One question has plagued me recently: how is it that Lone Conservative, a publication featuring only college students, is able to publish content that rivals our country’s most august publications? I’ve spent countless hours editing for this site, and I’ve edited countless articles only to then read something else on the same topic of lower quality by a professional journalist.
As I’m now set to leave this fine publication—I have a daughter on the way and, alas, parenting duties call me away from my political advocacy—reflecting on my time here provides some answers.
When I started at Lone Conservative, I was an idiot; I still consider myself so but in my early days here I, unfortunately, didn’t know this. I thought I knew about conservatism. I didn’t. I thought I knew how to formulate an argument. I didn’t. I thought I was smart because I’d read John Stuart Mill. I wasn’t.
That’s where Lone Conservative comes in. It wasn’t random internet strangers who challenged my sophomoric beliefs about property rights. It was fellow college students who pointed out in edits that I’d made unjustified assertions and slandered the entire teaching profession to boot. It was genuine friends who discussed the complexities of constitutional law with me.
When I think back to the early days of Lone Conservative and compare it to where we are now, it gives me hope for the conservative movement. We began as a bunch of “lib owning” college kids in a Facebook chat with a proclivity for emojis. Now, we’ve gone on to write and edit for Reason, National Review, The Wallstreet Journal, Washington Examiner, and so many other publications, and we’ve sent countless students to work for conservative think tanks and organizations.
Like I said, I don’t consider myself an erudite scholar but I owe to Lone Conservative what little capacity I have for structuring an argument, parsing the minutiae of policy, or advocating for the principles of conservatism. I’ve watched every flavor of conservative pass through our organization, from the Romney-ites to the Trump-ists, libertarians, and integralists. They all came out smarter, kinder, and wiser for having spent time here, advancing the best that each ideology has to offer.
And that returns us to my original question. Lone Conservative produces quality content because it is an institution that forms and improves the college students who pass through it.
To be honest, I will miss this place. I will miss the discussion. I will miss hanging around the Slack channels to argue about whatever controversy has hit the news. I will miss editing articles for fellow authors. I will miss supporting friends through hard times. I will miss stories from our overseas trips and conference visits. I will miss too many individual names to list.
I don’t want to leave this organization but my personal responsibilities and the launch of my own publication for conservative educational discussions (plug: TheChalkboardReview.com) together require it. Such is the nature of a college-aged organization. We all must move on and my time is long past due.
Lone Conservative, you all are doing incredible work. In 20 years, you will be the leaders of the conservative movement: the authors, editors, publishers, politicians, and organizational heads. Let us build something even better together.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.