Confronting the Intellectual Wasteland – A Conservative’s Stand in America’s Colleges.

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“It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

President Ronald Reagan

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

George Orwell

I am one of the listed constitutional conservative speakers that the Young America’s Foundation ( deploys to speak on college and university campuses. As well, I often get the opportunity to address college and high school conservative students at YAF summer conferences. It is always a pleasure to support and encourage these future leaders. It is utterly shameful how these young people are treated by school administrations, teachers/professors, and their peers simply because they embrace a differing philosophy of governance from the prevailing mantra of progressive socialism and Marxism.

Black Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans and White Americans: Confronting the Intellectual Wasteland - A Conservative's Stand in America's Colleges.

Just last week, I traveled to St. Louis University for the second time to address the issue of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Previously, I had spoken at SLU on the subject of Islamic jihadism/terrorism. For that first engagement, I was disparaged by the university president and others, and they even threatened to cancel the event. I suppose a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, combat veteran in the Middle East, and former Member of Congress on the Armed Services Committee does not possess subject matter expertise on combatting and understanding terrorism. Stupid me, having that earned the Global War on Terrorism medal distinction. In the end I did speak, and the little cupcakes of SLU decided to stage a walkout early on in the presentation … as if that was going to hurt my feelings.

My most recent visit to SLU was met with a poster by the usual delusional useful idiots, Vladimir Lenin’s reference, that featured a swastika on my suit lapel. Hmm, a swastika on the lapel of the son of a World War II veteran. My Dad served in the European Theater of Operations. As well, some of you may know that I will be donning a period US Army paratrooper uniform and participating in an airborne operation jumping into Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Now, ain’t that just grand and reflective of imbecilic behavior? Yes, the presentation went as planned, and once again, about 10 minutes into it, the usual suspects began their ritualistic chanting. This time, it was “No bigots on campus.” That’s royal. It appears that since I do not support an Islamic terrorist organization that killed Americans on October 7th, 2023, and still holds Americans hostage, that makes me a bigot. The following chant was the insidious “river to the sea” blather, which solidifies and supports the Hamas charter of extermination of the Jewish people and elimination of the Jewish state. Hmm, a perspective held by one Adolf Hitler.

The flock of seagulls did leave the lecture room. However, there was one young lady who remained and would later stand up and shout “racist” at me. Oh boy, a 63-year-old Black man born in a blacks-only hospital in Georgia?

It appears to me, and perhaps you as well, that our American college campuses are becoming intellectual wastelands. Sure, there are awesome students who are getting solid educations in specific fields of study, but for the most part, these campuses are nothing more than illogical, radical indoctrination centers. And I do not say this based on my two experiences at St. Louis University.

What may just be the most viral video I have ever been associated with happened while I was speaking at Northwestern University, (a really smart kids’ school?)The topic was the Iranian nuclear agreement, and I love foreign and national security policy topics. As always, with YAF speaking events, you present for 35-40 minutes, and Q&A follows. The first question posed to me was from a young black female student who asked me, wait for it, “Do you identify as Black?” I must admit, the question bewildered me, and I also found it disturbingly humorous. After a presentation on a critical foreign policy issue, the question of this young lady went to race. It was obvious to her that the level of melanin in my skin should dictate how I thought.

Such was the same at the University of Buffalo, where the YAF event topic was “Is America a Racist Nation?” Uh, no. That sent the black students of that college campus into an apoplectic rage. The one young female student who claimed she was the president of the Black Student Union asserted that I was an embarrassment … yea, a fella from the deep South, born in a blacks-only hospital with a Bachelor’s and two Masters’ degrees. The episode at the University of Buffalo made international news when a Black man had to be escorted off campus by white police because of black students’ threatening behavior. Shouting “Black Lives Matter,” supporting an organization founded by Marxists that supports Hamas, and says nothing about the decimation of the traditional nuclear black family, black-on-black murder, and the genocide of black babies. Well, some would refer to that as “stuck on stupid.”

I could go on ad nauseum ad infinitum but my point is that why are these young people on these campuses afraid to have open debate? Why do they wish to shut down opposing thoughts, perspectives, and insights? As liberal NY Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” Why do they stand up and shout like little temperamental children and then run away before they can be confronted in intellectual joust? Simple, they are not being prepared for intellectual debate because too many of these campuses are wastelands for mindless lemmings.

I recall a political party that once existed in the United States called the “Know Nothings,” founded in 1844 and dissolved in 1860. The Martin Scorsese film “Gangs of New York” depicts them. When asked about their specific ideas and beliefs by others, the members were required to respond with “I Know Nothing,” kind alike the SGT Schultz character from the 70s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” Leftists always talk about how the political parties in America have switched, and yes, the Democrat party has become a party of elites. But what is also quite evident is that the Democrat party, as Reagan’s quote alludes to, has become the new Know Nothing party.

My humble message to these young radicals on college and university campuses is this: wake the heck up. The world is not a place where you will be coddled and accepted because of ignorance. As well, grown men and women, not progressive socialist, Marxist instigators, are not going to accept your disrespectful and abhorrent behavior. Take, for example, those Harvard Law Review students who sided with Hamas and are now blacklisted from major law firms for hire. There are consequences for stupidity.

The wise words of Israel’s King Solomon in Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) say, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”

The intellectual wasteland we see on our college campuses is ultimately the fault of us, adults. We came up with dumb ideas like participation trophies and now want to eliminate the SAT/ACT and not recognize valedictorians and salutatorians. We are telling young people in America that excellence is bad and reward them for being a Know Nothing. My Dad had a simple challenge for me, “Find what the standard is, and exceed it.” We are setting the bar so very low for this young generation. Appeasing and acquiescing to their whims ain’t a recipe for their success.

My Dad never went to college, but he was one of the wisest and smartest men I have ever known. My Mom did attend college, and she was the ultimate disciplinarian. They understood Proverbs 22:6. Dr. Angela Graham-West and I have used that same model to train our daughters.

Ya can’t Live Free being a Know Nothing; that means you are an intellectual slave in a time of deceit where telling the truth is a revolutionary act. One that I will continue to do at every college campus where I am invited … or anywhere.

Columnist; Allen West

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