TAC correspondent Michael D’Virgilio points out that the American right has abdicated real involvement in education and left it to liberals and Marxists to form the minds of the nation’s citizens. Could anything be stupider?
 Campus leftists

"The Ivory Tower Leans Left," the Wall Street Journal informs us, in an interesting recent article.

To say that the academy "leans" left is a bit of an understatement. It’s more like Academe is grossly dominated by the left, but the point of the article is to investigate why this is so. WSJ Deputy Taste Editor Naomi Schaeffer Riley reviews a study about exactly this question and makes some interesting anecdotal points and conjecture on others.

She concludes that it may just be because conservatives don’t like hanging out with people who get doctorates and thus don’t pursue careers in academia.

OK, then. Now we know.

But the real question, the most important question, isn’t why this is so, but whether it is a good thing.

Should conservatives abdicate from any involvement in higher education, and K-12 public education for that matter, and leave it all to the left?

The obvious answer should be, hell no!

At least, I think the answer should be obvious. The vast majority of America’s children spend several hours a day from age four until they are eighteen or twenty-one being indoctrinated by a liberal education industry. There are plenty of classically liberal and conservative alternatives in the private sector, but not many parents are able to take advantage of them.

In addition, most kids do not have parents who can or will teach them to question the liberal bromides, platitudes, silliness, and outright lies they hear daily, let alone teach them to resist and think for themselves. After all, most parents have been educated in the same system.

The consequences of this leftist hegemony are obvious: the left largely sets the cultural and political agenda in America.

But the conservative movement can’t control who chooses to go into higher education, right?

Of course we can’t, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything we can do. There are alternatives other than total control and utter abandoment of the battle, although most conservatives seem to forget this (and the left certainly lives by that notion.)

I’ve decided to do something about this, and the general cultural weakness of the conservative movement and conservatism in general.

Culture will always trump politics. If we are to move America back to the founding principals that made this country the greatest on earth, it won’t be through politics only, or through the intellectual foment around politics only, at which conservatives are very good. Instead, it will come through what I call the four great cultural influence professions.

These are:

  • Hollywood, entertainment, and the arts;
  • academia and education;
  • law, the legal profession, and the courts; and
  • journalism and media.

Conservatives must think about how these cultural influence professions affect culture, and should recruit young conservatives to make their careers within them.

Until our culture strongly reflects conservative, traditional values, political efforts will not bear very much fruit, and none of it will be long-lasting. We’ve tried changing America through politics, from the top down. Memo to conservatives: It doesn’t work.

The frustration among conservatives today is palpable, because in spite of the magnificent growth of the movement and of conservative voices throughout the media, the philosophy of liberal statism still dominates American politics, even more than during the 1990s, and this is true in both political parties, although less so among Republicans.

What is urgently needed is a conservative or classically liberal movement that will change things from the bottom up. The right must seek to influence culture first, and then politics will largely take care of itself. Our political efforts will certainly bear more fruit—America will come to look more like the society our founders envisioned, and less like the society FDR and the Un-American Civil Liberties Union have given us today.

And instead of just talking about this, I and a few other likeminded individuals are doing something about it. We’re not ready to share it with the world just yet, but will soon be in a position to do so. In the meantime, I can tell you some of the principles behind it, and hope to enlist your support as we move forward.

It is a project that takes into account the inability of politics alone to create the kind of society in which we wish to live: one that respects the principals of our founding, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of ordered liberty before a Creator who gave us rights that do not come from government. It is a society of government that is limited in its scope, that maximizes personal responsibility and denies the temptation of victimhood.

We will not get such a government until we have a culture that feeds its people the positive vision of such a society. What we need is a culture project.