“But it’s easy to call out the Left. Here’s where things get more uncomfortable. Conservatives still have to face the disgusting fact that Steve Bannon is in the president’s inner circle, and Bannon proudly labeled his website, Breitbart, “the platform for the alt-right.” That “platform” compiled massive page-view numbers while publishing dreck that excused the alt-right as little more than countercultural trolls, while writers and journalists (like me, my wife, and many others) found themselves subjected to vicious campaigns of hate, threats, and abuse when we wrote or spoke critically of Trump,” National Review editor David French wrote in an op-ed last month.
With these words, the avid “NeverTrumper” French describes the “radicalization” on the current Right caused by the presidency of Donald Trump. Although French’s tirade tries to look even-handed, it hardly lays a glove on the anti-Trump Left. In a pro forma way, it goes after Maxine Waters, black congresswoman from Los Angeles, who it is suggested may be a bit unsavory, and complains that the Democratic Party has raised Waters to an undeserved respectability. But French’s prime target is Trump and the “disgusting fact” that the president whom French loathes has brought back to his “inner circle” Steve Bannon, who provides a “platform for the alt-right.” Among the “dreck” attacks that Bannon endorsed or refused to condemn were rants directed against French and his family.
Allow me to claim a certain neutrality in investigating French’s outburst of anger. My relations with Breitbart are exactly the same as those that I have with French’s publication. I have none with either and would be astonished if either website ever asked me to write for its readers. Although mutual acquaintances have informed me that Bannon may have been influenced by something I once wrote, I have no way of verifying that statement. To my knowledge, Bannon has never mentioned me, and I find absolutely nothing in his remarks that I have heard that may have come from me. If there exists what Goethe called “elective affinities (Wahlverwandtschaften),” I cannot say that Bannon has ever been attracted to me.
But let’s get real for a moment. Has Bannon behaved as disgracefully in public life as Maxine Waters? I still vividly recall Congresswoman Waters in 1992 excusing violent rioters in her district in Southeastern Los Angeles, whom she characterized as participants in a “rebellion.” Waters went out of her way to whitewash the murderers of 55 victims, the vandalization of numerous Korean-American business establishments, and the thugs who caused over 2,000 physical injuries to members of all races. Waters also famously accused the federal governments of creating and spreading a drug epidemic in her district. Lately, she’s been demanding Trump’s immediate impeachment without offering a scintilla of evidence for why this should be done, except for the fact that she, for whatever reason, hates Trump.
I haven’t discovered anything even remotely as wicked that can be attributed to Bannon. French may not like what trolls have said about him and his family on presumably right-wing websites. I understand his perspective because the same has happened to me. I too was savaged by unpleasant trolls on websites whose managers didn’t patrol such troublemakers. But as far as I know, Steve Bannon didn’t cause this to happen, any more than he caused the sniping at French. I doubt that French and his colleagues at National Review give a rap about what trolls say about those of us on the Right who don’t belong to their circle of acquaintances. Why am I supposed to care about the taunting of French, other than the fact that it confirms my general suspicion of trolls?
Finally, I am amazed that someone who has spent months slugging away at the Donald is now upset that those on the other side may have it in for him. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not that French or his publication have stayed out of political wars on the Right. They have been major players and thrown at least as much dirt at others as they have received. French and his buds are also concerned that this NR-celebrity has not been given enough credit for adopting a black child. Let’s give the guy credit for his benevolent act, providing it’s not trotted out as a merit that entitles to him to a special place in political discourse.
One has to be a Martian not to notice how Conservatism, Inc. showcases politically correct opponents of Political Correctness. By now these include, among a myriad of others, people like a Jewish leftist professor at Evergreen State University who is annoyed by black leftists, and homosexual activist Jamie Kirchik complaining about the homophobia of the Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin. Only in the wacko ambiance of the Cultural Marxist “conservative movement” I’ve frequently written about on this website would one be noticing these diversitarian gestures.