A wry smile appears on the face of little Jakey Redline. One of his fellow freshmen classmates had just mentioned the protests in Iran during an in-class debate. Before Jakey even opened his mouth, he could tell that his Philosophy 101 discussion would never be the same.
The things Jakey went on to say I dare not repeat in the annals of our publication. The class seized, and violence threatened to break out if nothing was done. Just then, all tension in the room subsided as Jakey assured him: “Just playing devil's advocate.” As the threat of violence subsided, the class let out a sigh of relief. They could tell there was no way Jakey held such backwards and unruly beliefs. Yet they were deceived, they had all fallen victim to his game.
As many conservatives across the country feel alienated and surrounded by their more liberal peers, cases of devil's advocacy have risen this year. 75% of TAs surveyed said they had at least one instance of the phenomenon in the past week. Narrowing down to ethnic studies requirements, that number jumps to 95% of TAs reporting a young conservative saying their real beliefs and then saying they were only playing devil’s advocate upon backlash.
I have committed myself to documenting this phenomenon as an outside observer. Just to play devil's advocate, let’s say this isn’t actually a real problem. If these young ideologues didn’t say anything at all, the college campus would be a much worse place, because a majority group would feel unnoticed. I stand by young conservatives not as one of them, just as an advocate for the promotion of free speech.