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From the Issue: Derek Turner

Keep your eyes open for the September issue of The Blue & White, coming soon to campus. Until then, Bwog will honor our heritage/amorous affair with our mother magazine by posting highlights of the upcoming issue online. Among the treats to look forward to: a litany of bizarre and outdated freshman hazing rituals, a conversation with a luminary on DIY education, and a (half-fictional) account of romance in the John Jay dining hall. In Campus Characters, the Blue & Whiteintroduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things and whose stories beg to be shared. In the current issue, staff writer Liz Jacob profiles Nordic god incarnate Derek Turner, CC’12.

Derek Illustration

Illustration by Cindy Pan

Derek Froeb Turner, CC ’12, is a sucker for the classics. Tall, blonde, and Nordic, the Scottsdale, AZ native’s timeless features mirror his appreciation for traditional institutions. Politically conservative and piously Christian, Derek sets himself apart from his predominantly liberal peers. Perhaps Derek’s beliefs inspire his fondness for one of the Core’s less-appreciated texts—St. Augustine’s Confessions. “I know people often joke about how Augustine worries about stealing those pears, but I really love how earnest he is. He just wants to do everything right.”

That earnestness is alive in Derek as well. Ask him about one of many topics that excite him, and you’ll notice. The way he throws his head back when he laughs, or gushes over Professor William Theodore de Bary mark his genuine enthusiasm. While his reluctance to criticize anyone can make his words sound overly politically correct, his thoughts are always sincere. As Kaley Hanenkrat, BC’11 and former Columbia Democrats president, puts it, “Being friends with Derek is like being friends with a politician who still has a soul.”

A card-carrying College Republican, Derek admits his peers rarely fall in with his politics. Fortunately, seeing directly eye-to-eye with his fellow Columbians is never Derek’s greatest concern. Rather, Derek’s main political aim has always been to promote discourse, understanding, and cooperation among fellow students.

To this end, Derek pens a Columbia Spectator column, “Opening Remarks,” in which he presents himself as “a courteous, though prodding, voice in the campus’ political dialogue.” Operating on a self-described philosophy of “close-mindedness,” Derek strongly maintains his political convictions in the effort to engage with, rather than criticize, the ideas of those who disagree with him. And despite his near-archetypal Republicanism (Hanenkrat describes him as a “a living, breathing stereotype of a Republican, including an affinity for bow ties and Brooks Brothers”), Derek insists he’s hardly ever met with an unkind word from more liberal peers.

Hanenkrat agrees. “The entirety of the past two Columbia Democrats’ boards had immense respect for him.” Citing last April’s controversial “anti-safe space” CUCR flyering campaign, Hanenkrat notes that Derek, the College Republicans’ Director of Intergroup Affairs, was integral in promoting understanding among campus groups during the Safe Space forum. Those upset by CUCR’s flyers “were completely amazed by how diplomatic and kind Derek had been.”

Though Derek argues they are not linked, he exhibits the same compromise in his faith as he does with his political beliefs. President of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a multi-faith organization, he argues that “there is no room to rely on tradition or culture—we come together around this experience of pursuing the divine in as unassuming of a way as possible, focusing on scripture as common ground.”

Similarly, by emphasizing understanding, Derek counts himself among what his beloved Jon Huntsman would call the Southwest’s “problem solving conservatives.” He favors pragmatism and bipartisanship, advocating conservatism with bold personality. “I ’m a conservative because I don’t believe that the US’s flourishing comes from the government, but rather from the unique ingenuity and attitude of our private citizenry.”

Belief in ingenuity fuels Derek’s entrepreneurial ambitions. An aspiring Venture for America fellow, Derek is eager to create jobs in under-served areas of the US. But his adventurous spirit is not bound to the States: with a passport stamped in India, Israel, Namibia, and Botswana, Derek says he’s currently looking for a friend to join him motorcycling across Mongolia. Asked if he knew how to ride a motorcycle, he laughed, “No, but that’s what winter break is for.”


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  • RSS Feed says:

    @RSS Feed Is it broken? I haven’t seen any updates since the September 7th “Columbians Recount Terrifying Parade Shooting” post.

  • #1 Fan says:

    @#1 Fan I’ll bike across Mongolia with you Derek!!

  • sarah says:

    @sarah Derek ftw!!

    Also, might want to double check on the quote that IV is a “multi-faith” organization. It’s certainly interdenominational and is open to all, but it’s a Christian organization.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I wonder if he’s pumped to be on bwog.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Derek is great! woohoo!

  • yo says:

    @yo Regal! im taking motorcycle lessons next month. and mongolia’s on my list yo.

  • james says:

    @james derek is a class act. too bad, really, that there’s no room for him in that party of his

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i love you derek!!!

    1. Anarch says:

      @Anarch Sounds like a neo-con to me. What conservative says, “there is no room to rely on tradition or culture.” Isn’t conservatism about preserving tradition and culture? Israeli passport, I’d assume he’s for our submissive foreign policy that says bomb the Middle East to save Israel. Conservatives for cultural change. Let’s bring “Democracy” to places where it never existed to benefit a socialist country invented in 1948. Not to mention a country that spies on us, see Jonathan Pollard. Burke would be proud. True conservatives like yesteryear’s Lindbergh and Bob Taft, or today’s Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan would have to challenge Mr. Turner there. As for his criticism of homosexuality/ publicity stunt, I’m sure he’ll be wearing sack clothes and ashes in 40 years for his opposition to “civil rights” just a Glenn Beck rallied “conservatives” to stage a carnival of repentance on the Mall to cry about how much they love St. MLK 42 years after he forced liberalism down America’s throat. Nietzsche was quite right to say that the Christian guilt complex and love of victim-hood lives on in “democracy’ and other forms of herd worship.

      I prefer this Derek Turner:
      Derek Turner (born 1964 in Dublin, Ireland) is a freelance journalist. In the early 1980s he served in the Irish Navy and moved to England in 1988.

      Derek Turner was editor of Right Now! magazine from 1995 until its demise in December 2006. He is now editor of The Quarterly Review, and a contributing editor to an online magazine which seeks to “forge a new intellectual right-wing”.[1]

      Turner’s writings have been translated into 12 languages. He has written for a wide range of journals, including The Times, Literary Review, Salisbury Review, and The Sunday Telegraph, and writes regular articles for the U.S. paleoconservative magazine Chronicles and the German newspaper Junge Freiheit. He has also taken part in debates at Cambridge and Durham Universities and spoken at many conferences in the UK and overseas.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Do you even KNOW Derek?

        Yes, he’s a straightedge republican but no… he’s not Jesus camp.

        1. Anarch says:

          @Anarch You missed the point. I’m not criticizing “Jesus camp” style fundamentalism, though I’m not a big fan of it, I’m criticizing the Christian Zionism so typical of Republicans and the tendency of Christianity to drift leftward due to the egalitarian bent of Christ’s sayings. Stripping culture and tradition from Christianity essentially makes it Bolshevism with God. When Christianity was successful as a moral system it enforced tradition and hierarchy derived from Greco-Roman models. As the great German conservative Oswald Spengler said, “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism.” Perhaps a refresher in the divide between neo-conservatism and paleo-conservatism would help. Maybe a course in the history of moral systems or comparative religion would aid you.

          1. . says:

            @. You’re a psycho, dude

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Derek is awesome!

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