Re: Young Republicans and Social Issues

by David French

Katrina, thanks for your post. I particularly liked this statement:

But at the same time, it’s foolish to ignore the social issues — and to give up on changing anyone’s mind. Social conservativism has a compelling moral vision, one centered on human dignity and the preciousness of life. That case deserves an airing, particularly to young adults, who may be more familiar with the routine mockery of social conservative values than with the arguments for those values sincerely and thoughtfully delivered.

This is exactly right. Implicit in many reports like the Times story you link to is the notion that young voters are somehow showing us the way. (This notion rightfully drives Jonah crazy.) We social conservatives have a good case to make, we should make it, and we shouldn’t turn generational responsibilities upside down by letting juniors lead their elders.  

In any given year I have the privilege of speaking to thousands of college students and law students (cumulatively), and it never fails to amaze me how few of them have been exposed to the good conservative arguments Katrina refers to. At some schools (particularly elite schools) the best-case scenario is a few of their liberal professors will at least try to fairly present the conservative side. Otherwise, conservative knowledge is gained on their own initiative, by reading books, (hopefully) cruising this Corner, and attending the occasional conservative lecture on campus. With a few notable exceptions, that’s a weak foundation for most students compared with the total liberal immersion experienced by their classmates.

Conservatism requires effort. Liberalism is the default. As a result the true “young leaders” and “independent thinkers” tend to be conservatives like Katrina and not the millions upon millions of young liberals who only know what they’ve been told.