Liberty University's Ryan Helfenbein

Standing for Freedom Center/YouTube

Liberty University VP says conservatives need to copy Hitler to fight woke indoctrination

Ryan Helfenbein works in communications at the Christian college.


Claire Goforth


A vice president of one of the nation’s largest Christian colleges has an idea for how conservatives can fight liberal indoctrination in education: copy the Nazis.

Ryan Helfenbein’s LinkedIn states that he is the senior vice president of communications at Liberty University, which enrolled over 130,000 students last year across its on-campus and online programs. Helfenbein made the remark in an on-camera interview with Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN). A clip of the exchange begins with a reporter from the conservative RSBN pontificating that an entire generation is being brainwashed to “deny a maker and deny their gender” as Helfenbein nodded along.

When the reporter finished talking, Helfenbein opined that there is a leftist “evangelistic movement” to indoctrinate children.

“What we’re discovering as parents and conservatives is … education really is evangelism,” Helfenbein said. “So if you don’t control education, you cannot control the future.”

Without pausing, Helfenbein suggested that the conservatives should emulate three former dictators—Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, China’s Mao Zedong, and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“Stalin knew that. Mao knew that. Hitler knew that. We have to get that back for conservative values,” Helfenbein concluded.

The clip went viral. One version on Twitter has over 3 million views.

People passionately disagreed with the assertion that the best way to promote conservative values is by copying dictators responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people, including the Holocaust.

Political pundit Tony Capitelli said of Helfenbein’s comments, “Just when you think the far-right in this country can’t be that crazy, someone says something like this.”

@tonyspolitics *For educational purposes only* #maga #conservative #progressive #politics ♬ original sound – Tony's Politics

The liberal political action committee Meidas Touch likened Helfenbein’s statement to the Moms for Liberty chapter quoting Hitler in its newsletter last week.

“Best pay attention…..cuz these folks are working hard at, and succeeding in, taking over school boards all across the country,” one of Meidas Touch’s followers commented.

Another person claimed to have taught two Liberty University alumni in a graduate program. “They absolutely believe this stuff,” they said.

Liberty University is a right-leaning university founded by the late evangelical pastor Jerry Falwell and has always associated itself with purported Christian values, although Falwell’s son was ousted as head of the school in 2020 over a sex scandal.

Multiple social media users pointed out that this is just one of many incidents in recent years in which conservatives have uncritically invoked the genocidal Nazi.

“They don’t even hide it any longer,” said one.

After the clip went viral, Helfenbein claimed that it was “a thinly veiled effort to spin and smear” him because Meidas Touch didn’t include the reporter’s comments.

People weren’t buying it.

“Even with the question included you are suggesting emulating Hitler,” @jeremynewberger replied.

Liberty University did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via email Tuesday afternoon.

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