Via Flickr

Blaze TV host Tomi Lahren announced last Friday on ABC’s The View she believes the gov­ernment should not outlaw abortion. Sub­se­quently, the Blaze sus­pended her show and may ter­minate her con­tract early.

As recently as three months ago, however, Lahren called abortion murder. While some con­ser­v­a­tives took to social media to express shock at this abrupt reversal, no one should really act sur­prised she changed tack in front of a leftist audience.

Lahren says whatever makes her popular at any given time. She does not “tell it like it is,” she tells people what they want to hear. For a long time, Lahren fed on right-wing angst, and now she’s looking to expand her base by speaking out of the other side of her mouth.

“I’m pro choice, and here’s why,” Lahren said, to applause from the studio audience. “I am a con­sti­tu­tional … someone that loves the Con­sti­tution. I’m someone that’s for limited gov­ernment. So I can’t sit here and be a hyp­ocrite and say I’m for limited gov­ernment but I think the gov­ernment should decide what women do with their bodies.”

Lahren engaged in a despi­cable display of intel­lectual dis­honesty when she spewed the untruth that con­ser­v­ative pro-lifers hold a hyp­o­critical position. In fact, she took the only inco­herent, hyp­o­critical position a sup­porter of limited gov­ernment could when it comes to abortion.

In “Fed­er­alist 51,” James Madison artic­u­lated the truth at the heart of all con­ser­v­ative political thought: “But what is gov­ernment itself, but the greatest of all reflec­tions on human nature? If men were angels, no gov­ernment would be nec­essary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal con­trols on gov­ernment would be nec­essary.”

For true con­sti­tu­tion­alists, gov­ernment exists to ener­get­i­cally secure cit­izens’ natural rights, often by pro­hibiting the types of action those cit­izens can take. We the people endowed our gov­ernment with the sacred oblig­ation to protect all human life, espe­cially the lives of the weakest members of society — the unborn.

Lahren rejected these vital con­vic­tions. For her, ratings and celebrity trumped intel­lectual integrity and a com­mitment to prin­ciples. Con­ser­v­a­tives ought to applaud the Blaze for taking a stand against this fool­ishness. But, the movement cannot simply move on and ignore this con­tro­versy like nothing hap­pened.

The con­ser­v­ative movement has an enduring dem­agogy problem because the Tomi Lahrens of the world dom­inate right-wing media outlets. When they gave a platform to pro­fes­sional pop­ulists like Lahren and countless other sophists, they sold prin­ciples for pop­u­larity, driving a stake through the heart of the movement on their rise to the top.

In “The Con­ser­v­ative Mind,” con­ser­v­ative intel­lectual Russell Kirk wrote, “Whether the con­ser­v­ative impulse within modern society can suffice to prevent the dis­in­te­gration of the moral order and the civil order by the ver­tig­inous speed of alter­ation .. hang[s] upon how well con­ser­v­a­tives apprehend their pat­rimony.”

Lahren’s abortion flip-flop shows that angry media per­son­al­ities do not use their immense pop­u­larity to renew repub­lican liberty. She and her ilk do not take Kirk’s call to “redeem the times” and restore our pol­itics and culture seri­ously. Instead, they incite faction and divide the people to profit on drummed-up con­tro­versy, cheap insults, and fear-mon­gering.

When men like Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, and Harry Jaffa led the movement, con­ser­v­a­tives fought for ideas. We fought to pre­serve the western and American her­itage we study here at Hillsdale. We fought to protect the innate dignity of human beings and defend their fragile but pre­cious com­mu­nities.

The movement lost its soul when it let pop­ulists redefine con­ser­vatism. We sold out what made America great for primetime shows, roaring crowds, bundles of cash, and “access” to the levers of power in Wash­ington, D.C. The con­ser­v­ative movement became exactly what its founders com­bated.

In spite of recent turmoil, we should feel encouraged that Lahren exposed herself as a huckster, because it pro­vides us an oppor­tunity clarify the prin­ciples for which we stand. This is the moment for the con­ser­v­ative movement to win back its soul and cast out the char­latans that have dom­i­nated it for so many years.

Figures like Yuval Levin, Glenn Beck, and Hillsdale’s own pres­ident Larry Arnn provide an insightful, Con­sti­tution-cen­tered alter­native to the screaming heads on cable news. The movement needs to promote those voices to remind the American people that Tomi Lahren’s does not speak for con­ser­vatism.

Our ded­i­cation to the per­manent things is far too important for us to let shrill pop­ulists charade as con­ser­v­a­tives. It is time to take back our movement, once and for all.

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Michael Lucchese
Michael Lucchese ‘18 is majoring in American Studies, and is a member of the Dow Journalism Program. In addition to the Collegian, he has also contributed to The Federalist, Acculturated, Conservative Review, and several other publications. In 2015, he reported on national security and foreign policy for Breitbart News. He also hosts a weekly radio show, The Michael Lucchese Show on Radio Free Hillsdale WRFH 101.7 FM. e-mail: Twitter: @MichaelLucchese
  • Camus53

    Suggest Mr. Luc­chese read Goldwater’s writings and muses.

    BTW…Arnn is not a Con­ser­v­ative. He is all about money and power, long ago selling the soul of the college to the plu­tocracy of “con­ser­vatism” that now parades around this country claiming that they, and only they, have the answers and solu­tions.