Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Why children should be seen and not heard

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Jonathan Krohn gave a conservative speech at 13 at CPAC and was a hit in 2009. (Ann Coulter is a hit with CPAC audiences, too.) Now he’s 17, and he thinks he’s smarter.

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.

Now 17, Krohn — who went on to write a book, “Defining Conservatism,” that was blurbed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett — still watches that speech from time to time, but it mostly makes him cringe because, well, he’s not a conservative anymore.

“I think it was naive,” Krohn now says of the 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.”

Krohn won’t go so far as to say he’s liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general.

“I want to be Jonathan Krohn,” he said, “and I’m tired of being an ideology, and it’s not fun and it gets boring and it’s not who we are as individuals.”

Os as Alex Pareene put it, “13-year-old conservative pundit is now 17-year-old David Frum.”

If the “speech” (it was a statement on a panel) was something a 13-year-old does, being a stupid, whiny teenager is something that a 17-year-old does.

“People don’t realize I was 14 when I wrote that book. I’m 17 now. In terms of my life, three years is a long time in a 17-year-old’s life.” Remember, you’re supposed to take that line seriously.

Krohn’s move away from conservatism posed two risks: First, the wrath of his conservative parents. (That was quickly and pleasantly overcome: “Neither of them were overjoyed, but it didn’t really make a difference in their respect and love for me.”) Second, the discarding of a surefire path to success within the conservative movement.

Krohn said that family and friends noted “all of the opportunities” available to him in the world of politics, but giving that up “didn’t faze me because I really didn’t want to do anything that would compromise my beliefs as an individual.”

Yes, turning your back on conservatism can be very harmful to one’s career and reputation, just ask David Brock, Gary Wills and Arianna Huffington. The fact that I never even heard of this kid until Politico dug him up again says a lot about his future prospects. “Dig me, I more mature and liberal now.”

He’s 17. He shouldn’t have been listened to at 13, and he shouldn’t be listened to now. When he’s 27, let me know if he’s held a job yet, is married and has any children. Then I’ll ask him what he thinks of the stupid 17 year old.

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