UCSB hosts Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA
A roar of applause rang through the packed Campbell Hall as Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, walked onto the stage at UCSB to speak at the “Live Free Tour” event.
“They say there are no conservatives on college campuses … but we’ve got to get a bigger room next time!” exclaimed Mr. Kirk in response to the warm welcome Wednesday evening.
Turning Point USA is a conservative organization that was originally founded by Mr. Kirk, a Forbes 30-under-30 recipient who became known as the youngest person ever to speak at the Republican National Convention in 2016. Turning Point USA is a nonprofit, and, according to its website (tpusa.com), its mission is to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote freedom.”
Mr. Kirk and the Turning Point USA group came to UCSB to facilitate a discussion regarding conservativeness and specifically transgenderism, racism, climate change and other political issues within college campuses.
Close to 200 students who disagreed with Mr. Kirk on those issues stood outside Campbell Hall during the event, protesting against Turning Point USA. One student held a sign saying “Climate change is real.”
Before the event on Wednesday, Mr. Kirk spent his time in the UCSB quad with a sign that said “transgenderism is a delusion.” This sign caused quite a bit of disruption on campus and led into what he was going to speak on at the event.
His main topic throughout his speech was the definition of delusion and how he thinks the liberal media is delusional.
Other than transgenderism, Mr. Kirk mentioned racism and said, “There is this delusion, or lie, that America is systemically racist. This ideology is very dangerous. These idea pathogens can do far more damage than COVID-19 ever did.”
He followed this up by saying, “Anyone who believes these delusions are not just doing harm to America, but they are doing harm to themselves.”
Echoes of cheers followed these comments.
Mr. Kirk then specifically talked about UCSB and what the students and “liberal media” have been doing wrong within education.
“You should be mentally curious in life, and American colleges have gone away from this,” expressed Mr. Kirk as the crowd clapped in agreement.
He explained further by saying, “At 19, 20, and 21, you have this confidence that you have completely figured out the world. ‘I know wrong from right,’ as they say. That robs you of all joy and asking more questions.”
He also conveyed his admiration to the Turning Point USA chapter at UCSB. “The Turning Point USA students have to go through something every day that most liberal students don’t: They have to actively defend their position.”
This section of his speech then concluded with a call for the protestors outside to come into the hall and ask questions.
The initial part of Mr. Kirk’s speech led up to the main event: a walk-up style question-and-answer time with UCSB students. Some students expressed agreement with Mr. Kirk, but other students who walked up to the microphone were not in favor of Mr. Kirk and asked questions in opposition.
One student specifically debated Mr. Kirk for close to 10 minutes about his views on climate change, which ended with a heated argument.
Concerning the legitimacy of climate change, Mr. Kirk said, “How much of the global temperature rising is human activity?” This then opened the discussion up to the necessity of fossil fuels.
“We have less people dying from climate-related disasters — extreme cold, hurricanes, etc. — because of the advancements of fossil fuels in our homes,” explained Mr. Kirk. “If you decide all of the sudden to shut down something that works, which is the extraction and utilization of hydrocarbons, that have lifted more people out of poverty than any other energy source in human history, than you actually only care about a pagan agenda rather than actually helping people in poverty.”
As mentioned previously, all while this was happening inside Campbell Hall, there were students protesting right outside the front doors of the event. These students had signs with various slogans and phrases, all in which were against Mr. Kirk and his beliefs.
There were also students who wore construction vests to make sure there was a level of safety not only within the protesting group but also outside of the group.
Additionally, to keep the protestors at bay, there was a line of UCSB police surrounding the event.
Things got out of hand right before the event started. As tensions started to rise between the crowd outside and the attendees of the event, security decided to turn away people from the hall, in order to keep a safe number of visitors.
Mr. Kirk ended his time at UCSB by saying that “the Declaration of Independence was not signed by people who were into ‘self-love.’ Rather, it was signed by people who loved the Lord, loved their families and loved their country. I encourage you to do the same.”
In the same way the event started, it also finished: with the crowd on their feet, cheering Mr. Kirk’s name.