APPLIED PHILOSOPHY

Thoughts Concerning Modern Education: Ben Shapiro At CSULA (Part 2)

Moving forwards with my series that began with an article I published about a week ago, I will now proceed to discuss the trials I went through in order to bring Ben Shapiro to CSULA (after forming my club by myself), my relevant thoughts, and how my opinions shifted and changed.

Before I go further into detail, let me make it absolutely clear: Leftism and Liberalism are different ideologies. The former seeks to dominate and control college campuses across America, while the latter fades away into nonexistence. Liberalism is dead on college campuses in America. No longer do we debate and discuss even the most controversial issues, like adults, but we are left in a state of absolute nature. This state of absolute nature is where humans hate one another and seek to cause harm, all for the sake and belief that one is right and the other is wrong. This injurious state relegates ideas to a subservient inferiority, while people become the center of attention. This has left us in an ideological corner. To conform or to adapt is our only choice in this ruinous state.

The greatest tragedy of the state of modern education is that liberalism is gone and leftism has been allowed to rampantly dominate campuses across America. Students no longer discuss or debate, but rather scream and yell. Students would rather hold placards in place for ideas and discussion. Students gladly block access ways, freeways and pull fire alarms to create attention, all the while modern education encourages this type of barbaric behavior by refusing to reprimand the ones who violate other students’ right to education.

It is the mark of an immature and unintellectual individual to scream, shout and resort to violence, all in the name of apparently substantiating their claims and arguments. All too often this is the case. Student activists are on YouTube being caught acting in a similar fashion to little children, screaming and cursing at teachers in an attempt to validate themselves by gaining the approval of their peers. Even worse, this mob mentality, which is a derivative of the current state of our modern educational system, has created a belief that provocative speakers should be shut down. To this, I vehemently disagree.

Some would say that the activist’s cries are necessary, mandatory even! To create debate and discussion! While it does create a necessity to discuss the issues they bring up, ultimately it will be the actions of the activist, not the message, that people will judge. A group can claim they stand for freedom and equality, but if it resorts to degrading and insulting or attacking and provoking, no one will hear freedom, but rather the copious noise that the group produces.

Others would say that speech should not lead to provocation, but rather that it should lead to higher thinking and freedom, a concept from John Stewart Mill. I agree with this proposition to a certain extent. The point at which I disagree is at the mention of provocation. The masses must be provoked into the discussion, mobilized from their consistent state of content with current circumstances. It would be impossible to achieve a substantial level of free discussion without some form of provocation. Without a sudden challenge or the presence of opposition, how would someone reflect on their beliefs?

Lastly, some would say that hate speech, where someone openly says racist, sexist and bigoted remarks, is not needed. Once again, I agree to an extent. Speech should not lead to violent action, as this is breaking the law. One cannot yell fire in a crowded theater and one cannot yell bomb on a plane. If the threat of violence was removed from a person’s speech, then to this I counter with the following:

Does 2+2=5?

NO! Of course not! What would the correct response be if someone gave a lecture on this incorrect mathematical statement? Would the lecture be shut down? Would it be appropriate to say that students should be sheltered from hearing such an absurd opinion? NO! The correct response would be this: To openly prove that 2+2=4, not 5. Now how does this relate to my argument? If a speaker went to campus and openly said that people of color are inferior, it would not be a correct response to prevent him or her from speaking. In fact, it would be a horrible idea. The correct response would be to challenge this person and convince them that their ideology is incorrect, because it fails to stand up to factual criticism. Just as the assertion that 2+2=5, I would go up to the person and correct them in saying 2+2=4. After all, can satisfaction be sweeter than to humiliate someone who spouts horrible beliefs?

Leftism seeks domination and control. It labels those that disagree with it as evil. This foothold on college campuses has left us in a difficult and impossible situation. To simply disagree with a leftist constitutes a title of racist, sexist or something-ist, and has been used as an excuse to silence any opposition. If I was to combat this, I would have to get creative.

I realized that I had to adapt if conservatism at CSULA was going to thrive. The founding father of modern-day conservatism, Edmund Burke, once wrote in his Reflections on the Revolution in France that, “an irregular, convulsive movement may be necessary to throw off an irregular, convulsive disease.” If I was going to get rid of this convulsive movement that is leftism, I was going to have to get creative.

Out of the many books I read growing up, the one book that had the most profound impact on my life was The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu. My favorite passage from this work is as follows: “Know your enemy and know yourself and in 100 battles you need not fear defeat. Know yourself and not your enemy, for every victory, you will suffer a defeat and If you do not know yourself and not your enemy you will perish.”

Before I brought Ben Shapiro to campus, I began to fervently study leftist tactics by watching the student protests and reading Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. What I discovered was the leftism relies on one critical component: Fear. A mob surrounding professors and administrators demanding that they cave into their needs and wants until they got what they wanted. The following is a great example.

After weeks of preparation, the time finally came to announce Ben Shapiro’s visit to CSULA. The title of the event would be, “When Diversity Becomes A Problem.” I chose this title to specifically target leftists. I am not against the idea of diversity; in fact, I support diversity in the interest of education, not on the basis of identity. I was hoping that this event would be instrumental in revealing the leftist hypocrisy, and things went exactly as planned. Right away, leftists took to the Internet, claiming that this event would “damage their mental health.” The online event page was filled with leftist students complaining about this event, and things escalated when Associate Professor of Sociology Robert Weide began to threaten me, saying he would, “wrestle me bro.” I reasoned that I should be wary, since he mentioned that, “he lifts.” Such articulate words for a man who has a Ph. D! The head professor of Pan African Studies, Melina Abdullah, leader of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, openly encouraged  her followers on social media to shut the event down. The combination of these threats had only one purpose: To stop us from having an event. Our current adviser begged me to cancel the event, since he was getting concerned that the event would blow violently out of proportion. He tried his best to reason with the activists who sought to shut down this event, but like Malcolm X said, “moral tactics only work on moral people.” Eventually, the adviser stepped down because he was not happy with the way things were going. To note, he did not step down because of cowardice, but rather stepped down because he did not like the bold approach I decided to take. At the time I was upset, but upon reflection, he did what was necessary out of principle, and he even guided me to another faculty member who backed us completely. So, in the end, things worked out for the better.

One day in an attempt to advertise for the event, program officer Amy Lutz was confronted by professor Weide, who proceeded to stalk her. This was common. Leftists would tear down our flyers and threaten us, but we kept persevering as always. Come hell or high water, the school would see how horrible and awful these leftists were.

The apex of this was when President Covino canceled the event three days prior to the speech. When this happened, all hell broke loose. News reports began to circulate and all eyes were on us and CSULA. What would be the next move?

Fortune favors the bold, and YAF, Ben Shapiro and I made the bold decision to have the event no matter what went on. The night before the speech, three of my members and I decided to post flyers around campus, and we noticed that in front of the theater where Ben was planning on speaking, sleeping bags were present. To my discovery, the next morning it was readily apparent that student activists had stayed overnight to prevent anyone from getting in the theater. The scene was chaotic. The building turned into a siege, where leftist activists, egged on by leftist professors, began to blockade and violently attack anyone who tried to get in. President Covino took back his decision to cancel the event and issued a school-wide letter, but in the end, I was able to sneak in a few people along with Ben Shapiro, until we were surrounded with no method of getting out. Ultimately, we managed to escape 30 minutes after Ben Shapiro left, and I went home to celebrate my first YAF event. The leftist activists, however, stayed at school until one in the morning, demanding President Covino speak with them. They surrounded his office and stayed the night. Turns out he wasn’t even there when Ben Shapiro spoke, and the person who was trapped was just a poor assistant caught up in the mess. The morning after the event, a sudden realization occurred among the leftists. They saw the news report and finally saw how they acted and experienced utter regret. Some defended their ideas and actions to the death, which I respect, but others peeled away and joined CSULA YAF.

Some of the leftists apologized and I embraced them with open arms. They became the most loyal and most dedicated members I had the privilege of serving and leading.

Soon after, I joined YAF, ADF and Ben Shapiro in a successful lawsuit, in which we came to concessions with the school which stipulated that they revise their free speech policy and promise that they will not prevent any YAF events.

I couldn’t believe it. The impact this event had would shake the school for years to come and leave an impression of what happens to those who decide to trample on a student’s natural right to freedom of expression; A right that cannot be bestowed upon by government or the modern education system and a right that cannot be infringed upon by the former or latter. It made me see the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs and it matured me in such a way that has taught me that being bold is the only solution to make a difference on college campuses, and one of the many remedies we have in reforming modern education.

This has been a crazy narrative, but one that is worthy of studying and reflecting. To my conservatives reading this and who are afraid: Don’t be. Leftists rely on fear. We rely on hope; hope that the current political climate we live in will be better; hope that one day we can say our beliefs without fear of repercussion; hope that will transcend our generation should we fail. We must be willing and able to defend our beliefs and ideas regardless of whatever comes our way. To stand up for one’s belief, regardless of whatever side of the political spectrum you lie on, is a mark of maturity and bravery.

In the next part, I will discuss and explain the aftermath of the Ben Shapiro event in more detail and what conservative students must do on college campuses.

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