Advice for My Conservative Students

A professor who had been a conservative undergraduate (but who now identifies as libertarian-left) offers advice to red students who feel marginalized in a blue academy.

Take the tremendous opportunity of a college education to sharpen your skills and deepen your knowledge. Read Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Russell Kirk, Thomas Sowell, Michael Oakeshott and Peggy Noonan. Acknowledge arguments you disagree with on their own terms, and respond to their substance. For example, instead of claiming that regulating offensive Halloween costumes is stifling free speech, speak out with an argument about the value of “offensive” Halloween costumes. Your professors want you to learn the skills of written and oral argument. We will help and support you if you ask. Seriously, we will. | Put conservative ideas at the forefront of your politics, even if conservative leaders and icons have largely abandoned conservatism. In some ways your potential to make civil choices and to restore dignity to the Republican Party makes you the most crucial allies of those across the political spectrum who care about truth, honor, liberty and democracy. — Aaron Hanlon, NYTimes.com