What do we do when a prominent "conservative" becomes a troll? Earlier this week I posted a seemingly innocuous tweet
about the tragic state of affairs in Italy.
I pointed out that "when a society forgets to love and protect their elderly that society loses its soul." These were heartfelt sentiments regarding a humanitarian disaster, worsened considerably by the presence of socialized medicine. Yet some conservatives found them unacceptable. Why?
Perhaps the strangest and most befuddling reply came from Candace Owens, who suggested that expressing human emotion is a slippery slope leading to socialism. "Not picking on you, because you are one of many — but this is the very same emotional argument for socialism," Owens replied to me.
"I (once again) am finding myself disagreeing with both the Left and the Right. Will do a periscope later tonight on my opinion on coronavirus," she added. Having some respect for Owens' activism in conservative circles, I checked out her Periscope about the COVID-19 coronavirus panic, one of several she has broadcast since the crisis began. Her analysis was far from impressive, relying mainly on demagoguery, and talking points rather than any sort of a substantive critique of the data and evidence.
"We have spent the last couple of years listening to socialists and leftists say that our borders should be porous. Overnight, we are seeing them turn into conservatives, and they want the border shut down by any means possible," Owens claimed on her Periscope, giving no examples to substantiate her argument.
"On the flip side of that, we are having conservatives who have been screaming about the necessity for individual freedom, for free market and capitalism, almost transform into socialists overnight in terms of what they want for the government to do to solve this issue," she added.
She went on to compare conservatives to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for "making emotional arguments" about why we should jettison our rights, and brought up the foolishness of certain individuals ignoring warnings to justify why the rest of us should do the same. As if conservatives should not try to set an example and lead responsibly, rather than shrugging our shoulders and letting a pandemic worsen needlessly.
Such libertarian cheap shots demonstrate Owens' lack of understanding of what it means to be a modern conservative. True conservatism recognizes that the government's first responsibility is the safety and well-being of its citizens — hence President Trump's America First doctrine. Conservatives believe in free markets, but not at the expense of everything else. Free markets are merely a means to provide prosperity to as many people as possible. But America is a nation of people, not a series of economic cogs with dollar signs etched into their foreheads.
Owens' narrow ideological prism has prevented many from grasping the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, and that's dangerous. Many conservatives, who have been misled by the media regarding illness panics many times before, are refusing to admit the dire facts about COVID-19. The "under-hypers" like Owens keep moving the goal posts to prop up their failing arguments, potentially jeopardizing the health of their followers.
Owens and her ilk point to H1N1 during the early days of the Obama Administration, showing that there were more infections and more deaths but less hysteria. What they fail to mention is that herd immunity already existed because H1N1 was a strain of the seasonal flu. COVID-19 is a novel virus, which means the entire human population is the upper limit. We are in uncharted waters with this crisis.
While President Trump initially aligned with Owens' camp of downplaying the virus, he does so no longer. Trump has received the memo that this is not some liberal conspiracy to derail the Trump economy or his reelection chances. He is now taking decisive action at the federal level to combat the pandemic.
Will Owens deride President Trump for his crucial leadership in this time of crisis? Will she call the president a "socialist" for trying to help working Americans weather the storm?
Owens further discredits herself with her callous mischaracterization of the Italian people. In a since-deleted tweet, Owens said: "Also — just as a point of historical accuracy, the WW2 Italians fought with the Nazis. Not implying they deserve to die, just implying that it may be a trickier hill to the climb in terms of pulling at heartstrings when we had to send our young boys over to die bc of it."
The vast majority of sick and dying Italians today were only babies or small children during the time of World War II. Owens is committing a sinister libel against a great nation and a people with nothing to apologize over. This is especially shameful considering she has been maligned in similar fashion by Democrats as being "pro-Hitler" for out-of-context comments she once made.
Ironically, the notion that people should be punished because of the sins of their forefathers is the kind of emotional and illogical argument that Owens claims to oppose. It is commonly used by Marxists as a justification for socialism, and Owens is helping to perpetrate this insipid trope.
Owens' routine may have sufficed in 2017 and 2018 when we were still riding the crest of the Trump wave. But her act has worn thin, and her nonsense is doing real damage to the credibility of the Republican Party. She needs to sober up and realize that not every media story is an anti-Trump conspiracy. Certain events like a pandemic should be taken at face value. Public safety demands it, and so does the conservative movement.
Gavin Wax is president of The New York Young Republican Club, an Associate Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and publisher of The Schpiel. His work has appeared in Townhall, The Daily Caller, The Hill, The Washington Examiner, The Federalist, and Newsmax. He is a frequent guest on Fox News. You can follow him on Twitter @GavinWax. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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