Here’s an excerpt from a piece that I wrote for my old blog a couple of weeks after arriving to Cornell. These were my initial reactions to the political climate here at Cornell, and, for the most part, I stick by my initial findings.
…There’s no question that some hostility towards conservatives exists, but apart from the news-making incidents, I’ve found that the average student does not meet the profile of the stereotypic progressive, egalitarian, politically correct and diversity-oriented Ivy Leaguer. Yes, there is a disproportionate number of people who would label themselves as “liberal,” but their general aversion is not directed towards any specific conservative ideas. Instead, they deplore the idea of conservatism. Most students that I have met think of conservatism as backward, reactionary, and associated with closed-mindedness. I’ve spoken at length with classmates about inflammatory libertarian ideas—privatizing education, legalizing drugs, and loosening conceal-carry laws for college campuses, just to name a few—and most found them appealing if not enticing. But I lost most people from the get-go if I mentioned the words “conservative” or “Republican.” Their brains close and turn hostile at the mention of these ineffable words.
Perhaps this is an unalterable constant. Students always feel a certain agency about changing the world, but I think it’s this feeling of social responsibility that precludes progress. As I’ve constantly argued, conservatism is progressive. The university should be a place for all kinds of openness and diversity; too many students are missing out on a spectrum of political ideas with which they might one day change the world.