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Young Robespierre


That is the horrifying moment that the anti-gun movement lost the chance of ever winning me over. David Hogg is emerging as a skinny young Robespierre, so filled with righteousness and certainty, and stone-cold purity. I have no problem at all with him criticizing Marco Rubio or any other lawmaker, and criticizing them strongly. But what that kid said goes way beyond that. And he’s being cheered on by adults who know better, but who find him useful. What a disgusting little creep David Hogg is — but not as disgusting as the grown-ups who are using him for their own cause.

More of the inspiring oratory of Young Master Hogg here.




UPDATE.2: Today I was talking with a conservative friend, and we were both shaking our heads over Trump and his crackpot ways. My friend said, with a sigh, “The thing is, we can’t let the left get back in there in 2020.” He laid out his view that as bad as Trump is — and my friend is much more liberal on economics than most conservatives — to allow the left to take power in this country would be a disaster for social conservatives.

This anti-gun rally and the rhetoric around the anti-gun movement is exactly why. Read the comments on this thread. The left has made these children from that high school untouchable. You cannot question them, or doubt them, or in any way criticize them and their cause. This is how it always is with the left and its Sacred Victims. The left — and I’m generalizing here; I know this doesn’t apply to all liberals — is so militant about policing speech that in some places where it holds political power, it punishes people who use the wrong pronouns for transgender people. And yet, when a high schooler stands in front of a mass rally in Washington and says this of a US Senator:

“I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida.”

… this is considered brave, heroic, praiseworthy.

Imagine if someone who escaped the Twin Towers on 9/11 stood before a pro-war rally in 2002 and accused a US Senator who had, I dunno, received campaign contributions from Islamic interests, of taking money for every person killed by the terrorists on that day. Would that not have shocked and appalled you? It ought to have done.

Marco Rubio is a politician, and is fair game for harsh criticism. But that kind of talk from that fatmouthing kid — and the fact that it is cheered by the media and the left (but I repeat myself) — sends a signal to every member of the NRA, and to every law-abiding gun owner in America, that these people consider them to have blood on their hands. To be child-killers — this, even though we know that law enforcement and school bureaucrats also bear the burden of blame for what happened at that school.

It’s waving a bloody flag. There will be consequences to that kind of rhetoric. You watch.

And please, don’t say, “But Trump!” He has been grotesquely irresponsible in his own political rhetoric. I don’t defend that for one second.

UPDATE.3: Jones, making sense as usual:

“No. Just no. These kids have a different reality and you or I (I’m 58). We didn’t have “lockdown drills” because we might get shot.”

The actual number of students killed in school shootings in America since 2000: 250. That’s over 18 years, in a nation of 300,000,000 people.

So lockdown drills are a bit of hysterical security theater.

As a Muslim, and an immigrant, I’ve already seen the demagogic use of exceptional, sensational acts of violence for political mass manipulation (see, e.g., Muslim ban). All of the arguments that were invalid in that context, are invalid in this one. Liberals seem downright overjoyed that they get to play this game now too. But demagoguery for thee is also demagoguery for me.

Claiming that privileged American teenagers in upper middle class high schools should literally be running around in fear of their lives is to express profound contempt for the enormous number of people, both in this country and around the world, who do actually have reason to fear for their lives. The hysterically named “March for Our Lives” made a decent pass at appropriating the suffering of inner-city black youth, but that’s clearly not what is driving all of this. No one was “Marching for Our Lives” when people were dying in Chiraq, like they still are. And that’s mostly young black men involved in some form of crime. Not photogenic enough to play “victims” for the mass media.

Meanwhile John Bolton is about to try to start World War III, but this actual threat to our (and many, many other people’s) lives is not the kind of thing worth marching for, apparently.

UPDATE.4: One more thing about all this. As longtime readers know, I lived in New York on 9/11. Stood on the Brooklyn Bridge and watched the first tower fall. Smelled the sweetness in the smoke for days, and learned from a friend who had lived through the war in Beirut that it was burning human flesh. I went to firefighters’ funerals that fall, and grieved like everybody else grieved. I burned with white-hot anger at the terrorists, and believed that if I didn’t give in to that anger, I was in some sense breaking faith with the victims.

I cringe to think about some of the things that surely must have come out of my mouth in the year that followed. David Hogg-like stuff, no doubt. The hate felt good. It really did. It also felt good to hate those who cautioned me and others about our rhetoric. Fools and cowards, they were, as far as I was concerned.

I allowed that righteous anger to justify my cheerleading for the catastrophic Iraq War. I was the fool, and I was the coward, because I was afraid to interrogate my own rage. I regret bitterly being so eager to hate, and thinking of myself as someone who got a free pass on that, because hey, I lived a mile or two from Ground Zero, so who are you to tell me that my feelings are wrong, huh?!

That’s what’s happening here too.

UPDATE.5.: Writer for Commentary magazine:


UPDATE.6: To clarify (because this isn’t clear to many commenters): I support tightening gun laws. I supported this before Parkland. I support it in spite of this media-glorified movement. I do not support this movement. I was indifferent to mildly positive about the movement, but I now believe that its intentions are to smear anybody who disagrees as an accessory to mass murder. Same as the LGBT movement smeared those who disagreed, especially when it comes to LGBT programs in schools, as causing suicides.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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