What I Had to Go Through in College as a Conservative, Liberals Should Experience, Too


I have had enough of reading about liberal college students on liberal college campuses complaining about their liberal sensitivities being offended.

These people are not entitled not to be offended.

The reason I know this is because if they have such an entitlement, so do I, and if I were to have such entitlement, the very people who are complaining now will never be allowed to speak another word because much of what they do and say are quite offensive to me.

Consider:

I’ve been accused of religious fanaticism for being a social conservative.  That’s offensive to my religious beliefs.

I’ve been labeled a moron for being an ardent supporter of the presidency of George W. Bush.  That insults my intelligence.

I’ve been laughed off for summarizing David Mamet’s play “Oleanna” as a feminist propaganda.  That disrespects my opinion.

I was called out for being the new conservative in the incoming class five days into my life as a law school student before I had introduced myself to a single classmate.  That demeans my presence.

I was accused of engaging in Richard Nixon-like tactics for defending the tactics of the then-Republican Congress in law school.  That belittles my views.

I’ve also had to engage in serious dialogue with classmates who thought terrorists would stop strapping bombs to children if only America engaged in more dialogue with them.

I’ve had to defend myself against charges of racism for suggesting that the best way to eliminate racism is to stop categorizing based on race.

And above  all, I’ve had to express my opinions in a hostile environment in which people believed in the diversity of ideas, so long as ideas were not conservative.

My life since high school has consisted of learning to live with the blathering by liberals who surround me.   It offends me to see current college students suggesting that school administrators should shield them from the discomforts resulting from what they have to listen to and read in class.  I had to deal with crap far more personally offensive in a single day than these students will experience in their entire four years in college.  And I had to experience it day after day, month after month, year after year.

To be sure, I didn’t remain quiet about the people who surrounded me, with whom much was disagreeable.  I wrote to the editors of the college paper (of which I was a part as a weekly columnist) advising them that they needed to stop with their liberal propaganda.   I let it be known to my classmates that there was not a consensus in the liberal ideal.

But I never ran to the powers that be to make demands that those whose thoughts and ideas I found offensive be silenced.  I never made such demands because they never would have been accepted.

And that’s the way it should be.

Whatever may be the flaws of my conservatism, the one pride I have is that my deeply-held principles have withstood the most rigorous intellectual challenges.  Any suggestion that liberals in the elite colleges have experienced the same belittles the ridicule, mockery and ostracism conservatives are subjected to in college.  Such suggestion also shows an astonishing lack of self-awareness.  By any measure, college campuses are overwhelmingly liberal, both in the composition of the student body and the faculty who teach them.

Although I had always thought that this was a problematic environment–I’ve been fairly certain for a long time that no truly thought-provoking dialogue can take place when people disagree only as to degree–I’d never thought that the situation was so dire that colleges needed to take affirmative steps to address the liberal bias.

But after repeatedly reading about how the liberal student body has run amok and turned against the faculty and the administrators, I’ve changed my mind.  While I have no sympathy for the faculty’s and the administrators’ reaping what they sowed, I’m fully on their side when it comes to this confrontation.

They need to take a stand.

The students claim that they are entitled to be shielded from offensiveness and discomfort.

The reality is that they aren’t, not in college and certainly not thereafter.  In fact, they are entitled to the exact opposite, to be exposed to offensive thoughts and ideas.

That’s why college administrators need to tell these kids to go back to their dorms and classrooms and deal.  If the administrators truly cared about the intellectual well-being of the students, they would take a step further and cultivate a true diversity of ideas by implementing a new affirmative action policy for the benefit of professors who espouse conservative ideas.

Because liberals being exposed to more than a single token Republican will be a good thing for them, just as the opposite was good for me.

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