After finishing high school, a student is likely to go to college. In fact, a student is socially pushed into college, but I digress. Nonetheless, students with Conservative leanings assume massive amounts of debt to attend four year universities. These universities are great at allowing students to expand their interests. As Conservatives, we should have been very optimistic about the rise in conservative campus organizations. However, the rise of these organizations brings about a weak form of Conservatism, I refer to as Frathouse Conservatism, because of how perpetuated it is among these organizations.
But there is a more sinister motivation behind these conservative campus organizations. These organizations serve as a foundation for its founders and figures to climb the ladder to promote their own brand rather than Conservative causes themselves. These organizations each allow the narcissism of their personalities to hijack the organization’s credibility. This piece will take a look at handful of these organizations and publications
Human Defense Initiative
In 2018, the latest organization was founded called the Human Defense Initiative. They aren’t a widespread campus organization but they ant to be. The platform was designed to empower millennial (though really Gen Z) pro-life voices. The ambition is fine; however their methods are more divisive than their cause. Abortion is a life or death issue, it is known, but the organization has made an effort to promote a “culture of life”. The organization can find people who can all agree on how abortion is wrong, but defining life affirming reveals a true divide among the worldviews HDI seeks to unite. The goal of promoting a “life affirming” culture is futile, due to human nature. It’s equally as futile as ending bullying, crime or poverty. It also creates a new cause that will inevitably splinter the group because who can truly agree on what is life affirming. Is death penalty life affirming? Are bikinis(yes, serious question) because their founder Devin Sena doesn’t think so. And what about same-sex adoptions? On August 18, HDIs “communications director” Koree Fellows published The Case For LGBT Adoption. This is exactly where the life affirming quest begins to fizzle in controversy. The article is also accusatory:
Openly advocating against same sex adoption turns thousands away from the pro-life movement and our cause. It sends women into the unloving arms of the abortion industry to end the lives of children who could be loved and cared for by people of all sexual orientations.
It’s rather ridiculous to suggest a woman undergoing an abortion made that decision with gay adoption at the forefront of her mind. To make matters worse, the article is accused of being stolen, from an organization’s former member.
You’re not going to agree with every article published. Be disappointed that the article idea was stolen from someone else and posted to be petty, not that you don’t agree with it.
— Rose Laoutaris (@RoseLaoutaris) August 19, 2018
The biggest problem with the organization is the redundancy. We have plenty of pro-life organizations. Why create one and say its for millennials? Here’s where we find the biggest problem. Devin Sena fancies himself as the loudest voice against abortion. HDI’s twitter along with the organization is merely an extension of his own voice. The organization serves as a megaphone for himself. This is why the organization is largely inseparable from its founder. The organization is doomed to fall with Sena’s credibility and thus sucks.
Liberty Hangout is perhaps the most annoying of them all. Libertarians are often thought of as confused conservatives. The hyperfocus on weed and the inability of the movement to agree on a necessary function of government are certainly points of inferiority. Liberty Hangout takes these confusions to the next level. Liberty Hangout boast hot takes with very little depth. Take for instance, their main star, Kaitlin Bennett. She is actually less than just mediocre, at best, hot takes. From the desperate plea for attention with the proposition to arm wrestle David Hogg, to the reckless activism for campus carry, she is quite the setback for Conservatism. She is a wannabee model using Conservatives as a backdoor way into the industry. Why else would she post so many pictures deliberately taken by someone else? Personally, I don’t find her attractive enough for this to be a long term strategy, but on a deeper level, it is morally wrong to be so dishonest about one’s truer intentions. Nonetheless, the organization promoted her to such status, likely because she brings them attention in the face of TPUSA, a main competitor. Thus, Liberty Hangout sucks.
Turning Point USA
This is the largest of the conservative campus organizations I am covering. They are also the most sinister and deadly to their own movement. The big personality behind TPUSA is Charlie Kirk. He’s a big time twitter personality. His organization, however, promotes Frathouse Conservatism. When I wrote my piece on Frathouse Conservatism I addressed how this ideology rejects a pillar of the Conservative worldview articulated by John Locke.
Conservative worldview hinges on accepting the premise that mankind is fallen. One need not be religious to accept this premise. Many Conservatives unknowingly accept fallen nature to be true while others fully embrace this premise. The Frathouse Conservative supplements this premise if not outright rejects the notion altogether. Instead of mankind being intrinsically flawed, the state is intrinsically flawed. This substituted premise often results in the same conclusions as far as policy goes, but rejecting a fundamental pillar of the Conservative worldview is the root of Frathouse Conservatism’s inferiority.
TPUSA is a Frathouse Conservative campus club. Charlie Kirk gets to build his own brand of Conservatism, with hardly the need to articulate ideals beyond 280 characters. But I get it, some people are better organizers than orators and writers, take Moses for example. But Kirk’s organization often uses and employs the same organization as the left: identity politics. While the organization isn’t alt-right, because their identity politics aren’t devoted to the white race, they do segment people the same way that the left does. They host a wide array of events celebrating diversity in the Conservative movement, a movement that cares not about diversity of skin color. One of their favorite personalities is Candace Owens. We get it. She’s black and she left the left. We don’t need to hear her life story like it some crappy Taylor Swift song. She’s not a Conservative voice, she just isn’t a Democrat. This isn’t wrong, but it’s dishonest to promote her as a Conservative when she mainly talks about why blacks don’t have to be Democrats and employs plantation rhetoric. They also promote Tomi Lahren as a Conservative.
TPUSA is perhaps the most salvageable of the conservative campus organizations, if only because of its size and ability to bring in legitimate Conservative voices.
Conservative college students have even founded their own publications. Young conservatives should be encouraged to write and read. I have admiration for Kassy Dillon for using this experience to develop a thriving career at the Daily Wire. Her publication, Lone Conservative for a while left a lot to be desired. It featured too many people seeking attention for not being leftist on college. After all, how does one “own the libs” while paying out the ass for college. They don’t. Depending on your belief about debt, it appears they are the ones being owned. But for a good while, that’s what the organization came off as thanks to its superfluously titled personalities. To it’s credit, my most recent browsing of the website left me impressed minus Managing Editor Amanda Kemp writing a piece that says parents should teach their kids social leftism.
Whether it be race, sexual orientation, or gender, we need to teach kids that all of these characteristics should be celebrated.
Thankfully, the number of genuine Conservative voices at Lone Conservative seemingly outnumber the phony attention seekers.
Young Conservatives should be weary of Conservative campus organizations. They exist largely to promote their founding members. They also promote a reckless, fiscally irresponsible, view of a college education. These campus level organizations encourage the youth to treat college like a summer camp and their political leanings like a spectacle. But in Conservatism, merit should take priority over demographical information one cannot control. It doesn’t matter how old your are, what color you are, male or female, or whether you are a natural born citizen. Young Conservatives would do well to network with that in mind. I find reading and writing to be the best way to develop young Conservatives. Publications dedicated to featuring younger Conservative voices are great to have, but I also recommend writing among a more mixed crowd. This is where I invite you to write for NOQ Report. This publication likely has a larger reader base, thus more exposure than Right Outlook can provide.