The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The Daily Wire‘s Michael Knowles speaks on abortion, conservative platform at Illini Union

Alice Mei
Michael Knowles speaking at the Illini Union on April 16.

The Daily Wire commentator Michael Knowles visited the University on Tuesday evening to host his talk “Abortion is not Healthcare.” Knowles was under the invitation of Young Americans for Freedom at the University, a conservative advocacy group on campus. 

The Illini Union ballroom had a metal detector at the door, and no bags or signs were allowed in the venue as a safety precaution. Knowles was previously physically attacked while speaking at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

YAF opened the talk with its group mission of “promoting core traditional values.” According to YAF, there were efforts to take down posters around campus promoting the event.

Red and blue lights flashed and rock instrumental played as Knowles took the stage. 

His opening statement was about the current state of partisan abortion politics. Some conservative politicians have, according to Knowles, taken on a pro-choice stance to appeal more to moderates and “prudents.”

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Because many pro-choice advocates refer to abortion — what Knowles considers murder — as a personal right, he equated this to saying rape and burglary are a personal right for men. He argued that abortion is a state matter that must be outlawed. 

Doubling down on former President Donald Trump’s stance on abortion to endorse him for the presidency, Knowles argued that conservatives have grown soft on the issue of abortion despite their recent track record of “racking up wins,” namely with the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case which ruled abortion is not a constitutional right.

According to Knowles, conservatives should persist in a hardline stance against reproductive rights because appealing to other demographics would be sacrificing core party values. However, he acknowledged former President Ronald Reagan’s original support for abortion rights.

Knowles critiqued fellow conservative Kari Lake, the front-runner for the Arizona Republican Senate primary, saying her opposition against federal abortion bans was “morally indefensible” and put together by her “brain-dead” campaign managers.

“I like Kari a lot,” Knowles said. “I hope her campaign changes course.”

Knowles further argued the support for gay marriage was a “top-down operation” by Democrats to continue pushing the margins. Although gay marriage was extremely controversial at the time, Democrats got what they wanted; it didn’t matter how unpopular it was, he said.

According to Knowles, the liberation movements advocated for by liberals and leftists are unnatural because the world has always strictly adhered to a constant, unchanging law. Meanwhile, conservatives who seek to conserve the natural state of being for humans are more rational and true to natural law by preventing change, an unnatural force.

“Our views are much more reasonable,” Knowles said. “We believe what most people have believed in for most of history.”

Knowles moved to the topic of “trans-ing” kids or supporting gender-reaffirming measures for minors under 18 — something he views as morally abhorrent for President Joe Biden to endorse. 

Knowles also mocked the presence of tampons in a male bathroom in the Union as another frivolous, unnatural right advocated by “the libs.”

“Without constantly pushing that boundary of liberation, the liberals have no reason to exist,” Knowles said.

Half an hour into the discussion, the floor opened up to a Q&A session. 

A recent graduate of the University displeased with recent decisions by the U.S. military, such as pulling out of Afghanistan, asked Knowles to ask whether or not he should enlist. Watching every single episode of Knowles’s show had rekindled the former student’s connection to faith and emboldened him to defend his nation.

Knowles acknowledged his hesitancy toward the military because it had “gone totally woke” but admired the decision to wear a uniform and “kill the bad guys.”

In a later question, Knowles doubled down on his stance that the 2020 election was rigged and denied accusations he expected on being tied to the insurrection at the Capitol. In the past, he said Jan. 6, 2021 was not violent and not an insurrection. 

“The libs shut down the whole country,” Knowles said. “They rigged the whole thing and changed all the voting rules.”

Candace Owens has made recent headlines with her severing ties with Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire, the media company hosting The Michael Knowles Show, due to tensions on her position on Israel.

In a question on his feelings on the matter, Knowles said he tried to stay out of it and extended his support to Owens. As a close friend of Owens and Shapiro, Knowles said, “the charitable, right thing to do to all my friends here is basically keep my trap shut.”

When asked what he thought about the popular argument of adhering to anti-war and anti-death-penalty stances which protect the sanctity of life, Knowles responded that he didn’t think about it. As a Catholic, he cited various figures in his faith who justified a morally gray area in the topics of wars and capital punishment.

“If we are to have rights to anything at all, such as purple hair or tampons in the men’s bathroom, we must necessarily have the right to life,” Knowles said.


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