At an event at Virginia Tech over the weekend, conservative comedian and podcast host Steven Crowder argued for the conservative focus on the superiority of ideas over identity politics in a way that only he can.
"I do not understand why there is anything wrong ... with acknowledging the superiority of ideas. That's it," he said in response to a student's question about how to push back against the overwhelmingly liberal culture's unfair characterization of the conservative worldview.
"If you're focusing on ideas and not identity politics, if you're focusing on the superiority of ideas, that's how you stop the Nazis ... not how you start the Nazis," said Crowder. "Identity politics starts the Nazis. The war of ideas — saying, 'We believe that constitutional freedoms, we believe that basic human rights, we believe that everybody is entitled to the same human rights' — that stops bad ideas."
For a memorable example, Crowder told the hilarious/disgusting story of the "cottage industry" of supposed "meteors" that briefly sprang up in India because Air India was flushing human excrement from their flights. The point, he said, is that no one can argue that Air Canada has vastly better ideas about dealing with their human waste than Air India. "Are you saying you're system is better? Yes, but let me explain," he said, amid laughs. "My system does not result in human sh** being refrigerated and sold as meteor rocks."
He then moved on to a more serious discussion of the way racist identity politics distorts the promotion of superior ideas.
"If you're a racist — and this is what racists do — they find some place, they find some nation in Africa that's horrible and backwards and tribal and war-torn, and they say, 'Look at what's happening! It's because they're black.' That's what a racist does," he said. "They say, 'Look, at America. It's because they're mostly white.' When the fact is, that's not what we're talking about. ... It's not a race thing, it's entirely about a set of ideas. It's entirely ... about the United States Constitution, a constitutional republic and unalienable rights as endowed to us by our Creator."
After pointing out that his home country Canada doesn't have the right to free speech like the United States, Crowder addressed the heart of the issue: Everyone believes that some ideas are superior to others, but many on the left refuse to admit this fact or acknowledge the source of those ideas.
"If you want to say there are no ideas [that are better], all cultures are equal — you don't believe that because you believe in murder laws," he said. "And this is one thing where [a lot of people say] 'Well, it's relative.' You hear this a lot when people argue against spirituality, when they argue against any kind of faith. They say, 'You know what, if I need a god to tell me not to kill, or if I need a god to tell me not to steal, I'm a pretty horrible person. Those truths are universal.' They're not. They're not at all. You have places where it's perfectly fine to steal. You have places where violent acts that would be considered felonies here in the United States are perfectly acceptable there. Mercy was not actually considered a virtue in society until modern Christiandom. It was considered a weakness."