Under normal circumstances, there’s something endearing about youthful idealism. But when it comes to Kevin DeAnna, founder and recently departed head of the ultraconservative student group Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), normal circumstances do not apply.
YWC made its first public splash as a co-sponsor of 2009’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the right wing’s most important annual shindig, where in 2011 DeAnna moderated a discussion on immigration. That year, nativist panelist and former congressman Tom Tancredo, who is YWC’s honorary chairman, called multiculturalism “the dagger pointed at the heart of Western civilization.” DeAnna matched him, saying he opposed immigration even if it’s good for the economy “because it’s about our dispossession as a people.”
Tancredo’s not the worst of DeAnna’s connections. In 2011, Jared Taylor (see profile below), editor of the racist journal American Renaissance, wrote a fundraising letter for DeAnna’s YWC in which he described DeAnna as “an eloquent and distinguished young man who knows how important our cultural identity is.” (Taylor has written that when “blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”) DeAnna, in an accompanying letter to Taylor’s mailing list, boasted that he had “defended western culture” against a “far left” that is trying to “destroy our people and culture.”
DeAnna had flirted with hard-right politics for years before founding YWC, whose purpose is to defend “Western culture” from the perils of “radical multiculturalism,” in 2006. As an undergraduate at Virginia’s College of William and Mary, he ran a conservative student paper notorious for its sneering treatment of women. There, he worked closely with Marcus Epstein, who later described himself as YWC’s vice president. In 2007, while drunkenly walking through the streets of Washington, D.C., Epstein saw a black woman walking by, called her a “nigger,” and tried to physically attack her. When the incident became public two years later, YWC strove to put a distance between itself and its erstwhile associate.
DeAnna retained his position at the head of YWC until February 2012, when he issued a statement saying that he was leaving for personal and professional reasons. Today, he is a faculty member of the Leadership Institute, a well-funded organization that claims to have trained close to 100,000 “future conservative leaders” — people like Bush adviser Karl Rove and religious activist Ralph Reed — and was an early supporter of both DeAnna and his YWC.
Remarkably, DeAnna has now been named “marketing coordinator” for WorldNetDaily (WND), a far-right online publication known for its relentless anti-Obama “birther” propaganda and the kind of apocalyptic “news” stories that would look at home in a supermarket checkout line (see also Joseph Farah profile, below). Apparently, the once-serious student will also be “reporting” for the site that regularly features imminent end-times predictions. His first item, a fawning interview with white nationalist Pat Buchanan, who recently was ejected from the MSNBC lineup because of his racist views, appeared in February.