The Conservatism of Russell Kirk: Transcendent Moral Order

The first and arguably most fundamental of Russell Kirk’s ten conservative principles is the belief in a transcendent and enduring moral order. Kirk was not the first to observe moral order; men have hypothesized that human nature is built with a certain order since ancient times. In Plato’s Republic, we find a theory of the tripartite soul, in which the psyche is made up of three parts: λογιστικόν (reason), the θυμοειδές (spirited) and the ἐπιθυμητικόν (appetitive), and it is the harmony of the soul which is true virtue and justice. A virtuous man “rules himself, puts himself in order… harmonizes the three elements together, just as if they were literally the three defining notes of an octave”.

Plato’s city-soul analogy shows that we may apply the order of the soul to society at large. Without an orderly soul, man cannot be wholly virtuous, just as without an orderly system of morality a society cannot be wholly virtuous. If everyone is using his own personalized system of morality and nothing is truly right or wrong, society will be doomed to fall into anarchy, which will later lead to tyranny. We must all have the courage of our convictions—the desire to do what is true and virtuous—in order to keep a just society.

Contemporary America has fallen far from Plato’s view of an orderly soul and Kirk’s assertion that a transcendent moral order is paramount in the creation of a good society. Moral relativism has been on the rise for decades as individuals shun societal norms and values in favor of the belief that morals are relative to their holders. In other words, right and wrong are not the same when applied to everyone, but instead are up to the individual to decide.

This moral relativism is everywhere, from media to legislation to personal relationships. For conservatives, the most striking examples are the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973 and the redefining of marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. These two Supreme Court cases decisively changed the meanings of life and marriage. They altered American societal morals, as generations after these rulings have been indirectly or directly taught new forms of justice.

Millennials’ views on abortion show this principle strikingly. As this Pew Research study indicates, non-religious young people overwhelmingly (70 percent) believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. What used to be a highly contentious issue is much more one sided for non-religious millennials, as the gap is only widening for that demographic.

For Christian (both Catholic and Protestant) millennials, however, the picture is much different. It is either a near 50/50 split or a strongly anti-abortion result, showing the difference in opinion amongst young people who have some sort of belief in biblical principles. These young people are often extremely passionate about the pro-life cause and are joined by some non-religious pro-life activists as well.

This is only a small example of a larger notable trend in the relationship between young people and moral relativism. Pro-life activism comes from a place of very strong moral feelings which argue against relativism: all humans deserve the right to live and die naturally and not at the hands of any human being. However, it is not just the conservative religious young people who are making these sort of ethical appeals.

Just take a look at college activism. Yes, sociology professors are still making the argument that we must respect all moral systems equally, and the general university populace is still entrenched in hookup and party culture, but young progressives make values-based arguments all the time. The immigration debate largely takes place within a consideration of justice (on both sides), and the left often discusses racial issues in regards to atoning for the sins of the past.  

Although I do not agree with these progressive systems of morality, it would be dishonest not to call them moral systems. Instead of reverence for God and the family, college-aged liberals see tolerance and progressivism as the basis for their moral code. They become indignant when they see something is unjust—in their eyes—and they desire to make a change to fit their system of moral order. They fight for what they view as morally right and see moral wrongs as a form of injustice.

Sound familiar?

This is why the fight young conservatives carry out is no longer just about moral relativism. Although our parents and grandparents dealt with a world that was fully steeped in this toxic philosophy, we are in a space in which both sides are making ethical arguments.

Progressives do in fact believe in a sort of moral order, but that moral order has replaced God with the belief that man can become God.

Our morality is no longer derived from a higher power and a transcendent right or wrong, but instead the desire to climb up the ever-extending ladder of progressivism, constantly desiring to reach the apex of tolerance. Only this can never be reached, as by definition to be progressive we must constantly be moving forward, rather than considering why we’re even changing our moral values in the first place.

The key, I believe, is not to convince the other side that there is such a thing as right and wrong. They already know this (for the most part), but they are not guided by the same transcendent and enduring moral principles. It is up to us to share these values not by yelling and shoving them into their faces, but instead by living them out in our own lives. We cannot restore the order of society without first restoring the order of our own souls, as justice is “concerned with what is inside,” as Plato states.

We cannot solve all of society’s problems in a day. While we can spend our time hand-wringing and worrying about the fastly degenerating state of our universities and other social institutions, we should never succumb to the fear that the true transcendent moral order will be destroyed. As Kirk said, “human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent”, and to think that our generation will break apart this enduring fabric of humanity is simply self-centered and ignorant. We must cling to these moral truths with all of our strength, but also have faith in their lasting endurance.

Justice and virtue may be difficult to find in these murky waters of contemporary society, but they are still present—as they will always be.

Public domain photo / Banner image designed by The Tower.

Going on a 50’s Date in San Antonio

Although people typically see a lot of the dating etiquette from the 1950s as “ridiculous”  and outdated, many of the customs used then can be adapted easily into 21st century dating. We may now scoff at the idea of only the man asking the woman out or getting parental approval for a first date (especially if you’re in college)—but a lot of the social norms surrounding dating in the 50s had great practical purpose, making them timeless.

Here are some ways you can incorporate ‘50s dating practices into your relationship (or future relationship—these are great for a first date!). While they may not work for every date you go on, having a ‘50s date every once and awhile is a fun way to shake up the monotony of just another night at your mainstay restaurant or coffee shop.

Preparing for the Date

An important part of dating in the 50s was communication and punctuality. It’s recommended that the man asks out the woman at least two days in advance, giving her plenty of time to prepare. This asking also should be done in person, with detail given about what the askee should expect of the date in terms of location and time. Of course, it is also completely okay for the woman to be the asker today, and in a long-term relationship it usually goes both ways.

Once the night of the date has arrived, the woman should be ready on time so the man can pick her up at her door. This means no parking in front of her dorm and sending her an “I’m here” text, but instead actually getting out of the car and walking all the way to her front door. It’s a personal touch that makes all the difference.

Where to Go

In the 1950s, the most common places to go on dates were cheap and fun and didn’t involve a terribly large amount of planning. This is great news, because a lot of popular places (such as ice-cream parlors, diners, parks and coffee shops)  are still accessible today. Here are some great recommendations in and around San Antonio, most of which cost under $25:  

1. The 410 Diner

This 1950’s style is exactly what you’re looking for if you want great food with a bit of vintage flair. It’s fairly inexpensive diner faire with fast service and nostalgic decor and music. Definitely not the healthiest place on earth, but worth it.

2. Japanese Tea Gardens

If you live in San Antonio and have never visited the Japanese Tea Gardens, you’re missing out. Located within walking distance from Trinity University and with free entry from dawn to dusk, it’s practically a broke college students’ dream date location. It’s a great place to go on walks with your boyfriend or girlfriend (possibly after a very filling meal at the diner?) and has beautiful flowers and greenery.

Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

3.  Pearl Market

There are a ton of things of all price points to do at the Pearl. Go shopping at the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning, grab dinner on Friday night, or just take a long walk on the stretch of the Riverwalk which is right below all of main thoroughfares. Events are always going on here, and you’ll never get bored with the Pearl’s endless street musicians, quirky shops, and delicious restaurants.

4. Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatres

Although this location is not technically in San Antonio (it’s about a half hour drive away from Trinity), it’s definitely one of the most unique and fun places around. Stars and Stripes plays double features on three different screens, and concessions are available. Clear out your trunk and fill it with pillows and blankets.  Even though this option involves making the trek to New Braunfels, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

5. NOLA Brunch & Beignets

This location only works for early morning or afternoon dates, but is still a great option due to the walking distance from campus and the adorable atmosphere both inside and out. Treat your sweetie to some brunch on a cool weekend morning, or if you want to save a bit of money, go for just some coffee and delicious beignets.

6. Commonwealth Coffeehouse and Bakery

Commonwealth is another great morning or afternoon option, and serves great espresso drinks with flakey croissants. This is a great option for a fun between-classes date, or for something simple on a Saturday morning.

7. Amy’s Ice Creams

Amy’s is a staple, and is smack-dab in the middle of the Alamo Quarry, meaning shopping and dining options are bound. Prices are much more palatable than the oh-so-fancy Lick Ice Creams, but with better quality and more fun than just picking up a half gallon of Blue Bell at HEB (which is still an arguably awesome date, by the way).

Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

8. Slab Cinema

If you aren’t feeling like a drive in movie but still want something different than your typical movie theatre, check out Slab Cinema. They have outdoor movie showings at different locations around San Antonio, and nearly all of them are completely free! Nothing beats laying underneath the stars with the person you love, and adding a fun movie just makes it all the better.

9. Sorrento’s Italian Ristorante

An Italian restaurant is a classic date location and Sorrento’s is perfect for this. You know you’re in for a traditional Italian meal when the walls are decorated with old family photos, and what’s not to love about that?

10. Candlelight Wine & Coffeebar

Okay, I might be a little bit biased for this place because it was where I went on my first date with my boyfriend one year ago, and now it’s one of our favorite places. But—Candlelight truly is one of the best date places around. It’s within walking distance from campus, is open late, has a variety of food and drink and a romantic ambiance that is sure to please. Whether you’re in the mood for dinner or just a cup of tea, Candlelight has something for you.

Luke Ayers at Candlelight Wine & Coffeebar. Photo by Maddie D’iorio.

Things to Remember

The most important part about going on a ‘50s date isn’t the location or who picks whom up at the door, but instead the mindset. Put your phone away and let yourself enjoy your time with the person you’re with. Being whimsical and outside the box makes dating all the more fun, especially when it’s with someone you care about. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Allure of Tradition at Trinity’s Christmas Vespers

Photo courtesy of Trinity University’s digital access management.

The experience of listening to Silent Night being sung by hundreds of hushed voices as you watch the dancing candle flames filling Parker Chapel is truly a beautiful thing, and one which makes me extremely proud of my university. Although Trinity may not be a remarkably Christian school (despite our “covenant relationship” with the Presbyterian Church USA), we still hold onto this traditional worship service and celebrate the coming of Christ together.

Seeing our humble chapel filled to the brim with people is a drastic change from when there are ecumenical services offered by the university chaplain, which typically draw abysmal attendance. It usually takes a student organization such as Catholic Student Group (CSG) or Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) to produce any sort of crowd in this building.

Vespers is different, however. There’s something about the biblical readings, collection of traditional carols and candlelight which draws hundreds of students to haunt the halls of Parker Chapel, while on every other Sunday they would avoid it like the plague. Something in the spirit of the event attracts us, even in the midst of final exams and holiday-induced stress, as we collectively decide to take part in a tradition which is so unapologetically Christian.

The first time I experienced Vespers, I was in awe. It amazed me to see so many of my non-believer peers attend an event which had prayers, Gospel readings and meditations on the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of choosing to just go to the fun Christmas on Oakmont and eat tamales at Dean Tuttle’s house, they also decided to spend an hour of their time at a church service. I questioned why a secular student would want to attend such an event but not even believe in the person of Jesus Christ, let alone the fact that he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary.

At first I believed it might be because of the music. The Trinity Choir sings beautiful carols, and many love to hear these well-known songs despite their religious affiliation. It’s almost universal how much we enjoy Christmas music.

But that can’t be it. Just two days prior we have the Christmas Concert, where the choir along with other musical groups from across campus all perform even more carols, and without the ‘interruption’ of biblical readings and prayers. If people just wanted to hear some good music, they would already have an event to attend.

So what is the reason, then? What is it about this event, which has been celebrated for decades on Trinity’s campus, that makes it so beloved by our changing campus demographic (even as we become more and more liberal and secular with each passing year)?

I believe people come to these events, not in spite of their traditional aspects, but because of them. In a campus bubble which is quickly growing further and further away from traditional lifestyles and sentiments, our student body is hungry for remnants of the culture we know is missing from our lives. Maybe we grew up going to a similar service with our families on Christmas, or maybe we’ve never really experienced anything like Vespers. Either way, it’s out of the ordinary for many of us, which draws us in.

It’s also the simplicity of the event which pulls us in. Even though the incarnation of Christ isn’t simple by nature, the story of a mother and a child can be understood by anyone. It is a refreshing change from the messages which are pushed onto us during the Christmas season: that this time of year is all about buying and receiving gifts, and the best way to prepare for December 25 is to shop, shop, shop. Young people today are turned off by this vapid consumerism, often yearning for something more. The story of the Nativity carries with it a plainness which makes it relatable to all, making it all the more beautiful and genuine in its celebration.  

This is exactly why Christmas Vespers is so necessary. It is more than just a fun and an easy draw for admissions staff (I’m looking at you, fountain dunk, magic stones and Leeroy’s toes), but instead an authentic display of love and joy for the true reason for the season. I’m proud to go to a university that not only allows such a beautiful display of faith, but promotes it, and I surely hope that it continues for generations more of Trinity students.

Keeping up with SGA

Trinity University’s Student Government Association (SGA) ended the year with a bang last year as we voted on the final budget proposals for all University Student Organizations (USOs). USOs are organizations whose budget and existence is guaranteed by administration–groups like SGA, Greek Council, and the Trinity Diversity Connection.

These groups requested an abundance of funds (a 14 percent increase from the five-year average), and although SGA was thankfully able to cut a lot of the fat, we’re still left with an astronomical USO budget for the year, which leaves Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) with slim pickings.

Although the exact number has not been released yet due to the change in the Student Activity Fund (SAF) every year, the amount that RSOs have to request from has historically been going down by $20,000-$15,000 each term for the past couple of years.

This is an issue, and one that not many are aware of. As a Class of 2021 SGA Senator, I have seen first-hand how many students at Trinity see the SAF as a bottomless pit of cash, and forget that these funds are finite and come from our own students’ pockets. $150 per student, per semester, are what make up the SAF.

What does this all mean for an incoming student at Trinity, and why should anyone outside of SGA care? Well, the amount of money that RSOs can request affects nearly everyone on campus, as virtually every student on campus is a part of some club or organization. This year, more RSOs will be denied funding for their events, and that means fewer opportunities for students on campus.

The solution to this problem is by no means simple, as many of the reasons why USOs are requesting so much money are out of the students’ hands (such as the fact that Bell Center student employees are being paid from the SAF, which is a controversial and hotly debated issue). I genuinely believe that last semester’s SGA worked very hard to pass a tight budget for USOs, but it could always be better.

This means looking with a more fiscally conservative lens at all requests, both USO and RSO. Cutting large-scale items (such as a spring concert that we cut entirely from Student Programming Board (SPB)) and smaller-scale items are equally important and necessary, especially as clubs request more and more funds. In addition, leaders of these student groups must also look more critically at why they are requesting funds, and how much, as well as trying to search for money elsewhere before coming to SGA. It would be nice to say yes to every request that comes through the door, but it isn’t feasible.

First-year students who are fiscally conservative: I urge to you to consider running for SGA this November, and to keep up with the goings-on in our meetings. They are free for anyone to attend (held Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Waxahachie room), and the Trinitonian publishes a weekly update about the meetings both in print and online. Student government is vastly important, and will affect many of your day-to-day activities here at Trinity—stay informed.

Chip Roy Announces “Heart of Texas Tour”

TX-21 Republican candidate Chip Roy has announced that he will be going on a tour of all 10 counties in the district throughout August, ahead of the November 6 election. Roy’s announcement post on Facebook boasts “more than 21 public events in 21 days across TX-21.” The topics listed on the campaign website indicate that the focus of the events will be on security, health care, and economic issues, including taxes and regulations. 

TX-21, long held by incumbent Lamar Smith (R), is generally considered a safe Republican district, rated R+10 by the Cook Political Report, and the slew of endorsements Roy has received, including from the retiring Smith, aid his chances.

FEC filings indicate that Roy’s Democratic challenger Joseph Kopser has spent over $300,000, more than 25% of total campaign disbursements, on campaign consulting firms, including over $203,000 to Resonance Campaigns, more than $84,000 to Global Strategy Group, and more than $42,000 to Berger Hirschberg Strategies. Conversely, Roy’s campaign is grassroots-focused, and this latest announcement reflects that.

Kopser has been on a similar tour of the district, accusing Roy of “avoiding the voters of TX-21,” and it is not difficult to imagine how Kopser’s campaign might further accuse Roy of imitating the tour. These claims fall flat, however, after just a cursory look at past events hosted by Roy on Facebook, including several meet-and-greets, debates, and blockwalk events at which Roy was present.

The first event is August 9 in Blanco. Find the schedule and RSVP links here.

Debate to be held between CD-21 Candidates

On Wednesday, August 29th, a debate will be held between the two candidates from Congressional District 21, Republican Chip Roy and Democrat Joseph Kopser. The debate will take place in Pearl Studio, which is located in the heart of San Antonio’s Pearl Market.

The debate will be moderated by San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Chairman, Shaun Kennedy. CD-21’s seat has been long held by Congressman Lamar Smith, who announced his retirement in November of 2017.

Chip Roy, who is described on his website as “genuine, committed, [and] conservative”, was a senior adviser to Senator Ted Cruz before deciding to run for Congress. He has since been endorsed by Cruz, as well as Senator Mike Lee, former Governor Rick Perry, and a host of grassroots political organizations, such as Club for Growth and Texas Right to Life.

Joseph Kopser has work experience in both the private sector and the US Army, and is running on a platform that includes gun control, raising the corporate income tax rate, and funding abortion provider Planned Parenthood. On his website he describes himself as a “progressive Democrat” who will “stand up to Donald Trump”.The debate will be from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, and tickets can be purchased here.

We Wanted to be Surprised by #MeToo

This article was co-written by Luke Ayers

When the stories of sexual assault, harassment, and general impropriety began to surface, often with #MeToo, neither of us were particularly surprised. We really, really wanted to be. We wanted to be shocked that figures representing films and television series we enjoyed could be guilty of such horrendous offenses, but we weren’t, not in the slightest.

It’s difficult to be surprised about #MeToo when we are living in a culture which does not encourage a respect for human dignity in sexuality. A culture which is saturated with things such as pornography and casual sex, diminishing the value of intimate relationships. This has led to people, especially men in positions of power, believing that they have the right to sexually take advantage of women without repercussions. If we don’t expect people to stand for human dignity in public, why should we expect them to do so in private?

By this point, if you’re someone who consumes pornography or has casual sexual relationships, or at least don’t think there’s anything wrong with these, you’re probably getting a little peeved (at the very least) and thinking we’re a couple of prudes who need to get our minds out of the 1300’s. While you aren’t entirely wrong on our preferred century, the problems with the attitudes that accompany a flippant use of pornography or consistent participation in casual sex are well documented. The harmful effects of pornography in particular are well documented by psychologists and behavioural scientists.

In case you’re doubting the truthfulness of this claim, we’ve selected just three of the worst effects that pornography has been shown to have. There are many, many more to be found.

1. Even non-violent porn makes men more likely to use violence, drugs, and alcohol to coerce women into having sex with them.

2. Porn is addictive in the same way that drugs are, because of the release of dopamine in the brain, sending users on a destructive path towards more and more dehumanizing porn to satisfy their addiction.

3. Porn contributes heavily to the sex trafficking business, with even many of the women who do consent often being coerced into doing things they don’t feel comfortable doing.*

These numbers do not represent fringe research. In light of this growing body of research, four states (Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas and Tennessee) have declared pornography a public health crisis, and Florida has similar legislation introduced at the moment. Virginia has passed a resolution recognizing porn as having harmful effects. Similar efforts are being discussed in Texas and other states.

The second attitude that contributes to the acceptability of sexual offenses like those highlighted by #MeToo is the prevalence of hookup culture and an assumption that sex can or should be casual. Admittedly, some of our issues with extramarital sex are religious in nature, and to hide that would be disingenuous. However, even allowing for sex outside the context of marriage, the fact remains that hookup culture approaches a person as a mere means to an end. It degrades a human person to simply a tool that provides sexual pleasure. While these fleeting relationships do have the important aspect of consent, no amount of consent to an activity can change the attitude with which one or both parties approach it.

There is a whole host of issues that come with our generation’s hookup culture, in which 80% of today’s college students take part. According to the Kinsey Institute, having a high amount of previous sexual partners is one of the top five factors leading to infidelity in adults. It also increases your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, which is one of the reasons that 23% of American adults have some form of HPV. Consequences of having casual sex spill out into your emotional life as well—as a study from Durham University shows that 80% of men had overall positive feelings the morning after a one night stand, while only 54% of women felt satisfied.

By participating in this culture, young men and women open themselves up to brokenness and falling away from the original purpose of sex. “Lust and sin increase the rupture between body and spirit. When we use our own and others bodies as objects for pleasure or to fill the emptiness inside us, there is an increased break,” says Katrina Zero, who is the coordinator of the John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body and Culture.

It is for this reason that hookup culture has frankly eroded the morals of our generation. It has created an environment in which one night stands are not only viewed as normal but also as healthy, as was shown in a popular article from, an up and coming young women’s lifestyle site. The same site that, ironically, that posted the non-sexual assault story about Aziz Ansari. It is true cognitive dissonance that a publication can discuss the negative consequences of a poorly thought out hookup, while at the same time lauding casual sex as a necessary and positive thing for women.

Rape and other violations of a person’s bodily autonomy ultimately originate because the perpetrator does not truly believe in the dignity of the person they are attacking. This is not to say that everyone who uses porn or has casual sex will be a rapist—neither logic nor the statistics supports this. However, the prevalence of these two things, among our age group and in society as a whole, certainly do not help decrease the number of these violations. Moreover, the statistics surrounding the higher propensity towards a lack of concern for consent among men who use porn, and the commodification of the human person that occurs with pornography and hookups make it clear how someone could go down the road to justifying more and more egregious offenses against the individual.

Offenses against the dignity of one person are offenses against the dignity of all—we should all take issue with the way that women and men are portrayed as mere vehicles of sexual pleasure, if we wish to truly be a society that cares about the rights of each person. One of our country’s founding values is individual liberty, which means that respecting the basic human decency of our fellow man is paramount to who we are as Americans. This must extend to our culture in regards to casual sex and pornography, as these are the things that are holding us back from eradicating the problems of sexual abuse and harassment in the times of #MeToo.

*Sources for Pornography Statistics:

  • Boeringer, S. B. (1994). Pornography and Sexual Aggression: Associations of Violent and Nonviolent Depictions with Rape and Rape Proclivity. Deviant Behavior 15, 3: 289–304
  • Check, J. and Guloien, T. (1989). The Effects of Repeated Exposure to Sexually Violent Pornography, Nonviolent Dehumanizing Pornography, and Erotica. In D. Zillmann and J. Bryant (Eds.) Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations (pp. 159–84). Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  • Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., and Yuen, C. (2010). Pornography and Attitudes Supporting Violence Against Women: Revisiting the Relationship in Nonexperimental Studies. Aggression and Behavior 36, 1: 14–20
  • Berridge, K. C., & Robinson, T. E. (2016). Liking, Wanting, And The Incentive-Sensitization Theory Of Addiction. American Psychologist, 71(8), 670-679. Doi:10.1037/Amp0000059; Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3, 20767. Doi:10.3402/Snp.V3i0.20767; Pitchers, K. K., Et Al. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience, 33(8) 3434-3442. Doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4881-12.2013; Salamone, J. D., & Correa, M. (2012). The Mysterious Motivational Functions Of Mesolimbic Dopamine. Neuron, 76, 470-485. Doi:10.1016/J.Neuron.2012.10.021
  • Peters, R. W., Lederer, L. J., and Kelly, S. (2012). The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography. In M. Mattar and J. Braunmiller (Eds.) Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society 5: 1-21.
  • U.S. Department of Justice. (2012). Two Men Sentenced to Multiple Life Sentences for Enticing Women to South Florida to Engage in Commercial Sex Acts and Distributing Date Rape Pills. Press Release, Feb. 17.

I Endorse Chip Roy for Congress

Disclaimer: The Tower does not endorse political candidates. However, our writers are permitted to express their opinions. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a campaign event for Congressional District 21 candidate Chip Roy. The event included a meet and greet with both the candidate and also Pastor Rafael Cruz—father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Pastor Rafael Cruz gave an excellent speech, discussing both the victories and issues within Washington DC. He was able to set the stage nicely for Roy, who has served as the Chief of Staff for Ted Cruz. Roy touched on a variety of topics, answering questions about hot-button issues such as immigration and health care.

After his speech, Roy had informal talks with many of the attendees, including myself and the group of friends with which I attended. From both these discussions and his main speech, I was able to glean a lot of very useful information about the candidate.

Chip Roy—as is also described on his website—is a family conservative who has years of experience in the field. He has worked for big name conservatives such as Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. However, his Washington and Austin experience have seemed to propel him towards to goal of changing things within the system, rather than becoming just another piece of the Washington cartel.

It is for this reason that I have decided to support and volunteer for candidate Chip Roy. Not only do I agree with his political philosophy of a reduced federal government that has a secure border and protects all human life, but I also see a great deal of genuinity within him.

It is not an uncommon thing to see politicians acting like, well, politicians. Saying whatever they think will get them elected, moving up the chain of connections, and promising things that they will never truly keep once in office are all traits that I do not see within Roy. The passionate way he converses about all the issues he cares about shows that he is more than just your typical politician running for office.

Chip Roy is very well versed in the ins-and-outs of both Washington DC and in the minutia of every policy. At the event that I attended, he discussed tax cuts, immigration, the debt ceiling, healthcare, foreign affairs, national defense, and numerous other topics. He never once gave a politician answer. Each of his answers directly responded to the question. Whereas most politicians talk around questions, Chip Roy answered them and that is something that I respect. 

Chip Roy has the experience. He has faced off against the Washington machine and won.  Chip Roy most recently served as the Director for the center of the 10th Amendment at Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). At TPPF, Roy wrote about the repeal of Obamacare, worked on the Article V Convention of States, the Trump Tax Cuts, promoted state and local control of education, the repeal of the Obama Era Clean Energy Plan that stomped out the coal industry, opposed raising the debt ceiling without reform,

Photo by Maddie D’iorio

Chip Roy has also served as Ted Cruz’s chief of staff,  first assistant for Attorney General Ken Paxton, a senior advisor for Rick Perry, a former federal prosecutor, staff director, general counsel, and worked in the private sector.

Chip Roy’s experience speaks great volumes as well. Having passion and being genuine is important to me, but having knowledge of both the issues and the field is also a big piece in whom I look for when I go to the polls.

Chip Roy is going to Washington DC to be the next Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul and follow in the footsteps of the other great conservatives.

This combination of experience and authenticity is why I’m choosing to support Chip Roy for the 21st Congressional District, and I think you should too.

Governor Greg Abbott Endorses Upstart HD-122 Candidate Chris Fails

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially endorsed Chris Fails for State Representative from House District 122. In a video released Monday morning, Governor Abbott explains why he supports Fails for State Representative, touching on his desire to reform property taxes and to fight for conservative values in the state of Texas.

Fails is the current Mayor of Hollywood Park, and a co-owner of Alamo Shooting Sports, a Hollywood Park gun store. He announced his campaign last September, during his third year of serving as Mayor of the small town. On his campaign website, he describes himself as pro-life, pro-family, pro-Second Amendment, and a fighter for a smaller role of government.

He is running against the current HD 122 Representative, Lyle Larson. Larson has been described as a “[Speaker Joe] Straus loyalist”, with poor fiscal responsibility scores from Empower Texas. Larson has also had past issues with Abbott, such when he tried to restrict the Governor’s ability to appoint leadership who had donated to his re-election campaign.

Chris Fails’ decision to run came at the heels of Larson’s bill proposal, and has since gained momentum. Governor Greg Abbott’s endorsement is the most recent development in this growing campaign.

For Tobacco 21, an Addiction to Fiction

In reading this article from Rivard Report, I couldn’t help but wonder: what world is this writer living in? Amidst the argument Kayleigh Stubbs lays out for raising the legal age to buy tobacco, she states that “Advertising in movies, magazines, and social media encourages kids to think that smoking is cool. What those kids don’t realize is that when you smoke, you’re slowly killing yourself and possibly those around you with secondhand smoke.”

What advertisement? What media? Maybe if all you watch is foreign films or vintage movies from the 1960’s (or a few episodes of Mad Men, perhaps)… but in today’s world, smoking has long been cast out. This can be seen by looking at campaigns like Truth, which fight for being the generation to end smoking.

Groups like Truth are focused on the populations that have the highest amount of smokers—military veterans, low-income individuals, people with mental illness, racial minorities, and LGBT—and trying to decrease the prevalence of tobacco in their lives.

This is not an uncommon narrative. From the time that we were in elementary school, the primary message sent out to us has been consistently anti-smoking. As someone who has seen the odious health effects of smoking in family members, I am all for this change in culture. Peers at my high school did not see smoking as “cool”, but as a disgusting and embarrassing habit.

This is why I cannot understand Miss Stubb’s, and the rest of the Tobacco 21’s, argument. They claim that we need to get tobacco out of high schools—but it is already happening. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports a staggering decrease in tobacco usage by adolescents, and all trends point to that number continuing to decrease over the next few years.

The reason for this decrease is largely due to free market factors. Yes, governmental elements such as cigarette packaging warning labels have come into play as well, but the real tell of whether or not young people will take up smoking begins in the home. The way that children are raised and whether or not their parents set a good example (either by not smoking or working towards quitting), is key in determining their own future.

For this reason, I cannot support the initiative of Tobacco 21. Even though on the surface it may have good intentions, it will not actually solve the problem it is looking to fix. If a 19 year old wishes to smoke, they will find some way to do it. I would implore Miss Stubbs and other high school aged students to take a look at the amount of college students who drink. Even though many are not in the legal age to do so, nearly ⅔ of college students drink at least monthly. Try going to a college party and rooting out all of the under-21’s.  

I am not arguing that underage substance abuse is a good thing, or that we should all be breaking the law—I’m only pointing out that, it happens. Raising the drinking age to 25 will not stop 20 year olds from drinking, and raising the smoking age will end similarly. We must continue to rely on free market changes to decrease the rate of smoking, as the wheels are already in motion to do so. As Millennials become older and have children, we can further instill in them why smoking is harmful without governmental efforts to do it for us.