Editor's Note: David Wilhelmsen is the recipient of the 2010 scholarship from the Republican Women of Prescott; he was also chosen by Prescott Area Leadership to be the 2010 Youth of the Year. He just completed his first year at Hillsdale College in Michigan with a 4.0 GPA. On Tuesday afternoon, he spoke to the Republican Women of Prescott; here is the transcript of his comments:
Thank you so much for having me. It’s an absolute honor to have the opportunity of speaking here.
Throughout my first two semesters at Hillsdale, I frequently wondered if it was as special as many claimed. In fact, the tropical beaches of Miami or the excitement of New York City often seemed a very tempting alternative to the cold, bleak weather of Michigan.
Hillsdale’s exceptional nature set in only after I attended the University of Arizona’s 2011 graduation.
In a speech to the graduates, a history teacher blatantly villainized capitalism; an anthropology professor called for unrestricted borders; and the main speaker routinely praised students for shunning the free market in favor of government jobs.
It reminded me more of a democratic convention than a place of higher learning.
However, the most stunning event occurred when a particular professor gave a five minute speech in Navajo.
While I have great respect for the Navajo people and their language, it bewildered me that a university would endorse a five minute speech for the benefit of less than ten people, at the cost of over a thousand.
The experience presented a perfect example of liberalism’s illogical nature.
The ultra-left agenda in our universities should worry Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike. After all, institutions of higher learning should teach their students how to think, not what to think.
Hillsdale College offers something very unique in today’s world – an education free from liberal propaganda. Since Hillsdale accepts no federal funding, it can present the facts and allow students to develop an opinion.
A history class at Hillsdale uses original texts from Aristotle, Pericles, Washington and Lincoln rather than textbooks. Likewise, a Constitution class uses the United States Constitution - not a book on the subject.
The first question one should ask in regards to the extreme liberalism in education is this: why does the extreme left so overwhelmingly control our colleges?
Only a minority of Americans hold to the extreme left viewpoint, yet the vast majority of universities advocate a philosophy that slanders capitalism, attacks the traditions of America, and undermines the very foundations upon which this country was built.
Our founders created America with the belief that individual freedom is the government’s chief responsibility to its citizens. This is because they understood a very powerful truth – that our rights as individuals do not come from our government. They come from our God.
And contrary to what many Democrats believe, government is not in fact our God.
During the revolutionary war, countless Americans sacrificed their lives because they thought death a more noble option than life under the tyranny of a Monarchy.
In the debate for constitutional ratification, tempers flared to the brink of violence. Advocates from both sides fiercely fought to advance their own view. However, in hindsight, their debate was almost laughable.
Unlike today, one side did not fight for the restriction of freedom. One side did not call for higher taxes to promote universal healthcare. By contrast, both sides battled to preserve individual liberty.
While the Federalists believed that a strong central government was crucial to freedom, the anti-federalists thought a central government would restrict it. Both sides fervently believed in freedom; they simply disagreed over how best to protect it.
The debates in American politics today differ markedly from those of our founders. We face a national debt of $ 250,000 dollars per person, an unemployment rate in double digits, and a segment of society under the impression that government is fit to run their lives.
Most alarmingly, the strongest opponents of our founding principles occupy the very organizations we call “institutions of higher learning”.
To answer the question of why the left so strongly controls our educational system, we must look decades back to the 1960s.
During these years, the strong values of American culture melted into moral laxity. As America reached unprecedented heights of prosperity, the hippie generation sprang to life. It opposed everything America stood for and rejected the very economic system which led to America’s greatness.
This hippie movement, however, would not stay young forever. The pot-smoking Peace Core members of the 60s began to infiltrate America’s colleges and by the 1970s our educational system had become the most powerful instrument of the far left.
The college campus presented a perfect environment for liberals to push their ideas on the impressionable minds of America’s youth. Meanwhile, conservatives kept out of college life and allowed the hippie generation to seize control of academia.
As the joke goes, liberals like to talk about success and conservatives like to achieve it. Thus, these ultra-liberals used the classroom to indoctrinate America with their flawed beliefs.
Simply put: conservatism must stop this. The radical philosophy of the hippie generation has become the norm on college campuses.
We must either cede the minds of America’s youth to the far left, or we must stand up and fight for the principles that made America exceptional.
Conservatives throughout the United States must become far more involved in the university system.
Businessman must donate time and money, politicians must speak out against blatant agenda of liberalism, and more conservatives must make the choice to become professors, teaching the value behind capitalism and individual freedom.
Since her earliest days, America has inspired people from all over the world with the hope that one day their own countries might be like this one. However, some couldn’t wait for this change. And so, they risked everything to restart their lives in this country.
They didn’t do so because of our failing Medicare system. They didn’t do so to take advantage of our highly efficient food stamp service. And I highly doubt they did so to enjoy the rewarding lifestyle of our neighbors in San Francisco.
People come to the United States because it is one of the few places on earth where, through hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their wildest dreams.
This has become known as the American Miracle.
A miracle where a single Bolivian woman came here with five children and a sparse English vocabulary. But she worked by day at a shirt factory, while taking night classes to become a teacher. Through an incredible work ethic she eventually bought a home and each of her five children graduated from college. Today that woman’s grandson stands before you and gives testimony to the Miracle we call America.
If our universities fail to teach their students what my grandmother and nearly every other person who immigrates to the United States already knows, we have a very serious problem.
When they show students the benefits of every culture other than our own; make villains out of the very business leaders who have created jobs and generated enormous wealth for themselves and others; attack the military men and women who risk their lives so that others might be free; and have the audacity to defend terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and Hamas, we need a serious adjustment.
We sit at a turning point in America’s history. One where there will only be two ways forward for us. Either we will solve our problems and bring on another American century, or we will watch America sink into mediocrity.
The path we take largely depends on how young people like myself decide to take on the future.
My generation can either allow government to further encroach on the rights of individuals, or it can turn the tide and fight for the principles that made this nation the single greatest country in the history of mankind.
From what I’ve seen, they will choose the latter.
At Hillsdale College and around the country, I see many of the young men and women who will lead our country in the coming years. And I can assure you, America will be in very capable hands.
Truth always conquers deceit; liberalism will not forever maintain its hold on our colleges. Young Americans are waking up to the fallacies in our educational system. They are rejecting the illogical teachings of the left and they are refusing to watch this country waste away.
I and the generation of conservatives growing up alongside me will never cede America to those who wish to destroy everything it stands for.
We will not give into socialism, we will not allow our rights to be stripped from us; and we will not stand by as some of our own leaders slander America and apologize to our enemies.
We will fight; we will stand for what is right; and we should refuse to ever give over our country to the mediocrity of liberalism.
In conclusion I’d like to thank you so much for awarding me with your scholarship last year.
Thanks to your generosity, I’ve been lucky enough to attend one of the few colleges that teach the true principles of conservatism.
I will never forget your kindness and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I make the most of your investment.
Thank you very much for having me; God bless you all; and God bless America.