It is easy to forget the Before Time in 2018, but in the not-so-distant past, conservatives were big fans of personal responsibility. Conservative think tanks used to write entire reports on this idea. The way to survive and thrive in America was by pulling one’s self up by one’s bootstraps, despite whatever adversity might be out there in the world. Another part of this credo was owning one’s mistakes and soldiering on regardless.
It does not seem like modern conservatives know how to do this. Consider, for example, Niall Ferguson. In the New Republic, Jeet Heer offers up a useful summary on Ferguson’s rather unusual intervention into Stanford student affairs:
“As The Stanford Daily reported on Thursday, newly public emails show that Ferguson’s eagerness to fight off what he saw as encroaching political correctness led the historian to some bizarre extracurricular activity. Ferguson teamed up with a group of student Republicans, led by John Rice-Cameron, to wage a covert political battle against Michael Ocon, a student they viewed as excessively left-wing. In the e-mails they refer to Ocon as “Mr. O” and talk about ways to discredit him. “Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile,” Ferguson wrote. Ferguson’s research assistant Max Minshull was tasked with the job of collecting the dirt on Ocon.”