Being a Conservative in High School & College: Keep Your Head Down or Speak Up?

There is a debate in online conservative circles: should conservative students keep their worldview quiet to achieve good grades and a degree OR stand up for their beliefs, even if it costs a grade or social status? Ben Shapiro, notable conservative podcaster, defers to the former, suggesting conservatives can be most effective if they first attain an education before going to battle in today’s culture. Steven Crowder, late-night conservative comedian, takes the other side. He believes our culture cannot be changed without good people speaking up in the Leftist stronghold of high school and college.

In my experience, a blend of both views keeps a balance: achieving good grades and keeping your soul. Pick and choose your battles. When you are the lone conservative in your class, it’s tempting to come out guns blazing with facts and logic every time a class discussion happens. Having some discretion can actually bolster your credibility with other students, teachers and college faculty. That being said, when you find your “hill to die on” . . . die on it. Don’t apologize for your worldview, but articulate the facts of your position in a calm way.

Truth is, only you can decide how to approach defending your views in school. The deck is stacked against conservatives in education. If you take a conservative view in a paper or class discussion – this may cost you a grade. Some of your “friends” may be less likely to hang out with you. If this is something you can stomach – go for it. We need cultural warriors who know the cost but are willing to pay it anyway. If you believe in occasionally holding back your opinion for the sake of attaining a position where you can be most effective – go for it.

Either way, never lie to yourself or others about what you believe. It only corrupts who you are and makes you less likely to stand when it really matters.

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