Whether the purpose was for a joke or for a call to action, the alt-right flyers that have been found around campus are unacceptable. Simply put, the flyers support a white supremacist agenda, an agenda that discriminates against members of our community and therefore must be condemned.

Moreover, the idea that only privileged liberal arts students would have the gall to tear down openly racist propaganda is embarrassingly stupid. To say that an ideology that endorses pan-European supremacy and superiority over all non-whites is somehow just another idea in the marketplace of ideas, one that needs to be considered on its supposed merits, betrays a deep moral confusion. Do you hear that? It’s a clatter of keyboards and a distant muttering—“So much for the tolerant left.”

Controversy in itself is not the primary cause for concern. Provocative materials are not all condemnable by nature; the difference between terming something a progressive accomplishment as opposed to provocative incitement can sometimes simply be time. Whether it was the women’s lib movement or civil rights crusades, many of the ideas that now seem so obviously worthy of our devotion were once considered radical.

As long as the materials incite a broader conversation that either educates or introduces new, difficult ideas to whomever they’re direct toward, they have a legitimate reason to exist. We don’t think universities should, by and large, be in the business of saying who can and cannot have a voice.

But to posit the ideas of the explicitly racist alt-right, whose greatest intellectual achievement is Pepe innovation, flies in the face of the idea of a “broader conversation.” If they had their way, the “broader conversation” would be significantly narrowed.

We’re not yet sure if these posters were printed as a wide-scale trolling effort or with genuine intent to radicalize, but the truth is, it doesn’t really matter.

The flyers have managed to make the large majority of campus at the very least uncomfortable, and at the most, feel highly offended or threatened. Even if the flyers were made for joking purposes, jokes that hint at a growing white supremacist movement that would directly threaten a huge portion of the student body aren’t particularly funny.

To those who are angry that these flyers and all of their ghoulish connotations have appeared, stay angry, but direct it usefully. Equating alt-righters with Nazis is, ultimately, unhelpful and incorrect. Though they certainly share some similar ideas, it has to be remembered that the latter was a political party with a paramilitary and proud members. Putting unsigned flyers up on a college campus to get a rise out of students is the desperate flailing of people who’re still pissed off about Gamergate.  



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