We just need to find more reasonable Conservative voices. They exist.
Bill Wright, BillWr[email protected]
CU could easily avoid this type of embarrassment if he ended his affirmative action program for the Conservatives. Hiring a “guest scholar in conservative thought and politics” each year is nothing more than an effort to flatter right-wing donors and regents who mistakenly believe universities are intentionally indoctrinating students into leftism. It’s a pervasive myth, but a myth nonetheless. The reality is that for many young people, attending university is the first time they are encouraged to interact with a wide variety of perspectives and identities, beyond those of their parents, and they are learning to conduct research and identify specious arguments. That these experiences tend to cause students to become more liberal, not less, is not a failure of the university but rather a failure of the modern conservative movement to embrace intellectual scholarship and debate rather than gatherings, cultural wars and outright insurgency.
John Eastman is an insurrectionist, outright. He gave a keynote speech on the “big lie” on January 6, and his position as a conservative scholar, a title given to him by CU, undoubtedly lent credibility to his lies. His words helped plunge the crowd into a frenzy that culminated in violence at the very heart of our republic, the United States Capitol.
Due to the lack of fanfare, few seem to know that CU has named Eastman’s replacement yet. Unfortunately, they did not take the role in a less Trumpian direction. The CU website biography of new visiting conservative scholar Alan Kahan focuses on his Tocqueville scholarship, but a simple Google search reveals that Kahan’s claim to fame is his defense of a notorious Trump strategist in an article titled “Why Steve Bannon Isn’t a Fascist.” Surely CU could have at least found a conservative scholar outside the Trump / Bannon school of political “thought”? If CU insists on continuing this ill-conceived program of conservative visiting scholars, they must do a better job reviewing their appointees.
Jane Hummer, [email protected]
i don’t think it’s a surprise that Eastman played a central role in Trump’s coup attempt and tumultuous insurgency; Eastman represented Trump in his “Big Lie” lawsuits against the states and spoke at the Jan.6 uprising rally. In my opinion, Eastman, Giuliani, and Trump have committed treason and should be tried and jailed. The fact that they are still roaming freely overwhelmed me. The Constitution and our laws are just flimsy pieces of paper. Without honorable and upright people in positions of power, there is little that will prevent us from falling into authoritarianism and totalitarianism. Eastman et al don’t care about the distinction between having a legal justification to do something and an ethical and moral obligation not to do it – who cares if the country is torn by seams if you stay in power, don’t is this not ?
Sometimes I feel like my parents “missed the mark” when they raised me to believe in these ideals of duty, honor and homeland. It feels like the only people who get power and wealth in this country are those who only care about themselves, above all else. Maybe if I had gone the other way it wouldn’t be such a struggle every day to keep my head above water (and I have it better than most).
Trump and his sycophants are but manifestations of our nation’s sins of glorifying wealth, power, accumulation and exploitation rather than caring for people. Although I didn’t like it, I’m glad we got to experience Donald Trump as President because he was so rude and spoke clearly about his intention and purpose and didn’t. hasn’t shrunk into a euphemism – America has always been “America first”, he just slapped you with it. Politicians at all levels have always been corruptible, Trump has just done it openly. What Trump has made so clearly evident is that our entire government and our economic system is broken and made to empower and enrich only the privileged few. It’s still happening – look at how the Federal Reserve is still backing businesses with billions of dollars in “quantitative easing”, yet the meager $ 300 a week of extra unemployment has ended for the unemployed – that’s junk. hogwash.
If “people” do not commit, at all levels, to pushing politicians (and themselves) and ideas that put people and our environment before profits, nothing will change and things will end badly. And the “push” is not just election season, it is only the beginning, we must be continually vigilant and continue the fight at all times. As we enter ‘election’ season in Boulder there are a lot of good candidates, and everyone I’ve met on the two big ‘lists’ are good, caring people – it’s hard to know who. Choose. I guess when I’m going to choose candidates, I’m going to look for the ones that emphasize putting people first.
Doug Hamilton, [email protected]
Selection criteria for a visiting scholar in conservative thought and politics is described as “a highly visible person who is deeply engaged in analytical research or the practice of conservative thought and policy making, or both,” according to the Benson Center website. It doesn’t say anything about the reason. Maybe that was the problem? Either way, it is certainly a hard pill to swallow that such a person has ever been brought to college campus to impart any sort of knowledge, wisdom, or perspective to students. I find it odd that he’s still listed on the Benson Center website, but he’s down there and his photo has been deleted. With the revelation of the memo, one has to take into account the fact that Eastman has gone from being a conservative lawyer to being an active participant in a scheme designed to undermine the very system to which his ideals are so attached.
I am very much in favor of having diverse perspectives on campus; the difference is what makes this world work – for better or for worse. Having said that, I hope that in the future the powers that be will be more judicious in the selection of visiting representatives. It does NOT mean that people should be censored. Rather, the process searches for individuals who are not on the radical ends of the spectrum – both ways. At the very least, I hope visiting scholars will have the opportunity to hear AND UNDERSTAND perspectives other than their own and engage in discussions around them. I sincerely believe that perpetuating the political polarization of the campus harms the culture of the campus and students in general. I think we need to take a step back and take a lesson in the civil discourse of Dr Robert George and Dr Cornel West.
Emily Walsh, [email protected]