Thursday, February 24, 2011

26 Questions from a NPR Liberal to Conservatives

NPR's show ON POINT with Tom Ashbrook had a show February 22, 2011 called Conservatism 101 where the host interviewed people who are involved in a conservative group call "Conservatism 101" that is growing in college campuses where they read conservative thinkers.  I was intrigued with the title since I know NPR is hopelessly liberal and I know the host is stuck in the '60s and I wanted to know how they would treat the guests and if they could stand up for themselves.  I was not disappointed with the unbelievable questions posed to these kids and to the other guests.  I decided to write them down and share them with you along with HOW I WOULD have answered the questions.  The reading list was mentioned first which includes among many others: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Robert Bork, Ayn Rand, Milton Freedman, Pat Buchanan and Charles Krauthammer etc.  


1.  Can it really be that those people are not in one way or another taught at Brown University?

2.  Who is teaching it?

3.  Is it a full regular course or different?

4.  What's the turn out?

5.  Will you or do you listen to or read Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh?

6.  Are you so sure that these conservative thinkers are not being taught?
Second time this question was asked.  The host obviously doesn't believe that these people are not taught at a liberal school!?  Later on one of the guests says that he met people at Brown that have never heard of EDMUND BURKE!?!
7.  Are you sure they are not out there?  Are you sure you they are missing?
Third time this similar question was asked.  Get a clue Tom!
8.  Who's backing the Conservatism 101, Katy?
I bet he wanted her to say "Americans for Prosperity" or the Koch Brothers.  But she didn't.
9.  Is Conservatism 101 a proselytizing project?
And liberalism is not.  And what exactly is wrong with trying to sway someone's opinion to your own?  There's nothing wrong when liberals want to proselytize, but when it's about conservatism...
10.  What do you hope to find from this?

11.  If there's not more representation of these thinkers on American campuses, why do you think that is so?
FOURTH TIME he still doesn't believe it.  I wanted the guests to shout in unison: BECAUSE UNIVERSITIES ARE LIBERAL! DUH!
12.  Are you trying to bring Conservatism to triumph in Academe?
Just a ridiculous question.
13.  Terrance, you're head of the Republican Club at Brown University, is it popular?  Are you lonely as a conservative?
Why, if these writers are being taught on campus would his group be lonely?  These questions are not a joke.  They are real.
14.  Do you think you'll go in conservative and come out a liberal?  (chuckle.)
As if that's a good thing.  As if that's just what happens when you go to university in the US.
15.  (To the Dean at Brown University) Does opening your doors to this course mean that something was out of whack before?  

16.   (To the Dean at Brown University) Is there a comparable class at Brown for Liberalism 101?
The perfect answer for this question: Well Tom, nobody would take Liberalism 101 because there would be no difference between their normal classes and liberalism 101.
17.  Do you think we need more conservatism taught in University then?  Looking at Republican representation in congress state houses, do we need this class to have a ground for understanding between US citizens when we're talking about big issues of the time?  Or is the balance about right and it's just so Terrance (the guy at Brown) can show an initiative in his personal life and university life?
Yeah, conservatives can't have answers for the big issues of our time.  What balance are you talking about Tom?  You believe that these conservative thinkers are being taught on campus so what balance are you talking about?  I just saw a video of the guy Terrance in the show, he's black which I didn't know from the show since it's radio, but if the host was a conservative and the guest was a black liberal, this last part of the question would be considered racist.  "Good job black man trying to bring different views but we all know that you are voting against your own self interests!" is what the liberals are really saying.
18.  Steve Calabresi is a founder of the Federalist society, are you confident that you'll get a dispassionate, scholarly, approach to conservatism (chuckle chuckle) when it's taught in this class?  When it's taught by a leading conservative figure?
This was one of the biggest shockers.  Conservatives can't be scholarly.  Wake up Tom.  Maybe we should have a conservative teach Liberalism 101 and a liberal teaching Conservatism 101, right?
19.  Do you think this will lead to more engagement?  Or are you building a conservative fortress?
Again, if you are a conservative you are a cave man like, medieval type Neanderthal.  
20.  But your backers are saying that they want to create engagement or to train troops?
Add militaristic to the last comment.
21.  Does this really build bridges or build bulwarks to oppose each other?
Add haters to the last 2 comments.
22.  How do you guard against close mindedness?
I would have shot the question right back at him.
23.  Quotes a tweet from David Frum.  Are you open to a tough critique of conservatism?  Some groups view conservatism as a "know nothing" group.
I know Mark Levin would be rolling his eyes at this one.  In response I would have simply said, "David Frum is not a conservative."  If pressed I would reply, "Just because an apple says that it's a rutabaga, doesn't mean that it's a rutabaga."
24.  Terrance, (the guy from Brown) are you looking to roll back the enlightenment itself?  Are you saying "No Thank you?"
This was from a caller who had a couple good things to say about the root of the differences between liberalism and conservatism and how it all started from the enlightenment and the perfectability of man.
25.  To Katie (University of Arizona graduate) If it would all go your way what would it look like?

26.  Do you think the country would be more fiercely polarized or less?  (chuckles)
With that bomb of a question he gave her really no time to respond of course.


  1. thanks for taking the time to write this.

    I listened to this program last night and I share your disgust at the line of questioning. But I liked Terrrence's demeanor and I liked Berube quite a lot. Reading through the posted comments at the On Point site was like wading through an open sewer. Very unpleasant--I take no delight at all in being reminded of the intellectual wasteland that defines much of the geography of the average NPR's listener's mind.

    I did drop a comment in, noting that Terrence George is a black man, and wondering how the comments posted might have been different if the posters had known that.

  2. Hey Ken. Thanks for your comment. Happy to help. Great quote: "I take no delight at all in being reminded of the intellectual wasteland that defines much of the geography of the average NPR's listener's mind."


  3. I find it hilarious that a fan of Rush Limbaugh criticizes Tom Ashbrook for being biased and treating his guests unwell. You obviously don't actually ever listen to his show & went into it with preconceived notions. Tom is the model of a great host who is tough, but fair & your buddy Rush as well as all the conservative radio or TV hosts could learn quite a few lessons from him. If you actually bother to listen to a few episode of OnPoint you would see that Tom is a great moderator and let's every side have its say, but also holds them accountable. This is in contrast with every conservative radio or TV talk show I've ever heard or watched where the host constantly shouts down anyone with opposing views.

  4. @randino I'm sorry but who listens to Rush with preconceived notions?

    Actually I've been listening to On Point for years. The topics are interesting but I know the host is a liberal and thanks to your information all the producers are liberals too, plus most of the listeners.

    Rush isn't so much an interviewer type radio host. He doesn't need to be. But if YOU actually listen to conservative radio you would hear your liberal ideas very clearly from callers and other guests on their shows. But then again, you probably don't want to listen to conservative radio since you aren't secure in your own liberal ideas to challenge them. I am secure in my conservative ideas therefore I can listen to liberal stuff like NPR. What do you think about that!? E-mail me and we can have a good conversation about it. slimeballcomics at