A recent NPR blog titled “The Hipsterification of America” detailed the growing dominance of the “hipster” movement in modern America. Hipster culture, a movement contingent upon anti-trends and passive nonchalance, has always intrinsically been described as a “counter-culture,” and a liberal one at that. Anti-mainstream thought and behavior is inherent in the subculture and can be described as the heart of the movement. However, no matter how aggressively modern-day hipsters deny it, their movement no longer exists on the fringes of society. Hipster attire and media have become popular, which is ironically the opposite of the movement’s claimed status of a “counter-culture.” Hipsters are anti-establishment, anti-mainstream by nature, but their influence can now be seen everywhere, from popular television shows like New Girl to fashion trends such as thick glasses and skinny jeans. Hipsters are especially dominant on college campuses where liberal professors and left-leaning students alike embrace the subculture’s aims, attitudes, and attire. The increasing influence of hipster culture in academia and university life; however, begs the question: Who’s the counter-culture? Now that the politically liberal attitudes of the hipster movement have become engrained into college life, who is left in the minority? Well, that’s easy: we are. Conservative college students have now been relegated to “counter-culture” status as the liberal aspects of hipster culture rise to the majority.
The counter-culture of college conservatives faces daily attacks from all sides. In the classroom, liberal professors have become so dominant and biased textbooks have become so pervasive that one can rationally question whether universities are adequately fulfilling their key goal of educating students. Facts are lost in the whirlwind of professor-injected opinion and liberal bias. I’ve gotten so used to hearing about our Founding Father’s “racist” beliefs and the world-altering, glorified New Deal that I’ve almost come to adopt these liberal views myself. Well…almost. My nature as a knowledge-hungry, fact-checking conservative is too strong to be swayed by a few biased textbooks or agenda-bound professors. And the liberal infiltration is not isolated within the history department. In economics courses, free market capitalism is often looked upon as the system of the past. The natural sciences preach the dangers of global warming (my opposition to political correctness prevents me from using the words “climate change”) and don’t even get me started on social sciences. Outside the classroom, liberal bias is pervasive as well. Affirmative action is an accepted practice on campus and “social justice” is infinitely praised. Though this principle is admirable when defined as humble service to others, it’s most often used as a code word for Marxism. Speakers and guests to campus are most often of a liberal mindset as well. My school, St. Louis University boasts names like Cornel West and Tim Wise with only Mike Huckabee to serve as a conservative foil. Conservative college students are bombarded with liberal bias from all sides, inside and outside the classroom. Yet although we are now a counter-culture that does not imply that we are by nature weak or defeated. Actually, I believe it’s quite the opposite.
The ever-strengthening counter-culture of conservative college students is curious and knowledgeable by nature and I believe that its minority status only strengthens these aspects. In order to face the constant bombardment of the liberal opposition, conservative college students must find strength in knowledge and honest inquiry. We are well-informed because we must be in order to survive the constant ideological threats our counter-culture faces. Knowledge is the cornerstone of true power and conservative college students must tap into this bastion of strength in order to emerge from a counter-culture status and introduce the collegiate majority to sanity once again. It’s an uphill battle, but the future looks bright. Remember, there was a time when hipsters and their traditional liberal ideals existed only on the fringes of society. In this way (and only in this way), I hope the counter-culture of college conservatives can follow in the footsteps of the hipsters. I can’t wait until the day when we eclipse the liberal campus majority. On that day, I hope to proudly proclaim with all of my right-thinking peers that I was conservative before it was cool.
Amy Lutz // Saint Louis University // @AmyLutz4