Against the Tide, Part II


I began this lil’ series yesterday, here. Just continue, without much recap, or any? All right . . .

When people say “to hold power,” they usually mean to occupy the White House, or to have a majority in the Senate — something like that. But where is power, really? Or where else is power?

The movies. TV shows. The media. Publishing. The schools.

Real power.

When Hillary Clinton said “It takes a village,” a lot of conservatives objected. The full saying is, “It takes a village to raise a child.” One can certainly understand the objections. But, in an important sense, it does take a village to raise a child. Children are shaped by everything around them: in the home and outside it.

Way back in the mid-1980s, Tipper Gore wrote a book called Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society. Tipper and her husband were dabbling in a kind of social conservatism at the time. They dropped it quick — because all the cool cats, such as Frank Zappa (I remember him specifically), mocked and reviled them. Social conservatism is not the way to rise in the Democratic party. They rose.

Tipper, recall, wrote her book before “sexting” (texting sexual messages) and all that.

So, where does power lie? Who are the village elders, so to speak? What are the forces that shape men and women? Let’s do up a list again.

Primary school. Secondary school. College. Graduate school. The news media. The publishing industry. The movies. Entertainment television. Popular music.

Does the Left not hold sway in all these areas? Where do conservatives hold sway? I think of country music, talk radio, NASCAR — is it possible to go on?

I’d like to say a few words about secondary education. Pretty regularly, I get mail from parents complaining about their kids’ teachers and the textbooks their kids are assigned — the Left bias in the teachers and in the textbooks.

Do my counterparts at left-wing magazines get mail from parents complaining of a conservative bias in the schools? Maybe they do. But, you know: I doubt it.

A reader of ours is a teacher and a conservative, and he suspects that the teacher in the next room is a conservative too. But he doesn’t quite know how to find out without revealing his own conservatism — and that revelation could be bad, professionally.

He wrote me to ask, “Maybe I could tap on the wall? Is there some secret code for ‘I believe that Western civilization is, on the whole, a good thing’?”

Howard Zinn’s textbook, A People’s History of the United States, is not only Red, it’s read: having sold over 2 million copies.

A few words about colleges, please. Every once in a while, I’ll go to a school, and kids will tell me, “You’re the only Republican we’ve seen or heard from in our entire four years here.”

That can’t be right, can it? By that I mean, not that the kids are wrong: but that it is undesirable for such conditions to prevail.

I once went to a college and met with the College Republicans. Their faculty adviser was a Democrat. Reason: There were no Republicans on the faculty (as I recall). A kindhearted, broadminded Democrat agreed to be the faculty adviser, because the rules of the college required a faculty adviser (I believe), and this professor was good enough to think that the College Republicans ought to exist.

That can’t be right, can it? Such a situation is “unhealthy for children and other living things,” to borrow an old line — isn’t it?

For most of my adult life, I’ve been an editor and writer at conservative magazines. Therefore, I know who the conservative professors are, on the various campuses — on the leading campuses, I mean (and some of the non-leading ones).

Ask me about Harvard, and I’ll give you a few names. Ask me about Duke, and I’ll give you a few names. Etc. I can play this game all across the country.

No one on the left would ever play the game, right? Because naming the left-wing professors would be like reciting the entire faculty directory — right?

On the recent National Review cruise, I asked John Yoo whether he was the only conservative on the Berkeley law faculty. He laughed, saying, “Of course.” All the better law schools have just one, he said. Two would be too many — would throw off the balance.

I sit on the board of the Apgar Foundation. It was established by my beloved friend Martha Apgar. Our purpose, in a nutshell, is to support Western civilization on campus. We’re not trying to do anything too fancy. We’re not trying to get the young’uns to read NR or anything. We support Great Books programs, or Great Works programs: Locke, Beethoven, Rembrandt, and them. We think that the American Founding ought to be taught.

And, you know? You might be shocked at the resistance we get from administrators and faculty. They think it’s all a right-wing plot. And, in a perverse way, it is.

Beethoven? The American Founding? Right-wing? When did that happen? (Recently, is the answer: starting in the 1970s.)

Most of the stuff we back used to be normal college. Now it takes the outside efforts of a conservative foundation. That is bizarre.