Many in the conservative movement have embarked on a journey to fight liberal bias on college campuses. The rationale behind this movement is that students attend college in order to explore new ideas and become prepared for the workforce, only to be indoctrinated with liberal values. This results in a domino effect that shapes the policies and culture of our country. However, if the conservative movement is waiting until college to shape the minds of students, it is already too late. Liberals are already propagating in grade school.
Often, a student’s belief structure is set by the time a student enters college. Those solely focused on combating bias in college are missing the root of the problem. Conservatives must start shaping the minds of the youth at an earlier age.
Recently, during an ethics class at the University of Pennsylvania, students were discussing “ethics in voting.” During the lecture, the professor took an informal survey of approximately 100 students in the lecture hall. He asked, “Has your time at college shifted or changed any of your political beliefs or views?”
Eighty-eight percent of the students replied, "No.” This is just one example of why the conservative movement needs to focus on students before they enter college. If not, the same gripes, criticisms, and complaints we have about liberal education today will still be applicable in 20 years.
There are bigger issues present in our education system that must be confronted before they fully manifest. The indoctrination of a student’s mind with liberal values predates college. If the overall objective is to sway public opinion on conservatism, conservatives must act earlier. In fact, waiting until a student enters college is a waste of time and resources.
Emphasis must shift from liberal bias on college campuses to liberal bias in grade school education. By not focusing on younger students, conservatives forfeit the culture war. Culture dictates laws. Laws shape society. Whoever influences the culture will invariably shape the laws of the country.
Given the results of the aforementioned poll, it is evident that the current strategy to fight liberal bias in education is not working. If the only course of action for conservatives is to highlight college bias, then prepare to have mainstream society view conservatives with scorn. It is a fruitless pursuit if the objective is to provide a balanced education. If we do not act now, future generations will be enthusiastically embracing socialism.
Focusing on a younger age group would also have a greater impact on voting patterns. Nearly 67 percent of Americans do not have a college degree. Comparatively, approximately 90 percent have a high school diploma. Focusing on a demographic that excludes nearly two-thirds of the country is not a sound strategy for political success.
This concept of starting earlier should not be that hard to figure out. Yet, it is a plight overwhelmingly ignored by the conservative movement. The consistent preference to fight liberal bias on college campuses is fruitless. In the long run, it will make, if any, an insignificant difference.
Make no mistake, this is an ideological war, and it is a war that conservatives are losing. Conservatives must find a sense of urgency or prepare to live in a country dominated by generations who fully embrace leftist values.
Christopher Tremoglie is a Russian and Eastern European Studies major at the University of Pennsylvania.