Campus conservatives remain steadfast on beliefs despite liberal environment
The Muh Liberty Facebook page has become well known for its daily political posts, but it disappeared without a trace on March 11. Facebook had “opened an investigation” on the fledgling political page after its creation last August, possibly for pushing the boundaries of the political spectrum.
For the time it was up and running, Liberty entertained its followers with posts that ranged from critical to comical, including the occasional socialist meme and “BeingLibertarian” video.
The creator of Muh Liberty is none other than sophomore Rohan Pandey, a self-proclaimed Libertarian. And although Pandey’s political views once leaned to the left, this changed after his original candidate of choice in the 2016 election, democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, lost in the Democratic primaries, and his views began to be influenced by capitalist philosophies.
“For a while [after Bernie dropped out], I didn’t know what to do,” Pandey said. “I started supporting Jill Stein and that was when I was exposed to green libertarianism and left wing libertarianism. And [Donald Trump] became more inviting than Stein because she didn’t say it outright, but she was essentially a complete communist.”
Pandey recalls how a combination of YouTube videos, Wikipedia research and Facebook nudged him to embrace the Libertarian philosophy of freedom and minimal government.
“After spending more time on the internet, I slowly moved toward leftist Libertarianism and general freedom,” Pandey said. “But after that, I went to right-wing Libertarianism after being introduced to Facebook.”
After the election, Pandey continues to support Trump and is generally happy with what Trump has been doing recently. However, he still disagrees with some of his policies.
“I don’t believe in a wall of course but I do believe in increased border security,” Pandey said. “I think the best immigration solution that we can have is to increase border security in regulation and also make it easier for unskilled workers from Mexico to receive seasonal working permits.”
Like Pandey, senior Andrew Owens remembers how he came to his right-wing views on politics, although his transition from left to right stemmed from a much more personal perspective on government and politics in general.
Owens’ parents did foster care when he was younger, and he first gravitated to a more right-winged viewpoint on politics after seeing inefficiencies in government-sponsored programs.
“If a program doesn't work, nothing happens because there's no one that's going to replace them,” Owens said. “For example, hundreds of veterans have died on the Veterans Affairs waiting list and there still needs to be a massive change to fix problems.”
Interestingly, living in Saratoga has contributed to Owens’ conservatism. He claims that he’s not a “counterculture guy,” but he thinks that becoming a conservative was a reaction to his environment.
Likewise, senior Roy Lee agrees that his conservatism resulted from examining both the liberal and conservative sides in his life.
“My whole family is pretty liberal,” Lee said. “That made me more interested in the good side of conservatism, and I think the conservative ideology fits my own opinion more.”
But Lee feels that Trump is not a proper representation of the conservative in America. Lee believes that Trump is “too extreme” and is not “following some of the Republican Party agenda.”
Growing up in a liberal environment, though, has also limited the extent of conservative outlooks on certain issues. Owens does not consider himself to be “socially conservative” and instead identifies himself as mainly a “fiscal conservative.” Owens prefers the political party that prioritizes minimizing governmental spending over addressing social justice issues.
“It would be harder to talk to people if I didn’t think gay people could get married,” Owens said. “And people would understand fiscal conservatism more that they won’t be turned off by it.”
For Lee, however, living in California’s liberal coast as a conservative makes him sometimes feel a little uncomfortable.
“When we talk about certain political issues in my AP Government class such as abortion, I’m more on the conservative side, but everyone is like ‘what is wrong with you’ if I’m pro-life instead of pro-abortion,” Lee said. “It’s a bit exaggerated, but I think that I almost don’t have free speech sometimes in this school.”
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