The past 20 years has seen a closing of the ranks among liberals in the American University setting. It’s long been an open secret that colleges were liberal, and of course the liberals attributed this to the fact that smart people were liberal. Once you get an education, of course you go liberal. It’s recently taking a more sinister turn. Ward Churchill is of course the most striking example. Here is someone who thinks that the victims of 9/11 were morally equivalent to the rulers of the Nazi party. As sick as that is, it’s his right to believe that — although I certainly would not pay for him to teach it. Going beyond that, however, it has been shown that he has basically plagiarized his way into the academy, which appears to finally be ending in his termination. What is concerning is that he is still a folk hero among the left, and that the discpilinary board at the school was not unanimous in his removal. The University and the public schools are the iron chain of liberalism. Together, they virtually ensure that the nation will continue to slide into the moral abyss regardless of how much revival or political success the church may have on other fronts. My college education at an elite private school was helpful in some ways, but now that I have a more complete understanding of the Christian worldview, I realize that I have to be unbrainwashed to see things rightly. It’s a realization that being Christian is not just about having moral character but about having a view of the world which is consonant with God’s view, and taking appropriate action. Case in point: Jimmy Carter, the “born again” Christian, almost lost the cold war. Although he cared about “human rights” he did not understand the true evil of the Communist system. On the other hand the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, the marginal Christian ultimately freed 1 billion people from slavery in the Communist system and gave our country a new birth of freedom. Let’s not forget that the context of Reagan’s “evil empire” speech was his explanation to the National Assocation of Evangelicals (that’s us folks), that Communism was in fact evil and it did in fact have to be fought. It was not enough just to save souls. If anything in the past few sentences shocked you, then please join the “unbrainwashing club” with me.
One thing I would do differently if I had the chance would be to actively seek a conservative education. The “credentials” from the big name liberal school are nice, but I think at this point in life I’d rather have more understanding of the world. I spent a good bit of time looking at conservative educational options recently, hoping that someone would have some kind of program which I could ultimately benefit from, rather than just learning piecemeal. I did not find any, although I wrote to the Academic Dean at Grove City College and received a kind response.
The conclusion of my investigation was that if I had the option to attend school over again, I would probably go to Grove City College. Not only is it affordable, but the curriculum is very comprehensive and would definitely lead to building a complete Christian worldview of all of the major disciplines. The campus is beautiful, and the students seem very nice. Although it is associated with the increasingly liberal PCUSA denomination, the school itself is morally, politically and intellectually conservative. There are few such schools in the country which can claim this, and also have strong academics.
Another intriguing option is Patrick Henry College. This school seems like a leadership training bootcamp. It draws intensely motivated students, empowers them, and drives them even harder. If your child is thinking about a life in politics this would be the place. If your daughter is wanting to meet a motivated Christian young man, and get a good education in the process, this would be the place.
Other schools noted as conservative include Indiana Wesleyan University, The Kings College, Harding University, Hillsdale College, College of the Ozarks, Liberty University, Hampden-Syndey College, several Catholic schools, and the military academies, especially Air Force. Texas A&M Univeristy is the only big state school I have ever heard referred to as conservative. I’m not sure I would have aborted a “big name” education for some of these options, but I think they need to be mentioned here.
For Graduate Education, I believe that Regent University has some great programs. My wife went there for her education degree and found it to be truly edifying. I was impressed at the value of what she was reading, and the ultimate end product. Ave Maria is a newly formed (Catholic) Law School that appears to be not only very conservative, but also have strong academics, and the moral foundations behind it. I’m not sure how it would be a for a protestant, but I would definitely look at it.
I want to explore this area further, and look at readings which promote a conservative understanding of the world. This is not because I am a right wing politico, but because I’ve come to understand that a proper understanding of life and Godly course of action hinges on intepreting our world properly, and those who have based their understanding on what we call “conservatism” are holding keys to this mystery which the rest of the world is explicitly rejecting or trying to hide.