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I want to clarify to the university community that the Department of POlitical Science had no role in sponsoring the lecture by Ryan Anderson on religious liberty. The Anderson talk was supported by a grant from the Institute for Humane Studies [IHS] and the John Templeton Foundation. Tigers for Liberty is the student group that served as the official sponsoring event at the university. I served as the liaison with IHS to secure the grant...

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As I sit at my desk writing this column, I am enduring a very unpleasant “bowel prep” for a surgical procedure I am about to undergo. As my body does all sorts of nasty and unnatural things, it strikes me that this is a perfect metaphor for the 2016 presidential race. It’s hard to think of another race in American history in which the two major party candidates were so unpopular. Maybe Buchanan-Fremont in 1856?...

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I read with some amusement Nathan King’s guest column two weeks ago calling for me to be “held accountable” for employing The Word That Shall Not Be Uttered. I am curious how that accountability would occur. Perhaps King envisions an inquisition run by students and administrators to purge malefactors who use language that offends. After all, my “antiquated” use of The Word That Shall Not Be Uttered was supposedly an act of hate speech and...

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I wrote most of this column on Super Tuesday, but wrapped it up after finding out the results of the various primaries and caucuses. On Tuesday voters chose just under one-fourth of the delegates who will attend each party’s national convention this summer. Texas was the biggest prize of the day. Voters in both parties were faced with interesting and unconventional choices. On the Democratic side we have Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton. Sanders is...

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I appreciate Dominic Pierce’s response to my previous column, raising the question of personhood and abortion. He argues that personhood is the most important question in the abortion debate. According to Pierce, one can be a member of the human species but not be a person. And if one is not a person, presumably others can do what they like with you. The problem with this argument is that Pierce accepts a functional definition of...

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Well, better to be scorned than ignored. I need say little about Mr. Rothenbaum’s column. The notion that I am making excuses for racial discrimination is risible. Advocating that certain perspectives be “stomped out” just makes my point. Professors Singh and Siavoshi are more thoughtful. I think there are three different issues at play. The first is the question of defining “Islamophobia.” A “phobia” is an exaggerated or irrational fear. Thus, someone who is Islamophobic...

My typical bent is toward the political. It’s what I teach and study, and I enjoy it, so the topic frequently takes center stage in my columns. It can be very frustrating, then, to take an entire summer off from writing, because politics does not take a break, and so much of political interest happened over the summer. So, I thought I would start the semester by sharing what struck me as the most interesting...

I’m using my last column of the year to summarize remarks I made to the December graduates. In that address I suggested that it was not too early for students to think about how their biographies will be written. If finishing well is important to you, it makes sense to think about what you should do now to get where you want to be then. I’d like to highlight three things that you should have...