Katie Pavlich, a conservative journalist, spoke to a crowd of more than 40 on Monday night. She was invited by College Republicans at the group's winter speaker, and talked on issues such as millennial unemployment, “the battle of capitalism vs. socialism,” microaggressions and both sides of the 2016 presidential race.
The Townhall.com editor blamed these problems on President Obama’s economic policies and “big government intervention and meddling in our lives.” She went on to discuss how poverty and unemployment among millennials has led to the appeal of socialism over capitalism.
“That’s the result of socialism: Not having a positive outlook, thinking the American Dream is over, nearly a decade of being unemployed or underemployed and having young adults living at home with mom and dad,” Pavlich said. “But the bottom line is this: big government and socialism has an interest in delaying adulthood because it keeps young people in the unrealistic world of free stuff and a lack of consequences for actions and decisions.”
When asked, Pavlich also blamed millennials for their misinformed views on socialism as a “first world problem.” She insisted that neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton could wipe the national debt of $19 trillion “like Hillary wiped her [email] server.” However, Pavlich had no preferred Republican candidate, only mentioning her opposition to candidate Donald Trump.
Northwestern College Republicans President Harrison Flagler said that 27-year-old Pavlich appealed to college-age Republicans due to age proximity, and that as a millennial, she could be informative to older generations.
“My favorite part was her talking about the importance of free markets. It’s interesting with polls with the younger generation; they’re willing to say they’re more open to socialist," the Weinberg senior said. "It contrasts so much in 2008 when we had the Joe the Plumber 'I want to spread the wealth around' comment by Obama. But it’s something that’s so easy for us to forget because the spectrum has changed so gradually."
Pavlich spoke on the topic of microaggressions and trigger warnings, their frequency on college campuses and the lack of them in “the real world.”
“Sometimes microaggressions are so small I can’t even see them. So if you said “Hello ma’am,” that would be a microaggression to me, because I’m a woman and that’s rude and sexist,” Pavlich said. “There are no trigger warnings in the real world, and so called microaggressions make young people look like entitled minors not worthy of employment or any kind of serious, adult respect.”
Last October, Pavlich became the subject of some controversy when she suggested on conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly's Fox News talk show that white privilege is a racist concept.
Weinberg freshman and self-identified liberal student Madisen Hursey attended the event to see how Republicans frame certain issues compared to Democrats. She was alarmed at Pavlich’s sarcastic presentation of microaggressions and trigger warnings to the people in the audience who didn’t seem to understand either of the ideas.
“She suggested that neither term was valid nor necessary for anyone to really understand,” Hursey said. “My identities and experiences play huge roles in my academic life. While I am not a victim of microaggressions, it was surprising and honestly scary to hear someone disregard them with such haste and speak about them with such disrespect.”
Pavlich ended by encouraging the audience to stop thinking of young adult as “children,” insisting American society needs to let millennials become more independent for their future benefit.
“Classifying 26-year-olds as kids is patronizing and limits young adults’ ability to succeed and fail on their own. Taking challenges away from young people is not helpful,” Pavlich said. “We are successful in life because we overcome adversity and challenges. That’s how we get ahead.”