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An island of conservatives in a sea of liberals

Original post made on Oct 13, 2017

A Paly junior hopes a new club she founded will not only provide a way for conservative students to meet but also spur awareness and conversations with others with opposing views.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 13, 2017, 6:45 AM

Comments (35)

Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 7:55 am

I think it's a healthy thing for a nation to have opposing points of view constantly refining each other. Unfortunately, conservatives stopped being conservative and started being all about the Big Lie and certain topics that may or may not be actually conservative after Reagan. Reagan's budget director David Stockman, a true conservative in the actual sense (meaning cautious about radical change, careful with money, pragmatic, etc), admitted decades ago that the whole laissez faire trickle down thing was a Trojan horse for cutting top tax rates. He quit on disgust. After Reagan, leading Republicans needed to enshrine Reagan as their Godlike figure and turn Republicanism into something akin to a religion, to keep the top tax rates low regardless of whether that was conservative.

I hope these young people are open just even to the views of conservatives in the past like President Eisenhower who is largely responsible for those high top tax rates, and I'm hopeful, albeit not holding my breath, that they are open to considering the reasons Eisenhower did this, and the good that came from it for many decades. I'm not saying to enshrine that anymore than we should enshrine low top tax rates, but gone are the days you could have an honest conversation with people who call themselves conservatives,because of Reagan's Big Lie, and the turning of it into something akin to religion. I am not in a sea of liberals because of much family and friends on red states, and my experience is that it's been impossible to engage anyone on facts because their politics are like a religion to them. But unlike religion, politics can be debated on actual facts. I'm finding now that instead of engaging on actual facts - because so much of modern Republicanism is built on Reagan's house of cards - people who call themselves conservatives resort to more posturing and dissembling than real open minded debate.

It's not right that anyone should experience bullying, but I can't bring up my views in Red states or among red-thinking family members either. Are these students free speech advocates who would work to make my views or even the facts they are based on heard in those circles (i.e. about free speech) or is all this talk about "free speech" just another way to avoid actual thinking about views that they should consider as people who supposedly believe in the value of marketplaces?

I wonder if these students understand the difference between someone abridging their free speech and someone disagreeing with them and arguing effectively when they are wrong or misguided? The recent defense of the Cult of Conservatism (as opposed to actual conservatism, which many Californians in the past have been willing to vote for, but is all but lost today) has been to claim any disagreement, especially disagreement based on facts that blows the tea party worldview to shreds,is suppressing free speech. Divert and distract, never let anyone shed a light of truth. I think that's hypocrisy, not duppprt of free speech.

If these students can remember that someone disagreeing with them effectively is not the same thing as oppressing them, and that honing their views in a marketplace of ideas (including true conservative ones like from Ike that are almost diametrically opposed to neoconservatives of today) should be a core value if they believe in the reasons for capitalism, then I have a lot of hope for the future. As a current liberal voter, I find liberals are more open to things that conservatives before the cult of Reagan would have espoused than are Republicans today, and I can engage in far more open disagreement. I have to just keep my views to myself in Red States, where are my red free speech defenders there?

Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

To the students: I challenge you to read a recent book by David Stockman, someone who is no liberal, and if you are tempted to think that because they aren't cult of Reagan ideas, read something by a thoughtful liberal, like recent book by Bill Moyers, and the book American Amnesia. Then let's talk. In contrast to the point of this article, most liberals I know are only too happy to debate, if only Republicans were willing to even hear anything that refutes their worldview. Please try to remember that, someone disagreeing with you effectively is not the same as suppressing your free speech. In a marketplace of ideas, you are free to change your mind.

(The liberals who are using liberalism in California as a Trojan Horse for big developers having their way with us are as bad as the Cult of Reaganists, just to be fair. That would be a rare example of the plutocrats coopting both parties.)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:23 am

Voice of Reason.

Your comments are written completely from the point of view of "I'm right, they're wrong, but they are welcome to think that way if..." I would much rather a young person think the issues through themselves and come to their own point of view having started with an open mind and looking at issues without any type of liberal/conservative label. Not all people are one or the other. Many people look at one issue one way and another issue another way on the facts, not because it is the expected way for a person of that label to think.

You recommend one author. I would recommend Jordan Peterson. I would also recommend listening to anything on YouTube James Damore has said. I would also recommend looking at issues without any political bias.

Posted by common sense
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:30 am

common sense is a registered user.

This story should have included the Paly Administration's response to Jason Druker's accusations, as well as the viewpoint from Paly Association of Student Body officials.

Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:42 am

Good luck to them ... liberals into politics in California are among the most intolerant people I have ever met regarding anyone who doesn't tow the party line. The sad thing is that most are so ideologically indoctrinated that they can't even understand the existence of any different viewpoint on any issue or allow for anything that isn't black and white. Most controversial issues actually fall in a gray zone and not everyone who disagrees with black or white is an evil racist, traitor against America, rich person oppressing the poor, "hater", "libturd" or whatever pejorative you care to choose to try to marginalize different viewpoints. Many people here are so insulated, they have lost the ability and initiative to put themselves in the other person's shoes and try to understand their viewpoint. [Portion removed.]

Posted by One party system
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 13, 2017 at 9:18 am

The state of California is close to having a one party system and the U.S. may also soon at the national level if Trump, who is no Republican, but rather an opportunist, continues on his way knocking out people all around him. This provides an ideal opportunity for gleeful Democrats, including billionaires such as the big tech executves we all know here. They aten't engaging in civil political discussions. I am genuinely worried at the silencing of moderate Reoublicans, moderate Democrats, and Libertarians and Independents. This paves the way for a teensy all powerful top class to rule;, then there already is the heavily taxed upper middle and middle class (shrinking) and then a mass class of those voting Democrat and dependent on the government at all levels for welfare, housing, breakfast and lunch (school lunches), "free tuition" for undocumented persons and on and on AND a great loss of personal choce and responsibility. But don't worry: the gigantic tech companies (meaning social media and search and theirvextensions) will take care of you. I hope people focus on education - so they havebcontext, judgement and historical perspective, and respecting professional journalism rather than Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for their "news" as the inaccuracy and bias in the latter methods of communication has become scary.

Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 9:30 am

On the contrary, the entire thrust of my point was to ask the students to be open to the marketplace of ideas, and not to hide behind a lately popular right wing fake umbrage that dishonestly conflates effective disagreement with infringement of free speech.

In my own politics, I am first and foremost a fan of democracy and autonomy, and leery of concentrations of power of any kind. I'd probably be a libertarian except for their gigantic blind spot thinking somehow that concentrations of wealth do not concentrate power and thus they miss the huge value and importance of government for, by, and of the people. I became a liberal voter because the push for a permanent Republican majority that began under Reagan is so threatening to well-functioning democracy. (and has so destroyed actual conservatism and created this cult-like reboot).

I come to my politics from a lifetime of considering history and what works, and, the balance of power in human systems. I have no trouble debating viewpoints or even changing my mind, but I have no patience for this latest neoconservative drive to silence opposing facts by improperly claiming effective disagreement is the same as suppressing free speech. I would note the irony of your response, that you made no attempt to engage but rather to try to create a false impression of me and my post.

David Stockman is a conservative and was Reagan's budget director, and he said trickle down economics was a Trojan horse, the administration didn't even really believe in it. His admission is in the historic record, including that he quit over that. That's just facts. I don't agree with him on a lot of things,like I said, he is no liberal. But HIS voice gets shut out of conservative circles because it is so in disagreement with the neoconservative tenets of today. I am unable to even bring that up to my red state circles. If these students are free speech advocates, that's great, as long as it's real.

Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

[Portion removed.] I might point out that Reagan would be vilified by both sides in today's polarized politics, he was actually governor of California, and the last amnesty for illegal immigrants was signed by Reagan (see Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986). No room for nuanced opinion indeed.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

I find the "Say no to hate" signs and banners in front of churches and residents particularly irksome. Other people like to post up signs such as "kindness", "tolerance", "show that you care" etc. etc. ridiculously preachy messages screaming at you from everywhere.

Also the delusional "Stop the Deportations" in Menlo Park as if a single person from Menlo Park has been deported, as if there are ICE trucks everywhere. The delusion is extreme. Its like these people sit in their cozy living rooms watching he world through CNN and MSNBC. And then the store owners and home owners who feel the need to put these ridiculous signs "ALL nationalities and immigrants are welcome here". As if they weren't welcome before, but now we have to virtue signal how much we hate President Trump.

The Unitarian church has a sign to the effect of "we support the Muslim faith fully" as if Muslims suddenly needed to be singled out. We have labels being thrown around based on collectives with disregard to individuals. Its identity politics overflowing to the extreme.

All the people who post these signs aren't proving to me that they are more accepting or tolerant in the slightest.

[Portion removed.] We here in Palo Alto are the most virtuous, tolerant and accepting people in Earth... but you better take off that MAGA hat. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Jay
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:06 am

The school should be ashamed for not backing the very same diversity approach they preach. They are no better than the hypocrites in Hollywood (See Harvey Weinstein), the media (See NBC cover-up) and Washington (see Hillary Clinton Harvey Weinstein best friend and donation money chain). This left coast PC stuff has run its course.

Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:27 am

"If you a sign that says "Say No to Hate", it actually means "I hate President Trump." "

Or maybe it means "Say no to hate." It only is against the actions of President Trump if he espouses hate, and says nothing about whether people "hate Trump". You can be against what someone, anyone, does without hating them. Additionally, Christians churches have been known to preach saying no to hate and war for a very long time, especially since the leader upon which the church was founded, Jesus, said love your neighbor as yourself, bless them that curse you, and turn the other cheek.

Said leader is also quoted as saying, "No one can serve two masters, he will either hate the one and love the other or devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth." Is this Jesus code for I hate Trump? No, it is about human behavior, just as a sign on a church against hate is.

Perhaps they should instead say "For the love of money is the root of all evil" which is direct statement from the New Testament - if they wanted to level Biblical ammunition directly at Trump in particular, believe me, there isn't enough wall space in Palo Alto.

Posted by Trump Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:28 am

This group is great!

I was a female Democrat and there is no way I could ever vote for Crooked Hillary. More appalling to some is that I have changed my party affiliation to Republican due to the hypocrisy of the liberal elites. I am still pro-choice, pro-gun control, but I no longer want to be affiliated with Democrats, who I view as unethical and spoiled.

This humorous Saturday Night Live video of the 2016 election shows the hypocrisy of liberals: Web Link

Posted by Keep an Open Mind
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

Kudos to the brave students for setting up this environment. Closed-mindedness or name calling from either "side" is unproductive. Righteousness is unattractive.

It's great to read they will focus on dissecting the issues and policies which are nuanced and varied. There are fiscal and social issues to consider and leaning right on the former does not necessarily mean intolerance on the latter. We've all wasted way more time than ever imaginable focusing on the people. That is exactly what feeds Trump anyway.

Although a lifelong Democrat, I've lived in enough parts of this country to know there are many shades of blue, red and purple. Before my teens venture into the real world outside Palo Alto, I want them to realize there are good people being raised with different viewpoints than those the majority of us comfortably and freely express here in town.

Focus on the issues and not the people is

Posted by Joan Galt
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

Here are a few questions for the snowflakes at Paly:

1) How does climate-change/global-warming use the scientific method?

2) How many human sexes are there?

3) Name on thing that government produces that you can "redistribute" other than misery and despair?

Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

I wrote "As a current liberal voter, I find liberals are more open to things that conservatives before the cult of Reagan would have espoused than are Republicans today, and I can engage in far more open disagreement."

I was summarizing very extensive experience, expressing my experience and opinion which I believe is the point of these boards. I will revise that statement when that experience changes.

You wrote that Reagan would be vilified by both sides today - first of all, I have no interest in being Reagan's historian, this is about specific politics that affect us still today. (However, I see no great evidence of Reagan being villified in today''s political discussions, especially not on the right where there has been a concerted effort, for example by the Kochs, to enshrine him.) I am specifically speaking about the laissez faire trickle down economic ideology and its dominance on the right since Reagan, even though Reagan's own budget director admitted at the time that it was just a cover for cutting top tax rates. That coupled with the consequences of seeking a permanent majority, which is fundamentally anti-democracy - have seriously demolished the kind of conservatism Eisenhower espoused. I have found for many decades that liberals are more open to discussing and appreciating the conservative ideals of the past - that are directly opposed to today's neoconservative tenets - than are today's Republicans. That's just my experience. I do continue to try to engage on those issues and will be happy to report if that changes.

On that note, please tell me where in conservative circles the idea of raising taxes on the wealthiest as Eisenhower did, I think to the tune of an 80% highest marginal tax rate, would be considered seriously? I'm not even advocate for that now, but I find it's seemingly impossible to breakthrough to have an open discussion with neoconservatives today even on the arguments and successes of past great conservatives.

Posted by sequoiadean
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm

sequoiadean is a registered user.

By calling it the "Young Americans for Freedom" club you are implying that liberals or democrats are against freedom. Just call it the "Young Republicans" or "Young Conservatives" club.

Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Voice of reason - You seem to have some major blind spots. If you are worried about permanent majority, look how what liberals have done to California. If you think liberals are more open to ideas, where are the pro-life Democrats? There are certainly pro-choice Republicans. And do you really not know there are conservative circles calling for increased taxes on the wealthy?

Web Link

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Thanks for putting up the good fight, and for taking all the abuse for doing it.

I am a registered Republican in PA...a rare and sometimes despised bird in this town. Once I explain to my very progressive friends, how this all came about, they seem to back off a little bit and remember that we were, and should still be, friends. Nice!

Without digging into the history of Nixon and Reagan years, let's look at what little was accomplished during Obama's years in office. I really liked him as a family man, orator, and his goal to be a peacemaker with other hostile countries, and his failed attempt at healthcare. Some of that didn't work out too well. I didn't vote for Trump. His debates with his own party candidates, and later with Hillary, turned me off. But he won. I still don't like his demeanor, his tweeting, et al., but he has made some accomplishments that should be recognized. All forces are against him, media, Democrats (far left liberals and progessives) and members of his own party who don't like an outsider (businessman...non politician) infringing on their territory.

Yes, it's tough being a registered Republican in my town, but I haven't had any threats from the opposing side to torch my house or to spit on me when they see me in public. We are still a very civilized community. Thank you all for living here and making that possible.

Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

If you feel that the central question is a choice between conservative/liberal, red/blue, Democrat/Republican, or similar, there's a good chance you're already caught in the trap of tribalism. This has become entrenched so deeply in the U.S. during the past twenty years that it has overwhelmed most of the other ways we used to look at the world.

There's a thoughtful article about this (in the context of climate change) in October's issue of Scientific American by Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian who's also a respected climate scientist. I recommend it.

So if the goal is to create a "club" for "conservatives", I would ask the students to question whether that's more likely to encourage tribalism or whether it will encourage the wider adoption of more successful approaches to solving problems.

Posted by Engineer Don
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Engineer Don is a registered user.

Voice of Reason's repeated claims of President Eisenhower being responsible for the high top tax rate are factually incorrect. They were already high when he assumed office.

Franklin Roosevelt raised the top tax rate to 94%, it wobbled a little under Truman, leaving it at 92%, and 91% under Eisenhower.


Eisenhower is on record as being for lower tax rates after balancing the budget.

The highly progressive income tax is attributable to Karl Marx, who included it as number 2 in his "Ten Planks of Communism".

Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Allen Akin - You should be less concerned about the tribalism of a small club, and more concerned with the mind numbed majoritarian tribe that literally physically assaulted a kid because they disagreed with him.

Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

This part is familiar gi en Paly's Title IX issues
"when he returned later to report the physical assault, administrators told him to not wear the hat so as to prevent other incidents."

Isn't that like telling a female who is getting harrassed (or worse) to not wear inappropriate clothing?

Keep up the hypocrisy Diorio and fellow Paly administrators.

Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 13, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@john_alderman: Here are some things to consider. Just food for thought.

(1) Is the assault or the club the focus of the article?

(2) Did my previous comment address the focus of the article?

(3) Could the assault be due to tribalism (on the part of those committing the assault)?

(4) How do you know that I'm not concerned about the assault?

(5) Web Link

Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

(6) Maybe you didn't read the article, but just posted reflexively from the POV of your tribe?

I only know what you are concerned about by what you post, and what you choose to ignore. You ignore the tribal violence in schools, then attack the victim for tribalism.

Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:08 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

I always cry a small tear when conservatives complain about liberals being intolerant of conservative intolerance.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@john_alderman: Yes, I read the article before I posted, and my intent was to post observations about a general trend for which this recent event might be a relevant example, not a critique of how the school mishandled a situation from last year.

I'm sorry we got into this argument. You've posted a lot of comments on Town Square with which I've agreed. But you've misunderstood what I've posted here, and misrepresented my position in your replies. I hope we can stick to more common ground in the future.

Posted by sophie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 14, 2017 at 9:17 am

sophie is a registered user.

We here in Palo Alto are the most virtuous, tolerant and accepting people in Earth... but you better take off that MAGA hat, otherwise, people will tell you "I literally want to shoot you right now if you don't take off that hat,".

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 14, 2017 at 7:42 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

So who's a conservative? The conservatives of a half century ago are far to the left of the Republicans who now claim the label. Many of them have left the Repub Party, especially after Trump's election. Even Reagan is a RINO by today's standards.

Fifty years ago prominent Republicans--think Everett Dirksen--helped Lyndon Johnson pass civil rights legislation liberating our dark skinned citizens. Today's Republicans bear the torches of the white backlash to that liberation. But theywere coy with their core bigotry until Donald "MAGA" Trump won with an openly bigoted campaign. Hence the "fine people" marching in Charlottesville.

Those calling themselves conservatives today invite being linked by default to Trump's radical regressivism unless they define their beliefs, and consider forming a truly conservative party embracing the honorable conservative precepts of equal treatment for all and care for the environment and balanced budgets that Republicans long ago tossed in their dumpster.

Posted by Please specify what policies you support
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Please specify what policies you support is a registered user.

I'm curious which of Donald Trump's policies Ms. Gavande supports. Truly. Eliminating health care for millions of people? Eliminating maternity care for women. Health care for kids (CHIP)? Freedom of speech for any one who is not a white male? Disaster relief for only people who are not brown (Aka Puerto Rican). Supporting the "fine people" who are whiite supremacists? Advocating grabbing women by the p....",? Rolling back environmental laws to support the dieing fossil fuel industry?

I'm old enough to remember a Republican party that stood for fiscal conservatism to benefit our nation, not a small percentage of a already phenomally wealthy individuals. Policies you could support because they were intended to better our country. Trumps policies are intended to benefit him, his family and the other members of the "swamp". Anyone who is not white, "christian" and rich is a loser who does not deserve anything.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2017 at 8:53 am

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

I was wrong. Perhaps a better symbol for Liberal Progressives would not be the Mobious Strip.

Given the old school affinity lately for their historical preferred tactics of censorship, violence and oppression a better one would be the traditional hammer and sickle.

It is not being used anymore in Russia and is available. It would go well with all those Che Guevara t-shirts that seem to be so popular.

Funny how a high school student could proudly parade around glorifying the image of the murderous "Executioner-in-chief" but a simple MAGA hat or American flag could warrant an instantaneous trip to the principal's office.

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"... a simple MAGA hat or American flag could warrant an instantaneous trip to the principal's office."

MAGA! Impeach Trump quick.

Posted by AMRW
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2017 at 6:10 pm

AMRW is a registered user.

The irony is strong, I can't believe I'm the first poster to point this out. The following two statements came from the article.

"The first week of school, a flyer appeared on campus inviting students to join a "conservative safe-space club.""

"Gavande ... bristles at the idea of "safe spaces" at school".

I feel confused. Does Gavande want a safe space for conservatives or does she bristle at safe spaces?

Posted by Engineer Don
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 17, 2017 at 1:25 am

Engineer Don is a registered user.

AMRW says, "The irony is strong, I can't believe I'm the first poster to point this out"

Irony is, by definition, "the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous effect".

So yes indeed, the phrase "safe spaces" was being used ironically.

Such a microaggression, against a person of color, who identifies as a conservative, is worthy of a basket full of unredeemable deplorables.

Posted by History Buff
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 17, 2017 at 5:49 pm

History Buff is a registered user.

Regardless of political sides, I can’t figure out how “Gavande, a young woman of color,” who supports policies, not people” thinks that “The infamous comments Trump made about women in a leaked Access Hollywood video don't "translate" into his efficacy as a president.”

People make policies. Trump’s attitude and admitted groping translate into policies against women. Think health care, equal pay, access to birth control and abortion.

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