GOP Too Extreme? CU’s “Conservative Thought” Prof Says No

Dr. Steven Hayward, CU's

Dr. Steven Hayward, CU

Sarah Kuta of the Boulder Daily Camera reports:

The University of Colorado's Steven Hayward says the Republican Party served Americans well when it pushed back against President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

"Is the Republican Party too extreme?" Hayward asked. "My answer is, 'I certainly hope so.' It may not have chosen the best tactics in recent weeks, but it's doing us a service in making a fight about these matters."

"A lot of liberals these days have contempt for our democratic form," Hayward said. "Many of them, if they could work their will, would throw out the Constitution entirely. But somehow it's the Republicans who are called extremists." [Pols emphasis]

Wow! And just so Steven Hayward, the University of Colorado's "visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy," is in no way misunderstood, the recent government shutdown/default drama in Washington is exactly the way the Founders intended our government to operate:

Hayward, who is teaching two classes this semester at CU, pointed to James Madison and his Federalist Papers, which he said more than 150 years ago correctly predicted the state of today's government.

"James Madison is saying, 'Of course we're going to have some really ugly fights like this.' So why the liberal freak-out [Pols emphasis] over our government operating exactly as Madison understood that it would?" Hayward said.

As readers know, we've taken a dim view of the years-long quest by University of Colorado President Bruce Benson to achieve "ideological balance" on the state's flagship university campus by recruiting politically conservative professors. With that in mind, we've defended the particular choice of Dr. Hayward for this position despite the fact that we consider the position itself needless and kind of silly. Whatever "affirmative action" may have been needed to bring Dr. Hayward to the CU campus, he is academically well qualified to be there.

But as for the argument Dr. Hayward making about Republicans and the recent shutdown, all we can say is that the public does not agree with his assessment. A recent poll shows that fully 77 percent of the public, including 3 out of 5 Republicans, disapprove of the GOP's handling of this latest round of budget negotiations. Hayward may be able to find some bit of rhetoric in the Federalist Papers to theoretically justify the GOP's recent fiscal brinkmanship, but the polls say he is arguing a minority opinion even among his fellow Republicans.

And with all due respect, that would seem to have limited educational value.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    He's a moron, but by God he's Bruce Benson's moron. Who told you guys he was worth a shit?

  2. n3b says:

    I would say you're shooting the messenger, but you hate guns. You must be aborting the messenger.

    I think the man's got a point, but you knew I would.

  3. Moderatus says:

    Good for Dr. Hayward. The truth is that our political debates are no more acrimonious than they ever were. In fact they've been much worse. Remember the Civil War, lefties?

    A little unbiased scholarly perspective is a good thing.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Too bad we couldn't learn from the past and avoid wasting 24 billion dollars for a temper tantrum that was nothing more than political theater.

      Did I mention the absolute waste of 24 billion dollars when we should have been concerned about making things better not worse.

    • Are you suggesting that our country runs best when we continually skirt the edge of a civil war? Hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers would disagree with you.

      A number of prominent people have pointed out that our system of government can easily approach the level of dysfunction that we have seen this past few months years. None of them, I think, would say that such dysfunction is ideal or effective.

      Further, I doubt that James Madison, who had a documented history of being an effective compromiser, would have championed the threatening of the validity of the debt of the United States as a negotiating tactic.

    • nota33 says:

      Conservatism is a mental disorder.

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    This guy is a living testment to the problems with affirmative action quota systems.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    While I completely disagree with Dr. Hayward on the shutdown, I can't help but think that having him on the CU faculty is an educational opportunity. We all need to be able to develop decent fact-based arguments, not rely on fallacies and emotional appeals.

    If he grades his students on whether they can formulate such arguments, as opposed to whether they agree with him, so much the better.

    Debate students are expected to coherently argue for one side or another on a question such as , "Should voting be compulsory?", or " Unilateral military force by the United States is justified to prevent nuclear proliferation."  The young people do not get to choose which side they will argue for, and in practice, are expected to be able to argue either side. I've been persuaded as a debate judge to award points to people arguing completely preposterous conservative postions, just because they presented evidence and argued their points with more finesse.

    We have a lot of intellectual laziness in this country, perpetuated by echo chambers on the right and the left. While of course my own bias is on the left hand side, and I do agree that "reality has a well-known liberal bias", I'd love to see students graduate, who can respectfully debate a position, eventually developing a multidimensional understanding of a social problem.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      You make a big If mama by assuming the Dr. Hayward is rational and even handed in his approach to grading his students.  Current history says that conservatives reward their pets and punish those with different views.

      I think it could be a teaching moment by showing what a farce it is to have a teaching position that is completely partisan without regard to talent.

    • dwyer says:

      I agree with you, mj55, about the importance of debate.  I learned the most in high school as a member of the B Debate Team. (Although, some of that may have had to do with the overnight trips to Tournaments on the Western Slope)

      No high school debater would have allowed Dr. Hayward to get away with the

      statement that liberals wanted to throw out the constitution.  He would have been challenged.  Debaters would have demanded evidence – polls, statements, etc.  CU students could have been told just to turn on Rush and listen an hour three times a week and accomplished the same "balance."

      A word about Ward Churchill:  Prior to the late 70s, when he was originally hired to support Indian students, most educated Indians were "assimulated" and got degrees in education and taught "white values"  to Indian kids.  Churchill came out of the civil rights movements for Indians, an effort that was late in coming.  He did not come out of academica.  This does not excuse what he did in terms of plagerism, etc.  But, if all the professors and adjunct professors at CU and CU Denver had been subjected to the same scrutinty, CU would have had to close its doors, IMHO, as a CU grad and someone who did some graduate work there.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        Did you see that OwenJHill's top endorser Sen. Rand Paul's been busted for lifting whole paragraphs from Wikipedia?  That's one way to save on speech wrting expenses.  Not quite like borrowing from a Colorado judge and running as a gubernatorial candidate, but fun nonetheless.  So Mr. Hill: Do you condone theft? 

      • mamajama55 says:

        dwyer, you're right: any good high school debater would notice that Dr. Hayward has committed the logical fallacy of "tu quoque", which basically is: I know you are, but what am I?"


        Clearly also a horrible role model. Somehow college students survive having horrible professors. My hope is that CU students will gain some practice in respectful and rigorous argument with people who hold opposing views, and be able to "expand the bubble" of people with whom they are able to talk.

  6. mamajama55 says:

    I don't know anything about Hayward's grading policies or coursework. I just see the potential for students to develop intellectual discipline by having to deal with him. I could be completely wrong, and he could be a sort of hypnotic Rasputin turning out little Rand Paul clones.

    Even though I was on the same side of most issues with Ward Churchill, another CU professor, he was in many ways a poor role model (plagiarism, wildly divergent stories about his military service and ethnic background, and more). I don't know if Churchill encouraged coherent argument in his classes and coursework.

  7. Hawkeye-X says:

    Conservative Thoughts? What a waste of tuition money.

    They should throw these students who signed up there to the mental institution. Same principle and they learn the same garbage from these mental patients.

    The professor needs to be terminated, and Bruce Benson resign from his chancellor position, and then go away for good, as in six feet under.

  8. yameniye says:

    This is what we get from the Republican decades long attack on education.  As the fat addict (little blue pills) would put it, 'a pointy pin head' spouting words that are meaningless to the world.

  9. jason says:

    This is the first time I have ever been on this site. But wowwwwww. The liberal movement is supposed to be about accepting everyone and treating people as equals, correct?

    So far the majority of the comments I have read are people directly attacking others or anyone who is on the right. Hmmm, how exactly does that work? 

    Mental disorders? Six feet under? 

    That isn't debate. That is the antithesis. Political ideology, no matter what side, is going to come out. It is human nature. But to completely disregard another's beliefs and and belittle their beliefs doesn't show much for your beliefs. That isn't ideology. That's common sense.




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