To Conservative Freshers | Samuel Martin


It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since… it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought

Sir Roger Scruton

OPENING REMARKS:

In opening to this article, I would like to congratulate all of you on your A Level “results”. What has happened has now happened, and as with all things in life you must move forward as best as you can. Of course, such a thing is easier said than done, especially when you are about to enter the most notoriously left-wing system as a bloody Tory.

If you are expecting routine protests outside your university accommodation, loud disruptions of Port and Policy or something of that nature, you are going to relieved (or sorely disappointed, depending how you look at things). Nevertheless, you are very much on thin ice, especially after the government’s shambolic performance over the past few months. At university, at least from time-to-time, you are going to have to put up with contemptible platitudes and ramblings from your fellow students and lecturers. Some will get it worse than others, but it is more-or-less an irremovable aspect of the conservative university experience.

In this awfully long letter, I would like to outline a few things, based on both personal experience and distant observation, that I hope will at least be of some use to you, come Fresher’s Week and beyond.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED SOMEONE ON YOUR SIDE

In many instances, young conservatives are confused, even bewildered and disgusted, when confronted with left-wing disdain. They marvel at the extent to which people who proudly champion the various, vacuous, and vague modern virtues of tolerance, diversity, kindness, and open-mindedness, can be so intolerant and hateful of intellectual diversity and behave in such an unkind and close-minded manner. Thus, it is not uncommon for conservatives to respond by pointing out what looks like a blatant hypocrisy. “Hey Leftist, you believe in diversity, yet you don’t respect intellectual diversity. How fascinating” and “Well, well, well, there goes the tolerant left again, censoring my free speech, being horrible to me, just for being a conservative. Such hypocrites!” are just a few ways this gotcha argument is presented.

Unfortunately, this does not really work. What many young conservatives don’t seem to understand is that leftist opposition to conservative presence in university is not actually hypocritical to a leftist worldview. At the very least, it is not hypocritical in the minds of leftists that intend on establishing a lasting intellectual hegemony at the institution, which is most of them. To the Leftist, “The Conservative” is a manifestation of the antithesis of those “virtues”. It is someone whose mere existence within a space where these loaded word “virtues” are meant to reign supreme is itself a severe threat. Much like how one cannot co-exist with a harmful virus, neither can it be done with the “bigoted right-winger”. It is not a difference of opinion; it is a serious problem in need of immediate amending. How many times have conservative students had their capacity for intelligence, a basic functioning brain, or even a human conscious been mocked or denied purely by virtue of holding a right-wing worldview? It is not totally uncommon for leftists to romanticise the removal of one’s right-wing worldview by the use of “re-education” and “diagnosis and medication”; your existence, especially in the space of the university, is deemed an offence to academic enlightenment, hence why you must be eradicated.

The fact of the matter is, Carl Schmitt was right. The political is fundamentally a friend-enemy distinction. It is most certainly how the Left view political affairs and have done so for a while now, especially amongst the ideological Marxist zealots, who are by no means in short supply at university. However, by virtue of making an enemy of oneself, it also makes one a friend to others. In this instance, a conservative becomes a friend [at the very least, a political one] to another conservative on campus. This really is the key point; you are in the minority and therefore you will need allies. These allies can be found in your university’s Conservative Society, but also in other broadly right-wing clubs (Freedom Association, etc). They may even be found in apolitical societies (Shooting, Catholic, Caledonian Dance, etc.) as many highly political people surprisingly often are. You may even find a disgruntled right-wing academic or two. Regardless, the fact remains: they are there, you must seek them out, and you must work together.

SUCH A LITTLE THING MAKES SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE

After a very enjoyable York Tories Christmas Ball, I recall walking at night through the Labour stronghold of York with my conservative comrades in the only way true conservatives should: in full black tie. Whilst doing so, most of them took no time at all to break into song, performing a rather boisterous rendition of Rule Britannia. As my friend and I looked on with a mixture of subtle enjoyment and embarrassment, I remembered a quote from George Orwell’s England Your England:  “In England all the boasting and flag-wagging, the ‘Rule Britannia’ stuff, is done by small minorities. The patriotism of the common people is not vocal or even conscious. They do not retain among their historical memories the name of a single military victory”. This does not only apply to Tories mind you, it’s just a fact of life that most people don’t like those who band their political views about when nobody asked; whether it’s the “firebrand” socialist and the “unashamed” Tory.

This point should not be mistaken as submitting to political correctness, and more to do with optics. I am no enemy of patriotism, nor should any true conservative. Unlike Orwell, I think patriotism is the natural underpinning of conservatism; I imagine most conservatives would say the same thing. “Theories be damned, I love my country in its truest form, simple as”. But the fact remains: as laughable or hyperbolic, problematic or outdated as stereotypes may appear, there always lies a fundamental truth beneath the surface; in the same way a flower bursting with colour grows from a small, mundane, unsuspecting seed, or beneath the soft fur of a cuddly kitten exists an unnerving, wriggling ball of flesh and bone. Far too often, young Tories unnecessarily end up handing leftists a club with which to get relentlessly beaten by, and that club is often bad optics.

Of course, it should not also go without recognition that many Tories, as a form of reaction against one form of bad optics, feel the need to compensate. “I’m not like OTHER Tories, I’m one of the GOOD ones”. As cringe and deserving of mockery as it is, the notion of the “acceptable Tory” is little more than a bad PR stunt, it is ultimately a demonstration of how leftists can control the conscience of conservatives; often making them not very conservative at all. As already established, your opponent hates you, so why feel the need to impress them? What good are they to you other than a source from which you can gather information on your enemy? Why disparage someone as nasty and mean only to use them as your moral standard? Conservatives should not give leftists any unnecessary ammunition, nor should they give them any ground or frantically attempt to be liked by them.

I AM NOT A DOG ON A CHAIN

There are two conventional approaches to opposition than many young conservatives seem to opt for when confronted about their politics in an overwhelmingly left-wing environment. The first of these could be described as “Assimilation”. Assimilation is defined as “the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas”. It is a process undertaken by those in a minority, either voluntarily or by some form of incentive, to adapt themselves to becoming part of the group which is dominant. In the context of the university, this often means that conservatives (the minority), adapt so then they can fit inside the leftist Overton Window. Many conservatives opt for this option because they believe it will afford them some peace and perhaps win them friends. It will not. You can live in peace with prevailing campus culture or you can be a conservative; pick one.

The second of these is “Persuasion”. It does what it says on the tin, it is trying to convince the opponent that your outlook is better. However, given the environment in which many conservatives are forced to justify their existence, the only way conservatives feel they can make effective arguments is by substituting their modus operandi for ones permitted by leftists. In practice, this can be boiled down to conservatives spending their time arguing that “Conservatives can be Marxists too”; all in the name of “owning the libs”. As such, conservatives hoping to attend university should not bother with romantic liberal notions of going out to change the minds of the masses, engaging in fiery intellectually stimulating debates, or performing Shapiro-esque takedowns. University is not the kiln of free expression and free minds that many people would like them to be. They are more akin to woke corporations than the Plato’s Academy, and luckily most conservatives know this.

Nevertheless, university is about your future, thus it is unsurprising to see Tories develop rigid careerist mindsets. It is understandable, given the post-totalitarian style snitching culture that exists, conservatives try hard to inoculate their image. As established, optics do matter, but taking your existence too seriously will be detrimental to the university experience. Treating a Tory Society like a mini-CCHQ or a government LARPing club is a sure-fire way to kill it rather than see it prosper. You are infiltrators, you are outsiders; that is the mindset you must get into and you need to embrace it. If you can expand your influence by taking over the Students Union then do so, but the first hurdle you must jump is accepting to be the outcasts and leading an authentic, almost collective, university experience. Never apologise! Don’t go out of your way to prove yourself, those who are intrigued and willing to listen will gravitate towards you. If confronted with hostility, see it as an opportunity to embrace the true nature of modern politics; making your opponent look like an idiot and revelling in their embarrassment. As a wise, rotund, spectacled, Hull-dwelling lad once put it: “politics is about bullying people”.

RECOGNISE AND DESPISE ALL THE PROPAGANDA

Amongst all the discourse regarding conservatives in university, one of the issues most frequently raised is: what is being taught at university and who is doing the teaching? Conservatives like to heckle at Marx being taught in classes; this is something I have never understood for two reasons. The first is that given the significance of Marxism as a school of thought it would be suspect not to cover it, whether you subscribe to it or not. The second is that it often provides a good insight into what the enemy believes. Of course, most teachers like to structure their courses in a way that is most convenient for the appearance of left-wing ideas, and you might have to wade through some glorifications of socialism and unwanted woke sentiments, but I’d advise you take it on the chin and try to use it to your advantage somehow.

However, what is worth noting is the inordinate amount of time spent learning about Marxism and other critical theories. I was pleasantly surprised to see even relatively neutral, non-partisan, non-ideological students pick up upon on how these subjects have monopolised the curriculum. The agenda is there, but like most effective crypto communists, they do understand the art of subtlety. On the other hand, it is unlikely you will come across any conservative theorists or theories on your course. The few that are included will most likely be taught begrudgingly and disparagingly. Conservatism has, both to its advantage and its detriment, always had an anti-intellectual component, and likewise, most intellectuals possess an anti-conservative component. Regardless, conservatism and intellectualism are not incompatible, and since the passing of Sir Roger Scruton it feels like we need them more now than ever.

If you expect your lecturers to be the fountains of knowledge as one might expect of those at the higher education level, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Many students learn considerably more useful, interesting, and complex information from independent study than from their lecturers. Independent study is expected of any university student of course, but for the conservative student it should be considered a blessing. It is a realm where you can truly develop your outlook, but it cannot be done without individual will or commitment. There are far too many people, especially at university, who would like to do your thinking for you. Do not let them. The brain is the computer of the human body, it can store a considerable amount of information. This information can be input, broken down, organised, discarded, and cross-compared at will. You can intake information and use it whatever purpose you desire, but only if you go into it with the right mindset beforehand. Given the current politico-cultural dynamic, being a conservative should mean taking the word of those in authority with a pinch of salt. As the Russian proverb popularized by President Ronald Reagan goes: “doveryai, no proveryai” (trust, but verify).

CLOSING REMARKS

As a final word on the enemy, chances are it will not come primarily out of the Labour society. Conventional partisan conflict does exist, but not to the extent it does in other political spheres. In most cases, the opposition will come out of political societies not aligned with parties (Marxists, Feminist, {insert identity group}, etc.). The Students Union can often give you more hassle depending on who controls it. By aligning yourself with a right-wing cause, it is likely your social standing will take a hit. Right-wing opinions are deemed low status in society, and it is certainly the case at university. But please do not fear, friends made in the face of a common enemy are often the strongest.

I have only completed my first year of university and have still much to experience over the course of my education. There are many fine right-wing folks who have been at university longer and have been far more involved in campus life than I have; bearing in mind that every university is still its own beast, notable similarities considered. As trivial as it may sound at first, run for positions that are vacant and help your conservative comrades in doing so. If there is one thing we can learn from leftists, it’s their effectiveness at organising and building networks of influence. It’s our time ladies and gentlemen, let us eat ‘til we explode, drink ‘til our eyes fall out, let us dance footloose upon the Earth, and carpe some [redacted] diem. Trust your instincts, death to slave morality, let the march commence!

Politics is about winning

Various

Picture Credit.

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