Remember last week, when I quoted Rod Dreher on the consequences of too quickly denouncing dissents from the Trendy Orthodoxy?  Here is the money quote.  "The point is this: if you cannot tell the difference between Ross Douthat and Richard Spencer, you’re not marginalizing Ross Douthat, you’re mainstreaming Richard Spencer."

We did not have to wait long for an illustration.  Protestors chanting Nazi slogan storm crowd outside Charlie Kirk speech at Colorado State University.  I'm not sure which "Nazi slogan" this is, the article doesn't say.  I doubt that it was Kraft durch Freude or Jude verrecke!

The latest generation of storm-troopers carry electric torches, perhaps to better be able to crack heads and break smart-phones.  Burning books is so last century.  What brought them out? "Protesters were drawn to campus because of a speech by conservative activist Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, which says on its website is devoted to the promotion of the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government." Wait, what, that sounds a lot like "freedom from want" and "freedom of speech" and "freedom of worship" and there's even a hint of "freedom from fear" in those Turning Point principles.  Put another way, the principles the sainted Franklin Roosevelt offered to distinguish the war aims of the Atlantic Alliance from ... the Nazis and the warlords.

The Colorado State rally, however, was not an attempt to argue that Turning Point was defending the atrocities committed by the Alliance in the name of the Four Freedoms.  Rather, this contemporary Bund showed up to rumble with ... fashionable leftists who have their own set of gripes about Turning Point.
Haley Dallas, a CSU student who wore T-shirt that said "White supremacy is terrorism," on it, suggested some soul searching, even as she supported the right for speech. The Traditional Worker Party describes itself as a socialist organization, and Kirk's event was titled "Smashing Socialism," she noted.

"I just wonder what the draw is," she said. "If they're advocating for socialism and he's not, then there must be something that attracts them to Mr. Kirk."

Early in a question-and-answer session, Kirk called the concept of white privilege inherently racist because it foisted prejudice based on skin color. People advancing the theory of white privilege usually characterize it as white people not understanding inherent advantages they have in a society where white people are the dominant demographic.

Kirk cited Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, where King advocates for a society of people judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

"They're trying to discredit good ideas and good arguments, just because you're white," Kirk said. "And that's ridiculous."
No, I can't make this stuff up.  Turning Point makes a case for rolling back the state, and the local social justice warriors see Turning Point as nostalgia for Less Enlightened Times, and the nearby Maul Right sees an opportunity to crack some heads on a college campus.

I wonder, dear reader, if their emergence isn't the predictable consequence of the campus ethos that engages in hectoring, privilege-shaming, and viewing male students as toxic.
White supremacist groups have targeted college campuses in surging numbers since President Donald Trump’s election, emboldened by political and racial tensions over immigration and other issues, according to a group that monitors extremism and bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a report Thursday that said racist fliers, banners and stickers were found on college campuses 147 times in fall 2017, a more than threefold increase over the 41 cases reported one year before.

Leaders of the New York-based nonprofit attribute the uptick to a small number of white nationalist groups seeking to recruit members on college campuses that have ramped up their efforts as the nation’s politics grow increasingly polarized.
Yes, Our President campaigned in part by refusing to be politically correct, and there might be a connection between his rhetoric and the emergence of explicitly white nationalist sentiments on campus.  On the other hand, consider the way Colorado State president Tony Frank reacts to the rumble.
This university strongly respects the Constitution and the First Amendment, and the right of even repugnant viewpoints to be spoken and debated in the public space. But Colorado State University also has the right to publicly assert what it values and stands for – so I’d like to take this opportunity to do that here.
The Fort Collins campus has a "yellow light" speech code rating, which might be too generous given that language.

Here's how Mr Frank views the "Traditionalist Workers Party" ("National Socialist" probably being somewhere copyrighted).
Such groups are insidious. They generally hide and grow in the dark, avoiding the direct light of day. When they emerge, they frequently align themselves with groups who hold more mainstream views, as was the case with the anti-immigration flyer scattered on our campus. Their ideas then play into the prejudices and fears of people who would never intentionally align themselves with someone who openly identified as a Nazi – even people whose grandparents or great-grandparents fought and died to stop the Nazis in World War II. When these groups edge in and gain a foothold wherever there’s one to be gained, the erosion of human decency quickly follows.

So let’s stop this here. Let’s shine a bright light on this and call it for what it is. Colorado State University denounces the racist, homophobic rants of this and any other white nationalist organization that attempts to gain inroads on our campus or in our community. We denounce the sexist, rape-supportive culture they idealize. We denounce their stigmatizing of religions they do not share – and their attempts to claim our national identity as exclusively their own.
"They align with groups who hold more mainstream views." Note how easily that formulation makes it possible for the local social justice warriors, er, cry-bullies, to denounce Turning Point, or the College Republicans, or the Campus Crusade for Christ (I think that noun has been changed for fear of antagonizing somebody).  Nowhere does Mr Frank note that Turning Point espouse what even the Vital Progressive Center once understood as mainstream views, or that his rhetoric is precisely that employed by the cry-bullies to protest Turning Point.  Instead, we get this.
And we vehemently reject their claim to the values of America, patriotism, courage, conservatism, character – and the Christian faith. Their base and immoral ideology, is, indeed, unwelcome and repudiated at Colorado State University.  And even as we honor the sacrifice of those who fought to assure we all have a voice by allowing even this voice of evil to be expressed, we stand together so that no member of our community hears this voice alone and fears that they need face it alone.

Let me also make a firm distinction here. This coming Friday night, a group of our students has invited a speaker to campus to speak about his views against socialism. These students have followed all appropriate steps to bring a speaker to campus who has no track record of causing disturbances on college campuses. Nevertheless, the recent appearance of white nationalist rhetoric on campus has been conflated with this speaker and caused concerns about the safety and security of religious groups, people of color, and other targeted populations relative to protestors and counter-protestors that may show up on campus Friday evening. In that regard, we have a security plan in place for the event and surrounding areas, and our priority will be to protect the public safety while also allowing people to exercise their constitutional rights to peaceful protest and assembly.
Put more directly: "followed all appropriate steps" meant "acknowledged the yellow light."  Then catch the Divine Passive in that "has been conflated."  Anybody holding views to the right of Hillary Clinton is problematic, you see.  Let us acknowledge, though, that Mr Frank holds a somewhat more respectful view of patriotism, character, flag and faith than, oh, court intellectuals on MSNBC.  His statement, however, does nothing to prevent the neo-Nazis from offering a safe space in a world where the mediating institutions no longer work.


who-knew said...

Interesting post and one I largely agree with. But, this comment is more to thank you for keeping up this blog. I almost always find the posts interesting, even when I disagree (and I have to say thet while I don't share your rail enthusiasm, I even find those posts worth reading)

Stephen Karlson said...

Thanks for the good wishes. It's permitted to disagree, although at your own risk.

I'd really like to post more by way of rail stuff, particularly cheerful rail stuff, but that's the curse of playing public intellectual in interesting times.