The Corner

Politics & Policy

Campus Conservatism and Persuasion

Yesterday, I provided a game plan for campus conservatives. If you haven’t yet, check it out.

From those who already have, I have heard that persuasion at the university is impossible. I’ll certainly concede that it’s no easy task, I can think of only a handful of folks who approached me over the course of my four years on campus to tell me that the Cornell Republicans’ advocacy resulted in a complete overhaul of their political perspective. But I can think of many, many more who told me that we changed the way they thought about certain issues, both on campus and in the “real world.”

It may not be as immediately exciting or fulfilling as being responsible for a Billy Graham-style mass conversion, but it’s nevertheless important, and it lays the groundwork for a “if you aren’t a conservative by the time you’re 40” kind of change later on in life. What you want to do, at minimum, is give your peers a more positive impression of conservatism than they’ll get from their professors or the media, so that such a change is not repulsive or inconceivable to them a few months or years or even decades down the line. Again, it’s not glorious, but for those more interested in contributing to the movement than seeing their own star rise, it’s the right course.

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