Photo credit: Annette Bernhardt via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

How Can Conservatives De-Politicize College Campuses?


It’s no secret that Marxists use academia as their retreat.

Every couple of decades they wander out, get elected, destroy a bunch of stuff, then retreat back to their taxpayer-funded cynosures when the going gets tough and the adults must move in to clean up their mess. This is the tedious pattern after every Occupy protest, every riot, every election of every Bill de Blasio: the Marxists break it and then more mature (generally Republican) leaders have to clean it up.

But we don’t clean up entirely, and that has been our main failing. A long time ago — a half-century ago now — American Marxists perfected the technique of rent seeking in the institutions by perfecting the technique of weaponizing street riots. A daily riot in the streets meant more public social service programs with more employees who could radicalize underclass populations. A daily riot on college campuses meant a new funding line for an administrator or a professor who could then dedicate him or herself to the Marxist revolution.

Over the years, in academia, the names of these revolutionary administrators have morphed from Ethnic Studies to Gender Studies to Diversity Studies to Sustainability Studies, but their task remains the same: use our money to wage cultural revolution against America.

These are the people who must be fought first.

Defunding the diversity/sustainability cabal won’t just save us money and cut off some funding to the Left: it will show embattled parents and students that it is possible to escape the currently pervasive grasp of cultural Marxism. This is an urgent first task. When I speak to tea party groups or conservative women’s groups, I inevitably receive questions like:

  • Should my son conceal the fact that he is Christian when he is applying to colleges?
  • Should my daughter lie if anyone asks her whom she voted for?
  • Should they avoid joining the Young Republicans clubs so they don’t get bad grades?
  • Do we tell our kids to go to church off campus so nobody will know they’re religious? (Yes, I was asked that question)

An entire generation of parents and students are waking up right now to the impossibility of escaping the dangers of cultural Marxism. As little as ten years ago, these same parents and students would have believed that a college student could weather a bit of political nonsense on campus, get a degree, then leave the political nonsense behind when they set out to adult lives and careers.

Few people believe this today, and rightfully so. At the graduate level, there is real fear of being “outed” as a Republican (let alone conservative) and denied admission — not just to some graduate degree in the humanities — but to medical school or business or teaching school, or to being hired after graduating. Want to go to community college and become a kindergarten teacher? Get with the cultural Marxism, or else.

Even parents of students who want to become engineers or enter other hard sciences are, quite reasonably, now afraid. Colleges and universities have become expert at making sure that no student survives four years on campus without being forced into at least one cultural Marxist classroom — and judged and graded by the teacher there. Requirements such as freshman orientation and freshman composition are used to indoctrinate most students and spread fear.

The fear part is important. If you signal early to a student that he or she must remain silent in the face of cultural Marxism or face career-threatening damages, then cultural Marxism quickly becomes the norm everywhere on campus.

The Right has spent many years defining the dangers of this ideology in schools; meanwhile, cultural Marxists have bullied and rioted and administrated their way to total control over higher education. The flaccid efforts to establish tenured chairs of conservatism at a handful of colleges are really all we have to show for our “resistance” to the cultural Marxist takeover.

Conservatives need a real victory to show it is possible to fight back.

But we don’t even know what that victory would look like. Many conservative groups are busy fighting the mess in K–12 education, and they are stretched thin with that task. I don’t know what the victory would look like on college campuses anymore: I only know we need one.

I do know what it shouldn’t look like, however: the Proud Boys movement.

The Proud Boys are a mangy crew of libertarian activist types who believe in fighting leftist riots with (purportedly) right-wing fisticuffs. I say “purportedly right-wing” because none of these “boys” are cultural conservatives, and not a few of them ought to be defined as leftists themselves. Some are associated with VICE magazine.  One has to wonder how many of their head-bashers are infiltrators from the Left, looking to make the Right look bad.

I personally can’t think of a worse way to bring concerned conservative parents and students to a social movement against cultural Marxism than to associate it with a bunch of tattooed hoodlums who actually like the edgy moniker “alt-right.” In their nostalgia for National Lampoon style antics and optics, the Proud Boys may be having a heck of a time, but they are only causing more problems for the rest of us.

Peter Wood and his associates at the National Association of Scholars have already written several blueprints for a new movement to rescue higher education from itself.  What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students is a detailed report explaining how one college turned from “teaching reason” to “teaching politics.” Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History? is a study of the politicization of American History courses at two Texas colleges. And Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism examines the politics behind the so-called campus sustainability movement.

There is ample material here for activists in several states to begin answering the question: how do we de-politicize higher education?

Photo credit: Annette Bernhardt via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Tina Trent

Tina Trent received her undergraduate degree from New College in Florida and her doctorate from the Institute for Women’s Studies of Emory University, where she worked under the conservative, pro-life scholar Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. Dr. Trent writes regularly for America’s Survival and Capital Research Center, and she blogs about crime at

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