Having right-wing ideologies is not easy on college campuses

Many millennials lean left politically leaving the right-wing students throughout the country to defy the norm

Being someone who holds libertarian or conservative ideals in a liberal arts major is a defiance to the status quo and not a simple task. This goes with any college campus in the country, and ASU is no exception.

As a justice studies major, I am studying topics and issues that almost always contradict my political views and opinions. The same goes for many of my fellow “right-wing” students in this major and others.

I am a libertarian and that means I believe in the ideals of free market capitalism, and my major and most of its courses are not very friendly to that. I have sat in many classrooms where capitalism was consistently vilified to an incredible degree. 

Often topics such as income inequality or wealth distribution come up and it does get somewhat frustrating to keep listening to many of these topics. This problem does not end in the justice studies program, it carries over to the political science realm as well.

“Especially with all the literature that we have to read, its very pro-socialist, and I’m a very open-minded person," political science junior Alex Bernard stated. "I mean I’m not gonna scream at you if you have different political views. However, it would be kinda nice to read something on the opposite spectrum."

Bernard even told me that sometimes being in these types of situations makes him feel uncomfortable.

Almost every liberal arts major — whether it be gender studies, justice studies, etc. — is filled with left-wing ideology. Those of us who hold conservative values are often not in the majority and enjoy keeping to ourselves in these types of situations. 

Typically, conservatives hold ideologies less focused on social justice. They find that accusations of racism solely towards white people are unproductive and untrue.

“In my justice theory class, there was one professor talking about systemic racism and how white people can’t feel any effects from racism, and there was one girl in there who was trying to argue against him and saying ‘white people can be affected by racism’ and he started actually yelling at her,” justice studies senior David Howman said. 

This led to a major fight between the student and the professor. Howman is one the few people in this major that stands up and says something when these types of political views are spouted.

Both Howman and Bernard are libertarians. For conservative students, this situation could be much worse. As libertarians, there are some things that we can relate to. For instance, when talking about criminal justice and issues concerning the drug war, I am excited to discuss and talk about these issues because ending the drug war is important to me and other libertarians.

Last semester I took two amazing justice studies courses called Terrorism, War and Justice and Surveillance and Society. In these classes, I learned about the failures of the U.S. foreign policy and our surveillance state, respectively. I learned more about Edward Snowden and what he did. 

In these courses and others, libertarians can find their way. For conservatives though, there is almost no place of solace here as they are typically pro-drug war, pro-intervention, and anti-Snowden. 

This issue of a lack of political diversity applies to professors as well. Very few professors in the United States hold conservative or libertarian views, and ASU is no exception.

All these factors are things that millennials should be aware of before they come to college. Young students across the nation supported Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries. It is just a fact that more and more millennials are not in favor of “right-wing” ideology and that they lean left.

When I was younger I held more liberal beliefs, but I began to change my political views as I gained new perspectives from those on the right. I was a liberal at this time because I was obsessed with social issues, which applies to other millennials as well. 

Millennials are very interested in things such as gay marriage and marijuana. Older individuals, on the other hand, are more concerned with small businesses and low taxes and hold more fiscally conservatives values because of that. 

Holding a political ideology that defies the status quo is something that is not easy. It can be rather uncomfortable to be in this position, but if one can reach out and find his or her calling, then one would flourish in any given path. 


Reach the reporter at vpappuse@asu.edu or follow @vpappuse on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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