What It’s Like to be a Conservative, Moderate at Holderness

January 17, 2018

Holderness School, while academically and intellectually impressive, is flooded with very similar minded thinkers. Ms. Sparkman has created a program called Courageous Conversation that urges the community to discuss all topics of thought, including politics. This program, if used correctly, is designed to give everyone, including minority groups, to have a voice and for all ideas to be listened to and respected. The goal of this article is not to argue politics with everyone in the school or to “call out” those who we don’t agree with. It is simply intended to start a conversation that leads to solving a problem that we have on our campus.


The cold hard truth is that it is very hard to be not just conservative, but anything other than liberal on this campus. A significant portion of both students and faculty would consider themselves liberal, leaving a small minority of conservatives. Unfortunately, at this school, that minority is never given the opportunity to have effective, scholarly political debates. The conversations and debates that we do have taken place on too narrow a slice of the political spectrum to be in any way productive. Valid and logical arguments in support of a conservative viewpoint are denied the level of respect given to those in support of liberal ones. We don’t wish to imprint our personal political views on anyone at this school, but any culture that dismisses intelligent debate merely because its conclusion differs from the culture’s established beliefs cannot be considered scholarly.


While we understand that high school political culture is, to a certain extent, merely a recitation of family dinner table conversations, it’s not unreasonable to demand a certain level of respect for those students who are engaged enough with the world around them to develop their own independent perspective on it, regardless of where they might fall on the political spectrum. The next time you find yourself engaged in heated political debate, make sure that you’re disagreeing with the content of the argument – not just its conclusion.


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1 Comment

One Response to “What It’s Like to be a Conservative, Moderate at Holderness”

  1. Peter Schibli on January 25th, 2018 10:10 am

    Peter and Will,
    Thank you for taking the time to highlight a serious problem not only at Holderness but throughout most academic institutions in this country. When one considers the cost of schools and weighs that against the confines with which students (and some faculty) are nearly silenced for the reasons you accurately point out then the value of that education comes into serious question, at least for me. Keep up your efforts you are not alone!

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