A conservative on campus

By in Opinions

Self-identifying as a Conservative on the University of Saskatchewan campus has become an increasingly unpopular choice, but despite that, I’m not backing down.

In the Western world’s political spectrum, we have two highly publicized positions. For left-wing politics, we have the social justice warriors, and in right-wing politics, what we have is sort of up for debate right now.

Conservatives on Campus - Supplied - Andriy H Prokopchuk
Prokopchuk with Conservative Party leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary.

I’ve been told by SJWs that people who support the Conservative Party of Canada are a bunch of racists, sexists and Islamophobes. Well, I’m a Conservative, and I can tell you that, no, we’re not. Conservatives are being judged as a part of this alt-right stereotype in every aspect of their lives outside of politics, as opposed to being judged for their individual actions.

Universities across Canada and the United States have the reputation of being left-leaning environments and the U of S is no different. Because of this environment, we’ve been told that the virtuous left’s lifestyles and beliefs are beyond question and any difference in opinion will result in one’s persecution by socially shaming them as a right-wing stereotype.

These socially shaming situations can be the result of someone choosing to openly not self-identify as a feminist, or someone who would want to have a more traditional family model similar to the one they were raised in.

So why is there a political witch-hunt to shame right-wing students? Is it because we would like economic stability in our government? No. It’s because the loudest, most involved left-wing students and SJWs believe politics is a life choice. It’s not — and your average Conservative student has a life outside of politics.

Other right-leaning students I’ve spoken with all seem to share the similar belief that they would rank thought and reason in politics above feelings and emotion. This is the reason we don’t hear many right-wing views in the classrooms because the majority of us don’t care to share our opinions.

I, however, am a rare example. Those of you who have taken a class with me know exactly what I’m talking about, and those of you who one day might have a class with me, buckle up.

Economically, I may be Conservative but socially and environmentally I am very progressive. This has led to more than one debate in the classroom and awkward conversations outside the classroom.

This includes everything from debating the stereotype of feminism and its negative effect on society, to having to explain that I actually do not think that the only relationship individuals should enter in is one that follows the traditional nuclear family. Most of these encounters end with something like, “I thought you were Conservative.”

Just because I am a card-carrying Conservative does not mean that this part of my life solely defines me as a person, and this game of identity politics that people play is one of the most concerning and dangerous political issues that Canada is currently facing.

By judging an individual based on their political affiliations and not by their individual actions, divide is created where it becomes too easy to simply paint someone as the “bad-guy.” We are not the bad-guys, and not all our beliefs are tied to the Conservative Party.

Despite the negative reactions I get when I tell people I am a Conservative or when they see my Conservative sticker on my laptop, I am still proud to be openly Conservative. I will continue to stand up for Conservatives and their right to their beliefs against attacks from ideologic left-leaning students, but I will do so the Conservative way.

I won’t do it by protesting everything I disagree with or attempting to discredit or censor someone’s different beliefs, but by offering a glad hand to my political opposition and focusing on solving the issues we are faced with, and not adding new ones.

Photo and text: Andy Prokopchuk

  • Sung Li

    In before white privilege, sexist, homophobic, misogynist, transphobic, racist, islamophobic, xenophobic, frogphobic name calling begins.

  • Guest

    “We’ve been told that the virtuous left’s lifestyles and beliefs are beyond question and any difference in opinion will result in one’s persecution by socially shaming them as a right-wing stereotype”- Isn’t it weird how things have changed? Before the virtuous right’s Christian lifestyle and beliefs were beyond question, and any difference (not difference in opinion, but race, sexuality, gender, or class) resulted in persecution. The “social -shaming” that the left is guilty of is nothing compared to the years of harm inflicted upon minorities and the poor by “traditional” ideas of the right. I’m not here to call you names or paint you as the bad guy, because I agree that isn’t helpful. But I think that maybe you can’t separate the Conservative economic policy from the social and environmental like you say? Whoever you vote for as an MP votes along party lines, so Kevin O’Leary or Maxime Bernier or Kellie Leitch or whoever’s up next will not only dictate economic policy, but also social and environmental policy and ideas (that are regressive, in my opinion).

    TL;DR- I respectfully disagree with what you’re saying.

  • Guest

    How hypocritical… So just because I vote Liberal I’m a SJW? If you don’t want to be assumed to be something you’re not, perhaps you shouldn’t treat others that way. I’m also economically conservative and socially progressive. But I vote Liberal because I don’t want to see the rights of minorities trampled over by a Conservative government. And just like you have a right to proudly sport your Conservative sticker on your laptop without being called a racist, I have a right to say that I’m a Liberal without being called a snowflake.

  • H. Davidson

    Hi Andy. I would love to hear more about your political philosophy. It’s very important to challenge people’s stereotypes about conservatives. It’s silly to conflate rational conservatives and “alt-right” extremists.

    I agree that it’s not very productive to sneer at people we disagree with before hearing them out. The goal should be to make a great province for everyone, not just the people who vote the same as us. Every party is just trying to do what it thinks is best, right?

    That being said, I do not agree that any party is more ‘rational’ than another. While there is a minority of people in this world that value carefully weighing out facts, the majority are swayed by strong emotion, and either person’s vote counts the exact same. That is why we have both conservatives panicking about gays ruining the world, and liberals screaming about how everyone is a sexist white supremacist, when neither has anything to do with running the government.

    So, I am quite sad that this article was just a long rant about SJWs. You could have done a lot better than this.

  • Bob

    “Economically, I may be Conservative but socially and environmentally I am very progressive.”

    So you’re liberal.

    • The Oatmeal Savage

      I’m a centrist in the grand tradition of Genghis Khan, Attila The Hun, and General George S. Patton.
      A fiscally conservative libertarian.
      A kinder, gentler redneck.

  • The Oatmeal Savage

    Ask your political debate opponent if they have ever considered the possibility that it might be them that is wrong.
    For God’s sakes don’t suggest that may be wrong!
    You don’t want to start a war.
    Just ask if they have ever considered the possibility that they may have it wrong, even for an instant.