Ep. 29: The College Echo Chamber with Michael J. Hout

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Episode Description

Michael J. Hout was a junior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in early 2017 when he decided to leave the Democratic Party. This came after he volunteered for the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, for the Clinton Campaign in 2016, and various state elections in Georgia. Additionally, he served on the National Council for the College Democrats of America as the national chartering director. He is a critic of the Democratic Party and self-described classical liberal and independent.

Michael comes on the show today to detail why he left the party.

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Show Notes (abridged script)

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Michael’s Story

Additionally, Michael wrote articles on the decision to leave the party for The Washington Post and The Hill

Why he left

He ended up feeling as though the Democratic party had moved away from his own more moderate beliefs.

“A lot of it was a question of priorities in the Democratic party and my disagreeing with what those priorities ought to be…I think there was also a lot of recalibrating on my part and coming to the realization that I’d joined the Democratic Party as someone who admired people like John F. Kennedy.” ~ Michael J. Hout

He realized that he agreed more with what President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden were saying a decade ago than what they were saying now. However, Michael did not join the Republican party, citing Trump’s rhetoric and his lack of qualifications more than any specific policy the Republican Party stands for.

“I just felt like I was behind enemy lines, which was a strange sensation because most of those people had not worked on the campaign in the same way. I remember being told by someone that I wasn’t allowed to be upset because I was a white cis-gendered straight male.” ~ Michael J. Hout

He describes these types of comments as common not only on college campuses, but also within Congress and higher levels of government.

How the Democratic rhetoric impacts our country’s political dialogue

Essentially, it only limits debate if you allow your voice to be stifled by this type of rhetoric. Additionally, that most adults will listen to people with reasonable, logical points of view, regardless of their physical characteristics.

“We need to teach people to respectfully disagree again.” ~ Michael J. Hout

What can be done?

When at UMass, Michael also took classes at Amherst and was involved in the Amherst political union. Which was a club with people from all types of political ideologies, even communists. However, the discussion was always respectful. We need more of this respectful political discussion in our culture and society.

Michael’s classes at Amherst often had lively, respectful debates among people of many different viewpoints. However, at other classes, especially at UMass, this was not the case.

“I wish the people who were apathetic, who would write an email to me after class saying, ‘Oh, great point in there.’ Well, why didn’t you say in the discussion, ‘I agree with you.’ And it’s because they’re afraid of being put on the ‘bad list.'” ~ Michael J. Hout 

There are a lot of conservatives on campus who not only feel isolated for their views, but also feel hated and despised. A columnist at UMass had a Twitter hashtag campaign started against him for writing libertarian leaning articles. Michael does believe the administration at these campuses need to step up and start doing something. He cites the University of Chicago as a great example of academic and intellectual freedom.

Michael’s current projects

Students for Free Expression is an organization started by Matthew Foldi, a senior at the University of Chicago. He, Michael, and students from all over the country co-authored a statement of principles for free expression. It has been signed by myriad professors, administrators, and students. Out of that project came the Students for Free Expression organization. Michael is the Chartering Director and has helped establish 45 chapters across the country, including at the University of California, Berkeley.

The National Discourse is a publication for conservatives, liberals, and moderates who are displeased with the mainstream media. They have writers from all ideological shades and from across the globe, even in Kurdistan. They are always looking for new writers.

“I think that moderates are the majority, and I don’t want us to be the silent majority. I want us to be a vocal majority. I want us to fight back against extremism on both sides because I think it’s what’s best for the country and I think it’s what a preponderance of our country wants.” ~ Michael J. Hout. 

Twitter: @MichaelJHout  Facebook: Michael J. Hout

Bills with Luke Scorziell does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice or recommendations. This material is solely intended for educational purposes based on publicly available information and may change at any time. Additionally, this article’s content is a summary of the Interviewee’s comments and, while rephrased by the Author, are not from the Author himself.

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About Luke Scorziell

Mr. Scorziell created The Edge of Ideas when he was 15 years old. After a few years of blogging he found a passion for podcasting and now regularly has guests on his show, Bills with Luke Scorziell. Find out more about Luke and his unique journey. Feel free to send Luke a message below.

Previous Episodes

Ep. 28: Trump on DACA, Chain Migration, Catch and Release, and more

Ep. 27: Austin Petersen, Republican Candidate for Missouri’s Senate Seat

Ep. 25: The Rise of Bitcoin with Daniel LaCalle

Ep. 24: How to Make a Tax Bill with Arpit Chaturvedi

Ep. 23: New Laws in California and Britain’s Holiday Health Crisis

Ep. 22: An In-Depth History of Net Neutrality

Ep. 21: How the New Tax Bill Will Change Business Taxes

Ep. 20: How the New Tax Bill Will Affect You

Ep. 19: Timothy Keller, Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice’s Arizona Office

Ep. 17 & 18: Ep. 17: Daniel LaCalle, Author of Escape from the Central Bank Trap

Ep. 16: Countable CEO and Founder, Bart Myers

Ep. 15: The RAISE Act Part 1

Bills Ep. 14: Arpit Chaturvedi (Pt. 2)

Bills Ep. 13: Arpit Chaturvedi, Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell Policy Review (Pt. 1)

Bills Ep. 12: Timothy Buck, Co-Founder of Read A Bill

Bills Ep. 11: Privacy and Police Body Cameras Part Two

Bills Ep. 10: Privacy and Police Body Cameras Part One

Bill Ep 9: The Campus Free Speech Act Part 2

Bills Ep. 8: A doctor’s perspective on school start times

Bills Ep. 7: Giving Kids the Chance to Dream with Irena Keller


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