FREE ENTERPRISE AND OTHER CONSERVATIVE

FREE ENTERPRISE AND OTHER CONSERVATIVE CAUSES: There’s a film that came out in limited release a few years ago that’s still re-run on HBO from time to time called “Free Enterprise.” Starring William Shatner and the guy who plays Will on “Will & Grace,” and written/produced by Brandeis alum Mark Altman, the film was the story of two “Star Trek” geeks who meet their hero (Shatner), and seemed to exist in order to prove the theorem that people who are obsessed with “Star Trek” are in fact capable of being cool, having fun, and having sex with beautiful women.
Now we have a New York Times Magazine cover story that applies the “Free Enterprise” formula to that other not-known-to-get-laid-often youth subculture: campus Republicans. In a piece published last Sunday called “The Young Hipublicans,” reporter John Colapinto profiles a coterie of young conservatives at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania who are, that’s right, not living in the stone age. They may worship Reagan and Dubya, be dead-set against political correctness, and vote straight-ticket Republican, but hey- they have girlfriends, some of them are, themselves, girls, and (get this)- they don’t even hate gay people!
When I was in college the only “out” conservatives I knew were religious Israel hawks here and there, a sizable cabal of Ayn Rand devotees, and the school’s College Republican establishment, led by a few guys who succeeded in alienating virtually the entire school by pulling such stunts as publishing the student union president’s home address and phone number in their magazine, bringing Charlton Heston to campus while locking out most of the Brandeis student body, and drawing too many sexual harassment complaints to even keep track of. Even my now-roommate was a member of the College Republicans at a nearby school at the time, and they publicly distanced themselves from the Brandeis chapter.
I really think those guys ruined any chance conservatism had of flourishing at Brandeis for years, and it took three years and a major attack on the US for a Brandeis necon revival to finally occur. I’m not saying I necessarily would’ve joined up, but back in those days there was just too much loony leftism happening on campus that the student body was ill-served- too often, self-righteous bullying took the place of intelligent political debate.

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