Please write and send praise, critique, interesting links or random musings to

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Saga Of Jonathan Krohn

July 10th, 2012

I remember when I first saw footage of then-conservative wunderkind Jonathan Krohn speaking to CPAC in 2009. At the time, as right wing media lionized him and center media puzzled over him, two things seemed clear to me; First, he had rehearsed the standard points of a movement which he found attractive quite well. Second, he was incredibly bright. He had, after all, written a book on the subject which is somewhat more than I had accomplished at that age.

As passionate as I may be about some of my positions today, I remember with a shudder just how strident I was as an early adolescent. I commented at the time that it was perfectly likely he would change his views before long.

Change he did. As anyone of a political timber knows, he spoke to Politico last week and described his transformation:
"I think it was naive. It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia. We're inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough."
It took a certain amount of grace for him to publicly revisit his positions in light of how much he had not only embraced but profited from partisan spectacle in the past. It's an interesting story. 

As I read the comments on twitter and in the initial Politico reporting, there was a certain amount of vulgar, right wing indignation. Just as there had been its opposite in 2009, the political public in the internet age do seem to take these things personally. 

The story should have faded. However, the "conservative" media ensured that it didn't. They went way beyond simple reporting and commentary and into the realm of character assassination

This weekend, young Mr. Krohn was compelled to pen a response for Salon:
"I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13.
I shouldn't be too surprised. Political divisiveness in America today is a childish thing anyway. The never-ending war between the left and the right seems to me like a couple of drunken college boys fighting over which one of their fraternities is cooler. Think about it: Once you join a side, you have to obey the house rules, go to all the parties, and defend your status as a member of the greatest club on campus. And this is what drove me away from conservatism to my admittedly center-left position of independent mindedness (if that’s a thing)."
I highly recommend the rest of his piece and not for the obvious political reasons. Mr. Krohn is a helluva writer. He's still basically a kid. His views will likely transform any number of times over the next twenty years. That's what happens to people who suffer the curse of critical thinking. But even if I find myself at ideological loggerheads with some future missive, I suspect it will be a good read.

In the meantime, we have seen the full weight and fury of the so-called "conservative" media directed into a campaign of ridicule against an American who is, by every legal definition, still a minor.

That says more about them than it says about him.

No comments:

Post a Comment