New club on campus encourages political debate

Kalee Chism

A new club on campus is allowing students to explore different political ideas. The Western Thought Club offers a place for students to debate topics, explore political theory and get informed about different ideas across the globe.

Kyle Bale, the founder and current president of the Western Thought Club, came up with the idea after realizing there were no clubs offered specifically for political science majors to discuss their ideas.

“Being a political science major, I always wondered why there was not a club for us,” Bale said. “There was a history club and a math club, but no club for political science majors to just discuss ideas. There was no club rooted in political theory and history. I talked to a couple of my peers, and they said it would be a great addition for WKU. A way to debate ideas outside the classroom.”

Bale then began the process of creating the club, including getting a faculty adviser, Edward Yager, who helped the club get started in under two months.

Bale said the club offers a safe environment to discuss unique ideas regarding political theories and ideologies.

“The Western Thought Club is a club that discusses and debates political theory topics,” he said. “We revisit things we just assume like, ‘Is democracy the best form of government?’ Any average American would say yes, but we wanted to dive into why democracy is the best form. The club is a way to explore political ideas past and present in a safe environment. It is a way to tackle questions and theories that we find unique.”

Bale said she hopes the club will offer a place to discuss new ideas that can help fix some of today’s problems.

“The goal of the club is not only to debate certain topics, but to inform people of the different ideas in the world,” he said. “Many of the issues we see today were actually debated 200 years ago. The club is not only a way of exploring ideas, but finding solutions to today’s issues.”

The club aims to inform students as its main purpose , challenging the ideals students support.

“I really want students to understand the things they support,” Bale said. “I want students to think for themselves, and not be a product of their environment.”

As the club expands, Bale hopes to get a diverse group of students involved in order to view things from many different perspectives.

“I hope the club will have a variety of attenders that would want to debate certain theories and concepts,” said Bale. “I would love a diverse group of students to explore an idea in multiple lights. A biology major may have a different view on conservatism than a political science major does.”

In the future, the Western Thought Club hopes to focus on traveling abroad and expanding across campus.

“There are two things I wish to do in the future with this club. The first is traveling abroad to the locations where some of the ideas we discuss were formed. I would like the club members to experience the place Plato came up with forms and ideas, or where Burke served as a statesman,” said Bale. “The second is hoping for a bigger audience. I wish more of WKU would come and see the ideas we debate as they are relevant to the current political landscape. I hope my peers at WKU understand and are well-informed in the ideas they are claiming to support.”

While the club hopes to encourage conversation surrounding these different political ideas and theories, Bale says the main focus of the club is to have the students learn.

“I would be happy if people came to the meetings and said nothing at all,” said Bale. “They would still be learning concepts and ideas by just being there. I want people to debate, but I would rather have people learn.”

Reporter Kalee Chism can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]