Where are Hillsdale’s Touted Conservative Students?

 

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.

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There are 19 comments.

  1. RightAngles Member

    this shouldn’t be left to some mid-western, middle-aged, housewife

    haha! I hardly think that describes you. But anyway, we can at least hope that these kids are only thinking this way because they’re still young. Maybe their parents made them go to Hillsdale and they don’t want to be there. In either case, Hillsdale is the best place for them until their brains mature past their leftist stage. I wonder if their teachers see what they’re writing and try to red-pill them. They sure need it.

    • #1
    • September 19, 2019, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Western Chauvinist: 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 think one could interpret advising the DNC to embrace transparency, an openness to inviting speakers with opposing views, and warning the Dems against doing stupid things, as conservative positions.

    If conservative does not equal Republican, it follows that conservatives could benefit from the Democratic Party smartening up.

    • #2
    • September 19, 2019, at 1:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. RightAngles Member

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: 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 think one could interpret advising the DNC to embrace transparency, an openness to inviting speakers with opposing views, and warning the Dems against doing stupid things, as conservative positions.

    If conservative does not equal Republican, it follows that conservatives could benefit from the Democratic Party smartening up.

    But it sounds to me more like they’re trying to help the Dems.

    • #3
    • September 19, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Kephalithos Member

    Random observations, from an insider:

    • Hillsdale creates politics burnout, just as it creates Aristotle burnout, Churchill burnout, Lincoln burnout, and a thousand other kinds of burnout. Once students have quoted the Nicomachean Ethics to each other for the 1,325th time, and once they’ve flashed their “Who is John Galt?” bottom-lip tattoos, they tend to move on to fresher pastures. It’s the same way with politics. (Plus, not all the political junkies are sparkling specimens of humanity, and it’s sometimes tiring to deal with them. Surprise, surprise.)
    • Most people follow the William F. Buckley rule. They write editorials because something annoys them. Non-conservatives on Hillsdale’s campus are more likely to be annoyed (certainly, I knew a few who were), and therefore more likely to submit editorials. To the extent Hillsdale students engage in political debate, they often do so outside the newspaper’s pages — at dinner tables, in class, at lectures, and so on.
    • Hillsdale used to have a Gadfly Group — a club dedicated explicitly to questioning Hillsdale’s orthodoxy. (Ricochet’s own Jack Butler was involved in its creation.) It faded away during my stint at the college.
    • Isn’t most punditry these days devoted to advising the Democratic Party? It’s not like Republicans are in the middle of a primary . . .
    • #4
    • September 19, 2019, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Bob Thompson Member

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    “Who is John Gault?”

    This is a mistake you really don’t want to make if you want your point of view to exude credibility.

    • #5
    • September 19, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Kephalithos Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment): This is a mistake you really don’t want to make if you want your point of view to exude credibility.

    True.

    I was straining for a symbol of pop conservatism, and this came to mind. Not a wise move, I guess.

    • #6
    • September 19, 2019, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Bob Thompson Member

    As I have said in various comments and posts, I’m having true difficulty even using the word ‘conservative’ to indicate my own political leanings. The variance in meaning is too great. I have had people suggest to me that Islam is conservative, for example. If that were true, how does one deal with the fact that Islam is politically a collective? 

    I have evolved to the point where I would just start with teaching the principles put forth by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence and embodied, through their best efforts at the time, in the Constitution. Some things not taken care of at the time have been fixed and other faults have been introduced, but one should be able to figure out where those are. 

     

    • #7
    • September 19, 2019, at 3:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Bob Thompson Member

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment): This is a mistake you really don’t want to make if you want your point of view to exude credibility.

    True.

    I was straining for a symbol of pop conservatism, and this came to mind. Not a wise move, I guess.

    I appreciate your response. I’m not clear that you got my point about ‘Who is John Galt?’. Look closely. I was suggesting when you cite you really need to get it right, otherwise you create doubt.

    • #8
    • September 19, 2019, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Post author

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    and once they’ve flashed their “Who is John Gault?” bottom-lip tattoos, they tend to move on to fresher pastures.

    Guffaw!!! Good one.

    I understand what you’re saying. Even my own daughter who largely agrees with the Lockean arguments presented in her Constitution class is tired of the head-nodding and blithe acceptance of the premises. She wants an argument, dammit!

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Non-conservatives on Hillsdale’s campus are more likely to be annoyed (certainly, I knew a few who were), and therefore more likely to submit editorials.

    I would say non-conservatives are generally unhappier people and are annoyed (triggered) by everything they disagree with. It’s not unique to Hillsdale. But, I’m trying to get the Happy Warriors of the right to step up their game. Become activists. Submit some damn editorials, for Pete’s sake! Hillsdale’s Collegian newspaper shouldn’t be just another organ of progressivism in this country. It’s Hillsdale!

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Isn’t most punditry these days devoted to advising the Democratic Party? It’s not like Republicans are in the middle of a primary . . .

    Good point. 

    • #9
    • September 19, 2019, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Kephalithos Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment): I appreciate your response. I’m not clear that you got my point about ‘Who is John Galt?’. Look closely. I was suggesting when you cite you really need to get it right, otherwise you create doubt.

    Agh! Well, I’ve given myself away. I never did finish Atlas Shrugged.

    It’s fixed.

    • #10
    • September 19, 2019, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Bob Thompson Member

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment): I appreciate your response. I’m not clear that you got my point about ‘Who is John Galt?’. Look closely. I was suggesting when you cite you really need to get it right, otherwise you create doubt.

    Agh! Well, I’ve given myself away. I never did finish Atlas Shrugged.

    It’s fixed.

    Well, I couldn’t be sure about that with books on audio and recent movie versions, how to spell the name would not be something you would know. Anyway, it was a long book and Galt didn’t show up early in the story. 

    • #11
    • September 19, 2019, at 4:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Hey, WC, why don’t you try submitting this post to The Collegian, and see if they will print it? You are a lover of Hillsdale, and they might just accept it. I hope to meet John Miller(head of the Dow Journalism Program) when we are there next month , and I can ask him.

    • #12
    • September 19, 2019, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Mike H Coolidge

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: 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 think one could interpret advising the DNC to embrace transparency, an openness to inviting speakers with opposing views, and warning the Dems against doing stupid things, as conservative positions.

    If conservative does not equal Republican, it follows that conservatives could benefit from the Democratic Party smartening up.

    But it sounds to me more like they’re trying to help the Dems.

    Wouldn’t making the Dems more conservative also help them?

    • #13
    • September 19, 2019, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. JosePluma Thatcher

    So two out of three of these supposed “liberal” editorials are, based on the headlines, critical of the Dims? That’s not exactly za Stalina territory. By comparison, check a nearby leftish school (i.e. any other college ); the “moderate” editoral is probably recommending the president be roasted over a slow fire instead burned at the stake. Meanwhile the conservative voices

    • #14
    • September 19, 2019, at 8:28 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Post author

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Meanwhile the conservative voices

    Haha! “Conservative voices…” Haha! You’re so funny!

    • #15
    • September 20, 2019, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. RightAngles Member

    The worst part about some of the young lefties of today is that they’re so much less well informed than we were in the 60s, and they’re operating from a place of false premises. They throw terms around with no understanding of what they mean: “Trump is authoritarian!” (No he isn’t. Are you kidding. I think there are dissidents in prison cells and gulags in other parts of the world who might disagree) “You’re a Nazi!” (No I’m not. Look it up)

    It’s very dangerous and might not end well if enough of them don’t grow up.

    • #16
    • September 20, 2019, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Post author

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Hey, WC, why don’t you try submitting this post to The Collegian, and see if they will print it? You are a lover of Hillsdale, and they might just accept it. I hope to meet John Miller(head of the Dow Journalism Program) when we are there next month , and I can ask him.

    Eh, the paper is for students. I’d rather read student rejoinders than my own.

    The culture at Hillsdale is very Christian. Even the Bernie Bro who asked questions during the CCA was treated respectfully as if his questions (comparing Chinese concentration camps to Israel protecting its people from Muslim terrorists) had merit and were worth considering. Let’s just say, I’m a bad Catholic compared to these people. There was nary a groan on the part of the audience, and I’m sitting there wanting to rip his head off so I could direct his attention to where he could see his own repulsive backside. 

    My bigger point still stands. Conservatives are lousy at influence, even among the people nearest to us. 

    • #17
    • September 20, 2019, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Bob Thompson Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    The worst part about some of the young lefties of today is that they’re so much less well informed than we were in the 60s, and they’re operating from a place of false premises.

    Why is this? I become more amazed daily with the narratives and wonder when there will be a significant breakthrough.

    Whistleblower Complaint Now Looks Like Democrat Effort to Protect Joe Biden from Investigation…

    I watched the Cuomo/Giuliani segment with amusement and concern.

    • #18
    • September 20, 2019, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. RufusRJones Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    As I have said in various comments and posts, I’m having true difficulty even using the word ‘conservative’ to indicate my own political leanings. The variance in meaning is too great. I have had people suggest to me that Islam is conservative, for example. If that were true, how does one deal with the fact that Islam is politically a collective?

    I have evolved to the point where I would just start with teaching the principles put forth by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence and embodied, through their best efforts at the time, in the Constitution. Some things not taken care of at the time have been fixed and other faults have been introduced, but one should be able to figure out where those are.

     

    Here’s my version: All “non-public goods” produce negative value. Having politicians guess at tax brackets and deductions produces negative value. All government actuarial systems are basically just theft; citizens stealing from each other. If the Federal Reserve does anything except back up the financial system in a punitive way, it produces negative value. David Horowitz and Angello Codevilla are right about everything. 

    • #19
    • September 21, 2019, at 5:08 AM PDT
    • 1 like