David Walter ’11’s encomium/eulogy to the Princeton conservative skirts with, but never really addresses, the obvious. A political ideology that demands fealty to a man such as Donald Trump, a human firehose of lies, grift, hate, and venality, will find it hard to gain support at any institution that is founded on free inquiry and rational thought. This is as it should be.
Nothing supports the above more than the conservative students, alumni, and scholars quoted in the article. Judging from them, the intellectual core of conservatism appears now to be “anti-wokism,” whatever that actually means. One can argue whether the conservative project of the late 20th century was ever anything more than the intellectual Zamboni for segregationists; perhaps there were real desires for limited government and “traditional” values that were unrelated to undoing the civil rights movement. But it is hard to argue that modern conservatism stands for anything at all. Its failure to thrive at an institution of higher learning, particularly one of Princeton’s caliber, should come as no great surprise.