A reader who goes to a conservative Christian high school, and who says he is a white, male conservative Christian, writes:
As someone who’s seeing the rise of Milo’s ideals specifically in teenagers raised in a conservative context in my Christian high school, I feel like I have a perspective that you don’t.
Milo isn’t getting conservative ideas out there in a subversive label that’s appealing to Millenials. He’s a prophet of the deeply un-conservative alt-right. He’s not creating a climate that’s accepting of conservative ideals. He’s creating one that specifically rejects those values as hallmarks of a system that they view as a failure through not being radical enough.
That’s why all the good little Christians at my high school are falling in behind him — not because they actually give a crap about conservatism but because he’s giving angry, aimless young men whose church hasn’t given them anything solid to fall back on an alternate source of values that happens to be steeped in fascist and white supremacist ideals. It’s just as absorbed in identity politics as any social-justice movement on the left is, except focused on white men and not LGBT people.
It has swallowed up most of the guys in the senior class at my school, and I’m tired of it. You can’t just not talk about politics with them, because everything is politics to them. Every discussion devolves into things like which girls are “feminazis,” celebrities dating outside their ethnicity being “white genocide,” and so on. It’s suffocating to feel like if you say “actually, that’s really racist” you’re going to be brushed off as some liberal or a cuckservative. I’m genuinely scared that it’s going to spread to the point where I won’t have anyone I can talk to like a normal human being. This isn’t hyperbole.
I’ve sat and heard multiple conversations in the school hallway about things like how the very concept of legal immigration is “cultural Marxism” and about how if all the blacks in America moved back to Africa there’d be less crime, and Africa would be better off because they would have people who had learned things in America. It’s absolutely nuts, but what am I going to do? I don’t know that any adults would take me seriously if I told them this was a problem. The alt-right has defensive talking points are baked right into the ideology so as to make it more palatable for conservatives, just like how communism masqueraded as concern for the workers in the early days to make it appealing to moderate socialists.
Maybe that’s just the norm for kids my age now, and I’m going to just have to be paranoid that everyone that I meet is secretly a white nationalist.
Wow. I’m going to have to think about this one. I verified this reader’s identity. High school readers of this blog, and college student readers, what are you seeing and hearing in your schools?change_me
UPDATE: Another reader writes:
I cannot comment so much about what is going in high schools these days, but I can tell you that it is downright eerie how stale my college’s chapter of College Republicans is. There is no acknowledgement of the changing and changed situation in America or the world, just reflexive support for tax cuts and poking Russia in the eye. Some of them can quote Hayek at you for hours, but it is a shallow allegiance to conservatism, devoid of real life and creative growth. In a word: stagnant. Like a tree without deep roots, all it will take is a mighty wind to knock them from the comfortable perches held by their fathers before them.
I can believe that. When I was in college in the 1980s, the College Republicans at my school were huge. I can’t see, though, why any intellectually serious conservative college student today would want to give himself or herself over to working in the Republican Party (or anything related to movement conservatism, frankly).