March 7, 2017
For the past few months, the political discourse in the United States has focused on the rise of the alt-right, a loose cabal of fringe political movements that reject mainstream conservatism. During this time, while Americans of all political stripes have focused on condemning the misogynistic, xenophobic and outright racist rhetoric of the alt-right, another alternative political movement has taken root in our society without notice. America, it is time to meet the alt-left.
Whereas the alt-right rejects basic conservative orthodoxy on issues such as size of government and the connection between race and culture, the alt-left rejects standard liberal orthodoxy on issues such as freedom of speech and the value of facts.
Rather than heeding the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall and proclaiming that, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” this coterie of fringe left wing movements believes that if you disagree with their viewpoint, you have no right to speak. Rather than looking for factual grounding for their arguments, they cry “racism” and “sexism” without a shred of evidence, hoping to bamboozle the poorly informed into angrily rallying against their political opponents. Whereas liberals have historically sought a society where everyone was welcome to join in shared prosperity, the alt-left sees no place for dissent in their authoritarian utopia.
As our attentions have focused on preventing the alt-right from slithering its way into the halls of power within our nation’s government, we have allowed the alt-left to gain control of our college campus and, in particular, our student government.
Whereas senators were once expected to use countervailing facts to debate one another, it has now become acceptable to use subjective feelings and mythical senses of safety to justify violating the freedoms of speech, assembly and association of fellow Santa Clara students.
Whereas it was once expected that accusations of being alt-right, racist, or sexist be substantiated, it has now become acceptable to simply roll out this laundry list of buzzwords to defame the alt-left’s political opponents.
No evidence is required, of course, because the alt-left’s goal is not to eradicate the deplorable evils of racism and sexism, but rather to silence those who disagree with their radical agenda for our campus, our state and our country.
Fundamentally, opposition to the confirmation of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) has never been about anything but silencing those who dare disagree.
By bellowing baseless assertions of association with the alt-right until they were blue in the face, alt-leftists hoped to convince the rational majority of a moral imperative to bar TPUSA from existing on our campus. Their aim was never to protect the safety of marginalized groups. Rather, ironically, their sole goal was to further marginalize and malign conservatives for defying alt-left dogma.
For over a month, it appeared as though the alt-left had succeeded in their attempt to silence the political opposition. Conservative students on campus were demoralized while the alt-left celebrated their “success.”
On March 3rd, however, Vice Provost Jeanne Rosenberger utilized her authority to overturn the decision of ASG and approve TPUSA as an RSO on campus. Suddenly, it was the alt-left who found their stomachs turning, rather than conservative students.
Their attempts to falsely associate TPUSA with the alt-right had fallen short. Rather than conceding that their intentional misinformation campaign against TPUSA had strained credulity and backfired, however, the alt-left decided to double down. Over the past few days, they’ve cried foul and pointed the finger at everyone but themselves.
Depending on which alt-leftist you talk to, the blame for this decision lies at the feet of the donors, the media, or the TPUSA students. Whereas Democratic President Harry Truman once proclaimed that, “the buck stops here,” the alt-left howls at any suggestion that their argument fell short. It is always somebody else’s fault. They are never to blame. To the alt-left, the truth is a microaggression, segregation is a safe space and, if you disagree, you’re a bigot.
In overturning ASG’s unjust decision on TPUSA’s status as an RSO, the Vice Provost has sent a loud and clear message: the fundamental freedoms enshrined in our constitution, values of individual responsibility, and the necessity of factual substantiation of arguments are still important at Santa Clara.
As the first such decision by a university administration, it is also the start of a national process of turning back the alt-left’s attempted college coup. Universities must be a place for open exchange of ideas, not islands of totalitarianism. No matter how loudly the alt-left shrieks, the fundamental truth will always remain the same: facts do not care about your feelings.
Ahmer Israr is a senior public health major. He is the ASG at-large senator for commuter and transfer students.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.