Joseph Kassendek discusses the experiences of traditionalist students in today’s liberal universities.
By Joseph Kassendek
This article is separated into two parts: the first explores my most positive experience of life as a Right-Libertarian reactionary in the first term of my studies at Royal Holloway; the other delves into useful stratagems, tips and advice on managing a right-wing lifestyle at a left-dominated modern university.I knew, almost a priori before arriving at Royal Holloway, that the political situation on-campus was noxious. It was not the fact that the Student Union apparatchiks were lacking diversity in their political persuasions, being overwhelmingly dominated by feminists who openly and assertively proclaimed their hegemony over campus politicking, this was inevitable. It was not that there was a condominium of the left – a Feminist Society, a Women of Collective Colour Society and a Left Forum, meanwhile, the only bastion of sanity was one humble Conservative Society. It wasn’t the insanity of safe space officers or gender neutral toilets – these are non-issues. No, it was that in the previous year before my arrival, a few pathological historically prejudiced eternal victims attempted to have the grand statue of Queen Victoria which stands stoutly and watchfully over the north quad removed. It’s one thing to take offence because you identify with a people who were the alleged victims of ‘evil colonialism’ – it is your right to do so; it’s barbarism and indecency to request of the native population to have a historic and endearing effigy removed because it hurts your feelings – this is the Geist that gives Royal Holloway such a toxic atmosphere and it is what I came here to crusade against.
Leaving malevolence of the left-wing æther aside, the amount of amusement that university has provided me is incomprehensible. I had ‘realistic’ expectations to find only a few fellow ‘deplorables’, I believed that it would take me weeks to make contact with anyone of my persuasion – it took me less than a week.
The first week was spent at a leisurely pace. At this time lectures had not yet started. I managed to rendezvous with an agreeable conservative and we decided to spend the activities of the first week in almost matrimonial unity. We descended upon the fresher’s fair like a pack of rabid starved wolves on unsuspecting indoctrinated cattle. We ploughed through the tumultuous crowds inside the temporarily requisitioned sports hall, waddled past most of the sports societies, though we did stop at a few. Until, at last, we experienced a close encounter of the third-wave kind:
– ‘Hi! Are you a feminist?’
– ‘No, quite the opposite really.’
Is it though? Is it truly so abominable, diabolical, wretched – so unimaginable to not be a feminist in the current year? I am an Eastern European – a product of fifty-years of ironic cultural conservatism cultivated by the Iron Curtain, what do you expect? I am not in favour of analogising the laws of physics to politics, but if Newton’s third does apply, then you should be glad that I am the equal reaction to your every action – pray you don’t meet my friends.
– ‘Hey there, are you interested in left-wing politics?’
– ‘Eeer no, I’m actually further to the right, and you banned me from your Facebook group.’
– ‘Oh we did?’
Yes, censorship, banning and no-platforming are all key components of the left-wing cultural hegemony on campus grounds. It does happen and it is true that I was banned from the Left Forum Facebook group (not a great loss), despite not even posting a sentence. I presume an admin scrolled through my profile when I clicked on the ‘join’ button and experienced a shock at my chauvinism/misogyny/bigotry/conservatism/bourgeois mentality (leave all that apply). There is no way to combat this as Facebook pages are beyond the reach of the university or the student union (an implicit tip for the aware rebel). They cannot, however, ban me from attending their events unless they are ‘paying members only’, in which case more than half of the usual attendees will be unable to turn up.
In contrast, the Conservative Society stand was quite pleasant. I anticipated to greet fellow Brexiters but was disappointed to find out that the RHCS chiefs denied any such allegations. We did, however, have much fun talking about the absurdities of campus politics. Nevertheless, I did not join the society as milquetoast conservatism is not what I seek. After subsequent events of the Conservative Society that followed fresher’s week, it turns out that the overwhelming majority of the attendees were indeed pro-Brexit.
It is at this point that I was added to the Politics and International Relations group chat on Facebook and all hell turned loose. At first I was unsurprised by the general comments there, everyone was anxious about starting university, there were many questions regarding lectures, seminars, readings etc. And then it started – the inevitable political debates. The first that laid ground for my current infamy is my defence of British colonialism from the contrarian perspective that ‘might makes right’ – that if one side has a ‘boomstick’ and the other poor sods don’t, what historical force was there to stop them? Had the roles been reversed, and they held the whip hand over us, would they have not done the same? This gained me a vast amount of notoriety and hugely gratified my need to ‘trigger’ a few of the folks on the left.
However, the purpose of my rhetoric in the group chat and in reality was not simply to ‘trigger’ anyone – it had a more cunning ulterior motive. I intended it to be a form of virtue signalling to fellow people on the right who were thus far closeted about their beliefs. The dog-whistle method worked; I had numerous people approach me after an event or after a seminar to talk about our mutual thoughts on certain verboten subjects. Such people hide in plain sight for fear of repercussions, whether they be official reprimands or social exclusion. In the end however, if you have an illiberal opinion – but you have a solid argument to back it up, nobody will or can do anything to you. And believe me, there are many, many people with heterodox political beliefs on campus, they’re just more reasoned individuals than myself and manage to control their power level.
Our first lectures in the second week had the inextricable component of apologising for having to predominantly teach us about the ideas of ‘dead white males’. An act of apology so macabre and abhorrent that it brought me closest I had ever been to reconsidering the academic lifestyle. I and many others would not have chosen to study this course had I known we would only be studying intersectional genderfluid Maoist feminist ‘philosophers’. There is no need to apologise for lecturing us on some of the greatest minds Europe birthed. This was even present in my textbook for ancient political thought. This was, however, one of the very few low points of the first term, and things did become progressively better since then.
Within the next two weeks I had garnered a sizeable friendship group; within three we were regularly meeting up at the local pubs singing patriotic melodies and European national anthems and songs – a very multicultural exchange. We were goose-stepping in formation around campus, discussing most ferociously about naughty and nostalgic political topics and ideas; having a good chuckle at the ridiculousness of campus lefties, and generally emboldening our resolve for the future and collectively affirming our beliefs. One lad, in an act of devilish mischief, stood atop one of the benches outside of our university pub and roared ‘I am the King of Royal Holloway, I denounce feminism!’ This camaraderie carried on until reading week which is half-way through each term; afterwards we had a pause in anticipation for the upcoming US election night, which will turn out to be a moment of mass-triggering.
On the evening prior to the election of Donald Trump, the Politics and International Relations department held a pre-election lecture which touched on numerous topics relating to the election and the two possible presidencies. The event itself was well organised and the lecturers were mostly fair when it came to objective statistics, nevertheless, the overall regard for even the possibility of a Trump presidency was derisive and some of the professors present openly laughed at the fact that white Americans are now or will be soon a minority in their own country. The issues touched ranged from the alleged statistical inevitability of a Clinton victory, the somewhat radical change in terms of US foreign policy that Donald Trump may incur. The lecturer who gave the foreign policy talk seemed almost sympathetic to Donald Trump’s comparatively less-hawkish nature. As the lecture approached the end, we were asked to put our heads on the table and raise our arms whether we’d vote for Hillary or Trump. While I heard many hands go high when Hillary was called, I (expectedly) did not hear any being raised for Trump, bar my own of course. One cannot expect too much from an alleged ‘right-wing’ university, as Royal Holloway is falsely decried as.
The zenith of triggering came on the election night, for which the Politics and International Relations Society (a highly likeable group by the way) organised an overnight viewing at a campus bar called Medicine. Our group of Trumpians met an hour prior to the actual event but we had our rendezvous somewhere else on campus. We spent that hour drinking wine, singing along to patriotic American songs, and enjoying a mix of gloom and hope in relation to the coming night. We exchanged jokes about the election thus far, mentioning Jeb!, memetic magic, the times when Trump played the media in four-dimensional chess and also discussed the scandals and controversies surrounding the election. Overall we had a jolly good time, and left heading for where we’d watch the election with a feeling of optimism.
As we entered the bar with our Trump gear on, we were welcomed with what can only be described as an armada of thousand yard death stares. My friends were mostly innocuous, although some did have Trump hats on. I was in the firing zone; I was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ flag on my back. There were many audible gasps of shock coming from the anti-Trump denizens of the bar, who clearly outnumbered us. The bar, might I add, was almost packed to its full capacity, making the obtainment of alcohol and other provisions nigh impossible. We continued to make our way past the clearly triggered patrons of the establishment to our table in one of the corners of the room, where we decided to lay low – we did not do so for long. Soon enough, Trump started winning his first states; we roared in jubilation as state after state was won – ‘Build That Wall! Build That Wall! Build That Wall!’ This chanting was not taken to very kindly by the other residents of the bar. However, during the interim of the election night, Hillary began to overtake Trump and it was looking as though Trump was not going to win Florida, at that point many of us became a bit disheartened, a few left to go home, whilst others, including myself left to go to the outside portion of the establishment to chainsmoke in despair. Soon after that, whilst outside in the pouring rain, I looked at my phone and realised that Florida began to turn red. I quickly went back inside only to realise that it has indeed! I could not believe it, and neither could my kameraden who stayed outside when I told them about this change. Once this happened, we knew we were in for a long and absurdly pleasant night.
Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida… they kept turning, Trump kept winning, and we kept chanting. It was unbelievable; it was as if we were on some kind of hallucinogen and that any moment now the façade would break apart and the reality of facing a Clinton presidency would return. Except that it never did. We returned outside to smoke more, this time in hopeful and reinvigorated spirits. As I returned to out corner, I received the news that one of my flags was stolen by an unidentified suspect. The flag itself wasn’t a great loss, it was one of those libertarian ‘Don’t treat on me’ Gadsden flags, but it was theft nevertheless, something I honestly did not think the left would do, particularly on this night – the backside pain must have been too strong for them, and the only release valve was crime. I sat down in disappointment only to be told that one of my friend’s Make America Great Again hats was also stolen of his head as he was using a cubicle – abhorrent behaviour! Likewise, most of us received abuse and threats of varying degrees throughout almost the entire night, with one even threatening one of our disabled friends with threats of violence if he did not relinquish his hat to the frenzied gentleman; he backed off once another one of my friends with a tall and moderately built posture stood up from his seat. The left seems to be all for minority rights and safe spaces until it’s the rights and safety of the right-wing that is concerned.
The night progressed onwards and more and more people left the bar. By the time it was clear Trump had triumphed, most of the abject left-wing types had left and the only people who remained were a sleep-deprived bunch of hopeless and despairing Politics and International Relations students and us, who were waiting for the final nail in the coffin of the liberal-left’s hope – Hillary Clinton’s submission to Trump. Then that moment arrived and we were filled with ecstasy, we all listened in closely to Trump’s victory speech; it was a tad underwhelming, but I lost my voice and not the election, and therefore, we were all joyous and filled with optimism for the coming elections across Europe.
The campus left was so taken aghast that they even organised a post-election debate on why the left has failed in propounding anti-racism and yours truly attended. The debate itself was held on a false premise, the left has won the cultural war, and anti-racism is the only acceptable position in public debate, but I digress. The result of this ‘debate’ (and what a debate it was – the audience wasn’t even allowed to ask questions or make statements) was that it was all the fault of white women feminists and white men who failed to cuck themselves enough. I did learn a few things however, one of which was that racism is not simply discrimination or prejudice based on race or ethnicity, but that rather it also had a ‘power’ factor in its equation, i.e you cannot be racist towards white people because white people have ‘power’ and ‘privilege’; thank God that yours truly identifies as a trans-African American woman!
This concludes my struggle as a conservative libertarian at a modern British university in the first term of his first year. I’m sure that many more such fun episodes are due to come, but for now, here are a few tips for the novice reactionary:
Through discussion with second and third year students, I’ve found that compared to theirs, my year is not only more conservative but that there are also more of us than ever before. It appears that CNN and The Telegraph are correct in saying that ‘Generation Z’ is more socially conservative than their antecedents – it should not, however, come as a surprise. The rationale is presumably that when the societal norm is social liberalism, the only way to rebel is by being conservative. My hope is that these conservatives and libertarians will find and read this article and choose Royal Holloway as one of their options in this year and the following.
Young alt-righters, libertarians and conservatives should not be put-down from going to university simply because the left unequivocally culturally dominates the campus, likewise, you as a potential student should not feel disparaged from studying the more liberal arts of philosophy, politics, media, history English or art out of fear of being identified with a pejorative label for speaking your mind. It is also untrue that studying STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) will inoculate you from contact with the insanity of the regressive left, or that it is only worth studying these subjects. The right needs a new generation of radical outgoing intellectuals and thinkers who are willing to raise the banner – whether of liberty or conservatism – loud, proud and high.
Your purpose as a right-wing student on campus is to present a positive alternative, not necessarily to convince anyone or everyone; nevertheless, if you do manage to do that then you have my upmost commendations. Your prime directive is to obtain a degree and expand your mental horizon. The right doesn’t need foot soldiers and grunts, these only depreciate what is otherwise a beautiful Weltanschauung – the right needs young idealists, romantics and – at times – pragmatists; we need to enact our own hasty march through the institutions. In the same light, it is crucial that you do network with other right-wingers at your university, regardless of denomination, for the purpose of raising each other’s esprit de corps, and, more importantly, socialising and talking with them on matters that would normally be so far outside the Overton window you couldn’t – this, I believe, is the most exciting and rebellious part, particularly as you are committing the mortal sin with impunity right in the belly of the beast.
However, being a dedicated conservative does not exclude you from fraternising with the enemy. You can absolutely still be friends, or at least cordial, with everyone, regardless of political, philosophical or ethical disposition – there is no need to exclude yourself from the debate when the university is trying its best to do that for you. In fact, it is of particular importance that you as a conservative or right-libertarian show your charming optimistic face as much as possible, it is a great way to present our views in the most positive of ways.
The philosophies of the left and the right are incompatible, each resting on antithetical fundamental axioms which lead to incongruous conclusions – the left believes in universal equality, while the right rests its case on natural inequality of being; from these axiomatic beliefs, entire conceptual frameworks are derived which although can sometimes arrive at the exact same ends, often and indeed almost always, do not. Therefore, in my view, it is the wrong approach to engage in argument for the sake of convincing the opposing side – this is futile and wastes energy that could otherwise be imparted on finer pursuits. Debate should only be held for the sake of ‘keks’ and ‘lulz’ – ‘a good tactic is one your people enjoy’, as Saul Alinsky imparted in his Rules for Radicals. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ridicule the opposition, at least between you and your kameraden as it is a tactic the right and particularly the alt-right enjoys.
It is, however, of paramount importance that you engage as much as possible in the seminars. It is so typical for lecturers to hear the usual liberal tripe that it presumably becomes nauseating. I believe it is a refreshing moment for them to hear an alternative opinion raised. Be as outgoing and contrarian as possible, it will get you noticed and you will get so much more entertainment out of seminars.
The question of ‘How open is too open?’ often arises, particularly on a campus, as in times past the left has even organised demonstrations against individual students which were ‘ousted’ as having even vague connections to right-wing groups. This can be avoided and most often will not happen, although this is entirely dependent on what you do and how you do it. One way to avoid this issue is to not associate with groups that are ‘too far’ to the right, this is easily done and prevents you from future hassle. Besides, most of these formations are not worth anything and have no future, making participation entirely pointless.
Never forget that you stand for something greater than the people who oppose you, that this grand idea of ours is not a mere ‘spook’ or abstraction, it is the European people – the only people that historically achieved, invented and engineered the multitude of good that other cultures use today for their own benefit – the only people that are yours and were fellow interlocutors of our monumental high civilisation. Although Europe may now be unwittingly and unwillingly shifting into a ’multicultural mode’, that does not necessitate Houellebecqian submission. The replacement of nation states based on ethno-cultural values into proposition nations has largely occurred, but it can be reversed.
Everything can be reversed, and the process of reversal begins with a young intellectual resistance. It begins with reclaiming the academia for its original purpose: teaching the truth. It begins with proselytising. It begins with getting people to read our literature: from Scruton to Nietzsche, from Spengler to Yockey, from Rothbard to Hoppe, Carlyle to Mencius Moldbug, Alain De Benoist to Guillame Faye, Tolkien to Chesterton. The great reversal begins by demonstrating that an alternative right-wing truth exists and that its message is more perennial than those which caused the decay of western civilisation. Given Trump’s victory in the United States, Brexit in Britain, the Polish and Hungarian state of being ‘illiberal democracies’ I have one last thing to say and I quote from a friend: ‘Your politics is over, mine has just begun.’