The cat’s out of the bag: Charlie Kirk and his Turning Point USA posse are sham conservatives best known for publicly walking around in diapers. That shouldn’t have been hard to figure out, but it took an internal memo from a rival campus youth organization to kick off a real discussion.
Political infighting has become so prevalent that Young Americans for Freedom’s internal memo warning its chapters about TPUSA was unsurprising and unavailing. It pointed to Kirk’s fraudulent behavior, like his habit of taking credit for the accomplishments of other organizations, which is good, I guess, if you care about attendance numbers and campus elections.
“Conservative Movement groups started hearing from supporters about TPUSA’s claims that they held more activities than all youth groups combined. This claim has never been remotely true,” the memo reads. “We called this falsehood to Kirk’s personal attention, but he has never corrected it.”
It warned YAFers about TPUSA’s direct affiliation with neo-Nazis, which is helpful if you’re planning on attending events alt-right trolls, like Milo Yiannopoulos, frequent. A TPUSA field director even praised the Nazis, saying “The only thing they didn’t get right is that they didn’t keep going.”
The memo even addressed the infamous diaper experiment, during which Kirk encouraged his clan to don diapers and walk around their college campuses in an attempt to discredit the safe space movement.
The memo’s purpose makes sense. YAF was rightly concerned about Kirk’s flawed, reactionary, antagonistic methods. And, I’m glad people are beginning to see Kirk for what he is: a bad faith actor more concerned about his personal brand than anything else. But what I don’t understand is why the memo was necessary in the first place. Since its founding, Kirk has barely tried to pretend that TPUSA is anything more than a vehicle for promoting his Trumpist-Kirkism. He admitted that to fund TPUSA, he seeks out rich Trump supporters who are vocally anxious about the liberal state of college campuses.
“You can’t watch Fox News without seeing five or six segments a day about the nuttiness on college campuses,” Kirk told Politico. “You pair that nuttiness up with people in their 60s and 70s who are beginning to map out where they want a significant portion of their wealth to go, and they’re saying, ‘I don’t want my money to go to my university. It’s not representing my values.’ Then we come along.”
Kirk hasn’t even bothered to respond to the claims YAF levied against him — probably because he doesn’t care.
So, how is it that shams like Kirk have squirmed their way into conservatism, claiming its label as their own? It’s obvious Kirk has no desire to reach for essential conservative traits like dignity and thoughtful argument. But the right has been so concerned with “owning the libs” that it allowed the rage wave to bring in a guy like Kirk, whose best quality, according to himself, is his ability to “expose leftist lies and progressive propaganda” — whatever that’s supposed to mean.
According to Charlie Kirkism, conservatives are the guys on the other side of the aisle determined to fight back by owning the libs, one diaper at a time. Unfortunately for Kirk and Co., these self-proclaimed conservatives have no idea who they’re fighting, what they’re fighting for, or why they’re fighting at all.
But somehow this reactionary cancer has grown into an actual campus organization, recruiting kids who have the potential to greatly aid the movement and convincing them that they’ll help solve all of America’s problems by walking around wearing diapers to show the world that liberals are, in fact, babies. There’s no question that TPUSA is reaching students on left-leaning campuses, whether the numbers are fudged or not. But rather than informing these kids about the fundamental, constitutional principles conservatism seeks to protect, Kirk hustles his base to his favorite politicians’ campaign rallies.
TPUSA is nothing more than a misguided attempt to make a difference and true conservatives should have seen that from the get-go. Conservatism is about more than campus debates and silly punditry. It represents more than a political party or a politician. Conservatism is supposed to preserve the timeless principles of liberty and equality for all, and I’m not sure how wearing a diaper accomplishes that.
So, I don’t understand why it took a memo for some of those who claim to be under the conservative umbrella to verbally reject Kirk’s charade. The truth was right in front of them, flashing like hazard lights on the highway in the middle of a reactionary thunderstorm. It just goes to show that too many on the right are more interested in riding the rage wave than in conserving the truth. It’s disappointing, but not surprising.