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How liberals and conservatives think | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
A Penn State student walks in the rain past Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa.
A Penn State student walks in the rain past Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa. [ GENE J. PUSKAR | AP ]
Published Jul. 8

Liberals vs. conservatives

Conservatives can’t give up on colleges | July 1

Columnist Michael Andrews is correct to observe that throughout America, college faculty are politically far more liberal than conservative and that students routinely become more liberal while in college. He is incorrect, however, to attribute this to a a left-wing political infiltration by faculty who then indoctrinate students. Instead, it is a product of differing thought processes for liberal versus conservative decision-making in general. It is not at all limited to the political arena. In fact, differing political viewpoints are not a cause; they are a result of broader philosophical differences. Without regard to political affiliation, a conservative, by definition, wants to keep things as they are. A conservative — in the apolitical sense — typically bases his or her preexisting doctrine of what is “right” on religious dogma or cultural tradition.

On the other hand, a person thinking liberally — in the apolitical sense — does not begin with a preconceived notion of what is right. Instead, a reverence for the scientific method of discovery, truth and an open mind are the cornerstones of liberal thought without regard to political affiliation. Liberal thinkers do not ask, “What is right?” Instead, they ask, “What is?” The answer does not need to fit into a preexisting value system. It is what it is.

Given that a mission of a university is to discover and promulgate truth and knowledge, it is not surprising that “liberal” thinkers are more common than “conservative” thinkers. It isn’t that universities recruit liberals and indoctrinate students. It is the pursuit of truth and a welcome acceptance of change that attracts and develops them. Faculty are disproportionately “liberal” because they seek truth and discovery and they are not averse to change. It just so happens that also makes them, on average, more liberal than conservative in politics, also.

Alan Balfour, Temple Terrace

My hurricane prep

Elsa blows past | July 7

That was one nasty hurricane we had, must have blown 20 mph. If not for the constant chirping of my phone going off alerting me how bad it was going to be, I would have missed it. Next time I will be better prepared and have my phone turned off.

John Spengler, Spring Hill

Follow the money

Academy of the Holy Names is too ‘woke,’ not Catholic enough, lawsuit says | July 6

Thank you for publishing the story of Barbara and Anthony Scarpo suing the Academy of the Holy Names for the return of their past financial donation of $1.35 million by accusing the school of being too “woke.” That is exactly why it’s so important to support your local newspaper. It’s extremely important to know who is trying to control whom in our local community. Years ago Nelson Rockefeller asked my father, who was active in Republican politics, to support him in his first run for governor of New York. My dad declined, not because of policy positions but simply because he was leery of supporting anyone with so much money. I am today amazed how prescient was my dad in realizing the power of money to crush integrity, whether it be in the secular or the religious sphere. This whole incident is the mirror image of Gov. Ron DeSantis trying to withhold money from state universities if they don’t teach what is approved by local politicians! Let’s hope the leaders of our state university system have as much gumption as those at the helm of the Academy of the Holy Names.

Jeanne Fischer Zylstra, Temple Terrace

The quiet majority votes

Biden’s fantasies about a new new deal are a mirage | July 2

I am one of the “moderate and conservative voters” that columnist Jonah Goldberg references (according to The Pew Research Center study) who are responsible for Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. As a lifelong Republican, I had previously only voted for one Democratic presidential candidate — John Kennedy — when I was 18 years old. I am not and never was a Trump fan, although I agreed with many of his accomplishments as president, but I could not support the man for the person he is. I believed Joe Biden was sincere when he said he wanted to bring the country together and “cross the aisle” to do so, if needed. His was the message that this country needed and still wants. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when he rapidly changed courses and shifted closer to the progressive left wing of his party and its agenda. Both parties have left and right extremists and unfortunately their voices are the loudest. They both need to remember that, in studying the results of the 2020 presidential election, the quiet middle-of-the-roaders make the difference. We will be voting in 2022 and 2024.

Liz Gauntt, Tampa

No personal responsibility

Trump Organization, CFO face fraud charges | July 2

It should come as no surprise that the indictment of the Trump Organization and its CFO did not charge Donald Trump personally. His record of avoiding culpability is well documented. Early in Trump’s business career, he was sued by the Justice Department for discriminatory rental practices when African Americans were systematically excluded for consideration as prospective tenants. The case was settled, and no admission of guilt by Trump was required. As president, Trump’s abuse of power led to little more than two benign impeachments and a bruised ego. For those who believe this is some sort of lucky streak, you have not been paying attention. Trump’s schemes are his craft. They include his relentless campaign to subvert the Constitution, which left unchecked poses more of an existential threat to the republic than our geopolitical adversaries.

Jim Paladino, Tampa