Most of the young people interviewed by the Times know that they have much to learn; that is, they know there are things they don’t know. That’s a crucial step towards wisdom, and it’s a virtue that young people in every generation should cultivate. Because conservatives respect the broad sweep of Western culture, their youth are encouraged to read from among thousands of writings dating to antiquity, as well as more modern works by self-consciously conservative authors. That’s quite a task -- more than anyone can accomplish in a lifetime.
A left-wing equivalent of Heritage’s internship program, if it existed, would certainly be more activist-oriented, and its graduates would emerge with a wider network of contacts, but little connection to their intellectual ancestors. That’s a heavy price to pay for "relevance," but it’s the inevitable cost of holding the intellectual tradition of one’s civilization in contempt.
Heritage, by the way, doesn’t offer the only game in town. Among other noteworthy efforts at educating the next generation are those of
the Claremont Institute, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Witherspoon Fellowship. I heartily recommend them all.
Update: Mike DeBow tells me that there are still more noteworthy programs out there, including the Alliance Defense Funds Blackstone Legal Fellowship internship, the Institute for Justices conference and internship programs, GMUs Center for Study of Public Choice Outreach Conference, the Foundation for Economic Educations seminar programs, and Mises University. He also notes that Hugh Hewitt has picked up the story, as, by the way, has Terry Mattingly.