Lunar Eclipse

The moon shines bright over Central Campus and the Campanile on Sunday night. Many students and photographers came out to watch the moon enter and eclipse.   

After working at Iowa State for over 9 years, I feel obliged to write this. But I should warn the reader that the following would probably be considered “hate speech” in Canada, despite hatred having no motivation in its writing. Fortunately we are still somewhat free in the United States. Being forced to buy low-flush toilets, non-incandescent light bulbs and health insurance is the exception rather than the rule. We still have the First Amendment.

First, a quiz. Which of the following are good? Diversity. Discrimination. Sustainability. If you believe that diversity and sustainability are good, and discrimination is bad, congratulations! You have already been indoctrinated. Welcome to thought control, ISU style.

All three words are neutral. Diversity consisting of an axe murderer, a rapist and a bank robber is not what most students want on their dorm floor. Iowa State discriminates on the basis of sex when it comes to athletics. Sustained winds over 100 mph would wreak havoc on campus. But at Iowa State, these words are code for politically correct (or incorrect) beliefs. Take sustainability. A possible one- or two-degree temperature increase a hundred years from now is cause for panic, but an unsustainable federal deficit that could collapse our economy in a few years is ignored.

A vibrant, living university requires the free discussion of ideas. Some actions may offend people, even when no offense is intended. Certain departments at Iowa State do not put up Christmas trees because of complaints from atheists. But the zodiac on the floor of the Memorial Union causes far more annoyance, judging by the masses afraid to walk over it. Why has it not been removed? In both cases, we should appreciate our right to be annoyed, instead of attributing malice where none exists.

For example, the Department of Residence displays “free condom” buckets. This annoys me, treating our students like trained monkeys unable to control their passions. I am sure these buckets also bother many visiting parents who hold their children to higher standards. Unfortunately, abstinence before marriage is not a politically correct view, despite being the only method 100 percent effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Our students are actively encouraged to settle for less than the best, but I do not attribute this to malice on the part of DOR.

As another example, consider a man who thinks he is a pirate and wants to cut off his hand, replacing it with a hook. This is not hypothetical; research “alien limb syndrome.” We would try to help and cure that man for his own good. Now what about the man who wants to become a woman? Why do we try to cure one but celebrate the other?

No one has yet explained why all forms of love are equally valid, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, polygamous, or involving pedophilia, bestiality, incest, necrophilia or any of the letters in the gender alphabet soup. Is it really best not to discuss the ramifications of such an idea? Here at Iowa State though, people questioning the above have been called bigots. Meanwhile, students suffer.

Political correctness has run amok at Iowa State, stifling dissent. Diversity is fought for in all areas except thought, creating a suffocating environment for those who want to think, question and test everything. Nonetheless, I am hopeful. As long as students are willing to speak out and not blindly follow indoctrination, Iowa State can regain the stellar reputation it had when I was a student here in the '80s.

(54) comments

David Hammarstedt

It's unfortunate that people legitimately think this way

Bailey Wilson


Nick Thuot

Hey Charlie,

Based off of your writing, I believe that we have a misunderstanding related to some of the things you described. While I'm not interested in engaging in a discussion via this comment section, I would be more than willing to engage with you individually if you're interested/willing to take in another valid perspective. Please feel free to call my office phone at 515-294-0164 or if you'd be more interested in a face to face conversation, I'd be more than willing to set that up as well.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to engaging in this crucial conversation with you.

In partnership,

Nick Thuot

Alex Gookin

"Certain departments at Iowa State do not put up Christmas trees because of complaints from atheists."

I think this is more of an extension of Separation of Church and State than it is a group of non-believers being mad because a tree is up. Iowa State is not a Christian college, nor is it Jewish, nor is it Islamic. It's a state school (funded by the government) and I think a fairly good chunk of students and faculty are happy with keeping religious beliefs off a campus that is legally not supposed to be associated with a particular religion anyway.

"For example, the Department of Residence displays “free condom” buckets. This annoys me, treating our students like trained monkeys unable to control their passions."

You just went from saying, "people need to quit being annoyed with Christmas trees" on a *government-funded campus*, to saying you are annoyed by condoms on a college campus. So... okay? It might shock you that states with abstinence-only sex education have BY FAR the highest teen pregnancy rates because—surprise!—high school and college kids have sex whether you want them to or not (and that doesn't change just because you never did it). In fact, back in the '80s when you claim Iowa State had a "stellar reputation," the pregnancy rates were far higher. Be as disgusted as you want that there are condom buckets on campus, but just remember you wrote this letter arguing that people need to be more open to an array of ideas.

"No one has yet explained why all forms of love are equally valid, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, polygamous, or involving pedophilia, bestiality, incest, necrophilia or any of the letters in the gender alphabet soup."

Considering pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia all involve a party that cannot consent (a young child, an animal and a dead person), I'd say there are VERY valid reasons why you can't classify those as "love." If your argument is that homosexuals are no better than pedophiles, then it terrifies me you don't know the difference between consensual love and rape. You aren't arguing against political correctness, you are arguing for a very pointed agenda and trying to lump together completely unrelated things to justify having opinions that are becoming increasingly looked down upon for good reason. There are very good reasons why 8-year-olds can't drive and 12-year-olds can't drink, just like there are reasons you can't have sex with a dog or marry your lawnmower. Why does political correctness exist? Because people ignore those reasons, as you have done, to try to push their agenda. So, really, you can thank yourself.

Jon Earheart

Wrong, there are actually alot of students that practice abstinence in both college and high school. We just don't brag about it like the men that sleep with several women a week and brag about the woman like their trophies. We exist. We're just not as vocal as you guys.

Alex Gookin

I never claimed there were not abstinent students and I'm certainly not arguing the effectiveness of abstinence in preventing unexpected pregnancies or STDs. In fact, practicing abstinence is a fantastic pregnancy prevention method and works extremely well for those who choose to do that. But the reality is that people get to choose what they do in their private lives, and that includes using birth control or condoms if they would like.

Depending on which study you look at, 60-85% of students participate in sexual activities, and yelling, "ABSTINENCE" in their faces won't change that (just as someone saying "HAVE SEX AND USE CONDOMS" won't convince you to do that). Other studies have shown that despite $1.5 billion being spent on abstinence-only sex education, it has not changed high school or college students' sexual habits whatsoever. Instead of catering to JUST abstinent students by not providing condoms or catering to JUST sexually active students by literally forcing condoms on people, they found middle ground in having condoms available to take if you want them or not.

It's also unfortunate you seem to portray sexually active people in such a negative light considering that the majority I've encountered at Iowa State are in committed relationships or do not brag about their encounters. In fact, the most recent "negative" comment I've heard about sexual activity is yours—belittling those who choose to participate in it.

Steve Gregg

The reality of college is that a fraction of the students are doing most of the screwing. Probably a third of college students graduate virgins for lack of opportunity and social skills.

Emilie Githens

Ignorant. You cannot compare homosexuals to pedophiles. Free condoms prevent many unwanted pregnancies and STDs. It's a shame to read something so hateful.

Steve Gregg

Ahem: Catholic priest scandal.

Justin Winkel

I'm not sure these opinions are the kind you would want to share on record, on your work place's newspaper website at a state institution. That might just be me, hope the editors will keep us posted if anything should change for Charles Braun.

Kelby Wingert

While you are right that it's risky to share opinions like these on such a public platform, the Iowa State Daily is independent from Iowa State University. Among other things, that means the school (nor the state) cannot censor anything the paper publishes or interfere with the publication on any level. Many state and public universities don't have that freedom and independence, but the Iowa State Daily does. However, as Mr. Braun chose to provide and publish his job title and position as a school employee, he isn't immune to consequences at work because of his letter to the editor. Similar to if someone goes on a racist rant on Twitter (even on their own time) can be fired from their job for negatively representing their place of employment (even if they don't list where they work in their bio).

Steve Gregg

The Daily is not separate from the university, which forces students to subscribe to it. The Daily has censored me in the past under even more intolerant editors than it has now, so that is also false.

Kelby Wingert

No, my comment is correct. The Daily is completely independent from the university. University faculty and administrators hold no authority over the editorial, business or publication decisions made by the students who run the Iowa State Daily.

Using the word "forced" for student subscription fees puts the truth out of context and makes it seem more than it is. A small fraction of student fees each semester are allocated toward subscription fees in order to maintain The Daily's print and online product's distribution across campus as free. Implying the university "forces" students to subscribe to the paper is incorrect. It's the Student Government who decides how to allocate student activity fees. This means a group of democratically-elected student representatives chose to use student activity funds to pay for student subscriptions.

Kind of how Congress "forces" you, an American taxpayer, to subscribe to public radio.

As for your censorship comment, I imagine your accusation is probably as unfounded as the rest of your claims.

Steve Gregg

Kelby, let me walk you through this slowly. You claim that the Daily is completely independent from the university, yet you admit that it is financed by the university which collects its money. How is that not dependent on the university? Do you see how that is the most important dependence the Daily can have? You might also consider that ISU lends its logo to the paper, which also is dependence on the university. It's editorial offices are housed on the university, free of charge, and the university allows its paper to be distributed on campus. All these relationships make the Daily dependent on the university, not independent, as is obvious to the casual observer.

You claim that ISU students are not forced to subscribe to the Daily, yet where are they allowed to opt out of paying for it? Nowhere. If you are a conservative who does not support the lefty loony positions of the Daily, you still must support it against your will. In that regard, it operates like a strong arm Union which forces people to join and pay dues to support extremist liberal positions.

Your argument about the government forcing people to subscribe to public radio is exactly correct. The public should not be forced to support NPR and its liberal propaganda. The fact that you think public funding of NPR is unassailable shows how unreflective liberals are and how casually they trample the rights of others and steal their money to support their own politics.

The Daily would be a stronger paper and more representative of the student body if it abandoned its current socialist business model of forcing the captive student body to pay for it and changed to a capitalist business model where it had to sell its paper in a voluntary exchange with students who could decide whether it was worth their scarce cash.

Kelby Wingert

Steve, you seem to grossly misunderstand how government--federal, state and student--works.

Fine, claim that Congress shouldn't use taxpayer money to [partially] fund public radio or public television because it "forces" the public to subscribe. But why stop there? Why not argue against Congress forcing us all to subscribe to the U.S. military or public K-12 schools or roads or national parks or fire departments or police departments or [insert anything paid for by tax revenue]? In fact, why pay taxes at all? All they do is force us all to subscribe to things not everyone uses. Some people homeschool or don't have kids or don't go to school at all. Some people never have accidental fires or are victims of crimes. Some people don't care to visit a park and don't drive anywhere. Where is your outcry for that?

Again, I'm trying to put this in the simplest of terms that even you, Steve, can understand. The UNIVERSITY does not financially support the Iowa State Daily. The STUDENTS provide some (and definitely not all) financial support for the Daily. This happens because the STUDENT GOVERNMENT, comprised of and run by STUDENTS chooses to allocate the equivalent of a percentage of tax revenue to cover subscription costs, BY VOTING FOR IT. The UNIVERSITY (administrators or faculty) has zero say in either direction about what the STUDENTS in the STUDENT GOVERNMENT choose to do with student activity fees. The UNIVERSITY cannot force the STUDENTS in the STUDENT GOVERNMENT to allocate the funds to the Daily, just as it cannot force the STUDENTS to not allocate the funds to the Daily.

Furthermore, the STUDENT GOVERNMENT also often votes to fund various resources that many students don't care for and don't use, yet they still have to pay the same amount of student fees as anyone else. Take the CyRide, for example. Many students never take the bus, even a single time, in their entire academic career at Iowa State. Yet, the STUDENT GOVERNMENT allocates funds to CyRide from student fees in order to make the service free for all students, regardless of if they utilize it or not. Should the STUDENT GOVERNMENT stop funding that also? What about all the free concerts and other free events that not all students are interested in or support or attend?

If you really have this much of a problem with what the STUDENTS in the STUDENT GOVERNMENT choose to do with funds from student fees, I recommend you enroll as an undergrad, run for a seat in the STUDENT GOVERNMENT and vote against funding anything you have a problem with.

Get it now?

Forgive me if any of the words I used are too complex for you to understand.

Steve Gregg

Kelby, let me dumb this down for you to the simplest terms possible: Can Iowa State students opt out of subscribing to the leftist Iowa State Daily? No, they can't. There is no way you can attend ISU without being forced to subscribe to the Daily against your will. It's that simple.

The Daily is not equivalent to K-12 education, whose funding goes through a democratic process of voting where the community decides what taxes will be collected to pay for it. Once you become old enough to vote, you will find those municipal bonds on the ballot. The Daily does not suffer any vote by the student body to fund it. It is enforced by diktat, following the socialist model of forcing subscription, just like Pravda in the old Soviet Union.

Likewise, the Daily is unlike the military, which provides real value while the Daily does not. The military is authorized by the US Constitution, while the Daily and NPR are not.

The liberal university bureaucrats do not interfere with the lefty editors of the Daily in the production of their lefty propaganda because they agree with their lefty loony point of view. However, if the Daily began advocating human sacrifice on central campus, the university bureaucrats would shut down the Daily in a minute, because that would interfere with alumni donations.

If the student government were democratic, they would put their decisions up to a vote by the student body. All these decisions are made behind closed doors, without consultation with the student body. Only a tiny minority of the student body votes for student government, which is irrelevant to their lives. I'd be gobsmacked if any student on campus could name anyone in the student government or what they have done. Most students regard student activity fees as an unavoidable tax for going to school, and rightly so.

The Daily would be a better, stronger, more representative campus paper if it were dragged, kicking and screaming, into a capitalist business model where it would be forced to justify its existence every day. Every purchase of the paper would serve as a vote of support, support that the editors would have to fight for every day, like a real grown-up newspaper in the free market. The reason why the lefty editors can spew lefty nonsense every day is that, in the tradition of socialism, they are unaccountable to the customers they pretend to serve.

The lefty editors don't care if nobody reads the Daily because they have a monopoly, the kind of thing leftists supposedly oppose, at least in theory. They are the only game on campus with a captive audience, which is how they like it. Socialists don't like their quality nor performance to be measured, because they are losers who produce goods and services of low quality nobody wants if they have a choice. You can measure their lack of willing audience by the number of responses to their articles and editorials, which is sparse. If you eliminate my responses, it is a barren wasteland as far as the eye can see.

The answer is to democratize the Daily and force it to justify its existence in the free market.

Jordan Schlak

I am pretty sure Ted Cruz wrote that himself.

I like how this guy mixes up hard and soft sciences and presents them as equal when one is far more complex than the other. Thus, why we should act on one more aggressively than the other.

The author is right that diversity, discrimination, and sustainability are all neutral words and people ascribe importance and meaning to them. But he is really good at twisting it and calling everyone else brainwashed for thinking differently than he does. It is like he is looking at a single branch of a logical tree and twisting anything he can to make his branch THE branch.

If a guy wanted to cut off his hand to surgically install a hook, I am sure he could make it happen. I am pretty sure at some point in the persons thought process they would think to themselves "man, look at all the things I can do with my hand that I can't with a hook... Might miss those...." Probably would even evaluate themselves and decide whether it is worth it to get the hook and might even seek counseling as a person with alien limb syndrome cannot figure out why they just really don't feel like their arm belongs to them anymore. It is weird the person would also be so obsessed with a pirate they wanted a hook in place but for the authors benefit lets follow his logical branch . Along the way they likely would find it is not worth it but would be allowed to proceed if he had the money and desire, the surgeon would likely want to know the person has thought through it to satisfy the surgeons own Hippocratic Oath and if satisfied would do the procedure. However, in any of the gender and sexual orientation cases the author mentioned there are realistic variables the person has to weigh through and if they decide they decide it is worth it to give it up then why would anyone try to stop them? I am personally glad this is becoming less taboo as more of the population is not suppressing their own urges and living in secrecy without exploring it to find out if they are happy or not.
The author also very blatantly left out the fact that people have laser eye surgery done, put in double 0 gauges, get tattoos, take medicine/vaccines, and do all sorts of things that stray from the "natural" as the person thinks them to be good for them physically or psychologically.

I do agree with the author about the Zodiac, but I just don't really care if the zodiac and a cross are displayed right next to each other. I think they should just have equal opportunity on some plane, one should not be included and the other discluded. I personally think it is easier to get rid of them altogether than decide if as one religious symbol is displayed, should all others be able to be displayed in the same place? Or do you give a value to a religious symbol based on students that say they belong to that religion? Do you rank placement based on how many people on average walk by the location or should all of them be displayed in the same spot? I think it would be complicated to sort through all these things but none of them really bother me and if they want to have their symbol displayed in public I don't think it matters. It doesn't make one more true or false, I think it really just makes them feel more dominant. I will happily walk over the zodiac and I will happily take an objective approach to life and societal problems rather than one from a book forged largely and iniquity with patchwork from the Roman era and makes all sorts of non-falsifiable claims. It is ironic that the author refers to objective thinking as brainwashing. Everyone has their influences, hopefully people follow their logic and try to weed out logical fallacies. I am glad we live in a country that facilitates diversity, limits discrimination, and strives for sustainability. We will always be butting heads and I believe I am more thankful than not thankful about having people on all sides of the political fence, kind of balancing each other out and preventing impulsive legislation. Even when that is likely the source of frustrations IE the fact the author brought up that we have an economy that professionals seem to agree does not converge. I am also glad he is not our voice of legislation and the paper is willing to publish his point of view in an opinion section for people to read his opinion and weigh it against their own logic. I personally don't think his logic holds water.

John Smith

The phrase "Politically Correct" was once used to describe speech which was self-censored to avoid excessive vulgarity or lewdness, usually attributed to public speech that could accidentally reach the ears of an unsuspecting person or child. The author (and his favorite "fair and balanced" news channel) has managed to hijack the phrase to mean advocacy for any liberal concepts, including but not limited to: atheism, contraception, racial equality, abstinence, and LGBT rights.

Sadly, the author's frequent tangent's into conservative talking points prevented him from providing any clear evidence of suppression of free speech. In fact, his own tirades seemed to indicate a disdain for the free expressions of others, be it lust-provoking condoms or an individual's right to gender identity.

There is a real risk that suppressing the rights to free expression (in the name of avoiding discrimination) is a problem on college campuses, but instead of addressing this issue in any of it's subtleties, the author can't help but take a cheap partisan shot at all liberal values.

Steve Gregg

Political correctness never meant vulgar speech. Quite the opposite. The Left embraces vulgarity to break down bourgeois values. Political correctness has always meant enforcing extremist leftist political positions.

Marie Johnson

"After attending Iowa State for over 3 years and seeing some truly unfortunate drivel, I feel obliged to write this. I should warn the reader that the following would probably be considered “hate speech” by anyone with a shred of decency and respect for the personhood of anyone else, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m not a raging a**hole. Fortunately, I am still able to express my opinions, as long as I plug my ears and pretend that no one is begging me to stop. “Right to free speech” means I am being oppressed if anyone tells me what an insensitive prick I’m being. I don’t like understanding the actual meaning of constitutional rights.

First, a quiz. Which of the following is good? Diversity. Discrimination. Sustainability. If you believe that diversity and sustainability are good, and discrimination is bad, congratulations! You are not me and I therefore hate you. I will now twist the definitions of these very clearly-connoted words to prove you wrong. This is to save you from the icky feminists, who have all somehow seized government mind-control machines and are dictating your every move.

All three words are neutral. Diverse murderers are bad, which makes diversity itself not a good thing. Discrimination based on sex is good, somehow. Please forget the sociopolitical frame created around this word throughout history to focus purely on the fact that refusing to let women onto the football team is a good thing. Those gals should just stay in the cheerleading squad where they belong, am I right ladies? Sustainability, of course, is the exact same thing as the word “sustained” and some sustained things can be bad, like if it were to rain for 40 days and 40 nights and drown everyone. Forget dictionaries. I am your god now, English language.

Also, global warming isn’t a big problem but dammit why aren’t environmental physicists, oceanographers, and atmospheric scientists solving our national debt? How dare every single person in the entire world ignore our economy problems? Wait, what do you mean that our economic crisis is one of the most widely debated subjects in at least the last three presidential elections? Pft, sounds fake.

A vibrant, living university requires the free discussion of ideas. Some actions may offend people, even when no offense is intended. For example, the fact that some departments don’t put up Christmas trees – in order to be considerate and respectful – offends me on a deep and personal level. How dare you cater to literally every other religion on campus and not to me, a Good and Loving Christian? Also, get rid of a piece of ISU history because I hate having to walk an extra three steps to go around it when I’m walking to Panda Express. This is more serious than separation of church and state and the marginalization of all religious groups other than Christianity.

Is there a promotion of safe and consensual sex on campus? Whoa, that’s too much; get rid of it. I equate forethought and the ability to understand and use common contraceptive methods to being a literal monkey. I would rather make it difficult to have safe sex than make the occasional parent uncomfortable. Forget that everyone attending this institution is an adult, fully capable of making their own decisions regarding how and when they want to have sex. How dare we make a touring conservative parent uncomfortable? Wait, did you just say “there are some students attending ISU who are in committed, long-term relationships and/or are literally married with children but still use contraception”? What’s that mean?

Also, transgender people. What’s up with that? Why do we even try curing cancer if we don’t also try to cure people of individuality and reinforce the culturally exclusive and biologically-unsupported concept of an innate binary gender system? Just put aside for a moment that being trans is an artificially pathologized state and that the transgender community has an average lifespan of 30 years, from being bullied to suicide or literally killed. The solution is obviously conversion therapy. Statistics show that most trans people who are forced into conversion therapy are at least doubting their self-claimed identity by the time they kill themselves. Or, at the very least, they force themselves back into the closet to make people like me comfortable. So it all works out! Oh, and intersex people aren’t real either.

While I’m on the subject, let’s talk about gay people. No one has yet explained why all forms of love are equally valid. Of course this applies equally to two consenting and loving adults being in a relationship that isn’t even publicly or explicitly sexual, and to a person having nonconsensual sex with a child or a dead body or an animal. To recap, I also hate gender and can’t be bothered to use the most commonly-accepted acronym, “LGBTQ+”, so I’d rather call it “gender alphabet soup”, which is both more respectful and more technically accurate. Anyone who discusses this in a way I disapprove of is not really discussing it. I suffer more from people calling me out on my views than literal gay people do from literally being murdered. I am suffering right now more than the students whose personhood I have just denied. More even than the teenagers I’ve just equated to pedophiles.
Political correctness has run amok at Iowa State, stifling dissent. Diversity is fought for in all areas except thought, creating a suffocating environment for those who want to think, question and test everything. This only applies, of course, to the way I want to think and question things, not other academic pursuits or forms of activism. Nonetheless, I am hopeful. As long as students are willing to speak out for what I want and not believe in anything else, Iowa State can regain the kind of blatant, widely-accepted discriminatory practices it had in the ‘60s."

Devin Mabra

I am being 100% serious when I say I have read a lot of retorts to letters and articles such as this. This is by far the best retort I think I have ever read.

August Hawthorne

This is the most hilarious and accurate thing I have read in a long time. Thank you so much.

Christopher Chase

Kelby Wingert

If by "politically correct," you mean "encourages an atmosphere that produces decent human beings," you're definitely right.

Steve Gregg

Then why does the Left call anyone who disagrees with political correctness a racist or a Nazi or both. That seems indecent slander to me.

Phillip Brown

Oh come on now, Steve. I've never called you a racist or a Nazi. Certainly not both at the same time. You, however, have called me racist and have said horrible racist things (do you remember the bit on needing to warn me, a resident of Harlem, of the "crazy racist black men" on the subway that you saw a few decades ago?). Still, this doesn't mean that you are a racist. Just that you say racist things sometimes, but that's okay. Because this is the United States, and no one is going to use the coercive power of the state against you for being racist in your personal life.

Steve Gregg

The crazy black men are a current feature on the New York subway, as everyone who rides it regularly knows. Denying that they exist is racist. Calling any criticism of blacks to be racist is racist itself.

Chelsea McClane

Not sure what is worse, the straw man arguments the author made or the editorial decision to include this as serious discussion. If the quality of a journalism program shows through its student paper, good thing U of I is just a three hour drive from Ames.

Kelby Wingert

You're absolutely right--the quality of a journalism program does show through it's student paper. The Daily was actually just named one of the top 9 student news organizations in the entire nation by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, which is a really big deal.

This piece is what's called a "letter to the editor." In case you didn't know, letters to the editor provide a platform for the general public to express and discuss their opinions. Rarely does a news organization (student or professional) censor letters from the public because journalists fundamentally oppose censorship.

Furthermore, the publication of this specific letter to the editor doesn't imply the editorial staff at the Daily considers the arguments the author made as "serious discussion." It implies the editorial staff supports the First Amendment and an individual's right to express his or her opinions using an outlet the publication offers.

If you wish to more publicly respond to this letter to the editor, as I'm sure many readers will, you also can pen a letter to the editor to send to the Daily to publish.

Jennifer Berg

The hard part about this post and all of the comments is I believe that this is what Mr.Braun was talking about. While I would agree that Mr.Braun is more close minded, he shared his thoughts. No ISU is not a Christian school, and nor is the United States truly a Christian country anymore. Yet I believe that Mr.Braun had good intentions behind his comments, this audience isn't the one that will listen.

There are some of the statements that I personally would have to agree with. I believe that people should be held to higher standards than we are held in as college students. I'm thankful that people do comment, you have a right to. But we all have a right to our own thoughts.

Mr.Braun, I am a Christian. While I would have to agree with a decent amount of what you have chosen to say, I believe you have chosen the wrong way to do it. If you are a Christian, which is my guess, we are supposed to love our neighbors. I know it is frustrating to see things like the bucket of condoms, no Christmas trees, or the idealization of love in any form. Yet, if people aren't Christian, or even if they are it isn't anyone person's place but God to judge. Just something to think about. I am thankful that you were bold enough to post anything. I pray that you do not get reprimanded by the university.

Kelby Wingert

College students should absolutely be held to higher standards than what they often are, which includes being responsible and mature when engaging in discussions about any topic under the sun. That's exactly what the students who have responded to this letter have done. I haven't read a single comment that name-calls or personally attacks another person.

That's actually what being "politically correct" is really about: being a decent and mature human being toward all others (even when they're not a decent or mature human being or how close-minded they may be).

You call yourself a Christian, and that's great. I am too. A "Biblical definition" of "political correctness," if you will, can be found in the book of Matthew, chapter 7, verse 12.

Also, the United States has never been a "Christian country." Refer to the First Amendment and thank the writers of the Constitution for that because just imagine if it was--which denomination would be in power? Which denominations would be persecuted or seen as "less than"? But that's off-topic, so sorry about that.

Some Person

Sad that the daily gave you a platform to spew these batshit points of view, but I'm very surprised someone with their contact information clearly listed on the staff directory for ISU dining would put this out there. Free speech works both ways.

Steve Gregg

I can assure you that the Daily is all about spewing batshit points of view.

August Hawthorne

This is one of the most ignorant and bigoted things I have ever had the misfortune of reading.

You say you want these topics to be discussed openly, but cannot because "all free thought has been forbidden" or some such nonsense. In reality, people do not want to engage with your kinds of opinions and "questioning" because they are hurtful, wrong, discriminating, or deny the basic human rights of an entire group of people. This is why people get mad at your "opinions". This is why people don't deign to answer your kinds of questions. Marginalized people are not obligated to explain their existence to you.

Many people are willing to explain these things, though, if you ask them politely. However, since you don't know how to do that, there are blog posts, articles, books, movies, and documentaries available online that you easily could have found. They are just a quick Google search away. But instead, you chose to spew hate online.

If you are a proponent of free discussion on these topics, you have to listen to the other side too. A discussion is listening to both side's point of view, not stating your own opinion and then plugging your ears. You have not bothered to find the other point of view. You have just stated your own harmful and bigoted opinions for everyone to see.


Quote: "I should warn the reader that the following would probably be considered “hate speech” in Canada, despite hatred having no motivation in its writing."

That's because it is hate speech, here, in Canada, or anywhere else. Just because the US does not recognize it as such does not mean it isn't, or that the US shouldn't. Wanting to deny an entire demographic of people equal rights is hate speech. Hating others based on who they are, based on parts of their identity that do not harm them nor anyone else, is hate speech.


Quote: "We still have the First Amendment."

Yes, we do have the right to say whatever we want, however wrong or hurtful it may be. However, so do others. We have the right to say that your words are actively harmful, that your way of thinking is hurtful to real live people, and that your words are fundamentally wrong.


Quote: "Which of the following are good? Diversity. Discrimination. Sustainability. If you believe that diversity and sustainability are good, and discrimination is bad, congratulations! You have already been indoctrinated. Welcome to thought control, ISU style.

All three words are neutral. Diversity consisting of an axe murderer, a rapist and a bank robber is not what most students want on their dorm floor."

Literally no one is fighting for this kind of diversity. When people say "diversity" in a social context, they mean the equal representation and opportunity for women, racial minorities, religious minorities, LGBT people, and other marginalized groups. No one is arguing for the inclusion of "murderers, rapists, and bank robbers", on campus-- you are the first person to bring this up.

Frankly, this is quite obvious. I am sure even you cannot say you have made a sound point here. The fact that you compare marginalized groups to murderers, rapists, and criminals, just shows how desperate you are to criticize marginalized people.


Quote: "Some actions may offend people, even when no offense is intended."

It is possible to say hurtful things without the intent of hurting someone. If you accidentally step on someone's foot, it still hurts, even if you did not mean to hurt them. Similarly, if you don't understand why your words are hurtful, it doesn't mean that they aren't. Just because you have not taken the time to learn and understand something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

Do you think people are lying when they say something is offensive? Or just being "overly sensitive"? People's reaction to being told they are being offensive is overwhelmingly always to insult, degrade, and belittle the other party. It is not fun to face that. We would not bother to speak out at the risk of such treatment if it were not an important and real issue.


Quote: "For example, the Department of Residence displays “free condom” buckets. This annoys me, treating our students like trained monkeys unable to control their passions. I am sure these buckets also bother many visiting parents who hold their children to higher standards. Unfortunately, abstinence before marriage is not a politically correct view, despite being the only method 100 percent effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Our students are actively encouraged to settle for less than the best..."

You advocate in this article for "freedom of expression", but apparently the idea that some people choose to have sex is so offensive to you that you don't even want to look at a bucket of condoms.

People are free to choose to have sex, and they are also free to choose to not have sex. No one is forcing the students to have sex. The condoms are there for those who want them, and those who do not want them don't have to take them.

Also, you seem to have quite a lot of disdain for students that have sex, because you think they should wait until after marriage. The idea that sex before marriage is morally wrong is largely based off religious beliefs, which not everyone is required to follow. Besides religious reasons, there are no other logically sound arguments as to why sex before marriage is wrong. There is the risk of STDs or unwanted pregnancy, but if those involved use safe sex practices, the risk is very small. If sex is done in a safe and consensual manner-- emphasis on consensual--it is unlikely any harm may come of it.

Additionally, numerous studies have proven that sex education is more effective than an abstinence only education. Abstinence is effective 100% of the time, but the fact is, not everyone that is taught abstinence will stay abstinent. Those previously-abstinent students that have not been taught safe sex practices face a high risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. It is important that people are informed and aware of safe sex practices. If you really cared about the well being of students and want them to have "the best", you would be very pleased about the Department of Residence providing free condoms.


Quote: "No one has yet explained why all forms of love are equally valid, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, polygamous, or involving pedophilia, bestiality, incest, necrophilia or any of the letters in the gender alphabet soup. Is it really best not to discuss the ramifications of such an idea?"

I think it is more important to discuss the ramifications of you needing to know why pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and necrophilia are fundamentally wrong, and somehow comparable to heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relationships.

Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relationships are valid and healthy forms of love because they involve consenting and informed individuals, and are not inherently abusive.

Pedophilia is not healthy because it does not involve consenting and informed individuals, and it is inherently abusive and harmful to the underage victim.

Bestiality does not involve consenting and informed individuals, and is abusive to the animal.

Necrophilia does not involve consenting and informed individuals, and is an act of disrespect and violation to human remains.

Also, you mention the "gender alphabet soup", derisively referring to genders other than male and female. Try not to get too offended when I tell you this, but there are more than two genders, and there always have been. For example, there are Hijra in south Asian countries, Muxe in southern Mexico, and Two Spirit in Native American cultures.

But even if there had only ever been the male and female genders until a few decades ago, it would not matter. Being trans or nonbinary harms no one. It is not harmful to them, and it does not even remotely affect you. Hundreds of thousands of trans and nonbinary people exist, and are telling us that all they need to be happy is to be allowed their basic human rights, which we have denied them. To not be degraded, oppressed, and murdered for who they are.

It is bigots, people like you, that are responsible for all the hardships and violence trans people face.


Quote: "consider a man who thinks he is a pirate and wants to cut off his hand, replacing it with a hook. This is not hypothetical; research “alien limb syndrome.” We would try to help and cure that man for his own good. Now what about the man who wants to become a woman? Why do we try to cure one but celebrate the other?"

This relates to my previous point. There is nothing wrong with trans people. They do not need to be "cured". Trying to "cure" a trans person is called conversion therapy, which is a horrifying form of mental and physical abuse. It does not "cure" anything, it only leaves the victim severely traumatized.

Additionally, people perform drastic body modification all the time, and they are allowed to do so because it is their body and therefore their choice. People get piercings, tattoos, plastic surgery, breast implants, and liposuction all the time. But as soon as a trans woman wants breast implants or a vaginoplasty, then according to you there is surely something wrong with her. If a trans person wants surgery, either to relieve dysphoria or for other personal reasons, it is suddenly unacceptable, and the only reason for this is trasphobia and bigotry.


So, here's your discussion you wanted so badly. I bet you're not liking it very much at all now that you're having it.

Kelby Wingert

Mic. Dropped.

Wade Andersen

I too am an employee of the university. I always thought that those who attended and worked at such an institution might be tolerant of others. In this case, I am defining tolerant as having one's own beliefs, but allowing others to have differing beliefs and viewpoints and not forcing anyone to believe in what they believe in. With the reaction to this gentleman's editorial, I am not sure that is the case.

John Hanke

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I see a lot of people attributing certain definitions to the phrase "political correctness", but if you look among the comments here, you can see what is meant by the guy who sent this letter. There are people who are surprised/offended/outraged that the Iowa State Daily would even publish such a letter- the reason for this is because the letter is a frank statement of the guy's thoughts without a filter. Because he wasn't being politically correct, people in this comments section have basically been calling for censorship of him. Do you not see how intolerant that is? If his thoughts and ideas are so obviously wrong, then there is no need for censorship, everyone will come to the same conclusions you do and disregard this "hate speech".

To everyone proclaiming "hate speech" upon seeing this letter, I think you need to stop and think about the difference between a differing political view and hate speech. The method of delivery may be a bit harsh for you, but I'm pretty sure that it was an intentional choice on the part of the author to completely ignore any form of political correctness, and it seems to be doing exactly as intended if the number of offended people calling for his censorship is any indicator.

To everyone criticizing his "quiz" about diversity, discrimination, and sustainability, most of you missed his point entirely. The point of the quiz is to show you what your preconceived notions of those words are. Some of you are proving his point further by trying to correct him by telling about which definition of the word you are using. The whole point is that you have those preconceived notions of those words because of what you have been taught. I don't know if I agree with him that all the blame can be put on university- I think that the mainstream is also partially to blame- but I think his quiz did exactly as intended.

I saw a comment criticizing how he belittled global warming in favor of worrying about our national debt total. I think the reason that this was brought up was the difference in the amount of media coverage that the two issues have gotten. Yes, people talk about the economy, but that has more to do with unemployment and taxes, not a plan to pay off the national debt. Global warming has gotten a large amount of attention from the media, and I (and, obviously, the author) think that this amount of attention is disproportionate to the threat that global warming poses. If you would like to know what my views on global warming are, they have recently been shaped by a scientific journalist who has a channel on Youtube called potholer54. It should be fairly easy to find with the use of Google (or any other popular search engine, for that matter).

When the author of the letter is talking about the removal of Christmas trees versus the tolerance of the zodiac, I don't think he phrased his argument very well. He was saying that both are religious symbols, so either both or none should stay. I don't think that view is correct- the zodiac is a part of the architecture of the building, it would be stupid to remove it to appease offended people. I think that it doesn't matter if people put up Christmas trees or not, but I do think that there is an irrational dislike and prejudice aimed at Christianity by many here on campus. Christmas and all of its traditions are pagan in origin anyways, and I would bet money that just as many non-Christians practice Christmas as Christians.

I think the author's dislike of the "condom buckets" is understandable, but that he needs to grow thicker skin. Yes, it's a bit off-putting, but it's practical. When he complains about the buckets of condoms, he seems a bit hypocritical due to complaining about political correctness earlier.

I think his paragraph dealing with alien limb syndrome and transgenders was poorly worded. Not because it was too offensive, I just think that his argument was weak. The thing that is important to note is that transgenders have the delusion (delusion = an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument) that they were born into the wrong gender group. Going along with this delusion and attempting to make it reality doesn't help them. The suicide rate for transgenders before and after the surgery to switch their gender is identical. The problem should not be solved by trying to make delusion into reality, but instead by helping them to let go of their delusions. The way that transgenders have been treated has forced society down a slippery slope. There are now 60+ recognized genders, transpecies (, gender fluid (there is an actor/actress attempting to get the awards for both best actor and actress), etc. It has gotten out of control now that the notions of sex and gender are supposedly completely separate. There are exceptions to the rule, but the rule is that gender is a binary. Current estimates place about 99.7% of the population of the US as binary genders. I'm not saying that those who feel they are not part of the gender binary should be excluded from society, I'm saying that they need help (psychological, not physiological).

I think that the author's paragraph about forms of sex wasn't very well-written at all. His argument seems to be that homosexuality is similar to pedophilia, necrophilia, etc. That's just ignorant, because- as many here have pointed out- those forms of sex are illegal and do not involve consenting adults. My views on this are: live, and let live. I don't care about your sex life as long as it doesn't harm/infringe on the rights of others. However, I do think that this paragraph illustrated something that I believe is important. Do you think that the author expressing those beliefs caused harm, or do you think that it just made him look stupid? I think the latter, obviously, and I believe it shows a perfect example of why all speech that does not incite/call for violence should be allowed (as it says in the First Amendment), because when people state all of their beliefs, the stupid ones are very easy to pick out and possibly to correct. If everyone has an open mind and speaks freely, then it is much easier to come to a consensus.

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