Jonathan Krohn is most well-known for a speech he made CPAC in 2009, yet is in the news again. In this instance, though, it is not for a public oration, in defense of conservatism—this time, it is for his change in political views.
While not giving himself the label of “liberal,” Krohn claims that he has shifted away from labels like these (i.e. liberal, conservative, Libertarian, socialist, etc.). In addition to this, he claims that the speech he made at CPAC was not representative of him now, but saying “… it was naïve.” Krohn added to this that he feels the part of the country he resides in (Georgia) is somewhat responsible for his views. He also credits an interest in philosophy for this shift in thinking, namely his support for gay marriage and Obamacare.
First, before the real issues are addressed, a few points must be analyzed. This rejection of labels appears to be something strangely left-wing. Consider the fascination of the left (and of moderates as well) with politics of the “third way.” Next, let us examine gay marriage. While one may find several positions among conservatives—ranging from prohibition of gay marriage to my own position of removing government from marriage entirely—this is a relatively minor issue. In a grand overview, there is much more to be concerned with. Our economy, due to continual government intervention, is on the edge of a total collapse; the questions of the tax system (responsible for the literal theft of much of America’s wealth) are always present; the looming leviathan is also continually present, snooping; there are the foreign policy issues; and the blatantly un-constitutional findings of the Supreme Court, in regards to Obamacare. After pondering this, it should be apparent that, while still an issue, there are much bigger issues than gay marriage.
Obamacare, though, is a major issue. After the Supreme Court ruling major questions of the Constitution have arisen. One could go into great detail about why Obamacare is un-constitutional—devoting much more than this single article—it may be simply said that it is truly un-constitutional. In the most basic form, it equates to coercion and aggression against the American people—which was certainly not the limited government philosophy of the Founders. In other aspects, one may also look at it from the taxation perspective. Though justified as a tax, are all taxes justifiable? The Founders would be abhorred at the current tax structure. (In fact, I venture they would decry it as wholesale robbery—as the government is not using most of the tax revenue to fund the limited government the Founders set up.) Again, this short, sufficient explanation will have to suffice.
There are some things to be said, though very minor, from Politico’s piece on Krohn. Most notably, these are his favorite shows on television—the pseudo-news programs of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. For a youth who, one would estimate, is very interested in politics, are these examples of satire and political comment—ones that would elicit biting comment from the likes of Voltaire and H.L. Mencken—that worthy of someone that “smart” to note them as favorites? I realize here that favorite shows are quite a personal choice and, much of the time, not a reflection of the fan. Therefore, this is very minor, in perspective.
Krohn gives much credit to philosophy for his turn away from conservatives. I also have a great interest in philosophy, as well, yet this has not made me more leftist—in fact, it has made me even more right wing. Krohn also notes Nietzsche as being important in this regard as well. As a student of philosophy I have read Nietzsche. Now, I enjoy reading his work, for the reason that he was a gifted writer. But, just as I enjoy reading Christopher Hitchens, I am in stark disagreement with his ideas. (Similar to the analysis of Obamacare, I could spend a great amount of time dissecting apart Nietzsche. Thus I urge readers to investigate his views on their own.) Perhaps what Friedrich Nietzsche is to Krohn, John Locke is to me—one cannot know.
On a note of Krohn’s crediting his home state of Georgia for his formerly conservative political views, I find this quite erroneous. Yes, while the area that one lives in may influence what one is exposed to, it does not guarentee one’s views.
Finally, to the heart of the matter. Why does any of this really matter? I understand that Krohn did become, in some senses, a sensation at the time. Then again, if Joe the Plumber were to suddenly become a Communist, would that be “newsworthy”? Perhaps, but not to extent this is. Thus, there must, logically, be another reason for such an extensive news story.
This is an election year, but not a “typical” election. Barack Obama is not popular, but it is obvious that he wants to be re-elected—and is desperate. And the two issues that are promient in the article on Krohn (gay marriage and healthcare) are some of the issues Obama has been discussing. It can be determined then that this is not news, but offerings from the faithful fringe, in hopes that the venerated being will do as desired.
It is imperative to note that Obama is not campaigning to the general populace. He is not making general speeches, promises, and pleas, without regard to any particular group. It is not a guarded secret that young people were some of Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters in the last election. At the current time, this is in great question. Even the New York Times acknowledges this. And what would be better to appeal to the youth than a “smart” young man, who (apart from changing political views) is in support of Obama?
All of this is merely politics—bait for uncertain voters—and vastly meaningless. Jonathan Krohn may think as he wishes—this too is meaningless to me. If he is a true student of philosophy (i.e. someone who is supposed to think critically and analyze), though, he should not become a stooge—especially to despotism.
Christian Lopac | Wabash College | @CLopac