The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Candace Owens slams progressive movements

The commentator covered many topics, from Marxism to feminism, in what students called a scattered speech
Candace Owens speaks at the first Mock Convention session. Screenshot courtesy of the 28th Mock Convention livestream.

For Candace Owens, some of the most dangerous threats facing America today come from what she calls the Marxist notions of modern feminism, climate change and the LGBTQ+ community — each of which destroys traditional family values.

“At its core, what the government is doing is trying to reduce the concept of a family,” Owens said. “They know that strong families have always stood as a ward against the state.”

Candace Owens, a prominent conservative commentator and political activist, rose to popularity for her views on issues ranging from race and identity politics to free speech and limited government, according to The New Yorker. As the founder of the BLEXIT movement, also called “Black Exit,” and the host of her own Daily Wire podcast, Owens encourages Black Americans to embrace conservative principles.

Owens, known for her outspoken views, was one of the most highly anticipated speakers for this year’s Mock Convention. As the final speaker for Friday’s first session, Owens tackled a range of issues during her 30-minute address, which some students described as contentious and unorganized.

“She touched on a lot of hot topics, but nothing was connected,” Evan Clark, ’26, said. “Her ideas seemed very conflicting.”

Owens said the government promotes anti-family concepts that allow stronger government to take root, creating a vicious cycle that she said connects to the ideas of political theorist Karl Marx.

She included modern feminism as one such concept by giving an anecdote about her experience as a student at the University of Rhode Island. In class discussions about the patriarchy, her professor “did not ask us to relay our experiences as women; she was propagandizing us,” Owens said.

Feminism causes the breakdown of the traditional family unit because women no longer want to associate themselves with toxic men, Owens said.

But some students in the audience disagreed with the idea that feminism is about hating men like Owens suggested.

“I think it can sometimes seem that way because it challenges societal norms, but I think the aim is to achieve equity, not at men’s expense,” Brooke Capuzzi, ’27, said.

Owens claimed that what she calls lies surrounding the topic of climate change add to the dismantling of American families, too. After comparing climate change to a doomsday cult, Owens said that children are being programmed to “not aspire for [a] family because the planet’s not going to be here in ten years.”

In an attempt to disprove climate change, Owens said that the polar bear population has increased since she was in high school.

But Steven Amstrup, the chief scientist for Polar Bears International, told USA Today in January 2023 that research knowledge, not population growth, has enabled the tracking of more polar bears in recent years.

Owens also cited the LGBTQ+ agenda as a way for the state to create and maintain more power, claiming that the state “encourages children from a time that they are now in kindergarten and first grade to be either lesbian, gay, or transgender.” She said LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts have led to the creation of genders that don’t exist, adding that some now identify as “purple tigers.”

The commentator also blamed public education in larger cities for “emotionally engineering” children to increase their levels of fear for the future. Because of this, “they can’t find a single child that is considered proficient in reading and writing” in Baltimore, Owens said.

But the percentage of eighth grade students in Baltimore City who performed at or above the National Assessment of Educational Progress proficient level in 2022 was 15 percent, according to The Nation’s Report Card official website. The NAEP tests subjects from music and visual arts to technology and engineering. Students who score well in these areas also demonstrate comprehension skills tested in the reading section.

During the roll call vote in the final session, Maryland State Chair Shelby Miller, ’24, responded to Owens’ comment, saying that the state “is home to many wonderful things: blue crabs, old bay with every meal, and, throughout the state–—including Baltimore, literate high schoolers.”

To protect families and combat alleged government censorship—which Owens associated with both Marx and philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli—Owens said Americans should demand for more opportunities to speak openly.

“The answer is always more speech,” Owens said.

Owens said she learned about the importance of free speech from her grandfather who, even though he was faced with harsh Ku Klux Klan violence, spoke about his experiences without fear.

She said she remains optimistic about America’s future by clinging to traditional values.

“I just want to make sure that everybody walks away feeling encouraged about … what America can be if we hold on and fight with the principles that were envisioned by our founding fathers,” Owens said in her closing remarks.

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