Crowd hears controversial speaker

‘Question your education,’ he tells LHU students

PHOTO PROVIDED New York Times best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza speaks to a crowd during a lecture at Lock Haven University Thursday.

LOCK HAVEN — “These facts will make you feel unsafe. Why? Because your professors have been lying to you,” said a New York Times bestselling author and former policy advisor to President Ronald Regan to an audience of students and faculty Thursday night in Lock Haven University’s Sloan Auditorium.

In a lecture titled “The Diversity Myth: Surrendering Freedom in Exchange for Safe Spaces,” Dinesh D’Souza said, “The (political) left has taken over the universities. The more elite the university, the stronger their hold on it.”

D’Souza is the first conservative speaker to visit LHU in 14 years.

Approximately 320 people attended the event.

He spoke directly to the audience, urging them to question their education.

“Is this what you’re paying for? An education in conformity?” he asked.

“Don’t go into the world a buffoon, never having examined your own thoughts, never having turned your assumptions into questions. That’s really what college is about.”

D’Souza’s most recent book is titled “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.”

Addressing a key theme from that book, he told the audience he blames much of the moral hardship of the 20th century on the Democratic Party.

“America would make a lot of progress if the Democratic Party would just say, ‘Yes we are, in fact, the party of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, racial terrorists and opposition to the civil rights movement,'” he declared. “The moment we have that truth, the sky will part and very good things will begin to happen.”

D’Souza said Southern Democrats of the 1960s were called “Dixiecrats” and they were the main opponents of the civil rights movement.

“Every segregation law enacted in the South was passed by a Democratic Legislature, signed by a Democratic governor, and enforced by Democratic officials,” he said.

D’Souza observed that the Democratic Party is now accusing the Republican Party of fascism, which he challenges in his new book.

He said, “The big lie is that fascism and Nazism are on the right. But Hitler, after all, was a member of the National Socialist party, and Mussolini, who invented Fascism 10 years before Hitler, received a congratulatory letter from Vladimir Lenin upon his rise to power. Lenin saw Mussolini as a comrade.”

D’Souza said the nationalism that Democrats use to characterize President Donald Trump as a fascist is only descriptive, not defining.

“Democrats are trying to smuggle nationalism over from fascism, but nationalism is not actually a feature of fascism,” he said.

He said that Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill were nationalists.

Not everyone agreed with D’Souza’s statements.

Ian Kidd, a senior secondary education major at LHU, said, “D’Souza was interesting and articulated his position well, but he had an agenda. He took measured and slightly distorted steps toward his partisanship position.”

Dr. Kimberly Johnson, a university professor of sociology and anthropology, said having D’Souza here to speak “was such a wonderful treat for us.”

“Following the speech, many students expressed that they were glad they attended the event and felt they learned something new. Many people from the community also came out to hear D’Souza, and conveyed to me that they were thankful we brought him to Lock Haven,” Dr. Johnson said. “I appreciate the support of our administration and staff at the university. Everyone was so helpful in organizing the event and ensuring that attendees would have a nice evening. Over the last few months, I’ve been working with Young America’s Foundation, which sponsored the event, and I am very grateful for their help in bringing a different perspective to campus. I explained the wonderful turnout last night to them and they expressed interest in bringing other conservative speakers to campus in the future.”

Another student said, “One of the first things he mentioned was that it has been 14 years since someone with a similar point of view to him, conservatism, has given a lecture at Lock Haven University as a guest speaker. This stunned me because when I came to college I expected to hear different points of view on a regular basis which would help me gather different opinions and help shape my own worldview, but it seems to me now that I have not been given a variety of opinions and have only heard one side of the argument.”

He added, “Throughout college, I have heard mostly liberal points of view from students and professors, so it was interesting to hear a guest speaker flat out say. ‘your professors have been lying to you.’ I enjoyed hearing his lecture, and I respected that he claimed to only speak factual evidence and not try to claim anything that is untrue. His comments on diversity and diversity of mind were inspiring because it is important that everyone shape their worldview with information they have studied and learned so that more people engage in higher thinking.

Noah Ellison, is a sophomore business major at LHU and student leader of Young Americans for Liberty, one of the groups that invited D’Souza to campus. The other sponsors were the Lock Haven Sociology Club and the Young America’s Foundation.

Ellison said, “On the university’s website, the mission and visions page lists certain values needed to enrich the institution, and among them is intellectual challenge. What intellectual challenge is there if there is this whole area of thought that we are not experiencing? A lecture by someone like Mr. D’Souza serves the purpose of making us better.”