College enrollment in the United States has skyrocketed since the 1960’s. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported in 2016 that enrollment numbers were up nearly 246% from 1965. This tremendous growth in college attendance has led to an intense demand on universities to accommodate more students than ever before. But the growth in total enrollment isn’t the only number that has been on the rise. According to a 1955 survey of 2,451 professors across 182 colleges, the percentage of college professors that self-identified as Democrat was 46%. Econ Journal Watch (EJW) now puts the Democrat-Republican ratio at 11.5:1.
This means that an increasingly large portion of Americans are being exposed to an increasingly small amount of political diversity.
College is supposed to be a time for political discourse, not indoctrination. Many students seek admission to prestigious schools in the pursuit of truth, not affirmation. Institutions dedicated to the education of young intellectual thinkers often fail to present their students with any opposing viewpoint whatsoever. And when they do present the opposing viewpoint, it’s often as a side comment or snide remark about “those other people.”
The liberal majority on college campuses really isn’t helping the left.
Many college students never learn the necessary skills to defend their positions in political discussion, much less debate. This makes students an easy target for “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Every College Snowflake Q&A”-esque videos online. While Ben Shapiro is certainly a very talented debater, liberals probably wouldn’t find themselves being “DESTROYED” nearly as often if they could back up their claims with reason. Perhaps if students were educated in a place where their views were systematically challenged, they just might hold their own in a debate.
This is a reality that young conservatives know all too well.
Any college student who is openly conservative is used to the onslaught of screeching that comes at them from their classmates on the left. Because of this, many college conservatives are well read and like to debate. When your values and positions are constantly under attack, you have to learn to be able to defend them. The result is a small group of highly informed conservatives being attacked by a large group of uninformed liberals. I saw the result of this disparity earlier this month while waiting in line to hear Mr. Shapiro speak at University of Southern California.
Those who had reserved tickets in advance were respectfully waiting in line and talking with one another. While in line, I spoke with a graduate student from Ecuador. He explained to me that, although he is considered a minority in the United States, and therefore must be a liberal, his upbringing in the Catholic Church contributed to his formation of conservative views. Needless to say, it was a very civil discussion— that is until our conversation was cut short by a horde of protesters angrily shouting “NAZIS!!” at us.
Yes. My new friend from Ecuador and I were being called Nazis while waiting in line to see the most famous Jew in American politics speak.
So what can we do to fix this problem? It is imperative that we continue to encourage diversity of thought on college campuses. The presence of organizations like YAF and TPUSA at universities play a vital role in the creation of a truly diverse educational environment. Protecting Freedom of Speech and ensuring people like Ben Shapiro are able to speak at colleges is crucial. Without these things, the problem is only bound to get worse.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.