Currently, the biggest threat to conservatism is not the left at all. The biggest threat is actually inside the movement, and comes from our most reactionary elements.
The Current Landscape
America’s political landscape is nothing if not fascinating.
The modern left has devolved almost to a point of no return: values, facts, and basic intellect are becoming subservient to feelings and subjective reality. Leftists call anyone who dares to disagree with them a “fascist.” They call President Trump a “Nazi,” and they call law-abiding NRA members “child murderers.”
Conservatives are right to tirelessly fight against this for the rights and values that make this country great. However, that fight must be a vigilant one. We cannot fall into the trap of following ideologies and people that are inconsistent with what conservatism actually is. We must not allow ourselves to become reactionaries, instead of standing for a core set of values.
Ideology When Convenient
Many reactionaries on the right are more concerned with baiting a public response than espousing principles.
Tomi Lahren is a great example. Tomi, like anyone else, says some things we should agree with and others we should disagree with. But sometimes, she says things that every sensible person should condemn. For example:
In this tweet, she generalizes all people who shop at Whole Foods as “liberals,” and calls for people to cut them in line and steal their food to attempt to prove some point on immigration. Has being rude morons in public ever convinced anyone to join your side? Ask David Hogg how well that works.
Principles for Me, Not For Thee
Ann Coulter is another good example of hypocrisy at work. She has been at the forefront of many recent fights over freedom of speech on campus. And though she’s said many, many outlandish things, this particular tweet is interesting:
Ann Coulter has fought for the importance of free speech, but then openly calls for a huge violation of that same free speech. What true conservative would advocate for members of the media to be locked up for “inciting ridicule”? The answer is none, and rightfully so. Either you stand up for free speech, or you do not. There is no in between whatsoever.
“Owning The Libs”
Some more recent online figures have seemed to become offensive for offense’s sake.
And finally, we get to Kaitlin Bennett, a recent Kent State University graduate. Kaitlin became popular for her graduation photo, which featured an AR-10 rifle. The tweet is below.
She tweeted about the reactions to her photo, saying that she is “defending the rights of the entire nation” and deserves more respect.
However, she tweeted this as well:
How are we supposed to take liberals seriously on gun control when they are still trying to figure out what gender they are?
This is not conservatism. This is cheap right-wing nonsense. People like this are so focused on making the other side mad that they forego their values in the name of opposition. That is what the left does, and we can not allow ourselves to stoop to their level.
We can agree with the sentiment that students should be allowed to concealed carry on campus. However, we can also agree that this sort of opportunistic, attention-grabbing ploy is childish and unnecessary.
A Tough Road Ahead
True conservatives need to fight, and fight hard, against these types of things. It is easy to unite behind ideas of free market capitalism, American exceptionalism, limited government, and the Constitution. It is much harder to call out people on “your side” who say things like those listed above.
However hard it may be, this is something we must do. If we want true conservatism to withstand the test of time, I believe it is our duty to hold our own side accountable.