Cabot Phillips, conservative activist, said in a lecture Friday evening that he sees “liberal privilege” primarily in three facets of society: the media, entertainment industry and academia.
“[Academia] is the biggest place where you can get benefit because of your political beliefs,” Phillips said. “Liberal privilege on a college campus means that the odds of your professors agreeing with you are statistically incredibly high.”
The crowd of around 50 students and community members listened to Cabot speak about topics related to the political atmosphere of a college campus, particularly the experience of conservative students.
Liberal privilege to Cabot means if a college student identifies with liberal political ideology, that student will generally have an easier time in class and in social circles. Cabot said that because conservative students are often the minority at their school, they feel less empowered to voice their opinions publicly for fear of socially outcasting themselves. He added that he thinks many liberals on college campuses are not liberals by their own choice either.
“So many people go to college, and they’re apathetic, they don’t really know what to think,” Cabot said. “They just kind of fall into the path of least resistance, they just go along with what the peer pressure is. They go along with what the predominant ideals that are being pushed to them in class — and that is almost always coming from the left.”
Controversy was aplenty leading up to Cabot’s event. Earlier on Friday, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation issued a statement condemning the University of Oregon for facilitating the event. Cabot also commented on a video of a student ripping down posters advertising his appearance from the bulletin board outside of Columbia Hall.
“This is what a coward looks like,” Cabot said in his Tweet. “Tearing down posters for my speech in Oregon, and running away when confronted. $20 says she won’t come to the event and debate me.”
In his closing remarks Friday evening, he noted the absence of the student on film from the event.
“I’m going to get to keep my money,” Cabot said with a smile.
The event itself proceeded without disruption: Cabot lectured for about 30 minutes and then answered questions from the audience for another 30 minutes. He added some jokes, anecdotes and pop culture references. For example, he brought up Taylor Swift recently voicing her support for Democratic party candidates in her home state of Tennessee.
“First off, it is going to make our marriage very difficult. It’s something we’re going to have to work through together,” Cabot said, chuckling.
Cabot said that it is hard to stay conservative on campus with social and academic pressures, but those who are end up more informed politically. He said he worries that liberal students are not being exposed to ideas from all areas of the political spectrum.
“When [liberal students] do finally hear conservative ideas, they don’t know how to handle them,” Cabot said.