At a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Franklin, Tennessee, in May 2021, there was a talk by Andy Ngo.
In all the thousands of online speeches I have watched, though a round of applause at the end, and in greeting at the beginning, is the norm I think this is the first time I have heard an audience break out in spontaneous applause at the mere mention of the speaker’s name at the beginning of his introduction.
The introduction is by Timothy Caspar, and it is he that is unexpectedly interrupted by applause on his mentioning Ngo’s name. Caspar’s reaction is excellent, as is the personal warmth that he injects into the introduction.
Ngo comes to the lectern just after 2:30 but can’t begin speaking till nearly the 3-minute mark, because now the applause is turbo charged by cheering. The applause at the end of the speech is more subdued, probably by the chilling story.
O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.
I already knew some of at least the bare bones of Ngo’s account of his investigations into the activities of Antifa. For the purposes of this posting that was an advantage, because otherwise I would have been gaping at what he tells instead of carefully considering his delivery. If you are coming new to this story, be prepared. This is a brave man.
He begins by uttering a trigger-warning concerning the nature of some of the images he will be showing, and they are shocking. That warning is not sensationalist, nor is Ngo. His account of dramatic incidents is delivered in a calm, matter-of-fact and undramatic fashion, allowing the narrative to speak for itself. The only help he gives to the story comes in the shape of long pauses. It works pretty well, but the real quality of this speech is that the story is even being told.
The story he tells and the images he shows are outrageous, as is the inability of politically shackled police to combat it. But in many ways more shocking still is the role of the press. I often come across people who would classify themselves as well-informed who have at best the faintest, sketchiest idea of the unfettered anarchy that has been going on since last year in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis. This is because the world is told almost nothing, and the little that does get out is ridiculously biased and sanitised. There was last year a notorious piece of video footage of a US TV reporter talking of ‘a peaceful protest’ while behind him numerous buildings were blazing. This news blackout has overflowed to the UK. Proper journalism is, if not dead, at least comatose.
That is why when people like Andy Ngo defy death-threats to spread real news people of good will and espousers of truth break out in spontaneous applause.