• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Why Aren't College Students Revolting?

    Among the speakers at this week’s Heritage Foundation Bloggers Briefing, the consensus was clear: College students could stand more exposure to conservative ideas.

    The inherent contradiction of the liberal political consensus among students is mystifying, the speakers said.

    American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin put it this way: “Young people have supported [President] Obama in droves, even though they’re at a point in their life when they’re typically most rebellious — and he is going to tell them how to run every part of their life.”

    “Why aren’t college students revolting?” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, asked.

    Chris Long, president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, thinks he might have an answer. From Long’s perspective, campuses fail to provide an understanding of the intellectual foundations of conservatism, leaving young people with no viable alternative to liberalism, with the possible exception of libertarianism.

    Even if young people have a sensibility that they’re conservative, Long said, they are rarely steeped in conservative philosophy. That’s why the mission of ISI is to reinvigorate the “traditional liberal arts education” on college campuses and help students “understand what it means to be an effective citizen in today’s world.”

    That’s no easy task. With the Obama administration on track to leave the next generation a back-breaking amount of debt and an economy in shambles, students might have to be “mugged by reality” before they’ll come to their senses about the future of the country, Long suggested. The struggle of ISI is to engage students in a discussion about first principles “before they get their first paycheck and half the money’s taken away.”

    ISI has been effective in that struggle in the past: Founded by William F. Buckley Jr., the program counts among its alumni Heritage’s president, Ed Feulner, and vice president for American Studies, Matt Spalding.

    Matthew McKillip is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Why Aren't College Students Revolting?

    1. JM, Illinois says:

      All these theories and excuses. You leave out one thing: what about the ability to think for yourself? Why must we all conclude that college kids need a mindset to grab on to? I went into college and out in 6 years, and my moral compass and conservative beliefs were exactly the same. I couldn't allow a "movement" to shape my thoughts. To those so easily swayed, I'm simply amazed.

      Truth has no agenda. Think for yourself!

    2. Jordan, Saint Louis says:

      I am a life-long conservative who graduated from a university with an increasing focus on liberal arts (and decreasing influence on practical degrees, like healthcare management or nursing, for example) in 2009. I am also a graduate of an inner-city magnet school, where I was on of the 2 openly conservative students out of a student body of about 250. After four years of debate with my entire high school, going to a college where there was at least an active miority of conservative students was an incredible relief. I felt less need to revolt than I ever had at my increasingly liberal-minded college.

      That being said, during the election season of 2008, I got very tired of hearing about how my refusal to vote for Barack Obama is actually the result of latent racism, which was fostered, unbeknownst to me, by my conservative upbringing. However, I do believe that the majority of conservative college students are capable of recognizing that the individual who choose to teach liberal arts art not exemplary of the rest of the country and that college campuses are not a microcosm of the real world. Which is why when they graduate, instead of getting a Ph.D. and teaching the next generation of idealists, they go out in the real world and do the practical jobs that their liberal arts degrees have almost managed to prepare them for.

    3. Josh, WV & PA says:

      Also consider the changes that President Obama has made in the student loan system. The generally accepted notion on campus and among recent graduates is that President Obama expanded access to student loan funds, reduced the fees and interest associated with student loans, and shortened the length of repayment. Students that continue to attend school with no apparent direction and compound debt that out-paces earning potential despite their degree have become quite common. Many of them are of the impression that their debit will be forgiven if they are unable to repay or if they simply make small monthly payments for ten years. So American campuses are full of students that are too grateful for "The Benevolent Benefactor Barack" to rebel against him. The situation is not entirely unlike the millions of union members that feel beholden to the Presidential hand that feeds them.

    4. Pingback: Why Aren’t College Students Revolting? : USACTION NEWS

    5. Bobbie says:

      Logical thinking and individualism has been drowned out in public education for decades by the indoctrination of the evolving government ideology of socialism. Now the government takes the kids at 3 and calls it "Head Start."

      Even if both parents are 100% conservative, it's not impossible, but can be a difficult task to undo the mental damage years of public education does and what some college education continues. We're making great progress with our own children.

      Once college students realize the strength and intelligence of America's founders and true respect to all mankind's individual freedom, liberty and individual justice for all, coming to years of ignorance our own government forces on us, including belittlement and condescension of everyone they serve, they'll revolt.

      Notice throughout the centuries, a definite weakening in leadership compared to the forefathers constitution, ending up with today's weakest! The peoples American Constitution is the strength of all American people. The government neglecting, distorting, or demeaning the peoples American Constitution is the loss of strength of the American people a show of great weakness in American leadership.

    6. Pingback: Political Ad: CRNC’s “What’s Your Plan?” « FRISK A LIBERAL

    7. Charlie, Ellicott Ci says:

      They ARE revolting. They're revolting against conservatives who during their eight years in power left the country deeply in debt, who try to fixate the country on non-issues like gay marriage, and who don't even believe in climate change, the scientifically accepted explanation for why the planet is getting warmer.

    8. russ in nc says:

      These posts are really old.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.