Conservatives are losing the war over the American mind. Although conservatives have won many elections in recent decades, younger generations are more open to fundamentally transforming the country, and they have less love for America than their parents and grandparents did. The old conservative-libertarian platform of low taxes, welfare reform, and free trade has neglected parts of the soul. Many Americans have never learned about what makes America unique. Conservatives must start focusing on reviving the American education system to ensure Americans understand who they are.
Whoever controls education influences the American mind and therefore has a strong influence over the culture and politics of the future. Progressives use their near monopoly on power over education to direct it towards pushing their political and cultural ideas onto students. The purpose of education is to make good and free people, and if conservatives seek to conserve what is true, good, and beautiful about America, they must work to reform education away from modern liberal dogma and restore it to the classical liberal arts.
As many conservatives attempt to remake education toward economic ends, the left is striving to reshape American culture. Across the nation, the leftist’s revisionist histories of Howard Zinn and the Pulitzer Prize 1619 Project are taught in k-12 schools. In higher education, left-leaning professors dominate the classroom. A recent study found that in elite liberal art colleges, for every 1 Republican faculty member in religion, there are 70 Democrat faculty members. For English, there is 1 Republican faculty member for every 48.3 Democrat faculty members. For art, there is 1 Republican faculty member for every 40.3 Democrat faculty members. The numbers are similar for communications, classics, and music departments. Unsurprisingly, a recent Gallup poll found that in 2019, 49% of millennials had a positive view of socialism.
An educated population is an essential element of a free representative republic. Preserving an inherited constitutional republic to the next generation is a difficult task. The next generation cannot effectively carry on America if they do not understand what it is that they have a responsibility to conserve. Students should have a deep understanding of American history, western philosophy and religion, literature, art, mathematics, and science.
Students should learn the classical liberal arts, not gender studies, revisionist history, and identity politics. Thankfully, some conservatives have taken notice of this intellectual vacuum and have created liberal art resources outside of academia. For example, Spencer Klavan, assistant editor for the Claremont Review of Books and the American Mind, has started a podcast called Young Heretics, where he explores what made the west great. In an era of confusion, podcasts like Young Heretics provide clarity and confidence about America.
If conservatives wish to conserve the nation, they must purge the education system of radical leftists. Conservatives could reform immigration, they could cut more taxes, they could slash more regulations, they could come down hard against China, but if conservatives fail to save education from the radical left, they will fail to conserve America.