Riley Matheson, UNC's Youth for Western Civilization

| April 15, 2009

On April 14, the newly formed University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill chapter of Youth for Western Civilization hosted former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo for a speech that erupted into protests and pepper spray. Senior Riley Matheson, the chapter president, chatted with us prior to the event to share some insight about what the group aims to accomplish.

Why did you decide to form a Youth for Western Civilization chapter at UNC?

I've wanted to found a conservative group at UNC for quite some time that wasn't party-affiliated, and there really wasn't ... an overall conservative group. Most conservatives are constantly talking about taxes and money and business. We wanted to give conservatives a more social standpoint that wasn't specific.

At the same time, YWC promotes a celebration of western European culture. On the YWC Web site and Facebook group, there are numerous historical references to European culture. I was wondering how that plays into your role at UNC.

The problem with university students and faculty is that there is basically, in our opinion, a deep mistrust and hatred of Western heritage. We're constantly focusing on the sins of our past. It's not to say they weren't sins. It's just to say that we need to revitalize our culture and not constantly talk about mistakes we might have made. We've long since made up for the sins we might have committed.

Do you mean slavery and the Inquisition?

I can definitely say that slavery's one of the sins. When it comes to things like the Inquisition, I'd rather not comment—I don't want to condemn it. That's a personal opinion, and not really a club opinion.

YWC is specifically against "radical multi-culturalism." What is that, and does it exist at UNC?

If we look at most college campuses, UNC especially, diversity is celebrated. You're told from the second you get here for orientation that diversity is a strength. And we believe that that makes absolutely no sense.

If you look at a country like Japan, Japan's not multi-culturalist, and they're a perfect, thriving nation. When you get together with your friends, you don't talk about the stuff that makes you different, you talk about the stuff that makes you similar. Sure, there are differences, but we don't need to celebrate those differences. We don't need to highlight them and augment them. What we need to do is highlight and augment the things that make us similar.

The idea of radical multi-culturalism is the changing curriculum, the different subjects we have that focus on non-Western, non-American subjects. It's not to say you shouldn't study, as an academic person, other cultures, it's just that you need to be well-versed in your own, before you sort of extend out into others.

Attempts to achieve similarity throughout history have horribly misfired. The Final Solution comes to mind. America is a diverse nation, so how would we go from being diverse to being similar, in a way that wouldn't be violent?

One thing we have to realize is the reason we're a diverse country is because people naturally segregate themselves according to their differences. If it weren't for that segregation, we wouldn't be a diverse culture.

While we're not necessarily advocating forcing people to become similar, we do need to realize that when we have immigrants who come to this country who can't speak English—and many of whom are unwilling to learn English, and when you go to the store and everything you buy is half in Spanish and half in English—you're pandering to that diversity that segregates us. If everybody just learns English—because, after all, it is the language of this country—then it would be much easier for us to be united.

You said if it weren't for segregation, we wouldn't be a diverse culture. But it seems like you would like there to be more assimilation.

Definitely. Any time we accept an immigrant, it's my belief that we are accepting, with that immigrant, the responsibility to assimilate them. But that's not what the liberal agenda is. The liberal agenda is to accept immigrants whether or not we can effectively assimilate them.

It's like what Benjamin Franklin said, about the Germans who were emigrating to the United States. Franklin had a problem with that, not because he was anti-German, but because ... he wanted to make sure the German immigrants we took could be assimilated into, at that time, the Anglo-Saxon culture of the United States. Obviously the culture has changed since then.

Does your group favor a homogenous culture in the U.S.? Do you take an official stance on interracial marriage?

We have to be realistic about things like interracial marriage. It is pretty clear that studies have shown that well over 90 percent of people marry within their own race. Is that a problem? I suppose so. But we don't have any official stance on that.

You don't worry about interracial marriage affecting Western heritage?

YWC is not racial. This is a cultural civilization type of thing, which different people can be assimilated into. This is not racial. None of the official positions—you might find somebody at the club who might hold some opinions on that, and indeed you will—but in terms of YWC itself, no. There really isn't any kind of official position or stance (on interracial marriage).

A recent YWC blog post claims "our culture would be assaulted" by an increasing Latino population. Isn't language like that unfavorably casting an entire ethnic group living in the U.S.?

I do think that language such as that, while it might be strong, I think it's true. We're talking about people who don't ... show much interest in learning English. And so that would change part of our culture, because we're going from English to Spanish.

How do you square your group's belief in the power of homogeneity with UNC's campus policy that student groups must accept members regardless of "age, race, color, gender, national origin, disability, religion, veteran status or sexual orientation?"

YWC fully abides by all non-discriminatory policies of the university. Anyone of any color, race, religion, national origin, etc., are more than welcome to join YWC, provided that they share our stated principles. Indeed, we have a good number of non-white/ non-Christians in the organization—one of the founders is half-Asian and half-Jewish. [...]

I would like to emphasize that this is not a racist group, as it seems you are trying to imply. Let me ask you this: Is the Black Student Movement racist? Is the Carolina Hispanic Association racist? YWC has no stated/ official/ implied stance on race. YWC is not about race. As a matter of fact, it's typically liberals who are the real racists—they're the ones who are constantly trying to inject race into everything (that's why Tancredo is called a racist, even though he's said nothing racist in his life).

YWC is about respecting, honoring and loving Western culture and heritage. Anyone can do that.

Comments (7)

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Isn't the policy of UNC NOT to allow freedom of association repressive?As a white male can I be allowed to join the BLACK STUDENT GROUP OR FEMINIST ORGANIZATION?aND IF NOT,WHY NOT?

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Posted by ROBO14 on 06/09/2010 at 6:46 PM

Dr. Mike and Nel used reality and history in their responses to this interview, yet those who posted in favor of the YWC went against much of what Mr Matheson was talking about in the interview.

"You have done this country a favor by showing us the ignorance, hypocrisy and irrational behavior that exists among the liberal democratic groups on the UNC campus."

I'm surprised that you used "hypocrisy" here when you are "segregating" yourselves with the words "liberal" and "conservative."

I'm a Baha'i...I value unity and peace more than anything. More than any national, racial, lingual or political identity. I believe in Unity through Diversity. I would not call that "ideological"...I'd call it "realistic"

Posted by Harijan on 04/20/2009 at 12:52 PM

Diversity, along with the environment and social engineering make up the holy trinity of the religion of the left. The left has preconceived ideas of diversity and any discussion of the subject outside of the leftist schema is blasphemy. An honest dialogue on the issue is all but impossible because of the emotional mindlessness it invokes.

I feel confident in saying that diversity itself is not a problem for everyday Americans. Where I see a problem is with the left and how diversity is used as political propaganda to push the leftist agenda. We all recognize diversity in our society and accept it. Outside of the realm of politics, diversity is not an issue. Think about where you work. There is probably a wide variety of people of different ethnicities and backgrounds. What happens there every day? People work together, form relationships, friendships, partnerships, etc. regardless of race, religion, and country of origin. Most of us dont even think of the diversity around us. Why is it then that we see and experience these associations everyday, but we let some hack politician or leftist ideologue tell us that we have issues with others different from ourselves?

Why is it that we can celebrate diversity, except European Americans? Western European culture is part of who we are in America. There are many European Americans among us, all on the left coincidently, who are ashamed of their heritage. Anyone who tries to show some pride in who they are and their European heritage is immediately termed a racist by the left. European Americas have allowed the xenocentrism of our colleges and universities to creep into the mainstream of political thought and pervert our society. Now, here we sit on the verge of a fall into socialism lead by European Americans from the left in part due to the guilt they feel from long ago past mistakes. The sad thing is that the people of this country have come a long way to even the playing field and now the government wants to change the economic rules.

The diversity issue may seem a far cry from economics, but the two issues are related when looked at through the lefts ideological framework for social justice. Capitalism is the greatest system for wealth generation that the world has ever known. It is responsible for the technological advances and lifestyles that many of us enjoy today. The left despises capitalism as a system built on greed that exploits many for the benefit of a few. Greed is an inherent human characteristic. It exists across all peoples, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, and economic or political system. It is not the by-product of capitalism, and in fact, capitalism will offset greed through competition in a free and open market. The leftists in this country use diversity to advance their socialist agenda by asserting the argument that capitalist greed generates a disparate distribution of wealth across races and ethnicities. What they dont tell you is that the capitalist system is used between people across the world everyday, even in countries like Cuba and North Korea. Its as simple as a farmer selling a goat to another farmer or the cost of rice at a local market in a remote village in Vietnam. At its core, it's simply supply and demand. Governments create greed through their use of power and control. What better way to control people than by creating contempt. Would we even recognize diversity in society if the government and the leftists werent there to remind us every second of every day that we as human beings come in different races from difference locations with different histories? I dont think diversity would be an issue, but our government and the left seem to think that by separating the population out by race or ethnicity and then magnifying differences to create contempt will somehow create, as they call it, social justice.

The modern American liberal leftists have a long way to go in their understanding of human nature, economics, justice, social interactions, psychology, ethics, and liberty before they will ever truly achieve what they claim to already have, and that is substance.

Posted by Whoisthat? on 04/19/2009 at 10:23 PM

Great comment, Dr. Mike. I was thinking much along the same lines. I particularly wanted to emphasize English and assimilation. It's easy for the conquerors of this land to insist on everyone to learn their language. The queen's English doesn't even reign across all of London, much less the whole UK. Ask the Cockneys. Having an official language is really quite artificial. Italy still has more than 40 Italic languages within its borders. African slaves were forcibly assimilated in this country and not allowed to keep their language or even their drumming (sometimes used as language). When the Cherokees were encouraged to assimilate under official government programs, some of them became extremely successful. The government later rescinded this program and in the meantime there were some Cherokees that had everything taken from them from crooked settlers. Actually, I don't even like the words settlers/pilgrims/colonists. Let's call them invaders.

You might've seen a t-shirt with what looks like a Mayan asking, "Who's the illegal immigrant, pilgrim?" It's really funny to see Minutemen on the border in Texas trying to keep out illegal immigrants on the land that was stolen from the Mexicans, which the Mexicans "stole" from the Spanish when they won their independence and which the Spanish stole from plenty of well-established indigenous groups. Some like-minded folks in Australia have an art-based campaign that reminds everyone there that "we are all boat people" when hatred is aimed at recent boat refugees.

Anyways, my post needs some editing, but I've got to write a paper for my class at UNC on Spanish poetry/drama/art/cinema - European culture that is being studied by this Mexican-Peruvian-American, son of a couple that met through a Chinese fortune cookie factory and husband of a Korean wife and father to an American child.

Posted by Nelmezzodelcammin on 04/17/2009 at 6:04 PM

Son, I notice you focus on language, quite a bit, in your Q/A with the venerable Indy reporter...

I"m sorry you are so fearful of your heritage being lost... Heritages change and yours is shifting under your feet, with every text message you abbreviate... LOL!

You say "We're talking about people who don't ... show much interest in learning English. And so that would change part of our culture, because we're going from English to Spanish."

I'm sorry you are so fearful you can't seem to hear what they children of immigrants are speaking... They speak English equal to you... they are fully assimilated and you are misguided in your fear. Sure our culture will change, but it has been changing every year for the past 1000 years, or we'd still have serfs in the fields, and for the past 200 or we'd have slaves in our houses and in the past 40 since Martin Luther King was shot, or we would not have a half Kenyan president (read: not descendant from a European culture, but a colonial holding).

You are young and ignorant, but time will show you the importance of diversity in everything we do from planting a garden, protecting a forest, hiring for a company and producing vibrant communities that uphold the American Dream of progress and freedom.

So, don't worry about English losing out to Spanish... Worry about your ability as a native english speaker losing out to non-native English speakers in this global economy that the conservative, greedy corporate raiders have built... hundreds of millions of Indian and Chinese workers who can speak English with each other and can leave you and your fearful and narrow-minded cohort behind on the scrap-heap of would-be-empires.

Thanks for sharing your narrow vision of the future with us; it reminds me of a certain Twilight Zone episode from the 1960's where everyone on the planet looked monstrous and the protagonist felt so horribly disfigured with her blonde hair and blue eyes, and we are only shown the truth in the final few frames.

Here is another example from your interview: "If everybody just learns Englishbecause, after all, it is the language of this countrythen it would be much easier for us to be united."

This is another flub on your part... English is not the Language of this country... try telling that to the indigenous people in villages at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or the Hasidic Jews in New York, or the Russian Immigrants in North Dakota or the Chinese in LA... English is a common language but it is only one of many languages we speak... again, it is not in danger of being lost, only changing, but it has never stopped changing since the Normans brought French to England a 1000 years ago... so calm your fears and Buenos Suerte, Amigo.

Posted by Dr Mike on 04/17/2009 at 1:45 AM

Riley, you have a lot of people behind you. A lot more than the student democratic society has. You have done this country a favor by showing us the ignorance, hypocrisy and irrational behavior that exists among the liberal democratic groups on the UNC campus. They are an embarrasment to the institution and the community. You have shown courage and prudence in the face of liberal ideologic aggression. Way to stick it to them!

Posted by Whoisthat? on 04/16/2009 at 5:43 PM

Isn't language like that unfavorably casting an entire ethnic group living in the U.S.? _------------------------------------------------ European-Americans are demonized collectively every day in the U.S. That doesn't seem to bother the multiculturalists at all. Collective demonization only seems to be a problem for them when it comes to non-white, non-Western people.

Posted by MaryJ on 04/15/2009 at 4:58 PM
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