It’s a sad day. Mr. Jeffrey Robin, whose intriguing piece of analytic philosophy was the subject of the very first essay published by the Nonsense, is stepping down from his position as Reactionary Bigot at the Daily Nexus.
He begins with some misty-eyed remembrances:
I’ll be perfectly honest—UCSB wasn’t my first choice, by far. I came out of high school the preppy, sarcastic valedictorian of a sleepy suburb no one’s heard of. Despite receiving the Regents Scholarship here, I was sure that I was off to Pomona College in Claremont.
Being valedictorian of an entire suburb is a remarkable accomplishment, and while I share Mr. Robin’s astonishment that he was not accepted at a more prestigious institution, I am incredibly grateful that we at UCSB have been blessed with his presence. It seems that he, too, has gained from his association with public-school leeches:
Getting waitlisted at every private school I wanted to go to gave me the greatest lesson in humility I think I have ever experienced. But as I sit here writing an article I’ve been thinking about for months, I don’t think I could be more glad for it.
My time at UCSB has profoundly changed me in ways I could never have anticipated. It flipped me upside down.
Such is the power of education. When you leave your sleepy suburb and enter a state university, not only are you exposed to new ideas in your classes, but you come into contact with people that you haven’t met before, people whose backgrounds and worldviews differ sharply from your own. Being able to learn from the experiences of others, especially from those less privileged than yourself, is a huge opportunity to become a better and more tolerant person.
I could not even imagine myself listening to country music. Now, country line and swing dancing is the single most time-consuming hobby I have. Once the prudish, smart-guy type who confused everyone with his diction, I’ve caught myself using the word “brah” perhaps a little more than I’d like.
But perhaps my personal beliefs have undergone the greatest and most counterintuitive changes. I came here convinced of Ayn Randian philosophy and pure libertarian ideology, totally having bought in to the populism of Ron Paul (Tea Party before it was cool). Now, perhaps to your chagrin, I am the strictest of elitist constitutional conservatives, an advocate of the Empire of Liberty.
Truly a wrenching change! I can hardly imagine a situation better described as being “flipped upside down”, except perhaps the transformation involved in moving from the Socialist Equality Party to the International Socialist Organization (a process that invariably destroys friendships).
Most importantly, in a time when many in our country are increasingly antagonistic to the idea of God, I moved from a tepid agnosticist and occasional deist to a strong believer in Christ.
A daring admission to make in these hateful, secular times. But I doubt he will come under too much fire, as long as he doesn’t use his new-found faith to justify vicious attacks on the rights of others.
As I close, I exhort you all to not intertwine or falsely associate our faith with politics, as easy as it might be.
Mr. Jeffrey Robin ends his tenure at the Nexus fittingly, with a quote that he doesn’t seem to really understand:
“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” — Thomas Jefferson
The tyranny that Jefferson speaks of here is that of organized Christianity, were it allowed to be established as a state religion. But if Jeffrey realized this—that the hero he quotes is arguing against the sort of thing that would allow Christian institutions to deny women basic reproductive rights—then he would not be our beloved Mr. Robin.
We will miss him very much.