College campuses are notoriously the petri dish for future society.

Before ideas become mainstream, some wacky professor taught them for two decades in lecture halls packed with students. It is therefore important to see and hear the prevailing attitudes of college students in order to evaluate the trajectory of our society. 

If my own experience is indicative, societal engagement of the future will be dominated by the biteless bark, the blind isolationist, and the bullheaded nihilist. 

One sunny winter morning, I found out that knees really can knock. It was my first time “tabling” with the pro-life club on campus, an exercise in moral courage and emotional stamina where other club members and I stood on the main path to class holding signs that ask when life begins. 

This was the same morning I discovered that scoffers really do scoff. 

Life is the cheapest commodity in our society. When it is thrown away in a dumpster in DC, as with the five late-term aborted children last April, no authorities investigate. When it is willfully ended by recommendation of a doctor’s note, as protected by Canadian assisted suicide laws, no one denies this so-called “dignity”.  

We in Western Civilization scoff at life. 

This is why my friends return home from tabling with spit on their shoes and slurs ringing in their ears. 

This is why startled backward glances and outraged gasps are so commonplace they are comical when students read the phrase “Pro-Life” on our banner. “Are they even allowed to say that here?” one especially exasperated blonde shouted to her friend. 


The scoffers shout for everything, from a distance. 

Of the scoffless minority, there are only two responses– the ones who walk and the ones who stop to talk.

With headphones strapped securely after a nervous side glance, I watch a tall boy scoot to the farthest side of the path possible, begging to avoid confrontation. With an apologetic nervous bow, a freshman cries, “I am not a woman, don’t ask me!” With her cross necklace bouncing, a Christian girl smiles, but would never commit unkindness.

Little can be said in their defense, though the walkers have different vices than the scoffers. They are unwilling to engage in conversation to defend an opinion, to grapple with practical ethics. 

The walkers fight for nothing. 

But there are still those who stop, who rage against you, but who can be persuaded to listen. Though often these students are diametrically opposed to my own worldview, they are counter-cultural in their own way, by deigning to stop. 

I respect their fight. I look forward to our talk, in the same way a knife looks forward to the honing steel.

One thing all of us on that path through campus share in common – life itself. Instinctively, we know the transcendental value of this attribute. That is why we mourn when towers collapse and bullets rain. 

Standing for life should not be controversial. It should not be scoffed at. It should not be shameful.

It should be common sense. 

If we, living human beings, cannot reach a consensus concerning this most basic, most fundamental, most natural right, what foundation can we share?

How do we restore reality?

How can we respect the right and dignity of the child in the womb if we cannot respect the rights and dignity of the life before our eyes?

While few of these sidewalk conversations convince either party, each conversation is vital to restoring the lifeblood of our society. If we are a people of scoffers, we will never be armed for battle. If we are a people of walkers, we will never engage in the battle when it rages. 

That winter morning, knocking knees and all, I knew which camp I wanted to fall into. 

For the good of our nation, may we choose to talk every time. 


Catie Robertson is an intern with Convention of States, based in Los Angeles where she is in her final year of college pursuing a degree in Biology with a minor in History.