KiddyCons Cool – But Not Conservative

The New York Times magazine is not exactly a
citadel of conservative thinking, so at first glance it
was a bit odd that last Sunday`s issue sported a
sizeable article about the new generation of
conservative leaders at colleges and universities across
the country. Yet, as you read John Colapinto`s friendly
account of "The Armies of the Right," you may begin to
grasp why he and the magazine want to push these
particular kiddy-cons into the spotlight. [Armies Of
The Right; The Young Hipublicans,
John Colapinto, May 25, 2003

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Mr. Colapinto, a contributing editor for Rolling
concentrates on a band of conservatives at
Bucknell University, but he`s pushing the idea that
these founding members of the college`s Conservatives
Club are not untypical of what passes for the "right" on
most other campuses today, "a new breed of college
conservative, one poised to inherit the responsibility
of shaping the Republican Party in the years to come."

In some respects there`s nothing unusual about any of

The young conservatives hate Hillary Clinton, love
Ronald Reagan, support George W. Bush and denounce Osama
bin Laden—what you`d expect from any crowd of
conservatives any place any time.

But one trait Mr. Colapinto thinks is distinctive of
the new generation is how they dress. "Many of those
Reagan-era conservatives announced their politics on
campus with their dress and grooming, the men sporting
Clark Kent haircuts, blue blazers, red ties, loafers;
the women tended to wear skirts and heels."
all that is gone.

"Today," Mr. Colapinto writes, "most campus
conservatives who hope to be effective won`t dress like
George Bush or Dick Cheney. The idea is to dress like a
young person."
  In the meetings he attended, "there
are plenty of ragged T-shirts, backward baseball caps
and frayed jeans in the room." And it`s not just clothes
that distinguish the new conservative children from
their elders. "Many members of the Bucknell
conservatives club … endorse same-sex unions,"
one member recently wrote an article in the club
newspaper "supporting gay marriages."  Bucknell
campus leader Charles Mitchell chirps that "being a
conservative can be cool"
and “not just something
that wacko people in Alabama do.”

Being "cool" seems to be a major concern of these
children, not only in dressing like slobs but also in
what they think, and as the author acutely notes, much
of what the campus conservatives think and say "is
something someone told them to say." At no point in his
article does Mr. Colapinto mention a single major
political thinker of the past or present who has exerted
any discernible impact on them. That`s probably because
there aren`t any. The people who tell them what to think
and say apparently are the "movement conservative"
foundations in Washington and New York that fund their
newspapers and provide them with the kiddy-con edition
of "Dress for Success."

Hence it`s hardly surprising that the youngsters he
interviews have a dim if embarrassingly ignorant view of
the current cat fight between paleo-conservatives and

Young Mr. Mitchell and his friends "can`t abide" the
paleos, whom they identify as "paleos like Pat
Buchanan—and Bob Novak" and "people who think Lincoln
started the era of big government," Mr. Mitchell sneers.
"That`s paleo. The paleos are the people who give us a
bad rap. They carry all these tinges of anti-Semitism
and racism—and that`s what people expect from us. People
expect us to be like Pat Buchanan, like, `We`re diluting
our great Western culture by letting immigrants in.` I
don`t think any of us buy that."

What mainly emerges from Mr. Colapinto`s portrait is
the utter shallowness of most of what Mr. Mitchell and
his comrades do "buy"—and how eager they are to conform
and make sure everyone knows they conform to the icons,
images, stereotypes, and values in which a dominant
liberalism has immersed them and their generation. Their
problem with the supposed "anti-Semitism and racism" of
the paleos seems to be simply that they cause them image
problems. Not only do the kiddy-cons seem to know
nothing about their own real heritage or the forces that
threaten it; they seem unable to grasp that those
threats are already imbedded in the very "culture" they

And that`s exactly what Mr. Colapinto finds no
encouraging about them. The kiddy-cons may swagger on
about the "free market," "patriotism," and even the
oppressiveness of the multiculturalist speech and
behavior codes that prevail in their schools, but what
Mr. Colapinto has detected is that these kids present no
serious threat whatsoever to the kind of culture he,
Rolling Stone
, and the New York Times have
striven so hard to impose on the country.  He`s probably
right that the kiddy cons will be "shaping the
Republican Party in the years to come."
He has every
reason to hope so.



[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available

Americans For Immigration Control