It’s fall, which means the college speakers are flocking toward the campuses. That brings a question to mind: why are conservatives so obsessed with the idea of high-profile conservatives speaking to college students, anyway?
If you’re the speaker, going from college town to college town giving a stump speech to crowds of impressed young people is a pretty decent way to live. It’s good for the ego, good for the wallet, and it probably gets you invited to great parties every so often.
People on the right — and this includes the mainstream, fringe, and radicals — are trained to believe that the seeds of ideas are scattered in the wind, and somehow magically find purchase and grow. Clear the land? Till the soil? What’s that?
The answer is: because William F. Buckley, Jr. did it. Buckley was born rich and connected, but he came to prominence with “God and Man at Yale,” the seminal conservative college student’s gripe about leftist professors. He became president of Frank Chodorov’s Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (now the Intercollegiate Studies Institute), did campus tours Ben Shapiro-fashion, founded National Review, started Young Americans for Freedom, hosted “Firing Line” on television, and oh yeah, laid the foundation of the modern conservative movement in America.