Conservatives Can’t Just Abandon Higher Education
With the Fall semester upon us, Higher Education is on many people’s minds.
As a recent college graduate myself, I find it interesting how popular Conservative figures have started to tell young Conservatives not go to college.
For instance, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk recently wrote a best-selling book called The College Scam. Besides Kirk, many other mainstream conservative pundits echo anti-college rhetoric on Fox News, Daily Wire, and other networks.
What’s more, Republican voters have soured on American Universities in recent years. According to Gallup, around 60% of Republicans in 2019 believed colleges had a negative effect on the country—compared to about 40% in 2012. Clearly, Colleges’ “disapproval ratings” among Republicans have skyrocketed in recent years.
Personally, I was once in agreement with this mindset—even though I attended and graduated from university. I personally witnessed the many issues associated with higher education. So I understand many people’s antipathy toward the university system.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons in favor of the anti-college position. Of course, we all know that most American colleges are vehemently anti-conservative and way too expensive. Indeed, many young Americans would benefit from attending trade school over college.
However, my thinking started to change around the beginning of this year—as I entered the working world after graduating college. I have come to the belief that the Right’s anti-college rhetoric is becoming counterproductive.
A recent article on American Greatness from Scott Greer summarizes my personal take about Conservatives attending University:
“We should tell bright young conservatives to go to college—but to be smart about it. They shouldn’t take on a mammoth amount of debt to go, they should think hard about what they want to do in life, and they should maximize their four years of school to develop themselves. Colleges need to be reformed and downsized. But you don’t accomplish that by telling all conservative teens not to go. It just leaves universities firmly in the hands of the enemy while young conservatives reduce their chances of achieving the American dream.”
Greer hits the nail on the head here. For sure, plenty of issues abound regarding America’s higher education system. However, telling high-potential young conservatives to not attend college is a mistake.
The fact is that we need educated, well-connected professionals to win in politics. The “movers-and-shakers” in politics are typically college-educated professionals—such as businessmen, lawyers, engineers, doctors, academics, etc.
History tends to back up this view. The reality is that successful political movements are not usually led by blue-collar workers—such as electricians and plumbers.
When you look at the work experience of politicians, you will find that most are white-collar professionals. In fact, my own US congressman worked in computer technology before becoming a politician. Heck, just look at President Trump—a graduate of the Wharton School of Business. President Trump is one of the most pro-populist political figures in American history, yet he still graduated from an Ivy League business school. Certainly, we can support working-class Americans without de-incentivizing higher education.
Overall, my point here is that young conservatives should not completely disregard higher education. Young conservatives looking to enter politics should consider getting a college degree. Higher education will give young conservatives the fundamental skills one needs to succeed in politics—personal connections/networks, communication skills, and professional accreditation/experience.
If we want to revive our nation, then we need to replace our current corrupt political elites with highly-skilled America First patriots. To accomplish this goal, we need young Conservatives to go to college and use their education to “become the new elite”.
Certainly, the American university system needs a radical reformation. However, telling young conservatives to forgo college will not improve the situation. We cannot afford to retreat anymore from the education system than we have already.
Let’s reorient ourselves to wanting to take back American higher education rather than accepting defeat.