The Uselessness of Campus Conservatives’ Martyrdom
How conservative organizations profit without defending their student members.
There is much to be said about a leader who abandons their own followers once they have become expendable, and less to be guessed about what such a tactic will eventually lead to.
But when considering such recent events as the riots at UC Berkeley over Ann Coulter’s speech, or the violent shutting down of Art Laffer’s event at Binghamton, it is beyond time to accept that this is a painful truth taking place right now in a very political subset of American politics. It is time to realize that conservative organizations have little incentive to be proactive about the problem. In fact, one may argue that they directly benefit from the chaos, as these organizations reactively bilk their donors for more money in the aftermath.
Conservative students’ war with the campus left has led to an alarmingly increased rate of physical violence against conservatives, with few repercussions. When the dust settles, two winners emerge from the fray: national conservative organizations, who leverage the violence as a donation instrument, and college leftists, who walk away with at most a slap on the wrist. The losers are the earnest young campus conservatives, who, though beaten and humiliated by the latter, are wholly abandoned by the former.
The Only Language Left
The campus left has come a long way since the earliest implementation of the Frankfurt School and its insidious Marxism in the 1960s, masquerading as the pseudo-philosophical concept of “Critical Theory.” Ever since the University of Missouri protests in 2015, the campus left has aggressively accelerated its racially-charged rhetoric and unapologetic tendencies towards violence.
In just a few short years, the campus left has since evolved (or rather, devolved) to the point of advocating for segregation in order to be separated from white students, and vicious physical assaults in broad daylight against conservative students solely because they are tabling for a conservative organization. The latter in particular is becoming more part-and-parcel of your average university with each passing day.
Case-in-point: UC Berkeley.
It was UC Berkeley where Hayden Williams, a young conservative student, was tabling for the Leadership Institute when he was suddenly attacked by not one, but two assailants; one knocked him to the ground, and the other began throwing punches, culminating in an especially violent hit that left Williams with a black eye for weeks after the event.
It was UC Berkeley where, when Milo Yiannopoulos was brought to speak in February of 2017, the far-left terrorist organization Antifa stormed the campus, and promptly began doing what they do best: Smashing windows, setting fires, and assaulting innocent bystanders. Hundreds of thousands of dollars was racked up in damages, and no arrests were made.
And it was UC Berkeley where, just last week, the violence of the campus left returned when Ann Coulter visited the campus to speak. Protesters formed human chains and violently shoved back anyone who tried to enter the event, and used their numbers to physically intimidate everyone who even looked at them the wrong way, including young women.
Pawns to be Sacrificed
And what comes of any of these incidents? Nothing. Perhaps the university in question will issue a statement condemning the violence, as Binghamton did. YAF shared the video on Twitter and had it pinned at the top of their profile for all of a few days, before it was unceremoniously replaced with a more generic Tweet promoting their next speaking event with a no-name, Z-list conservative commentator Elisha Krauss. It was as if the incident never happened.
Perhaps the video may have encouraged a handful of donors—who are almost always of a much older generation than the college students in question—to give even more money. In some cases, the money may even go towards a lawsuit against the university (as YAF and other groups have done against Berkeley), which often result in a settlement. In other words, more money for the organization. And of course, there’s some free publicity on the side.
But what of the students? What of the female freshman student at Binghamton who filmed the attack on the group’s tables, but remained faceless just off-camera? What of Hayden Williams, after he shared the stage with President Trump at CPAC 2019? What of the students of the Berkeley College Republicans, for whom such far-left riots, assaults, and doxxing has become almost a regular occurrence—and cause for fear—in their day-to-day lives?
When the viral video fades from memory, the conservative students who are the victims of such violence go about their lives on campus, still living with the animosity of their “peers” even after the massive organizations have collected the donor money from their suffering and have moved on.
That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that organizations such as YAF or Turning Point USA, for all of their preaching about freedom of speech and standing with their students, may be just as willing to completely throw their own people under the bus if they step out of line.
Just look at how YAF treated Michelle Malkin after she dared to speak up in favor of the America First movement, refusing to disavow a handful of people with whom she had been associated or supported for years. Remember TPUSA’s complete shafting of one of their most popular brand ambassadors, Ashley St. Clair, for the crime of simply being photographed with people who were deemed “too controversial.”
See how, over the last few weeks, the entirety of “Conservative Inc.” has been unashamed to slander right-wing students as white supremacists, homophobes, and anti-Semites simply for asking tough questions of their chosen gatekeepers like Charlie Kirk, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and Matt Walsh.
And what did this virtue-signaling achieve? Even after canning Malkin, YAF still faced violent protests that shut down their Laffer speech. As Shapiro went on a 45-minute tirade at Stanford bashing student activists that he claimed were simply “alt-right,” his speech was disrupted by leftist protesters, and his posters on campus were defaced with Hitler mustaches.
Shapiro himself seemed just as confused as anyone else in the establishment, saying to the protesters, “I’m literally condemning Nazis, and you’re telling me to leave?”
A few weeks later, Young America’s Foundation sent another mass email to its subscribers, saying that “it’s time to cancel ‘cancel culture,’” and proudly touting how “questioning ideas is a part of the American fabric.”
The irony of the situation, as it were, is still completely lost on Conservative, Inc.
Why the Right is Still (Partially) to Blame
Even with something as clear-cut as mass assault and campaigns of violence and intimidation, the same rule still applies here as to any political conflict in the United States: Somehow, the Right has managed to earn at least some of the blame.
In almost all of these situations, campus conservatives will hardly put up any resistance even in the face of violence. They are turned away by a mob of thugs blocking the entrances to a venue. They flee when they are chased. They simply stand there as their assailants scream in their faces. To put it simply: They have become complacent.
Just about any example of the left shutting down a conservative event or presence on campus can be used, but take this one: Binghamton University. Twice in the span of just one week, the far-left took to their usual neanderthal tactics of screaming and shoving to shut down the school’s College Republicans chapter.
MOBBED: Almost 200 leftists harass conservative students and tear down tabling displays for YAF's upcoming lecture with Dr. Art Laffer at SUNY Binghamton. pic.twitter.com/GSm9JcVtD3— YAF (@yaf) November 15, 2019
First, a group of nearly hundreds of leftists surrounded two tables that were set up by the CRs, each covered with conservative paraphernalia and advertisements for the chapter’s upcoming speech by economist Art Laffer, co-hosted by the Young America’s Foundation. The crowd, consisting mostly of women of color, shrieked in their typically hysterical fashion before they eventually began flipping over the tables and throwing the club’s items onto the ground.
Police officers eventually arrived on the scene, but did nothing to stop the violence. And the conservative students whose property was being vandalized? They were just as motionless.
Sure enough, the same crowd eventually descended on the Laffer speech, and took to standing on the desks of the lecture hall and using a bullhorn to shut down the event. Only two were arrested.
This trend has shown no sign of improvement, it will continue, and it will likely only grow worse—at least until conservative organizations start putting the money they line their pockets with to use in the form of protecting their campus chapters.