As I’m sure you have all read by now, a young commentator by the name of Tomi Lahren has been making headlines for a very public flopping of policy position on abortion. These thoughts have been inspired by her situation but I don’t want to address her specifically. Rather I think it would be more valuable for us to take a little bit of time right now and discuss the “outrage-right” as a whole phenomenon. After all media figures like her are all the rage right now and actually have been for some time, it is only with the rise of the MAGA movement though that we have seen them start to come in to a truly ascendant position in the national conscience.
I call it the Coulter Effect because within my politically self-aware life time Ann Coulter was the first individual I really observed doing this. There are of course many of them, they litter talk radio and television, after all who in America no longer knows the names Sean Hannity and Alex Jones? These figures and those like them all share one very distinct common trait; they all ply their trade very specifically in popular “insurgent” outrage games and mask it in a very thin veneer of philosophy and theory in an attempt to make it respectable.
Before even Trump they were gaining influence on the political right. The Tea Party welcomed them with open arms as a means to enflame the hearts of activists. Make a desert with your hot takes, “troll” the opposition in to submission, go on explosive folksy tirades for your viewers, and most importantly never fail to make your opinions; it can be any opinion, known at the highest possible decibel range. The Tea Party needed this as it was an activist phenomenon and such things need both anger and public faces to maintain their momentums, we see the same thing with the anti-Trump “resistance” today.
After the Tea Parties had their time in the sun however this effect failed to go away. Buoyed by electoral victories the activist right became firmly entrenched and established itself as force here to stay. So their public voices continued to take verbally volatile stances against anything and everything the Democratic incumbents brought forward. The only litmus test here was that their outrage be targeted at Democrats and those conservatives who would dare suggest compromise.
Then came their promised messiah, Donald J Trump, this was a man who thought just like they did. Who thought that every single measure of the Obama administration was a spectacular failure. Not only that but he spoke like them, with explosive savage that rang across the nation on notes of fury. It didn’t matter what he was actually saying during the primaries and election, and it certainly doesn’t matter now so long as he continues to wear their R and continues to stay bitter and angry with the world.
Their critical mistake however was when they stopped caring about what they thought and began to care only about the party affiliation and the organic response to the latest rant. These media figures in their rush to anoint and defend their blue dog king have willfully abandoned many traditional right wing principles. They continue to wrap their speeches in our language and beliefs, maybe even convincing themselves that they still believe it.
It must stop. In the current climate it is dangerous to admit this, but we must look to the true ideologues to keep us on course. It is now more important than ever for the people with real beliefs and real reasons why they think something to speak up. I’ve written about this a lot recently; we are now in a time for courage as conservatives. We must be willing to boldly assert our ideas while being intellectually honest about how to achieve them. We can’t do this while we continue to worship scandal and its repudiation though. It is now time to let cooler heads prevail, it is time to let the true voices of reason guide our principles on the right. Only by casting out and demanding better of these self-serving outrage mongers of chaotic brand building can we home to accomplish the sort of reforms this country needs the most desperately.