The Never Trump brand of conservative never truly understood the scale of the war the left has been waging.
Maybe they do now.
Kevin Williamson just found out the hard way that once he stepped outside of the conservative safe space of National Review, it was a full on death match for the left. For those unaware, Kevin Williamson was a conservative writer at National Review, the most prominent publication of the Never Trump wing of the Republican Party. Kevin even wrote a book “The Case Against Trump,” positioning himself as one of the leading voices on the right opposed to Donald Trump. Kevin recently left National Review and was hired by one of the more liberal publications, The Atlantic. This outlet has been home to such controversial writers as Ta-Nehisi Coates, who basically celebrated 9/11. Conservatives congratulated Kevin, and wished him well, celebrating that one of their own made mainstream status. Maybe, just maybe, they thought that Kevin could persuade some of those on the left to come around to the conservative way of thinking. The celebration was short-lived, as before even writing his first article Kevin was summarily fired for some of his more controversial views regarding abortion. Immediately his cohorts rushed to decry the firing, everyone from Ben Shapiro to David French writing scathing articles about how the left shuts down the “marketplace of ideas.”
Newsflash: There is no longer a marketplace of ideas, and there hasn’t been for awhile. There is only the battlefield of ideas, and on this battlefield, conservatives are losing in a bloodbath. In his response, Ben Shapiro wrote that the left is closing the Overton window, the space of acceptable and unacceptable viewpoints. He writes “But the unacceptable category is already populated by those who are actually unacceptable: alt-right trolls, for example.” Further, he decries the leftist tactic of lumping all conservatives into the “unacceptable” category, thus forcing a reactionary grouping of the opponents of the left. He is right, and that’s also the part that he doesn’t seem to understand: That has been the left’s goal for a while now. They want to lump you all in with the Nazis and white supremacists and make right-wing views, no matter reasonably articulated, deplorable. The left has entire organizations whose entire job is to ruin conservative’s lives. Kevin Williamson likely couldn’t even get a job at Best Buy, because the left understands the scale of the fight they are in and are perfectly willing to do whatever is necessary to win.
Shapiro also has said that this sort of activism, going after advertisers, and trying to get people fired won’t work because of what he calls “mutually assured destruction,” because if the left does it, then the right will respond in kind. Again, he fails to grasp the degree of hatred he’s dealing with, as mutually assured destruction can only come about if both sides are willing to go down the same path, have the same organizing ability, and be prepared to play to win at all costs. This is not even remotely the case, because the left’s organizing apparatus is so far superior to that of the right that they can wage this war 24/7 with no downtime. Even setting aside more prominent groups like Media Matters and ShareBlue (which have no equivalent on the right) they have far more smaller activists whose entire job is to tweet, mail, and call companies to deplatform conservatives, which are then amplified to millions by the various celebrities on the left. More than all of that though, the left is willing to be proactive in these measures, where the right only pushes such avenues when it’s either payback or something really egregious, such as the Kathy Griffin decapitation skit. What Never Trump conservatives failed to understand, is that EVERYTHING they represent is egregious to the left. Abortion, Health care, and guns are all single issue votes for them. Step even slightly out of line on any of them, and you might as well be worshipping a statue of Adolf Hitler.
The firing of Kevin Williamson should illustrate to the right that no quarter is given in this battle. He pontificated at length, virtually every week, on how terrible President Trump is; yet Williamson is still unacceptable to the left. The Never Tump crew, at the slightest hint of controversy from the President, are quick to remind everyone “I didn’t vote for him, I told you so” as though that would be a panacea to placate the left, and ingratiate themselves to mainstream media outlets to get a sweet gig at the Atlantic or CNN. Maybe now they will understand what I and the Trump base have been saying for some time now: If you are not a progressive, you are the same as a Nazi to the left, and you’ll be treated as such. Understand this: we all hate the Alt-Right, but it does not matter one iota to the left. The conservative opposition to abortion, for example, places them in the same unacceptable space as the Alt-Right. There is no grey area, no space in the middle, and certainly no marketplace of ideas. One would think after seeing the blowback on college campuses, and near riots over even basic conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Guy Benson, that the Never Trump wing would understand this warfare by now. Yet, every day they appear mystified that the left is willing to take things as far as they do. I wrote about this months ago, and somehow, conservatives still don’t get it. There are entire groups and legions of activists poring over every word you’ve ever written, every tweet you’ve sent, all in an effort to destroy opposition. The left believes they are in an existential war for the soul of the country, and conservatives act as if it’s just another day in politics.
We are at war, so maybe conservatives will act accordingly now that one of their own has fallen on the battlefield. Kevin Williamson got what he deserved, because he spent more time attacking the President than pushing back on the left. Don’t believe me? Check out his National Review archive. See how far you have to scroll to get to any sort of vehement criticism of the left. Meanwhile, every other article is excoriating Trump. The Never Trumpers like Williamson tried to play some sort “principles” game, in which the opposition just laughs and destroys another conservative platform. In trying to ingratiate himself to the establishment and be one of the conservative good old boys, he misunderstood the real threat that actually put Trump in the White House in the first place: Leftist authoritarianism. Now his corpse lies on the battlefield, likely to be resurrected once again in the pages of National Review. Will this zombified version of Williamson have a greater grasp of the fight he’s in next time?
Time will tell, but they’ve shown a distinct lack of heightened awareness, so I’m not betting my house. After all, why fight a battle when you can just quote Reagan and Buckley to each other all day?
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