After a week of mounting criticism and harsh rhetoric directed at Riley Matheson and Youth for Western Civilization, one major inconsistency needs acknowledging. Lost in the false impression of YWC constructed by liberals seeking nothing but an outlet for protest is the fact that their mission statement has nothing to do with race.
I concede that YWC advocates for a limit on immigration that some may interpret to be racist (no one at the Carolina Review, however). I concede that they advocate for the cultural superiority of the United States, which again some may interpret as racist. I also must concede that there are questions about some of the figures involved with the organization at the national level and their involvement with racist organizations.
But those are merely questions, and they do not have anything to do with the organizational mission Riley Matheson is espousing at UNC. The Carolina Review does not support the policy aims of YWC, as you can see in a previous blog post by Zach Dexter. But it laments the presumption of racism and white supremacy regarding its mission that culminated Tuesday night with protesters denying Riley the ability to express exactly what his organization seeks.
As YWC’s website describes and as Riley as expressed to me, the group’s aims are race-neutral. The limit on immigration for which they advocate applies to all countries and is targeted at no particular country or race, and the Carolina Review apologizes for any implication of otherwise in previous posts. They make a cultural claim of the superiority of Western culture as practiced in America, and they make a sociological claim that countries which assimilate their immigrants into their successful and superior culture benefit from that assimilation.
Most importantly, while it is true that YWC’s precise definition of Western civilization has not been made entirely clear, it is fair to presume that by the term they do not mean a return to white dominance in any form, much less slavery, as was implied at Tuesday’s event. A student of the BSM held a sign that read “Western civilization = white dominance.” While I appreciate your more appropriate and sophisticated form of protest, that sign also commits the same sin as the others, a presumption of racism and desire to deny the enlightenment progress that has been a part of Western civilization through many centuries. Western Civilization is about ideas and progress, not about the sins of its past.
I hope to soon hear Riley more extensively define what he means by Western Civilization. I’m sure there are more than enough liberals waiting out there to decry this mission as intolerant, or at least misguided. The Carolina Review will still disagree with his goals regarding immigration and national identity. But I think we will all realize that the accusations of racism on his part are totally unfounded, and in fact were built up to provide radical protesters a straw man to obnoxiously rip apart.