Scathing criticism of the Right and our ‘champions’.
The Left is giddy: Tomi Lahren. Bill O’Reilly. Roger Ailes.
Big names are falling like dominoes. Should the Right be worried?
Not really, says one columnist. In fact, there could be a good lesson in it.
Time and again prominent conservative personalities have failed to uphold basic standards of morality or even decency. Time and again the conservative public has rallied around them, seeking to protect their own against the wrath of a vengeful Left. Time and again the defense has proved unsustainable as the sheer weight of the facts buries the accused.
Moreover, the pattern is repeating itself with the younger generation of conservative celebrities. The sharp rise and meteoric fall of both Tomi Lauren and Milo Yiannopoulos were driven by much the same dynamic that sustained O’Reilly for years, even in the face of previous sexual-harassment complaints — Lahren and Yiannopoulos were “fighters” who “tell it like it is.” O’Reilly was the master of the “no-spin zone” and seemed fearless in taking on his enemies. What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. Indeed, the fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference.–National Review
But reducing politics to a bloodsport, where the only thing we want in our leaders is a killer instinct, comes with a price.
We no longer demand integrity of our ‘champions’.
…But ambition isn’t everything, and the single-minded quest for winning ultimately creates a class of losers. O’Reilly and Ailes together built a cable news empire. Yet their legacies will forever be marred by the tawdriest of scandals: two men (pathetically) proving unable to control their petty lusts and desires. Michael Flynn was a hero. Now he’s an object lesson. And people like Lahren and Yiannopoulos? They didn’t even achieve “real” fame before their corruption emerged. Do a few viral Facebook videos justify diva behavior? Does telling off feminists on YouTube insulate you from the consequences of advancing the worst of ideas? But, as the saying goes, in crisis there is also opportunity. As Fox News and other conservative organizations consider the path forward, there’s a chance to not just elevate the next best mouthpiece for righteous indignation but to consider a broader range of virtues. There do exist conservatives who fight hard but fight fair, and there also exist conservatives who won’t ask you to overlook or even defend them from credible accusations of serious wrongdoing.
..But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot. O’Reilly’s fall can be an important act of public hygiene, but only if it represents the beginning of the end of a conservative culture that makes us behave like the cultural enemies we purport to despise. Otherwise conservatives will hand the Left more scalps, forfeit more public trust, and ultimately lose because of their single-minded quest to win.–National Review
He’s saying that by making winning the ONLY thing, we’ve lost sight of the IMPORTANT things. Which makes us no better than the Left and the James Carvilles of the world.
Is he on to something? Or is he out to lunch?