A few weeks ago, National Review writer David French discussed the repercussions he and his family faced from the alt-right because of his criticism of Donald Trump in an interview with CBC Radio. You can listen to the full audio here.
Needless to say, French and his family suffered horrible abuse at the hands of alt-right Trump supporters, who, among other things, photoshopped a picture of his daughter being thrown into a gas chamber by Trump in a Nazi uniform. The French family understandably felt threatened.
Now, I don’t expect French to switch allegiances and join the left or liberals in response to this. I don’t expect him to seriously consider that the conservative ideology he’s devoted his life to may, may, have in party contributed to the alt-right’s rise (shocker: it did). But I would expect him to have a bit more of a backbone and continue his efforts against them instead of focusing so much attention on Democrats and liberals. Right? Mmmm, nope. Here’s a sample of articles French wrote in the days after the interview was posted:
And that was before the election. His immediate reaction when the results were in?
You know what that’s about: you don’t want Trump to fail, because then the country fails, etc. etc. Worrying that his election and possible appointees will legitimize and mainstream the alt-right? Not so much. But hey, give credit where credit is due. I don’t want Trump to fail simply because I want a repudiation of everything he stands for, though a repudiation would be nice. I don’t want that because a Trump failure would mean millions of people—at home and abroad—would suffer needlessly, and I am not on board with Green Party-types who hope his election will cause a collapse that will spur a progressive awakening. But surely French would recognize the threat that Trump poses, and that instead of worrying about progressives, liberals, and Democrats (who were soundly defeated, at least in the technical sense), he should worry about his own house, namely ‘principled conservatives’ who compromise those principles to work with a white nationalist, right? Nope:
French isn’t the only writer doing this, obviously. But the National Review prides itself on being the intellectual hub of American conservatism (even though they still idolize William F. Buckley, Jr., whose own racism and bigotry set the magazine’s standard of being on the wrong side of virtually everything), and snuggling up to the Trump administration with only a soft rejection here and there while denouncing the left whenever the criticize Trump should reveal them to be the simple partisan hack factory they are. But it won’t.
David French and his family did not deserve the abuse and threats they received. And because I did not suffer the same threats from what is obviously a very violent force (did French ever receive a deluge of hate from the left that’s actually comparable?), I cannot judge him too harshly for backing off. But French isn’t merely taking a step back from even bothering to identify the gross underbelly of America risen to the surface—he’s continuing the same path of blaming the imaginary leftist juggernaut in his head for everything bad that happens. Caveat emptor.