Over the past week, the death of Ahmaud Arbery has left the nation shocked and angry. Many recalled the Trayvon Martin case, whose death happened under similar circumstances: a young black man was caught committing a crime, an armed man protecting the neighborhood was concerned, the black youth was shot, and the court of public opinion immediately declared the white man guilty. Many, myself included, thought that conservatives would defend the alleged murderers instead of joining the hate mob, just as they did with George Zimmerman.
I have been mistaken.
Conservative leaders have spent the last week attacking the McMichaels as evil white supremacist vigilantes, parroting the leftwing narrative. Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire accused the McMichaels of “first-degree murder” who “should get lethal injections”. He later went on to say that trespassing and robbing a construction site is “totally normal behavior for men”.
Conservative Youtuber Colion Noir said in a recent video that “Every black guy running in a neighborhood isn’t a criminal suspect, especially if you never saw me commit a crime”. Despite the fact that the jogger narrative has been disproved, a retraction has not been issued.
“Don’t just get answers, processes must change so that this never happens again”, demanded former UN Ambassador and potential 2024 Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley.
Nearly all of the people who rushed to condemn the ‘white-supremacist vigilantes’ have one major thing in common: during the 2016 election, they were all never-Trumpers. Nikki Haley, currently being groomed to become the next leader of the Republican Party, has said that Donald Trump’s rhetoric is what inspired Dylan Roof to commit a deadly mass shooting in a church.
Matt Walsh called Donald Trump a “vulgar, adulterating, bullying, mob-connected, scam artist Planned Parenthood apologist who brags about his penis size and calls women dogs and claims he does not need God’s forgiveness” in a Facebook post from March 2016.
Once again, conservative leaders who fought Trump in the election have continuously worked to undermine his populist message, a pattern seen since Trump’s Inauguration. Whether or not they have made peace with the President, they continue to subvert his aims, from Jennifer Rubin writing hitpieces about Trump in the Washington Post to Charlie Kirk pushing for more immigration in the White House.
Especially before the election of 2016, it has often been said that ‘conservatism is just progressivism going the speed limit’. But since the election of Donald Trump, so called ‘principled conservatives’, ought to receive a speeding ticket as well. Charlie Kirk, founder of student organization Turning Point USA, has supported and platformed gays and drag queens. He has also called for ridiculous increases to immigration, saying we should “staple a green card to every diploma” and “we have room for 30-40 million more people”.
Bill Kristol, a prominent neoconservative and never-Trumper, has said that it would be more ‘principled’ to vote for (socialist) Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump.
Ben Shapiro, founder of The Daily Wire, said in 2016 that Trump and many other rightwing figures, was “alt-right”. Last I checked, kowtowing to a mob and regurgitating your enemy’s beliefs is the exact opposite of having principles.
But I have a question for these principled conservatives: who will support these Reaganite talking points in 2020? They galvanize nobody, and win over no one. The only consistently conservative voting bloc, white men, supports President Trump on tariffs. American towns, specifically in the rust belt, have been pillaged by free trade, as our industry moves to east Asia. Americans across the political spectrum oppose further intervention in the Middle East. It turns out multiple, multi-decade wars are not something which Americans support. And, right now, anywhere between two-thirds to four-fifths of Americans support a total moratorium on all immigration. These beliefs stand in stark contrast to those of the principled conservatives.
It seems that these ‘principled conservatives’ only differ with the radical left on economics. But maybe they don’t get the bigger picture. For example, at its current rate, immigration will wreck the fortunes of the Republican Party, with the overwhelming number of immigrants consistently voting for Democrats. These principled conservatives must understand that their support for increased immigration will be their downfall. Not to mention immigration restrictionism is incredibly popular; that was Trump’s central message in 2016.
Maybe ‘principled conservatives’ don’t see the bigger picture with the Arbery shooting either. Why is it that LeBron James defended him? Because he believes the way that the McMichaels handled the situation fails to fall under the definition of citizen’s arrest in Georgia Common Law? Of course not; it’s because he’s black. To bring it back to Trayvon Martin, what did Obama say to defend him? Did he go on some long diatribe about the rule of law? Or did he say “he would have looked like my son”? It was the second. In both cases, was the first complaint by the media that what they did was illegal? Or was it that they are white supremacist Trump supporters?
The way leftists reacted to the tragedy should illuminate how the left views tragedies like this: they view in terms of conflict. They’re gonna fight tooth and nail for their own. And it’s a conflict against conservatives, because they believe that it’s racist conservatives that did this. If they win this narrative, conservatives will be further demonized as racist and hateful. And so to see conservatives parroting this take is utterly ridiculous. Why would you support your own defeat?
Conservatives supporting slightly revised versions of leftist beliefs, such as supporting immigration, or parroting leftist narratives, as seen with Ahmaud Arbery, isn’t helping conservatism. It actually hurts conservativism, ceding more cultural and political ground to the left. It is time for conservatives to finally fight the cultural battles and truly stand in defense of our principles.