Like you, I was shocked by the recent actions of Hamas against the people of Israel.

Fortunately, all of Students For Liberty’s Local Coordinators in Israel, including the two who have presented themselves for military service, are currently safe and well. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for our Local Coordinators in the United States. In the past week, we have witnessed a wave of antisemitism and support for terrorism spreading in American universities, such as:

  • At Harvard, even as reports of the brutal murders, rapes, and kidnappings filled the news, dozens of student groups signed onto a letter from the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on Oct. 7 — the day of Hamas terrorist attack on Israel — holding Israel “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
  • An op-ed in the Daily by Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine described the terrorist attacks in Israel as “part of the protracted struggle against settler-colonial oppression.”
  • In New York, the president of NYU’s Student Bar Association wrote that “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”
  • At George Washington University, students chanted, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” clearly indicating what they believe should be the fate of Israelis.

I’d like to believe that these are isolated phenomena that won’t have a significant impact on society. However, I know that’s not the case. What is discussed and promoted in universities matters.  It matters to the students on campus, and it matters to society.

We’ve seen this story before. Not too long ago, in the 1970s, far-left ideas radicalized university students into terrorists worldwide, including in the U.S.

At the University of Michigan, a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) founded the Weather Underground, a terrorist group aiming to “the destruction of U.S. imperialism and the creation of a classless communist world.”  To achieve this, the group initiated a decade-long campaign of bombings and bank robberies across the country, which was only halted after their arrests and due to their lack of experience in bombing.

Indeed, a Weatherman named Jon Lerner recalls that he “remember talking about putting a bomb on the [Chicago railroad] tracks at rush hour, to blow up people coming home from work. That’s what I was looking forward to.”

Jane Alpert, perhaps the most famous bomber in America, was radicalized while studying at Columbia. The Symbionese Liberation Army? It had its origins at the University of California, Berkeley.

In Germany, the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader–Meinhof Group, was formed mainly by university students. The Japanese Red Army (the terrorist organization recruited by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to conduct a terrorist attack on Tel-Aviv Airport) was initially founded at Meiji University.

Even genocidal leaders like Pol Pot and many other communist leaders spent time studying in Paris and became radicalized by Marxist thought.

The ideas cultivated in universities matter. This pipeline — from academia to the general audience — was identified long ago by F.A. Hayek, the renowned economist and social scientist. He illustrated how ideas nurtured in universities slowly spread throughout society until they became predominant.

Today, our intellectual elite is being shaped within universities. Over the next two decades, these individuals will be the ones steering our nation.

So, what do we find in American universities today?

– Professors calling the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel “exhilarating” and “energizing.” (here)

– Hard work is evidence of white supremacy (sadly, this isn’t an exaggeration)

– Individualism, a sense of urgency, and the use of the written word are evidence of white supremacy in organizations (again, not an exaggeration)

– Capitalism is not a political-economic system but another proof of white supremacy (see here)

– Hundreds of students at Stanford Law School shouted down a sitting federal judge because they disagreed with him (here)

– Standardized tests aren’t any more an objective measurement but a tool to harm minorities (here)

– Professors faking data to prove that “whites want longer sentences for blacks” (here)

The ideologies instilled in today’s youth will shape tomorrow’s society. That’s why it’s crucial to act now to ensure that the principles of classical liberalism are not lost on the next generation.

To effectively combat these misguided notions, we must address them at their source: educational institutions. It’s a well-established fact that ideas cultivated on college campuses resonate throughout society. After all, these students represent the future leaders and influencers who will steer our world in either a better or worse direction.

This is the mission of Students For Liberty, and we’re already making significant progress. Just ask our alumni:

Randal John Meyer, previously a lobbyist and lawyer, now works as the Legislative Director & Chief Counsel in the House of Representatives, directly involved in shaping laws.

Dr. Liya Palagashvili, a former Local Coordinator, is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, contributing to public debates through writings in outlets like The Hill and The New York Times. She is also a frequent guest in the Senate and House of Representatives Committees, providing important testimonials and insights to our lawmakers.

Thomas Savidge, currently the Research Manager of the Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council, produces reports and authors articles (such as this one in the Wall Street Journal), educating policymakers and key stakeholders.

Molly Fratianne, now the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), attributes the foundation of her career to SFL.

Dylan Dean, a Montana State University student and SFL Regional Coordinator, has made significant contributions to the cause of liberty, notably in favor of free speech on campus, helping pass two bills that will guarantee free speech protections statewide.

These are just a few examples of the countless students who have passed through SFL’s Local Coordinator Program and are actively working to defend liberty in their careers.

Are you a student interested in getting involved in pro-liberty activism? By applying to join Students For Liberty’s Local Coordinator Program, you can be supported in promoting the ideas of liberty while also developing your skills and meeting many like-minded students from across the world. Click on the button below to find out more and get involved!

This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.