Hampshire College has become a hotbed of political controversy. The liberal arts college is supposed to foster the skills needed for students to think critically, and engage in well reasoned debates. But after some students expressed “fear” of the American flag, the school removed theirs.
This has many scratching their heads. Fox asked for some clarification on the issue, and one of Hampshire’s students came on to talk to Tucker Carlson about the issue. And now he wished he hadn’t.
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First, a bit of context. After the election, students pulled down Hampshire College’s American flag. Later, it was burned. The President of Hampshire College, Jonathan Lash, flew another flag, but at half-staff, something he meant to symbolize how many in the country feel marginalized by Ole’ Glory.
Only that didn’t appease the students, and Lash has now taken it down for good. The flag burning, Lash wrote, “has been especially painful to our Hampshire colleagues who are veterans or families of veterans.” But before you jump to the conclusion that taking the flag down was meant to protect it, read on. Removing the flag, permanently, will “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.”
Don’t try to pick apart Lash’s logic. He’s the president of an actual college, so he’s smarter than you. Plus, he’s right. It is impossible to address racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric with all of that flapping-in-the-breeze that flags produce.
The person who should have appeared in the interview with Tucker Carlson is Lash. Instead, it is a tragically under-prepared student: Daniel Vogel. Vogel supported removing the flag, as it is a representation of an America he wants to erase. The flag, he says, is symbolic of the fact that “U.S. imperial forces are really the main force in the word using military force to oppress people.”
The crux of Carlson’s argument comes little more than halfway through the interview, when he presses Vogel on the issue of rebellion and class in American society. Flag burning at U.S. colleges, Carlson notes, is primarily a practice found at private schools with inflated tuition.
Vogel flounders when Carlson asks him about the median income level of Americans. He can’t even put an estimate on what he believes most Americans live on each year. Though he isn’t surprised by the assertion that it is much less than the tuition at Hampshire College ($62,000 a year), he has never put that into perspective within the confines of his anti-American argument.
Vogel, hoping to prove that he is the poster-boy for American exploitation, goes on to say that he can afford this private education becasue his parents are wealthy–wealth they accrued through profits from America’s slavery-fueled past. Even the land that he lives on, he asserts, was stolen from native peoples.
Carlson then hits his rhetorical stride and blows up Vogel’s commitment to his egalitarian world view. Why, Carlson asks, are you using your position for pointless symbolic acts. Why not put your beliefs in action and disavow the wealth that was stolen from so many generations before and enter into the work force?
From there, Vogel is doomed.
Poor Vogel. He wasn’t prepared for someone with so much more experience debating. He clearly hasn’t been exposed to anyone at the collegiate level who won’t quietly golf-clap when he pitches his logical fallacies. Carlson, like many sophisticated rhetoricians, gives Vogel just enough rope–then Vogel takes care of the rest.