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.