If conservative donors hope to effect real change on college campuses, they need to be very careful about the ways they offer funding.
For decades, conservative philanthropy has supported many different institutions, organizations, and projects within America’s vaunted higher-education system. This giving has usually been meant to maintain or improve the quality of—and sometimes reform—higher ed. For many conservative givers, the underlying motivation has been to make higher ed less alienating not only for individual conservative faculty members and students, but for conservatism in general.
Now, it seems as if all of America has taken on the characteristics of campus culture. If conservative philanthropy intended to neutralize well-credentialed academic progressives before the effects of their thinking reached the rest of the country, it didn’t. Looking back, given those high stakes, it might be time for a serious audit of conservative giving to higher education.
Looking forward, conservatives need to consider how they should—and shouldn’t—support higher ed if they want to defend the country from the depredations of the woke.
1. Think insurgency, not revolution.
Many are boldly and properly calling for a rebuilding of institutions to help refine or redefine conservatism moving forward. Any coming conservative counter-revolution will need these institutions to, as revolutions do, overthrow and replace the establishment.
One wonders, however, whether it’s realistic to aim for an “overthrow” of the higher-education establishment. Asmart way for conservatives to give in higher ed is to conceive of it not as a revolution, but an “insurgency.” An insurgency is a rebellion from within, by members of and participants in the existing system’s structure. Here, that’s behind higher ed’s “enemy lines.”