Politics is more group-oriented for America than it has ever been before, and some of the places this group-think has hit hardest is our college campuses.
It’s all too common to hear phrases such as “It’s time for a woman in the White House,” often in reference to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid. This statement ignores any of her qualifications (or lack thereof) necessary to sit in the free world’s highest office and instead focuses on a fact of her genetics as a determining factor. What is an attempt to be less sexist actually ends up as a statement of complete sexism, focusing on gender to the exclusion of all other qualifications.
The same was said of Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. “We have moved past racism! Surely it is time for a black man to be the President of the USA.” This similarly ignores all qualifications for the presidency, such as length of time served in congress and voting track record, and focuses on race to the exclusion of all other qualifications. Ironically, race ends up being the main factor determining the vote of many voters concerned with racism.
But this sort of group oriented thinking isn’t limited to presidential candidates. It permeates even the day to day politics of the average voting citizen, when Republican African Americans are called “race traitors” and young pro-life women are similarly accused of fighting for their own subjugation.
Group-oriented politics has become the name of the game. In the liberal view, white men and the establishment are Republicans, minorities, women and poor people are Democrats, and to vote otherwise is betraying your own allegiances. This, of course, rests on the false premise of an owed allegiance. Women do not owe it to other women to be pro-choice, or even to be Democrats at all. Black men do not owe it to other black men to be Democrats or even particularly interested in politics at all.
This group-think, by it’s very nature, rejects individuals out of hand. An individual is not behaving as a defined part of the group, and so is subject to the social punishments of not adhering to the belief set of the collective. Because the individual doesn’t adhere to the collective belief set, he or she can be ignored without a second thought. The eventual result is a group of people who all think the same thing, and each reject new views when they are introduced without any debate or intellectual exploration.
For instance, when Oberlin college in Ohio actually invited a conservative to speak, her presence was highly protested and she was accused of supporting rapists, as well as of being a rape denialist and a misogynist. This was not the result of reasoned debate against the ideas of the speaker, but instead was a response to first impressions and emotional reactions to what she had said.
If this were the purpose of a university, this might be innocent and of no note–for instance, the “club of socialists” would not appreciate an anarchist coming in and trying to open up debate about which system is best, because the club doesn’t exist to invite debate. But universities aren’t clubs. Universities hail themselves as places where the young can explore new ideas and investigate the world, when in reality you can only explore the “pre-approved” ideas. If they did explore diverse sets of ideas, their invited speakers wouldn’t lean overwhelmingly to the left.
This is not a conspiracy theory, as each member of the large collectivist group known as a university independently makes a choice to adhere to this view set and behave accordingly. However, it is a serious problem. Universities are slowly transforming from places of idea exploration to places of pre-approved education, where the only ideas that can be explored are the already vetted ones.
The consequences of this philosophical change on college campuses results in a paradigm shift all across campuses: even students that aren’t politically aware are more likely to be exposed to and assume these group-oriented viewpoints, and the entire culture on a college campus suddenly shifts decidedly to the left. The rare time that a conservative idea is mentioned, it’s treated as weird, bad and shunned just by virtue of what it is.
Without real change to dialogue on our campuses, conservative ideology will be edged out of the awareness of young people until it is all but nonexistent.