The Oberlin Review

Karpatkin’s Letter Maintains Hypocrisies, False Accusations

Daniel Markus, Managing Editor

April 6, 2018

In recent weeks, the Review has published numerous pieces regarding gun control in the wake of the murder of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, by Nikolas Cruz. Initially, we published “Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales,” (The Oberlin Review, March 2, 2018) by Jacob Britton. Briefly, his piece argues that the AR-15, used in the Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Santa Barbara mass shootings, among others, would have been right at home in the 18th century when there were “guns even more dangerous around.” Unsurprisingly, this argument elicited several responses, including “Current Gun Control Debates Give Inadequate, Ineffective Solutions” (The Oberlin Review, March 9, 20...

Publication of Numerous Articles Attempts to Censor Conversation

Jonathan Karpatkin

March 30, 2018

To the Editors: By publishing no fewer than three responses to Jacob Britton’s letter on AR-15s, The Oberlin Review showed that its interest is not in dialogue but in punishment for holding dissenting opinions. The commentary by the two editors of the Review in particular is built on straw horses and unfinished arguments. When Roman Broszkowski and Julia Peterson write about grenades, they twist Britton’s argument. They jump from arguing about the individual right to bear arms as established by District of Columbia v. Heller to attacking the stance that all weapons should be legal, a stance which Britton does not take. Grenades aren’t firearms, nor AR-15s, nor have they been used prolifically in mass violence. Bri...

Current Gun Control Debates Give Inadequate, Ineffective Solutions

Jonathan Karpatkin, Contributing Writer

March 9, 2018

This op-ed is both a response to Jacob Britton’s letter disputing the constitutionality of a federal ban on AR-15s and similar weapons (“Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales,” The Oberlin Review, March 2, 2018), and an expansion of my own views. Throughout his letter, Mr. Britton misrepresents not only constitutional law but also the history of firearms. As someone with comparatively extensive knowledge of guns and gun control, I feel it’s my responsibility to, foremost, correct the record with regards to Mr. Britton’s letter, but also to present my take on the current gun regulation debate. Mr. Britton first assumes that the Supreme Court’s review of amendments is restricted to interpreting the inte...

Britton Cherrypicks Statistics, Presents Narrow View

Roman Broszkowski and Julia Peterson

March 9, 2018

Last week, the Review published a letter to the editors that raised a number of points about gun violence (“Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales,” The Oberlin Review, March 2, 2018). Given that several claims in this letter do not stand up under closer scrutiny, we felt compelled to respond and offer the evidence and context that Jacob Britton’s letter lacks. In his article, Britton states, “The fact that the United States has significantly lower homicide rates than other countries with stricter gun laws should be enough for anyone to remember that safety is in the hands of those who are the most responsible.” While it is true that El Salvador, the country with the highest rate of intentional homicide...

Britton’s Argument Collapses Under Scrutiny

Jade Schiff

March 9, 2018

Editorial To the Editors: Jacob Britton’s argument about the Founding Fathers and AR-15s is bold and contrarian, and I admire him for having the courage of his convictions. However, his argument does not stand up logically or empirically. At a time when American politics is infected from the top down by disdain for truth and reason, such deficiencies cannot go unanswered. Britton writes: “The Supreme Court interprets original Constitutional amendments in the historical context of the Founders.” This statement conflates the two dominant modes of judicial interpretation: originalism and contextualism. According to the first, what matters is the intent the Founders. According to the second, interpretation is determi...

Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales

Jacob Britton

March 2, 2018

To the Editors: This letter is a response to the op-ed by Booker C. Peek regarding AR-15s and Constitutional law (“Constitution Does Not Automatically Permit AR-15s,” The Oberlin Review, Feb. 23, 2018). Toward the beginning of their case, Peek briefly reflects on the tragic mass shooting in Florida. As someone who was born and raised in Florida, I certainly share my condolences with the families of the victims, and I understand why many people are pushing for gun legislation and Constitutional amendments on assault weapons. As a person who shares Peek’s sympathy for the victims of mass shootings, I think it is important to also use those feelings to properly assess solutions while preserving Constitutional law. K...

Conservatory sophomore Jacob Britton’s original jazz musical The Odds, a high school drama set in the 1950s, premiered last weekend at the Cat in the Cream.

Original Student Musical “The Odds” Plays with Tropes, Humor

November 3, 2017

Fun, cliché Hollywood tropes about high school find a new face in Conservatory sophomore Jacob Britton’s jazz musical, The Odds. Overall, the performance feels like two Zac Efron movies melded into one: a feel-good, low-budget take on High School Musical and Seventeen Again. The musical, set in the 1950s, engages with the struggles and anxieties faced by high school freshman, Aaron Baker (College first-year Tom Lovoi). Aaron ditches class for the first time, develops a crush on a nerdy girl, an...

Libertarian Ideology Protects Capital at Workers’ Expense

Jordan Ecker, Contributing Writer

April 21, 2017

Jacob Britton’s latest attempt at political debate begins, “It was only a matter of time…” Indeed, I suppose it was. I can’t help but feel that the first paragraph of Britton’s latest foray into the wide world of political economy is symptomatic of the bizarre way the right behaves on college campuses: They seem fixated on producing disagreement and then howl with joy and roll around in the mud when they find it (“Positive Rights, Not Capitalism, Require State Violence,” The Oberlin Review, April 14). Britton hilariously echoes the meme “so much for the tolerant left” by accusing me of failing to live up to the left’s “benign” reputation — for the record, I have no interest in treat...

Positive Rights, Not Capitalism, Require Violent State

Jacob Britton, Contributing Writer

April 14, 2017

It was only a matter of time before a fellow Oberlin student would respond to my right-leaning op-ed condemning wealth distribution. Jordan Ecker begins his refutation by stating that my article is a mere “rehashing of key libertarian talking points,” then goes on to respond with his own rehashing of leftist talking points (“Libertarian Economics Crudely Misguided,” The Oberlin Review, April 7, 2017). Therefore, it is only appropriate that I disprove his rebuttals one-by-one since it is in this same format that he responded to me. Ecker opens his response by attempting to refute my argument on how only certain kinds of taxation are justified if the activities of the state being funded by the taxpayer are esse...

Libertarian Economics Crudely Misguided

Jordan Ecker, Contributing Writer

April 7, 2017

Jacob Britton’s “Wealth Distribution Fails to Invigorate Economy” is a five-paragraph rehashing of key libertarian talking points (The Oberlin Review, March 31, 2017). It may prove heuristically useful, then, to offer a step-by-step rebuttal of each argument to demonstrate the overwhelming inadequacy of libertarianism as a political philosophy. Britton poses three questions: What justifies wealth redistribution, what would redistributed wealth look like and is wealth redistribution good for the economy? Arguing on avenues paved by libertarian thinkers like Robert Nozick and Friedrich Hayek, Britton says that the state is justified in taxation only for the purpose of “essential government functions like nat...

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