January 24, 2024

Academia’s Brutal Bargain

When even-keeled young Americans walk onto campus during their freshman year, they are often told to set aside common sense and traditional values to assimilate.

When entering the property of an elite university in America, one thing is certain — common sense is forbidden. Men can be women. Gender and race are meaningless social constructs. There is no such thing as a good police officer. And entire weeks are dedicated to sexual degeneracy.

I knew what I was getting into when paying my deposit to Northwestern. Being a conservative, it was expected that many of my peers would find my views to be reprehensible, bigoted, or immoral. Over my first month on campus, I observed phenomena similar to that of the “brutal bargain” of assimilation described by Norman Podhoretz in Making It. When even-keeled, ordinary young Americans with common sense walk onto campus for the first time during their freshman year, it is expected and often demanded that they set aside common sense and traditional values in order to assimilate into the university community.

Northwestern takes assimilation very seriously and its objective is clear: ensure every new Wildcat understands the orthodoxy on campus and the cultural demands to maintain it. Immediately upon arrival, students are expected to sit through land acknowledgments and countless speeches with overtures to diversity, equity, and inclusion during their convocation.

Freshmen must also sit in a large room with every single one of their peers and identify themselves under various categories like gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. This activity is part of a program called “True Northwestern Dialogues” (TNDs) where students “engage in learning and dialogue about topics vital to becoming a Northwestern community member.”

In other words, one cannot become a member of the Northwestern community until one is briefed on the university’s core values of diversity and inclusion.

Over the past year and a half, I have consciously rejected the terms of the brutal bargain. Instead of submitting into silence as I watch ungrateful students trample over the norms and mores that created the prestigious American university, I have spoken up during classroom discussions, brought controversial speakers to campus, and respectfully challenged core tenets of the woke ideology some of my friends purvey in casual conversation.

Rejecting this bargain has come with a cost. The first moment I decisively broke with the bargain was by publishing a column in The Daily Northwestern describing a bold but conservative agenda for conservative politicians to adopt. With its publishing, I “outed” myself to the greater Northwestern community. The online response was worrying and provoked the question: Was it worth it?

The answer was found in the emails I received from alumni expressing gratitude for writing the piece. They found my piece refreshing amidst the unimaginative monotony that usually characterizes the newspaper.

The second key moment in my resistance to assimilation was hosting James Lindsay at Northwestern. The fliers used to promote the event featured rainbow glasses with skulls in the lens, which quickly garnered campus-wide attention. The Wikipedia-deep research students conducted on Lindsay led to us being accused of hosting an “anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theorist” who supported white supremacy and transphobia.

I was shocked by the campus responses in both of these cases. It revealed that the administration has been successful in transmitting an undergraduate culture that generally does not welcome dissent from left-wing orthodoxy. The student body — not just the administration — ostracizes and demeans those with ideas or practices that stray from dominant thinking, effectively creating a high social cost for breaking with the brutal bargain. The price of losing friendships, getting weird looks from across the sidewalk, or being slandered on social media has become insurmountable for many sane, patriotic students, leaving them silent and defenseless as they watch their norms violated and heritage slandered.

Life at Northwestern might have been easier had I taken the “brutal bargain,” but it would also be more bland. As masses of ordinary, unwoke young Americans have censored their practical thoughts out of the fear of being dubbed a racist or misogynist, universities have become hostile to the pursuit of truth and devoid of the intellectual vigor that once characterized them. Only by the mass rejection of this brutally bland bargain will the intellectual spirit of the university be revived and the status conferred to their graduates be justified again.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.