We strolled into the public library conference room and took our seats before anybody else arrived (even our enemies grudgingly concede that we evil fascists are exceedingly punctual). Tom didn’t really know what we were walking in on, but the students slowly filing in were disproportionately female and/or gay, even by Bloomington’s standards. Two of the attendees were racial and sexual czars from the IU staff, but it was pretty much a student-directed community discussion.
As the discussion forum began, it became evident that it was organized by a young feminist and would primarily concern gender issues. A paper was passed around which outlined differing wage levels between men and women, with the implied premise that sexual discrimination was the sole reason and that this was an “inequality” to be ironed out.
Their data was solid, compiled by an affable Asian student with whom I compared statistical notes and observations after the event. But data is useless without competent and rigorous analysis. On this count, our opponents were suffering from an acute case of tunnel vision. It wasn’t for lack of intelligence or interest in the issue, but from a sheer lack of exposure to diverse perspectives. The diversity cult’s “rainbow family” of allies welcomes everybody regardless of their race, heritage, cultural background, gender, and sexual fetish, as long as they all drink the same ideological kool-aid.
The students had entered with the assumption that we’re reactionary conservative bigots and misogynists; they weren’t prepared for an authentically Traditionalist alternative to their perspectives on gender issues. While the LGBTQ radicals were discussing the need for wildly expensive, impractical, and silly “third gender” bathrooms throughout campus to help transsexuals and otherkin feel even more welcome on campus, one girl spoke up about the lack of resources on campus for students who are young mothers.
I couldn’t agree more.
Too frequently, Traditionalists allow themselves to fall into reactionary habits, forgetting that our vision necessarily includes providing far more resources, respect, and community support for women who embrace traditional lifestyles and decisions than are currently offered. As long as being “barefoot and pregnant” remains a humiliating sentence, even among so-called “traditionalists”, we shouldn’t be surprised that women object and resist. Until we successfully undermine the capitalist propaganda that putting on work boots is liberating and the secular humanist belief that having children is a burdensome distraction from self-actualization, we can expect a good share of women to remain on the opposite side of the barricades.
Within the first five minutes of the two hour exchange, we successfully challenged the implied premise that equality and equity are synonymous. Women earning less than men in the workplace could be and most likely is the product of their being empowered to select different work/life balances. I was all too eager to quibble with the class forever about employment and productivity statistics, but Tom cut me off. He accused both sides of the argument of trying to reform and improve upon this capitalist regime.
We don’t want to fix this social order, ironing out its imperfections. We want to replace it.
This was too much for one student, whose mind was blown by our being anti-corporate. “You guys call yourselves traditionalists, but capitalism is an American tradition!”
Fair question. TradYouth welcomes and holds a variety of economic positions, and I’m not really sold on Tom’s interest in Distributism or in the “social credit” ideas commonly promoted in our circles. Personally, I see the free market as a force of nature, like gravity or water. It can be and often is a force for good, but only when mastered by noble leaders.
The conservative American ideal of “capitalism”, the one brought to its absurd extreme conclusion by Ayn Rand and her ilk, posits that the pursuit of profit is inherently moral. Regardless of what alternatives you propose, modern finance capitalism is diametrically opposed to and incompatible with the survival of every tribe and tradition.
Unfortunately, very few people understand the difference between traditionalism and Traditionalism. “Little t” traditionalism is about the past, about doing things the way they’ve traditionally been done. “Big T” Traditionalism is a philosophical school which posits that there are certain archetypal beliefs and behaviors which are perennially superior. While the American traditionalist is committed to rolling back the clock to his or her preferred “Golden Age”, the Radical Traditionalist is inclined to critique even our oldest and most cherished traditions.
If unmitigated greed and unsustainable viral growth are American traditions, then America’s necessarily anti-Traditional at its root.
Later on in the discussion, after about the fifth or sixth time I heard a student casually refer to the LGBTQ agenda as the next phase of “Civil Rights”, I sort of snapped. There’s something viscerally contemptible about a gaggle of very wealthy, privileged, and educated White people hijacking and redirecting a movement which was originally meant for wretchedly poor people who had been owned as property and subjected to a systematic regime of humiliation and disempowerment. Rev. Mmoja Ajabu, a Black Nationalist colleague of mine, has complained about this before, and I can’t help but concur with him.
I disagree with how the Civil Rights movement has progressed, mind you. It should have been about autonomy, independence, and sovereignty. Instead, it was about forced integration, Affirmative Action quotas, and White elites teaming up with minority “community organizers” against the White working class.
Even then, given my relatively harsh accusation, the students remained respectful and contemplative. All things considered, Indiana’s faculty and students demonstrated an impressive commitment here to academic protocol in approaching dissident ideas. One faculty member even expressed regret about the persecution TradYouth members have experienced on campus.
In the big picture, it was to their benefit. While I believe we fared better in the discourse than they had hoped for, giving us an opportunity to clearly and completely state our position affords them an opportunity to learn how to counter and challenge our position. We can’t be defeated by insults, epithets, physical attacks, or “dynamic silence”. This is a battle of ideas, and the Radical Traditionalist critique of Modernity and Progressivism is one they’ll be seeing and hearing more and more frequently in the coming years. It was wise of the faculty to take this calculated risk.
A few minutes after my accusation, a young women who realized the rhetorical triangulation I had pulled called me out on it. “They’re exploiting our own language and rhetoric to stir up fights within our movement!”
Fair call, but it’s still a valid question. Can Black Americans trust White elites and their homosexual vanguard to have their true interests at heart? Are the visions promoted by Martin Luther King and Barack Obama about empowerment? Or are the visions promoted by Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X the truly empowering ones? Not being a Black American, I have no standing in that community’s dialogue, but if I were Black, I would be thinking long and hard about whether I want to have my pick of seats on the White Bus or whether I want to be the driver of my own Black Bus.
Aside from an awkward incident as things were wrapping up where a snotty hipster with the LGBTQ refused to shake Tom’s outstretched hand, everybody involved behaved maturely, even as very strong differences in opinion were expressed. We celebrated yet another successful public event with a pizza party, recapping and rigorously reviewing how our arguments and their presentation could be improved upon in the future.
For all of our anti-corporate propaganda, one of the things that sets TradYouth apart is how we run things with the seriousness and discipline of a business. The months and months of scheduling, prioritizing, and project management Tom and his local team have been putting into this may not always feel like fun. But when it pays off this clearly and tangibly, in the form of the campus’s students and faculty being compelled to directly confront and respond to TradYouth’s radical and unfamiliar message, it’s well worth the effort. Our street action may receive the lion’s share of the media attention and controversy, but the real news is that TradYouth is–one by one–reaching students with our message.