Fix Contributor Harry Graver of Yale University thinks college students should consider how much the have yet to learn when they opine about politics:
To speak of students at one of the world’s best universities as being clueless seems relatively counterintuitive. For all of the Kant or Derrida we have under our belt, we are certainly as qualified to vote as the “average American.” Right?
However, I’m someone who has never held a job longer than a summer, who has never been entirely financially independent, who has never served in the military and, in general, has never had to endure the realities of the world without the knowledge that I was never far from the safe haven of home and Mother Yale. Actually, the belief that I am qualified to vote for the president of the United States could be the furthest thing from the truth.
While my story is far from universal, I would hazard that it is closer to the majority here at Yale. Our lives have mostly existed in the realm of ideas, sheltered largely (at least for a few more years) from the harsh circumstances of the realm of action.
The academy — with its prestige and resources — can with little difficulty construct an appealing set of rose-colored glasses, by which we can evaluate ourselves and in turn a readily simple world. In doing so, we afford ourselves an intellectual authority by association; one that not only allows us to access this world, but grants permission to speak confidently of its truths.
There is something about voting at such a young age, which allows for, if not reinforces, this dangerous temptation. Just look at the last few weeks of columns on these pages. With relative certainty, students have become economists, political philosophers, four-star generals and often all the above, in 800 words or less.
Read the full column at The Yale Daily News.