The Oberlin Review

Global Redistribution of Wealth Could End Poverty

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The futurists once had a dream: Through technological advancement, all of humanity’s needs would someday be provided for automatically, leaving us free to pursue our passions and aspirations. In the 1930s, for example, economist John Keynes predicted that his grandchildren — now the people of today’s workforce — would need to work a mere 15 hours a week, and their descendents would work even less. Someday, according to this dream, everyone would have a home, enough food to eat and the resources to cultivate ourselves into the very best people we could be, unhindered by a rat race for basic necessities. And then, miraculously, technology surpassed these expectations. In the United States alone, empty homes...

Emotional Focus Puts Facts Second in Politics

Amber Scherer, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Since the election, President Donald Trump’s opponents have struggled to find their role in the new era. Political norms seem irrelevant and liberals are struggling to make themselves heard. Two weeks ago in the Review, Will Cramer suggested that activists rely on intuition over facts to make arguments, particularly in regard to immigration reform (“Immigration Raid Discourse Requires Moral Intuition,” Feb. 24, 2017). I agree that appealing to people’s compassion and morality can be persuasive. I also share in Cramer’s frustration about the cold, empirical politics of establishment Democrats. But this perspective, fairly prevalent among Oberlin progressives, could exacerbate the anti-truth trend in American...

Internet Levels Authority in Media Industry

Ben Silverman, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The New York Times ran an ad during the Oscars two weeks ago, featuring the words “The truth is…” followed by various assertions made by political candidates and pundits over the past year. The final line read “The truth is hard.” The commercial is part of a new Times campaign painting the newspaper as a protector of truth, with other billboards and online ads featuring the word “truth” in bold with the byline “it's more important now than ever” or “it needs your support.” The campaign is a reaction to the “fake news” debacle that gained attention following Trump’s win, as well as an attempt to regain ground now that President Donald Trump has commandeered the term “fake news” to disc...

Progressives Learn From Tea Party

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

March 3, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Democrats have a tough time getting into the trenches. This has been clear from the beginning of the Obama era, when the Tea Party was able to thwart a number of progressive policy initiatives, despite being a political minority. It became frustratingly apparent when Senate Republicans successfully blocked federal Justice Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for an unprecedented 293 days. Facing partisan impediments at nearly every turn over the past eight years, congressional Democrats chose to take the high road. They chose to place their faith in the system, believing that if only they could weather the storm, the ship would right itself, and the Republican Party would be exposed and punished for the...

Student Senate Strives to Centralize Activism

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

February 17, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS, Student Senate

This op-ed is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. Student Senate is an inherently political body. Former Student Senator and College sophomore Kameron Dunbar wrote an op-ed for the Review last December about Senate’s role as a political actor, including its freedom to take preemptive action and stances on contentious issues on and off campus (“Senate Activism Vital to Political Resistance,” Dec. 2, 2016). Now, almost three months later, it has become obvious that Student Senate has embraced that role and will continue moving forward as a political b...

Russian Connections Warrant Investigation

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

February 17, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

One of the most disturbing stories to come out of the brutal 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle was that Russian operatives, publicly encouraged by then-candidate Donald Trump, had allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to tip the scales towards Trump, a much more pro-Russia candidate than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the wake of the election, significant evidence has emerged of further inappropriate actions by Trump’s campaign team and Russia — actions that could easily be characterized as treasonous. On Tuesday, for example, The New York Times published a story revealing private contact between Russian intelligence officials and senior members of Trump’s team, incl...

To Enable Social Mobility, Start Before College

Ben Silverman, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

A study by The Equality of Opportunity Project recently featured in The New York Times painted a dramatic picture of the socioeconomic statuses of students in elite colleges and universities: Students from the top economic 1 percent outnumber those from the bottom 60 percent at 38 top U.S. colleges, and most others are barely more equitable. The study is a reminder of the work left to do to expand access to higher education after centuries of restriction to the highest classes. Since the 1960s, there have been a string of measures to encourage socioeconomic diversity in higher education, including affirmative action and the Pell grant for low-income students. But the intentions of the ’60s seem to have been washed...

Dakota Access Pipeline Latest Case of Environmental Racism

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

December 2, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

While many students were preparing themselves for a Thanksgiving full of feasting and celebrating with loved ones Nov. 21, law enforcement officers at Standing Rock were assaulting protesters with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been assaulted, terrorized and arrested since April for exercising its right to peacefully protest against the unethical construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, designed to serve as a key link between the state’s oil wells, was originally mapped to cut through Bismarck, ND — an area with more than 92 percent white residents as of the 2010 census — but was instead rerouted through tribal nations. The U.S. Army Corps of...

Public Protest Can Uphold Democracy

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

November 11, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

The U.S. was simultaneously shocked and horrified by Donald Trump’s win late on election night. In an equally alarming turn of events, Democrats failed to win back control of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. With the Supreme Court likely to soon fall into the hands of conservatives as well, many of the checks and balances that were meant to keep our government stable are no longer effective. For all intents and purposes, the fate of our nation rests in the hands of an egotist who has no experience in politics and is currently facing more than 75 pending lawsuits. It’s now time for us, as the American people, to figure out what we are going to do about it. It must be acknowledged that a sizable ...

Election Results Challenge Language of Politics

CJ Blair, Columnist

November 11, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

In the three years that I have been writing this column, I’ve rarely discussed politics. I always found political op-eds to be pretentious and impersonal, as though the writer spent so long digging for facts that they never considered the emotional significance of their story. But now, in the wake of the most disturbing election in recent history, I find myself scrambling to make sense of what happened. This is a rare moment when words feel totally useless, when no amount of eloquence can explain what we’re seeing, much less its significance. It’s impossible to catalog the effects this will have on our future, but at a fundamental level, the election of Donald Trump has called into question our understanding of language. ...

Humanity’s Survival Dependent on Mars Exploration

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

November 4, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

Elon Musk — the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and private aerospace company SpaceX — conducted a question and answer session on Reddit Oct. 23 to discuss his plan to begin a permanent, self-sufficient colonization of Mars in as little as eight years. Using the largest rocket ever designed, Musk hopes to send up to one million people on a trip to the red planet through a series of 10,000 flights. With scouting missions to test the rockets beforehand and establish necessary infrastructure, such as refueling stations on Mars, a full trip for the volunteers could take as little as 80 days. With increasing environmental degradation here on Earth, expansion is increasingly necessary. The colonization of Mars is not m...

Bob Dylan Showcases Radical Innovation in Art

CJ Blair, Columnist

October 28, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

It has long been rumored that Bob Dylan could win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but when the Nobel Committee announced his win two weeks ago, literature enthusiasts and laypeople alike were shocked. New York Times columnist Anna Smith wrote, “When the Nobel committee gives the literature prize to a musician, it misses the opportunity to honor a writer” (Oct. 13, 2016). In response to Dylan’s win, the poet Alex Dimitrov said, “Rock stars want to be poets. But sorry, not everyone is a poet.” Dylan’s victory renewed discussion about what constitutes literature, and has led many to question whether Dylan deserves a spot in the winners’ circle with literary giants like William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. ...

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