The Problem With Conservative Purges

A recently posted commentary by Ben Shapiro on National Review Online caught my attention. Contrary to the misleading view that the evolution of the conservative movement has been a generally harmonious development (toward ever greater moderation), Shapiro provides a different perspective. The leaders of his movement have been busily purging dissenters on the Right for decades; and Shapiro presents this example of industrious house cleaning to his friends on the Left as something they might want to emulate. Shapiro complains that his side has done its duty by “ousting bigotry,” but the Left, which only occasionally “slams” its baddies, has just not been as fastidious.

I shall admit to having a horse in this race. One of my young friends, Darren Beatty, who spoke at an organization of which I’m president, the H.L. Mencken Club, was fired as a speech writer by the Trump administration for consorting with “white nationalists.” Several cogent articles have already appeared, two on the American Greatness website, proving that our organization is not in any way a white supremacist one. These commentaries also show that Darren’s speech, which dealt with educational standards, had nothing to do with racial issues, and that his dismissal as a speechwriter for the Trump administration was an unmitigated outrage. All the same Ben thinks that it was commendable that Darren was fired, after CNN denounced Darren and after the SPLC had unkind things to say about the Mencken Club. Never mind that Shapiro and his colleagues at National Review have been similarly smeared by the same groups. Moreover, two years ago, Slate in a discussion of the Mencken Club, found us far less objectionable than Ben’s colleagues at National Review,…

Read more