My conservative journey ramped up to the extreme when the 2017 and 2018 years came around. I started my 11th grade year in 2017’s fall quarter, and finished it in the spring quarter of 2018. I hope you enjoy this last installment of my story.
HATE SPEECH AND IT’S CONSEQUENCES
Hate speech sounds stupid, and it is. That is my position on the matter, pure and simple.
While I don’t like what Atheists say about my God (who I believe exists), I would never restrict their right to say what they think. Why? Because that situation could just as quickly reverse itself. If I wanted to restrict the rights of certain speech for the reason of ‘hateful’ intent, then what is ‘hateful’? Let’s use a few hypotheticals for this one:
First off, let’s start in 1774. In this English controlled era, it was illegal to speak ill of the English crown, or George the Third. The crown had issued a new law: “Hate speech against the crown is illegal, and punishable by death. The following is constituted as hate speech: First, no one is allowed to speak ill of the king. Second, ill word against the policies of England are illegal. Third, inciting violence against the crown is illegal.”
In that universe, so much as uttering ‘Lobster back’ at a British soldier ass illegal. Making a joke about George’s relations with his sister or mother was illegal.
Does this sound familiar? No? Well, let’s compare today’s world with this fictional universe.
Today, opinions are illegal. In November 2018, Twitter declared it was wrong to say things against transgenders regarding biological scientific facts, and doing so would constitute a termination of one’s account. It’s considered mean to say certain things to women. It’s also wrong to criticize Islam and it’s ties to many examples of terrorism. However, it’s not wrong to criticize Christianity, white men, or straight people.
For one thing, this setup is outright hypocritical. For another, there has been little the Social Justice community has done to convince Americans this system is good for us.
In the past year, feelings have become stronger than facts. The saying ‘facts don’t care about your feelings’ has been said so many times for a reason. It’s true.
Another thing that came up: Words are not as dangerous as the Left says they are. Yes, an insult can hurt you, and verbal threats can become big issues when actions come behind them. But, we need to play both sides fairly: If we’re not going to criticize Maxine Watters’ words about violence against Trump or Republicans, then we need to also not criticize Trump when he says ‘Lock her up’. Words are words; and in some cases, they mean something. In other cases, they don’t. Get over it.
If freedom of speech is so important to you, then don’t support the ‘anti-hate speech’ movements of these days. While I would love to restrict the use of swear words as much as the next deep Christian, it would be a violation of the First Amendment, as much as the act of suppressing Conservative thought on campus is. That’s my side of the argument.
PARKLAND AND GUN CONTROL
Gun control is an emotional issue; there, I said it. Can we all stop dancing around that fact? While I do feel sorry for David Hogg and his classmates at MSD Parkland High School, what’s not right in this debate is the sheer amount of emotion it brings. The same emotion was brought out after Columbine, Sandy Hook, San Bernidino, and the scores of other ‘mass shootings’. However, what made the Valentine’s Day attack different was that, for what it seemed the first time in a mass shootings’ history, the children decided to ‘fight back’.
I’m all about political activism as much as the next guy, but this was just a joke. At the biggest March For Our Lives rally, PragerU made a video where they showed quite a few demonstrators weren’t all that knowledgeable about what exactly the kids were trying to push. I personally gravitated towards Kyle Kashuv, another student at Parkland; my liking of Kashuv wasn’t just because the kid was a smart conservative, but was also because Kashuv was bringing a level head to an argument when the other side was just playing the blame game.
The entire gun control debate brought me to two realizations: First off, Guns are dangerous. Anything that can instantly kill someone with one pull of the trigger should be considered dangerous. However, I also understand this fact: Anyone with a gun is dangerous. What we all should understand is that a child with a gun is just as dangerous as an adult with a gun. Furthermore, anyone with a gun, regardless of their mental state, is just as capable of killing people as a crazy person with a weapon of similar power. Second: The U.S. Constitution guarantees a legal citizen the right to own a firearm of any make and model. The Constitution does not specify; it doesn’t ban certain round types, nor does it ban attachments, nor does it ban certain adjustments or firing. Another thing that is important to remember in this conversation is that the Constitution allows all citizens to possess one. Yes, using just this language does bring up several issues like children-owning-guns and other stuff, but we’ll just focus on the all part of that sentence.
What MFOL has stated multiple times is that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to own a firearm. However, that’s not what the Constitution allows. First off, MFOL brings up ‘mentally ill’ people as their first example. Who’s constituting mental illness? I know “hypotheticals” is not a strong debate method, but let’s just go down this road. Who’s defining mental illness? Let’s say in 1940, Hitler instructed state-sponsored doctors to label anyone who was Jewish as ‘Mentally Ill”? If that system were in place in the U.S. today, all Jewish people would be barred from owning a protective firearm.
How about this one: Let’s say a militant atheist group came to power in the U.S., came to power in the legislature and the presidency. What if the MFOL’s regulations were in place? What if the government legislated a bill saying ‘All people believing in a deity are considered by the state as mentally ill’. You see? All Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and all other people who believed in a God would not be allowed to own a firearm. Is it getting easier to not support this type of legislation? Well, let’s do one more.
Let’s say an overly zealous GOP rule came to the government. This happens in a universe where the country at the 2017 time was overly progressive-Democratic, and were already banning attachments on firearms. Parkland happens; in that attack, all conservative-leaning students are killed. The voice of opposition to the tragedy has been eliminated. Due to the partisan nature of the government at the time, MFOL’s proposals didn’t get hamstrung at the Florida level; they were implemented nationwide. At first, yes, the legislation on mental illness is what a moderate American would agree with: The suicidal and those willing to commit violence against fellow Americans for unjustified reasons would be barred from access to firearms. I even partially agree with this position. However, what if a President quickly sets up a government run health care system, where doctors all around the country are forced onto the government’s payroll. The GOP-led government then changes the laws of the MFOL’s position to: “All citizens who identify as Democratic, Socialist, Libertarian, Atheist, non-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-freedom, anti-slavery, or progressive are thus declared as ‘mentally insane’ by the state. Furthermore, these aforementioned groups are barred from equal treatment under the law, and are barred from carrying firearms”. Do you think that would be the tipping point? Would this event be enough to stop the Left in clambering for this facet of gun legislation?
I agree: “Hypotheticals are a weak argument”. However, asking ‘What if…?’ Has never hurt anyone. What I’m trying to get at is simple: The MFOL core restriction-specific argument falls on it’s face when one realizes that “mental illness” is such a broad issue, and can be defined as pretty much anything not on your thought line, and that it can be easily be weaponized to control people you don’t like. That’s #1 on my list of issues with the MFOL’s gun control argument, and that part is what largely drove me to defend the position so heavily.
Let’s get to part 2 of this argument. It’s been said before, but here it is again: Whenever a tyrannical government wants to fully control it’s citizens and go full authoritarian, the first thing they take away is the basic rights of the citizenry. It happened in Russia, and it happened in Germany. The first rights that were taken away were those guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights. The media was suppressed; no, not 2017 style ‘suppression’ of not allowing certain news cooperations into a press briefing; we’re talking full ‘killing or silencing opposition in the press’. Next came firearm/defense restriction. I personally haven’t researched this aspect of the stripping of freedoms in a country, but countless conservative historians have said it happened in both the USSR and Nazi-ruled Germany. Next came restrictions on personal life.
Under the Nuremberg laws, Jewish citizens were restricted from marrying outside their religion or even having sexual relations with German citizens. This is reminiscent of China’s ‘invasion of the bedroom’ One-Child Policy; this was an invasion on one’s basic rights in their love life and was horribly offensive. Next, and finally, came the stripping of any and all protections under the law of basic freedom. In the second Nuremberg law, the Jewish citizen became subjects of the state. In the Wikipedia article about these laws, one contributor noted the importance of the law, as it then could be used to strip political opponents of their rights.
Without the first 10 rights in our Bill of Rights, yes, with the inclusion of the 2nd Amendment, we are able to stop America from effectively turning into Nazi Germany, and thus, stripping these laws could possibly lead to the installment of such a terrible rule. Am I saying MFOL movement is Nazi-ish? No. All I’m saying is that, once you start stripping or restricting rights of your citizens, there is usually no turning back after that point.
During the summer of 2018, I took a college course on Political Thought at Western Michigan University. While there, I learned the foundations of a proper debate, and how to argue more like a professional (I don’t like to brag). During this time, several monumental things occurred.
First off, I discovered the art and wonder of podcasts. First, it began with the podcast version of Fox News’s The Five, and I thought it would be done from there. But, I got bored with the same old thing every day. So, I looked for other outlets. First I found The Ben Shapiro Show, from The Daily Wire. I had previously heard of Ben Shapiro from various people like PragerU and ABL, but I had never heard him speak on his own, though. At first, I overwhelmingly liked Shapiro; his positions largely matched my views, but then that honeymoon period faded. There was one large issue with Shapiro-first, he was a Never Trumper, and second, he wasn’t a big fan of Trump. So, I looked further.
After Shapiro, I found Louder With Crowder. Steven Crowder’s views, unlike Shapiro, even more closely matched my views; he was a Christian, Trump supporting Conservative who’s show as a great example of a comedic take on politics. Crowder’s show, though, only came out every Friday on Podcasts. So, I again looked for another outlet.
That was when I found Alex Jones. In the past, Jones had not been part of my listening track. This may have been because Jones was an alleged crazed lunatic by the Left, and was always being straw-manned by the legacy media. But, I found a fun element in Jones. His bombastic nature was somewhat funny to me. The fact that people actually got offended or hated his shtick makes me chuckle to this day. (Note: Many of the so called ‘controversies’ Jones has been involved in have been mostly based off of unsubstantiated claims made by the media. Jones has said “They’re putting chemicals into the water that are making the freaking frogs gay”. However, when Jones says things like this, he is hyperbolizing the issue. Please remember that. While some of the things Jones has said have been out-there, he is largely misrepresented by many online and news media. I urge you: If you want to really know what Jones says, go over to Info Wars and listen to him yourself. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then stop complaining about him. Those who don’t know anything about a situation should not be considered credible resources of that subject.
Finally, I found Styxhexenhammer on YouTube. While Styx does use inflammatory language and swears a lot, his information and opinion on modern day politics is very good. Styx has helped me open up my mind to other ideas, and to rationalize my arguments better. However, the only issue I have with his content is that he doesn’t have a podcast format for his videos.
FINDING A PLATFORM: THIS WEBSITE
I often tell my fellow staff writers of this website that I believe God has his hand on our movement. One of the reasons I think this comes largely from the way I was recruited to this cause.
In the first few months of my senior year of High School, a user on Twitter by the name of “The University Conservative” directly messaged me. I’d gotten these kind of messages before, where the message contained a message where a bot most often said they were interested in me trying out a new product of theirs. I first thought that of TUC. However, I then read the message. The sender, who seemed like a legitimate site manager, informed me that they had been looking for young conservative writers to write for them on their website. I myself want to become an author; my dream was to get onto the staff of some bigwig media company, and then start selling my books. TUC’s message seemed real enough, but I had to make sure about what they were saying. So, I asked outright: Was this a bot-composed and sent message?
The response I got was ‘No’. I believed it. Usually, some bots on Twitter would send some incoherent sentence like “No not a bot. Would like to talk with you”. A true bot would swear up and down, through broken English, that they weren’t a bot. This sender, however, seemed real enough. So, I asked them for more information: What if I wanted to use a pseudonym when I wrote my articles for them? Would the fact that I wasn’t even in college be okay, since this was a site for college students?
The answer I got from Chad, the founder of TUC, was that it was all right to use a fake name, and that it was all right to write as a high schooler. This opportunity was a literal Godsend. Why? I had not put myself out there as a “young author”. All I had said on my Twitter bio had been “Republican, Conservative, Baptist, Christian” and some other stuff. Nothing I had done online previously had even hinted at journalism. So, why had TUC decided to ask me? I personally have no idea why. I had asked Chad, and his response had been more grounded. It had gone along the lines of “You seemed like a good candidate”. Again, I say this: No prior exposure to journalism or writing online. So, if you have a counter idea, please let me know. I would absolutely love to hear your theories.
At the time on Twitter, I was going by the name “Darrel Mandeka”. First off, no, the name wasn’t based off of Nelson Mandela, nor was it supposed to be related to Mandela. “Mandeka” was my attempt to hide my true identity online, as I was afraid of possible internet stalkers. However, I quickly changed my name when my mother first found my article on TUC. She informed me that I was now ‘published’. Being published, “Darrel Mandeka” was now a legitimate name; all my thoughts through Mandeka could possibly be thrown out as not being mine. So, I changed my name on Twitter to my real name. My whole presence suddenly became a lot more public.
My first article went live, and people generally said I was well written. I have this policy in my head which is basically that I need to deflect praise of all kind when it comes to me. I’ve seen first hand what pride can do to one’s chances of doing good. I still hold that sentiment to this day. Even as a staff writer for TUC, I feel like the other writers are generally more qualified and skilled than I am. In addition, I feel like I will not be able to ever pass them in their knowledge and skill. I assure you: I am not fishing for compliments here. I know my limits, and I know my scope of talent. I just want to include this message into my writing. I don’t want to ever sound arrogant or prideful when I write, and I don’t want to fish for praise and approval from people. I want to earn it. As a conservative, I feel like my duty is to embody the traits of work equals outcome, not laziness. I want to embody that humility is the best motivator, and that Jesus should be the base of your morals. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. But, if you do, that’s great.
While this series has taken some time to go through, I believe it helps young conservatives to see that not all fellow conservatives are crazy, heartless, or stupid; a picture the media often tries to paint for us. I feel like those who don’t understand my positions aren’t insane. They’re just a different person, with a different mind.