Back in September, President Trump convened a Conference on American History where he later signed an Executive Order creating a National Committee to Promote Patriotic Education. Said Trump, it was necessary because teachers were instructing students on how to “hate America.” Nothing illustrates this more than that 724-page tome penned by Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.
There was nothing new in Trump’s words or actions since conservatives have been saying these things for years. Education is the key to advancing conservatism by thwarting the socialist tendencies in education. The problem to date has been too few willing to take on the Left in higher education from whence the teachers of tomorrow are born. Things may be changing with conservative groups now willing to take on the Left on “their” turf- college campuses and classrooms. They are groups like Campus Reform, the College Fix, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (disclaimer: one of only two political donations by this writer has been to this group), and the Leadership Institute.
It came to the fore this past year when many of these groups started to expose and stand up to professors spouting the Antifa/BLM propaganda lines. At the Campus Reform blog, Bucknell University professor Alexander Riley called antifa “…a loose confederation of half-educated malcontents who entirely reject the logic of intellectual debate.” BLM has also come under attack as well as that rewrite of history known as The 1619 Project and its author, Nikole Hannah-Jones. But it is not just talk on blogs.
Campus Reform trains conservatives to become “campus journalists” who report on Leftist professors and curriculum. Sprouting from the largesse of the Leadership Institute, they spent over $15 million in 2020 alone. Other donors are some trusts controlled by the Koch family and other donors with deep pockets. These donations have allowed for conservative groups to form on campus and report on Leftist bias. Once they graduate, they find they are on the fast-track to jobs with conservative outposts like Breitbart and the Daily Caller. If not journalism, they sometimes find themselves employed by conservative politicians at all levels of government or conservative think tanks.
One target of Campus Reform was Rutgers University professor Mark Bray, author of The Anti-Fascist Handbook in 2017. Shortly after the events of Charlottesville, while Bray was making the rounds of television shows and college campuses, Campus Reform went on the attack prompting a rare rebuke from the president of Dartmouth. Of course, the Left rallied around one of their own, but Campus Reform did not let up in their attacks. According to Bray- a man who believes that Antifa’s hatred of America is the bees knees- got all squishy and complained of death threats against him.
These conservative attacks are getting noticed on the Left. Complains Jasmine Banks, the leader of one Leftist campus group:
The right wing has targeted people who are pushing economic justice, environmental justice and racial justice, and any professor who explicitly supports Black communities or other communities of color can get the right’s attention. Their tactics aim to make it risky to promote equity and inclusion.
The groups have caught the attention of Leftist groups, publications, and websites. Some have complained about tactics like the surreptitious taping of lectures, speeches and programs which is quite ironic since that seems to be a tactic of the Left. The complaining, “calling out,” and accusations of these Leftist groups is classic psychological projection. They can do it, but somehow transforms into something nefarious when done to them. It also exposes their weaknesses and flaws. They are good at dishing out dirt, but cannot take the dirt flung at them.
And the “attacks” on the Left are deft. They never dwell on one target, but constantly move from one to the next. When liberal rags like Truthout are complaining about the actions and tactics, you know the Left has taken notice. Of course, to them it is all part of the Koch Foundation’s stealth plan to take over the United States. The aforementioned Jasmine Banks, in fact, leads an organization called UnKoch My Campus. They are even complaining that one activist- Addison Smith of Liberty University- secretly taped Leftist conversations without the consent of a party in Virginia and should be prosecuted under that state’s law.
At Trinity College in Connecticut, Isaac Kamola formed a group called “Campus Reform Early Responders” to push back against Campus Reform and other conservative activist groups. Says the learned professor:
Groups like Campus Reform work hard to create the illusion that conservatives are a beleaguered minority on campuses. In truth, they’re going after anyone who is not teaching a worldview that they subscribe to — for example, that the U.S. was founded on structural racism — a viewpoint they call ‘un-American.’ This can then roll out into calls for violence against an individual or an institution, or calls for a professor to be fired or sanctioned.
Of course, none of these conservative groups have engaged in any violence and are actually the targets of Leftist violence. You will never see a pro-life campus group overturning tables of the campus chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, but we have seen violent and disruptive behavior directed against conservative organizations. Further, there is no “illusion that conservatives are a beleaguered minority on campuses;” that is a fact!
Their conservatives-as-victims narrative reinforces straight, white, male power. Charles Koch and his allies believe that if you can get people when they’re young, give them jobs and a chance to meet prominent scholars and activists, launch them into careers, you’ll have an unparalleled power base.
If true, and one hopes it is, pay back really is a bitch.