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Respectful Activism—Changing the Approach

The Reagans waving from the limousine during the Inaugural Parade 1981 Public Domain

Believe me, I get it. You walk into college your first day, learn about trigger warnings and postmodernism and you start voicing your opposition to your professors. Battling not only the authority of their PhD, but the weight of an entire academic institution and pressure from your peers leaves you feeling pissed off and a bit angsty.

Our immediate, impulsive reaction is to engage in the mudslinging, exposing your university along the way for institutionalized prejudice towards diversity of thought. Resist that feeling, it’s your enemy.

While angry memes, internet trolls, and spiteful Facebook arguments have propelled our movement to new heights, we will never grow until we get the left on board with us. Therefore, the goal is NOT to piss off the left. Your goal with any activism is to advance your ideas and you won’t get people to support free speech if you piss them off in the process of telling them why they should support free speech.

For example, when thinking of a speaker to bring to campus, your first thought might be, “We need a huge crowd! Let’s bring someone everyone knows!” or rather “Let’s bring whoever will piss off the left the most!”

Then on the day of the event, the five or six members of your club show up, along with dozens of angry protestors unwilling to listen to anything that the speaker says, thus hurting your cause. That’s when you contact a conservative publication and they write up a story about how insane your college is and for ten seconds the nation looks at your college and says, “nothing I haven’t heard before.”

We’re past feigning moral outrage. The academia is extremely well documented with being liberally biased and if you’re just figuring that out then realize the only way to fix this is if we are actively working to ATTRACT the left! If you want the left to support your ideas, you must market to them.

Therefore, when you go to choose a speaker for an event, consider choosing in this order:

  1. If they are well known and liked by both sides
  2. If they are unknown and a good speaker

People like Milo who come to campus do nothing good for our movement. Just recently he was seen singing America the beautiful while Richard Spencer did a Nazi salute, Business Insider reported. He may claim to be Jewish, but that’s bad optics, and you cannot blame your college for not wanting to invite him. All they’ve done is further polarized and stigmatized our beliefs so that people think the reason you support constitutional principles is that you are prejudiced. If instead you bring a speaker who remains respectful, yet they are still not received well, then you can genuinely report an honest problem on a campus.

When most colleges disinvite speakers, it’s not because they have taken a position AGAINST free speech in their school code. In fact, most colleges DO include language suggesting they support some speech liberties. However, they will disinvite speakers if you are intentionally bringing people to push your luck with how much they support that principle.

If you’re a new club, and you are bringing someone to campus, this is your first chance to make a good reputation for yourself in front of the school. Bringing someone to campus who is a respectful speaker is vital to ensuring that your club will remain on campus, and that leftists will actually join.

Now when you table, your message won’t be, “Hey join us! We’re the most hated group on campus!” But instead, “Hey! We’re not the crazy people that the MSM makes us out to be! Come to one of our events and see for yourself.”

When marketing to the left, the most important point we must drive home is that the United States Constitution provides the only system of government that supports DIVERSITY because its INCLUSIVE to all worldviews and when government is DECENTRALIZED then everyone gets what they want!

At the end of the day remember this: You’re paying to go to college so that you can get a job and pay off your loans when you graduate. Most liberty warriors will not have a job in activism after they graduate and you still need to have a good reputation at your college to do anything in life. Whether that means getting a letter of recommendation from a professor or not having an article written about your club as if you’re a crazy person is important. That means some teachers really aren’t worth fighting with, and getting arrested for your cause may sound noble, but in reality, its never a good idea.

Right now, people are sick of the political divide, and only our ideology can unite them all. Resist the temptation to embrace your reputation as the “fringe group” on campus, and rebrand. Reach out to your political science department and make peace with them. Collaborate with different groups on campus that would support your message and show them why its relevant that they care TODAY. Above all, realize we all come to college to learn and have a good time, not fight a war.

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About Will Nardi (27 Articles)
Published by the Daily Caller, HYPELINE, the College Conservative, Odyssey, Campus Reform, the Lone Conservative, the College Fix, and the Rouser, Will Nardi's articles have been featured on the Drudge Report, Fox News, The National Review, and Gun Owners of America. Nardi is currently in his 3rd year studying Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. To see more of his work follow him on Facebook and Twitter @willthethinker.

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