Conservatives Are Always Triumphant and Also an Oppressed Minority, According to Notably Stupid New Book
Being a doctrinaire conservative in this day and age requires you to do a lot of cognitive gymnastics. Luckily, the captain of the right’s gymnastic team is Ben Shapiro, who has been an exceptional contortionist since his YAF days, when he simultaneously boasted of his unfashionable virginity and scolded everyone else about their allegedly unconventional sex lives. Ben is married now, and presumably has engaged in heterosexual intercourse, but it hasn’t made him any happier or more relaxed, as he makes his living harrumphing over the sins of liberalism. Hey, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean someone should do it.
Though not himself large, Ben has wrangled, by virtue of being a nuance-impervious loudmouth, the position of editor-at-large at Breitbart.com. (You may recall that this position was once held by Andrew Breitbart himself, until his heart self-detonated rather than listen to him bellow for one more second.) This job entails being a sort of all-purpose complainer, a queen bee fat on the jelly of foundation grants, forever sending out drones to gather the sweet nectar of gripe. Just like that one guy on your Facebook who can’t relate to anything unless it has a Star Wars reference in it, Ben has cranked out book after book of impotent whining about how liberals are ruining everything with their education and their pornography and their crazy rock and roll and their hair. A 79-year-old man in the body of a failed attorney, his books (which I only hesitate to call unreadable because even I have better things to do than read them) attract praise from the kind of people who write books exactly like them — that is to say, endless litanies of alleged liberal treachery and evildoing.
It might well be enough to say that by such works ye shall know them — just wander over to Amazon and look at the titles of the books written by people who have log-rolled the corpus of Ben Shapiro: Cowards. Radicals. Invasion. Unhinged. Persecution. Slander. Treason. Demonic. Unholy Alliance. The Great Destroyer. Hating Whitey. Deliver Us from Evil. Culture of Corruption. Well, it certainly sounds like they’re fighting the good, if imaginary, fight, doesn’t it? In keeping with this great tradition of the literature of name-calling, Ben’s latest extrusion is titled Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans. On the face of it, this might seem like a curious thesis statement: if people like Ben and his fellow real Americans are being routinely silenced by the bullying of the left, how is it that their books routinely sell millions, that their radio shows frequently dominate the ratings, that their TV network is the proud peacock of basic cable, that their tricorn-sporting political movement is endlessly fretted over by media chatterboxes?
This, of course, is the great contradiction of the neo-New Right. They must be simultaneously ragged and right, persecuted and triumphant, the choice of the majority and a precarious threatened minority. Their America is both an exceptionalist juggernaut — the envy of the economic world and a military titan than can enforce the Ledeen Doctrine at will — and an internally weakened paper tiger that is at risk of total destruction by the machinations of a handful of Segway-riding enviro-snobs and post-structuralist academics. Their culture is one where trü-kvlt American values of machismo, independence, and not-abortion are shared by every decent person in the lower 48, but which are driven out of theaters and and set-top boxes by a tiny cabal of bezrodniy kosmopolit in Hollywood. Their politics never loses, but is always made to lose; it cannot fail, but is always failed. Reconciling history and current events in this way, where oppression, dictatorship, and the impeding of human rights are exclusively products of liberalism and the political right is both naturally, inevitably victorious and forever persecuted and silenced, is the great project of today’s movement conservative. They toil at their laptops with the vigor of a contrarian rock critic lamenting the lack of respect paid to Van Hagar, painting Americans, whites, males, heterosexuals, Christians, and the rich as both the natural masters of man and a criminally vilified underclass.