It’s fall, which means the college speakers are flocking toward the campuses. That brings a question to mind: why are conservatives so obsessed with the idea of high-profile conservatives speaking to college students, anyway?
If you’re the speaker, going from college town to college town giving a stump speech to crowds of impressed young people is a pretty decent way to live. It’s good for the ego, good for the wallet, and it probably gets you invited to great parties every so often.
But what if you’re a college student? For them, and for the rest of us, there’s much less tangible benefit. Treating righty students as if their purpose is to provide a cushy lifestyle for righty pundits funded out of donors’ pockets or college activity fees doesn’t help them make a difference on the campuses they live on.
Instead, righty students are taught to admire evangelists and pundits, and to themselves aspire to evangelism and punditry. This has produced a conservative grassroots obsessed with the importance of sharing ideas, but with no understanding of how to carve out a space for those ideas to take root, or to enact them in any way but with the brute force of state power.
People on the right — and this includes the mainstream, fringe, and radicals — are trained to believe that the seeds of ideas are scattered in the wind, and somehow magically find purchase and grow. Clear the land? Till the soil? What’s that?