Do you want to be famous?
Would you like the media to call you up to pontificate about whatever is on your mind?
There’s an easy formula to follow – if you have even the slightest track record as a conservative.
All you have to do is renounce your earlier beliefs and embrace liberal orthodoxy.
It’s that simple.
That’s what a previously unknown 17-year-old by the name of Jonathan Krohn did – and it’s paying off.
He’s the subject of a profile in Politico this week – and, I predict, the sky’s the limit from here. Before you know it, he’ll be a guest on MSNBC, CNN and the talk of the town when he begins his freshman year at New York University in the fall.
According to the article, “Jonathan Krohn took the political world by storm at 2009′s Conservative Political Action Conference when, at just 13 years old, he delivered an impromptu rallying cry for conservatism that became a viral hit and had some pegging him as a future star of the Republican Party.”
Somehow I missed this memorable speech – or forgot it. He also wrote a book called “Defining Conservatism,” which is currently ranked 2,338,880 at Amazon – and not rising.
What is Krohn talking about today? The 17-year-old’s 15 minutes of fame is based on what he said and wrote when he was a 13-year-old conservative.
“I think it was naive,” Krohn now says of the CPAC speech. “It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time. … I live in Georgia. We’re inundated with conservative talk in Georgia. … The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough.”
That’s right. You’ve got to be at least 17 to know it all.
Today, Krohn is a new man. He’ll probably vote for Obama, he says. He likes same-sex marriage. He likes Obamacare.
“One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative,” said Krohn. “It just didn’t seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues. … I think I’ve changed a lot, and it’s not because I’ve become a liberal from being a conservative – it’s just that I thought about it more. The issues are so complex – you can’t just go with some ideological mantra for each substantive issue.”
Politico finds all this newsworthy because “Krohn is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older, a shift he attributes partly to philosophy.”
Older? Like 17?
Actually, it’s a fact that people tend to become more conservative as they take on responsibility – like getting a job, getting married, having kids, paying taxes – not everyone, of course, but that’s the undeniable trend. People like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are the exceptions. Krohn’s light-speed political metamorphosis, meanwhile, has taken place while still living under the care of his parents.
“I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff,” Krohn said. “I started getting into philosophy – Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers – Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful. It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it.”
I don’t know if Krohn has gotten to the end of Nietzsche’s story. He ended up institutionalized for insanity.
That’s where nihilism leads when you conclude life has no meaning and there is no such thing as ultimate truth.
But Krohn, at 17, sees it differently: “I think I’ve just matured overall.”