I’ve been hanging around Hillsdale’s campus for nearly a month now. I’ve enjoyed watching workers put the finishing touches on Christ Chapel, which is due to be dedicated by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on October 3rd during the 175th Gala celebration of Hillsdale’s founding. I also attended the Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) seminar on Understanding China. As you might expect, the CCA is where you meet the best of America in the speakers, attendees, and ideas. For example, I was able to greet and sit next to Ricochet contributor Professor and Mrs. Rahe at the closing address by Steven Mosher. I often say, being in Hillsdale is like going on a religious pilgrimage. It lifts you up and gives you hope, this little outpost of Western civilization.
In answer to my title question, I would guess Hillsdale’s conservative students are busy studying and excelling in faith, athletics, music, and the visual arts. But, the one place they’re missing is The Collegian newspaper opinion pages.
It’s not that there are no conservative voices, but, if you think Hillsdale’s student body is uniformly conservative, the opinion pages are where you’re disabused of the notion. Of the eight editorials in last week’s paper (all but one of which are written by the paper’s staff), two are supportive of conservative principles: Labeling NRA won’t stop mass shootings, teaching respect will; and US, Europe shouldn’t strike new deal with Iran. I don’t think it’s just me who would say these are the best reasoned and convincing, but I admit I may be experiencing confirmation bias.
Three of the submissions are neutral or apolitical: The Weekly: More Parking, Please, by the editorial staff; Remembering 9/11: America must remain strong, unified; and 9/11 trial date set decades too late: Due process important for victims and their families. The first is what it seems — a plea to address the age-old problem of parking around campuses. I wonder if the same complaint was lodged at the school’s founding for horse and buggies. The latter two are calls for America to stand up to its ideals. Only the Left will argue with national unity and timely due process (although, I’m not sure the principle should apply to enemy combatants — a debate for another day).
The remaining three editorials are attempts to advance and advise the Democrat Party: DNC primary rules lack transparency; Invite Pete Buttigieg to speak on campus, by the president of the College Democrats; and Impeachment proceedings could backfire for Dems. It’s tempting to pick apart these pieces, but that’s not my aim here.
I assert The Collegian’s opinion pages are a microcosm of the Left/Right differences today. The Left is actively engaged in politics and consciously makes an effort to dominate information outlets. The Right is either a) too busy living the “good life,” b) too cowed by political correctness (which is the opposite of truth and liberty), c) presumptuous about the continuation of our liberties, or d) indifferent to politics. This criticism is intended to goose “friends of the founding” (Klavan’s phrase) into action.
Hillsdale’s highly analytic and exceptionally well-educated conservatives should have a major presence on the opinion page, at a minimum. The three left-leaning editorials should be rebutted and refuted.
Donald Trump’s erratic governance? I understand not everyone enjoys his behavior, but you’re going to have to provide examples of “erratic governance.” Business, industry, and the stock market beg to differ. I suspect the coming general election campaign will be economically disruptive because of the uncertainty of its outcome. If Democrats manage to pull off a victory, the economic players will once again face a rule-of-man(woman?) capricious administration like Barack Obama’s, which had, what? Seven or nine of its rulings overturned at the Supreme Court?
And, guess what? Democrats shouldn’t impeach Donald Trump because they have no ground for doing so! Not because it will hurt them at the polls (which, if it happens, will be richly deserved for neglecting the business of the people). You don’t get to impeach and remove a duly elected president because his private behavior repulses you or you don’t like his policies. That is antithetical to our constitutional republic and positively undemocratic.
Buttigieg shares Hillsdale College’s devotion to freedom? I don’t think so. The Left’s sine qua non is “equality,” not liberty, with which it is in constant tension. Equality, in postmodern parlance, refers to equal outcomes, not equal individual worth before God and the law. Pete Buttigieg betrays his devotion to leftism over Christianity by his “first breath” rule for protecting innocent life. Imagine a fully viable term-minus-one-month baby having her spinal cord severed or being poisoned to death because her mother doesn’t want her and she hasn’t taken her first breath — and then tell me about Pete Buttigieg’s Christian beliefs in a Creator God. I don’t disagree with inviting him to speak at Hillsdale, but I’m dubious he would come. He’s not going to sway the unbelievers (in progressivism) here with such twisted reasoning. It’s a waste of his time.
Tulsi Gabbard says the DNC primary process lacks transparency? That’s what we call a feature of progressivism, not a bug. The whole project is about putting people in power who just know better what’s good for you. Democrat voters haven’t noticed how arbitrary their movement is? How what is right and good is a constantly shifting target based on the will and influence of the powerful? That explains a lot about the cultural chaos we’re experiencing.
Okay, I violated my own terms by picking apart these pieces. But, this shouldn’t be left to some mid-western, middle-aged, housewife. The kids at Hillsdale and most conservatives on this site are better prepared to make the conservative case. If we’re not getting our ideas into Hillsdale’s college newspaper, it does not bode well for the cause of truth and liberty.
Please consider joining The Gadfly Group and posting your editorials intended to influence local readers (subsidiarity, baby!) for advice and adjustments before submission. Or, even if your piece has already been published, please post in the group pour encourager les autres. Get busy pursuing truth and defending liberty, because the Left’s agenda is the opposite and it’s up to us to combat it wherever we’re able.Published in