Almost every single time I start checking out some flashy new Conservative organization, it ends up being a "Seven Degrees of Sarah Scaife" game. Which is one of the huge foundations that fund various right-wing "think-tanks" that peddle corporate misinformation, like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. In this case, it only takes about four degrees to connect the dots between these mega-funders and the new "student organization" that has plunged UNC Chapel Hill into controversy lately, the Youth for Western Civilization.
The middle dot in this connection is the Leadership Institute out of Arlington Virginia:
The Leadership Institute's mission is to identify, recruit, train, and place conservatives in politics, government, and the media.
The head guru of this indoctrination facility (they actually have a dorm) is Morton Blackwell, who's been training future Conservative leaders like Karl Rove for decades. He was also a co-founder of Moral Majority, a close associate of the DeVos family, and is the Chairman of the Virginia Republican National Committee.
If there are any UNC administrators reading this, please pay close attention to this Salon article from 2005:
The structure of Blackwell's Campus Leadership Program is simple. The Leadership Institute trains promising conservative college graduates over the summer and dispatches them to campuses in the fall with a mandate to start conservative student organizations. Need $500 and some ideas to start a combative right-wing campus publication? The institute would love to help you. Is the campus administration discriminating against your Second Amendment club? The institute will help you take your cause to the Internet. No one on campus at your Christian college has ever heard of the institute? Staffers will be glad to drive down, take you to a steakhouse, and talk it up. Last year, the CLP doubled in size, to 418 clubs and counting. By the end of 2006, Blackwell is confident he will have created 1,000 conservative campus organizations.
Unlike chapter-based political organizations, CLP clubs are unaffiliated with either the Leadership Institute or each other. According to Blackwell, this trait offers a serious advantage: "No purges." The clubs' independence also comes with the benefit of plausible deniability. "You can get away with stuff that you would take a lot of flak for doing in the College Republicans," says CLP director Dan Flynn. "Because we're independent, we can do activities that push the envelope," agrees University of Miami senior Sarah Canale, whose CLP-organized Advocates for Conservative Thought threw an affirmative action bake sale last year in which the price of a cupcake varied according to the race of its buyer. That it was controversial, she believes, was a victory in itself.
The Leadership Institute teaches the same principle. Controlled controversy -- making your point in a manner so bombastic that your opponents blow their cool -- is a Blackwell specialty.
Sound familiar? Do you understand now, Chancellor Thorp? You're not dealing with a free speech issue, you're dealing with kids who have been recruited and trained by an organization to bring about exactly what happened.
** Nix previous self-righteous tirade. It appears the six who were arrested at the Virgil Goode speech were not students or faculty, they were adults living in the area who went there to protest/disrupt. There's already too much off-campus influence at play here, and the students need to be left alone so they can work this out in their own way.**
The National Field Program identifies and recruits conservative students on college campuses and helps them organize independent conservative groups and publications.
These independent groups and publications fight back against the radical leftists who dominate the faculty, administration, and campus life at the majority of American colleges.
Here's a few snippets from their blog:
The Leadership Institute's Deputy Field Director, Kevin DeAnna, is the founder of Youth for Western Civilization.
The Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) chapter at UNC Chapel Hill, a Campus Leadership Program group, brought Tom Tancredo to speak on campus on April 14, 2009.
And if you're still not convinced the Leadership Institute is directly responsible for your recent troubles, how about some proof that there was a financial incentive involved?
LI offers conservative groups a chance to showcase their campus activism skills as they compete with other groups for a Conservative Campus Activism Scholarship Award.
First Place is $2,000, Second Place is $1,000, and Third Place is $500. And if you look at a few of the questions asked on the application for said award, you'll get an idea of what they expect from the winners:
6. Was their any opposition from other students, campus police or faculty? How did you respond?
7. What did your group do to earn media coverage?
That pretty much sums it up. What happened at UNC was not a fluke or an aberration of student behavior, it was an event orchestrated from without by powerful people with an agenda. And I have a feeling this story is far from over.