Johnson: College made me conservative

Four years ago, I booked an appointment at a local tattoo shop to get a red hammer and sickle permanently inked onto my shoulder. I would later chicken out at the last minute and lose my deposit.

Looking back on this today it is clear I retained my dignity. Two months after my missed tattoo appointment I was enrolled at the University of Oregon.  As a freshman majoring in history, I was hungry for knowledge and excited for the workers revolution I was bound to spur in the coming years. I quickly found UO to be a haven for far left ideas to be shared out in the open and I relished the opportunity to discuss philosophy with professors and classmates. I would come home to my dorm and look at the bust of Lenin I had on my desk and smile each day. Today that bust sits on a shelf in my room as a reminder of how lost I was and how far I’ve come.

Toward the middle of my sophomore year, I began to realize things were not as they seemed. I have always been a firm believer in the idea that one has no right to complain if they have no intention of finding a solution to their problem. 

I began to realize that many people around me, who had also taken up the quest for higher knowledge, were not here to find solutions.  Instead, they were content with simply applying blame and accusations. As soon as I noticed this unfortunate trend it was too late, and within two years I would transition from far left revolutionary to the soul-sucking right wing nationalist I am today.

When most people look back on college, it is seen as a time of experiment. Many people recall their times trying drugs and alcohol and exploring their sexuality. When I look back on college, I see a similar theme of experimentation. However, after growing up in Chico, California I had experimented plenty with drugs and alcohol, and chose to experiment with something much more dangerous: a political ideology my peers did not agree with.

There’s a point in everyone’s life where they simply cannot take it anymore and I reached that point my junior year of college. I became nauseated by the constant deluge of buzzwords. My nightmares were filled with words such as cis white male, the patriarchy, the wage gap, white privilege or gender is a spectrum. I would wake up in a cold sweat only to find out that my nightmare was a reality — I would have to get out of bed and enter an institution that teaches these phrases as scientific fact. Growing up in a liberal town, I had heard these words and internalized them to a degree, but when I came to college I expected them to be treated as avant-garde radical concepts which we could dissect and analyze to test their validity. Unfortunately, peoples’ feelings and emotions are taking the place of facts and statistics in academia. They need their experiences in order to relate and understand things, but that doesn’t mean statistics should be brushed away because of conflicting feelings.

The first time I came across this “safe space” ideology in class I was shocked. Professors tiptoed around gritty subjects and gave trigger warnings before history lessons. On numerous occasions I have questioned what my instructors preached to me and instead of an explanation or argument in return I was often given a condescending, diminutive response. One professor took this to an extreme, asking the entire class, while laughing, to all tell me I was wrong. It was as if I had claimed the earth was flat while I simply questioned the context of a quote used in lecture. Historically, the institution of higher learning had always stood for the open exchange of information for the sake of open exchange of information because that is the catalyst for progress and innovation. This set the bar high, forcing students to think critically and come out of their comfort zone to discuss important and sometimes unkind topics. These uncomfortable topics were once available to students and the debates that ensued were encouraged. Unfortunately, the academic system no longer supports this pursuit.

Today the academic system has continuously lowered the bar for requirements and acceptance, facilitating every emotional need of their students. This has resulted in a stupefying blend equal parts brainwashing and coddling . The system is now churning out adults with the mental and emotional resilience of children. College graduates are burdened by soul-crushing debt and sent out into a world where baby boomers, who destroy our nation and world with the leftovers of the free love society they were never able to achieve, are in control.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. This famous quote constantly looms over me as I walk through campus. I look at my nation, my campus and my peers and I wonder when they will wake up. America is one generation of cultural continuity away from becoming history’s newest Weimar Republic, and I don’t think anyone wants to see what comes after the Weimar Republic.


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Alexander Johnson

Alexander Johnson