EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial has been updated to include white leaders of Progress Now Colorado accusing Candace Owens of "white supremacy."
Consider two very different phrases:
“The liars had good motives.”
“If the liars had good motives.”
A young black conservative woman will address the Boulder County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday night. In advance, lying critics defamed her by removing the gargantuan word “if” from a statement she made about nationalism.
Candace Owens, 29, has not had an easy life. As a Stamford, Conn., high school senior in 2007, she received threatening racist phone calls traced to a car in which the white Democratic mayor’s son was riding. Racism led her family to successfully sue the Stamford Board of Education in federal court for failing to protect her civil rights.
In 2015, Owens launched the left-wing website Degree 180, which mocked conservatives and took personal jabs at Donald Trump. She was an up-and-coming asset of the left.
Owens explains her views changed when she began to believe conservative economic and social policies promised better outcomes for minorities, the poor and other aggrieved Americans. As she moved further to the right, she was hired as director of communications for the conservative youth advocacy group Turning Point USA.
Owens so believes in conservative policies that she launched the “Blexit” movement last year to encourage African-Americans to abandon the Democratic Party.
No one needs to like Owens or agree with her politics. The left can and should challenge her ideas, poking holes in them wherever necessary. Harsh competition among conflicting ideas has given this country some of history’s best public policy.
Unfortunately, the left won’t settle for debating this young woman. They prefer trying to destroy her personally, using tactics developed and encouraged by Marxist community organizer Saul Alinsky. His most famous rule in the book “Rules for Radicals” instructs activists to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
That’s what some activists and journalists are doing in advance of Boulder’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
“Boulder GOP Keynote Speaker Candace Owens: ‘Hitler just wanted to make Germany great,’ ” says a Friday headline on the Colorado Times Recorder website.
The Boulder Daily Camera ran a Friday headline saying “Boulder County Republicans to host Candace Owens despite controversial comments” over a story that asks Republicans whether they will cancel Owens’ talk.
The Colorado Democratic Party — burdened by blackface, rape and cultural misappropriation scandals in other states — issued a news release condemning Owens for “offensive comments defending the motivations of a mass murderer who committed genocide.” White leaders of Progress Now Colorado ran so far with the misquote they decided Owens' comment "reeks of white supremacy," as claimed in a written statement.
It would be scandalous to say “Hitler just wanted to make Germany great.” We would immediately condemn any such comment as hateful anti-Semitism, just as we condemn all prima facie hateful messaging.
We couldn’t believe Owens would say such a thing. She is all about defending ethnic and religious minorities. She is a young activist crusading for rights of the individual to live free from excessive regulation, taxation and the oppressive forces of expectations and stereotypes piled onto minorities by those hoping to exploit them. We wondered how such a woman could possibly defend Hitler.
Yet, there it was all over the internet.
So we watched the video from which this quote was lifted. She did not say anything of the sort. Speaking in London in December, Owens made a nuanced and clunky point about nationalism. Hitler, she said, was not a nationalist. Rather, he was a globalist. That is a point differing minds can discuss and challenge. To introduce her point, Owens said this:
“If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine,” she said, before explaining the monstrous dictator’s desire to rule the world.
By removing “if” from the headlines and social media posts, her opponents don’t recognize or discuss the point. Instead, they invent a scandalous phrase, misleading the audience to think Owens apologized for Hitler.
With this deceitful fabrication, the left can put a young black woman in her place. They can “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” — just as their playbook instructs.
The Gazette editorial board