Op-Ed: Candace Owens' COVID-19 Denial and Italophobia Bring Shame to Conservatism


A backlash ensued after I posted a seemingly innocuous tweet earlier this week about the tragic state of affairs in Italy, a country that my family comes from and is particularly near and dear to my heart.

I pointed out that “when a society forgets to love and protect their elderly that society loses its soul.”

These heartfelt sentiments regarding a humanitarian disaster, worsened considerably by the presence of socialized medicine, somehow made me the target of conservative ire. Basic compassion and human feelings have somehow become the equivalent to socialism in some people’s minds.

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Perhaps the strangest and most befuddling reply came from “right-wing” sensation Candace Owens, who suggested that expressing human emotion is the domain of the evil socialist.

“Not picking on you, because you are one of many— but this is the very same emotional argument for socialism,” Owens replied to me.

“I (once again) am finding myself disagreeing with both the Left and the Right. Will do a periscope later tonight on my opinion on coronavirus,” she added.

Having a bit of respect for Owens because of her willingness to take on the left, I checked out her Periscope about the COVID-19 panic, one of several she has broadcast since the crisis began.

Her analysis was far from impressive, relying mainly on demagoguery and talking points rather than any sort of a substantive critique of the data and evidence.

“We have spent the last couple of years listening to socialists and leftists say that our borders should be porous. Overnight, we are seeing them turn into conservatives, and they want the border shut down by any means possible,” Owens claimed on her Periscope, giving no examples to substantiate her argument.

“On the flip side of that, we are having conservatives who have been screaming about the necessity for individual freedom, for free market and capitalism, almost transform into socialists overnight in terms of what they want for the government to do to solve this issue,” she added.

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She went on to compare conservatives to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for “making emotional arguments” about why we should jettison our rights, and brought up the foolishness of certain individuals ignoring warnings to justify why the rest of us should do the same. As if conservatives should not try to set an example and lead responsibly, rather than shrugging our shoulders and letting a pandemic worsen needlessly.

In her analysis, Owens shows herself to be a neophyte when it comes to understanding what conservatism is.

Considering she was groomed by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who has repackaged globalist neoliberalism as being America First, it is no surprise that she mistakes warmed-over libertarianism for true conservatism. Conservatives are too scared to lead because they are handicapped by this failed ideology.

True conservatism aims to keep the people safe. True conservatism will use the government when necessary in order to accomplish those goals. It is not about market dogmatism or fidelity to capitalism.

Capitalism is merely a means to provide prosperity to as many people as possible; it is not a religion. America is a nation of people, not a series of economic cogs with dollar signs etched into their foreheads.

The narrow ideological prism preached by Owens has prevented many from understanding the severity of the coronavirus epidemic. Many conservatives, who have been misled by the media regarding illness panics many times before, are refusing to admit the dire facts about COVID-19.

The “under-hypers” like Owens keep moving the goal posts to prop up their failing arguments and are hurting the cause immeasurably by doing so.

They point to H1N1 during the early days of the Obama administration, showing that there were more infections and more deaths but less hysteria. What they refuse to mention is that herd immunity already existed because H1N1 was a strain of the seasonal flu. COVID-19 is a novel virus, which means the entire human population is the upper limit. We are in uncharted waters with this crisis.

The new data that is emerging shows that COVID-19 fears and the government response, or at least aspects of it, is warranted. A study has shown that the vast majority of coronavirus passage comes from “stealth cases,” meaning people who are unaware they are carrying. The virus has now entered all 50 states, so no American is insulated from the pandemic.

While President Trump initially aligned with Owens’ camp of downplaying the virus, he does so no longer. The commander in chief has received the memo that this is not some liberal conspiracy to hurt his economy or derail his presidential re-election chances.

Trump has responded accordingly by declaring a national emergency, pleading with the public to practice social distancing and is even considering direct federal assistance to beleaguered Americans.

Will Owens deride President Trump for considering a bailout for the people, as businesses suffer and economic activity grinds to a standstill? Will she call the president a “socialist” who is jettisoning his principles and embracing big government due to panic?

It is not likely — because that could affect Owens’ very lucrative grift. Owens hypnotizes boomers with red meat and assurances that Democrats are the real racists, promoting a Blexit movement whose efficacy is dubious to say the least.

Where Owens went from ignorant to evil with her opinions was with her callous and ignorant characterization of the Italian people that underscores her authentic motives.

In a since-deleted tweet, Owens said: “Also—just as a point of historical accuracy, the WW2 Italians fought with the nazis.”

Candace Owens deleted tweet

“Not implying they deserve to die, just implying that it may be trickier hill to the climb in terms of pulling at heart strings when we had to send our young boys over to die bc of it,” she added.

The vast majority of sick and dying Italians referenced in my initial tweet were only babies or small children during the time of World War II. Owens is committing a sinister libel against a great nation and a people with nothing to apologize over. This is especially shameful considering she has been maligned in similar fashion by Democrats as being “pro-Hitler” for out-of-context comments she once made.

Owens’ characterization of the Italian people is the same type of rationale that is used to justify reparations for slavery, making her guilty of the exact rhetorical tactics which she has accused myself of making.

The notion that a people should be punished because of the sins of their forefathers is an emotional argument based in no conceivable logic or rationality. It is commonly used by Marxists as a justification for socialism, and Owens is helping to perpetrate this insipid trope.

Perhaps her comment was just Owens’ nasty streak showing itself while her opinions were challenged. She does have a history of animus toward previous strains of conservatism that now sustain her stardom.

In a since-deleted post on her former anti-conservative blog Degree180 from 2015, Owens cheered that tea party conservatives “will eventually die off (peacefully in their sleep, we hope), and then we can get right on with the OBVIOUS social change that needs to happen, IMMEDIATELY.”

The necessary social changes that she was referencing included complete acceptance of the radical-leftist-driven LGBT movement in society, indifference toward sexual infidelity, indecency by elected public officials, and the acceptance of abortion as a woman’s choice that should not be restricted in any way by government.

It sounds like there may be a different motive behind Owens’ dogged opposition to coronavirus concerns than protecting conservatism.

Owens’ routine may have sufficed in 2017 and 2018 when we were still riding the crest of the Trump wave, but her act has worn thin, and her nonsense is doing real damage to the credibility of the Republican Party.

She needs to sober up and realize that some of us are not content to cynically cater to an echo chamber of talking heads who are content to hear about how “Socialism Sucks” ad nauseam.

Some of us actually want to stop this pandemic and conserve public safety, rather than our carefully crafted public image.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Gavin Wax is the 73rd president of the New York Young Republican Club, chairman of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation and an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
Gavin Wax is the 73rd president of the New York Young Republican Club, chairman of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation and an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.