Thomas Chandler Haliburton once said, “A college education shows a man how little other people know.” Too right. It is an unfortunate truth that in the modern era of liberal higher education, this quote seems more applicable to university professors than their students. On college campuses across America, the curriculum trends overwhelmingly toward teaching a liberal, socialist worldview rather than encouraging independent thought and competing ideas. Paul Kengor of the American Thinker published a phenomenal article on the impact of this system of indoctrination by the teaching of selective history (which has been enshrined for nearly fifty years) on today’s young electorate, and I heartily agree with many of his conclusions. However, I do not share his tone of pessimism regarding the ability to combat or roll back the policies that seem to have given rise to factories that package and ship young socialists. There exists an undeniable resurgence of young conservatives and libertarians attending university in the United States who, like an inverse of the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s, are bucking the system and fighting the power. But unlike the hippies of the last century, the children of this revolution do not engage in protest marches, overrun and occupy university faculty buildings or bomb federal offices. Rather, they operate like sleeper cells, quietly studying and jumping through the hoops held by their professors, knowing that one day they will be activated and begin doing their part to ensure the revolution marches on.

For many college students, the attacks of September 11, 2001 were a turning point in their education and the eye-opener as to how radically left-oriented their curriculum was. That was the case for me. I attended college at The American University in Washington, DC and woke up that morning to a student who lived across the hall in my dorm banging on our door and telling us that America was under attack. We switched on the TV and saw the burning World Trade Center Towers and heard that the Pentagon had been hit as well. Just like everyone else that day, we tried calling our families on our cell phones but got no service due to overwhelming call volume, though we all knew our parents were trying to get to us to find out if we were okay. We could see the smoke from the Pentagon from the top of our dorm, which looked down on Southern DC and Northern Virginia across the Potomac. When classes resumed (after several days of cancellations due to disgusting phony bomb threats), I was horrified and sickened to hear classroom discussion on the attacks. Not just students, but professors were laying the blame at America’s doorstep, telling us that it was our foreign policy that provoked them. Most said that the most appropriate response was not to retaliate, but to go on with our lives like nothing had happened. Others said (and I’m serious) that we should engage in talks with those responsible to find out what their grievances were and address them. I heard only one professor say that a military response was in order; he was Lebanese and had lived through his country’s civil war, seeing the full measure of Islamic fundamentalist atrocity first hand. But his voice was a lonely one.

Seeing that sort of American self-loathing encouraged by my professors made me vigilant and steeled me for more of the same. But this had been going on long before I was awakened; 9/11 just made the flaws in the system painfully obvious. The teaching of not just socialist principles, but Marxist principles, as rational and sympathetic world views was and continues to be the rule. Internationalism, UN peacekeeping and the erosion of national sovereignty are praised with little attention to their abysmal failures and inherent problems. Class divisions and the free-market are railed against and a premise of anti-capitalism is taken as a foregone conclusion. This environment is hard on students who favor free-markets, globalization, and small government. It is especially hard on those who support unilateral military action in national defense and the continued integrity of national sovereignty. But for those with the courage of their convictions, it is also a crucible in which they are forced to confront the arguments against their world-view and develop effective responses. For instance, the course material assigned for most classes is predominantly oriented to argue for the instructor’s point of view, and therefore professors feel justified in issuing lower grades to students who challenge that view on exams and written assignments. Conservative students, therefore, find themselves largely writing persuasive arguments for views diametrically opposed to their own in order to make the grade, and simultaneously hone their command of the opposition’s playbook. Students of a conservative persuasion are ideologically assailed at university every day. This sort of hostile environment breeds hard-charging, confident and intellectually competent individuals. Simply put, it’s a grueling proving ground (think the Siberian training scene from Rocky IV). Not everyone survives with their beliefs intact, but those who do become battle-hardened foot soldiers in the Young Conservative Revolution.

And the ranks of the Revolution are growing. College Republican membership now stands at over 250,000 nationally, which dwarfs College Democrat membership numbers. But the Children of the Revolution are not deluded: this is an uphill battle, and victory remains elusive. Nevertheless, we are stalwart in our beliefs that limited government, free markets, a strong national defense, and low taxes are the cornerstones of liberty and that our country has strayed farther and farther from these principles with each passing year. We recognize that the Bush administration has done much for conservatism through its tax policy and Supreme Court nominations, but has been an egregious offender in the area of government growth and intervention. We are not your father’s conservative: we watch South Park, listen to hip hop, drink Starbuck’s coffee, wear tee shirts and jeans, and read The Onion. We have survived the liberal education system and lived to tell tales of wading through anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-Israel, and anti-globalization protests in the quad. We always vote. And we walk among you.

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