the national interest

Conservatives: We Never Liked Jonathan Krohn

Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879 - 1940) working on his book 'The History of the Russian Revolution' in his study at Principe, Gulf of Guinea.
Another figure whose contributions to the cause turn out, in retrospect, to be overrated. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Conservatives are enraged that one of their leaders has abandoned them to curry favor with the liberal establishment. I refer, of course, to Jonathan Krohn, who captivated a CPAC audience and authored a hit book as a 13-year-old, and is now a 17-year-old ex-conservative. The more respectable organs of conservative thought are still tied up in reading John Roberts out of the movement for his treason, so the task of ritually excommunicating Krohn has fallen to the Daily Caller.

Putatively a news story, the Daily Caller’s piece is an exercise in cleansing conservatives of the humiliation they now feel for having celebrated a child as an intellectual thought leader. Once they gloried in his rise. William Bennett boasted that Krohn — as a ten-year-old! — used to call in to his radio show offering “keen” insights. Now the Daily Caller informs us that Krohn had actually just been parroting his mother’s brilliant insights:

On, where Krohn’s self-published book “Defining Conservatism” still sells, numerous reviewers blamed her for allegedly coaching her son and using him for publicity. 

When I spoke with him, I got the impression he was merely repackaging what someone else had told him.

Ah, so she was the brains behind this brilliant manifesto of conservative thought. Somebody get that woman a book contract pronto!

We also now learn that Krohn in 2009 was “smug, condescending, and obviously completely ignorant of what he was saying,” reviews quite at odds with the Daily Caller’s assessment at the time. The story also hilariously reports that Politico orchestrated the whole thing as a political hit: “Nevertheless, in an effort to “make the right look bad,” a source familiar with Krohn told The Daily Caller, Politico deliberately portrayed Krohn’s shift from staunch tween conservative to teenage liberal college-bound idealist as a brave and unusual move.” I am not sure how “a source familiar with Krohn” would be in a position to confirm that Politico planted the story in order to embarrass conservatives. I think you would need a source familiar with Politico’s editorial decision-making to confirm that.

Because obviously nothing about the actual events — conservatives praising a child as a great intellectual and encouraging portent of generational change, only to see him outgrow his talk radio worldview — would inherently reflect poorly on the state of conservative thought. Any sense of regret or reflection conservatives feel about this episode must instead be channeled into rage at the treasonous Krohn.

Conservatives: We Never Liked Jonathan Krohn