Having "right-wing" values is not easy on college campuses, but it can be rewarding

Having one's political philosophy challenged in the classroom can help one grow intellectually and learn how to better argue for it

Having conservative or libertarian views on a college campus may be difficult, but the challenge of expressing one's views can be valuable.

Last February, I wrote a column called “Having right-wing ideologies is not easy on college campuses.” After thinking about what I had written over the past several months, I realized my initial thoughts and feelings were inaccurate and not how I feel about this issue.

wrote last time that “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.” 

Now, it is true that being in a college campus, holding right wing opinions and values puts you in the minority. Young students across the nation supported Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries. It is a fact that more and more millennials are not in favor of “right-wing” ideology and that they lean left.

In the original article, I also wrote that hearing something that vilifies what one holds dear such as capitalism or free markets makes a particular “right-wing” student feel uncomfortable. Now, that is true, but at the same time that can also be a good opportunity to showcase one’s viewpoints and argue for what one believes in.

For instance, one day my class was discussing income inequality in the United States and blaming that issue on capitalism. Then, I raised my hand and said that mass income inequality in the United States in not caused by capitalism, but by corporatism. 

The professor responded by saying that there is no difference between corporatism and capitalism. I didn’t have a response to that, so I went and asked some experts in this field how they would respond to that situation. 

David Howman, a justice studies senior, said he has spoken up about his opinions a few times in class, even if it's uncomfortable.

“It felt like I was definitely the minority opinion," Howman said of times when he's spoken up about his views. "Not many people agreed with what I was saying, but that wasn’t going to stop me from saying my opinion. It helped [me] get a better understanding of what other people believe.”

By raising my hand and fighting for what I believed to be true, I was able to better enhance my ability to argue for my political philosophy. It was a challenge and was I able to grow from that. 

If you are someone who holds conservative or libertarian viewpoints, I encourage you to do the same. Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul once said, “Speak up, speak often and don’t worry about those that at this point cannot understand as they can never un-hear what we tell them." 

I understand that it is not easy, but standing up for what you believe in can be rewarding.

Hold to my libertarian views despite opposition in this major can be challenging. But challenging oneself is important and helps one grow as individual and be able to stand up for one’s views in a more meaningful way. 

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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