New York Times columnist Bret Stephens penned a column published Thursday that took his Never Trump cause to another level, putting he and like-minded conservatives on-par with anti-communist heroes like Czeslaw Milosz and Vaclav Havel, who fought behind the Iron Curtain against the Soviet Union.
Stephens started by revisiting former Reagan aide Mona Charen’s CPAC comments calling out attendees for their hypocrisy regarding President Trump, Roy Moore, and sexual misconduct. While some readers here might not agree, there’s nothing wrong with such a discussion about the state of modern conservatism. To be honest, it’s a conversation worth having.
However, the sensible talk stopped and we were reminded why The Times hired Stephens to publish columns in the same mold of David Brooks. He noted that “[l]iberals tend to admire NeverTrumpers because they see them as conservatives with a moral sense and, perhaps, a brain” before spilling more ink on how negatively Trump supporters view them.
Stephens completely glossed over how the liberal media loved to drive wedges between groups of people and most notably people who vote Republican. Whether it’s Ana Navarro, Jennifer Rubin, Charlie Sykes, or Nicolle Wallace, they have plenty of willing accomplices that rarely appear to discuss policy but instead attack the Trump White House because they can.
But what came next was the strangest portion in which he compared Trump skeptics on the right to anti-Soviet figures chronicled in history books, while Trump supporters are like Stalinists:
But as even minimally sentient Trumpified Republicans know, what Charen said at CPAC was true. NeverTrumpers haunt the conservative movement the way Polish or Czech dissident intellectuals such as Czeslaw Milosz and Vaclav Havel haunted that segment of Central European intelligentsia that made its peace with Stalinism after World War II.
The Trumpers (and Stalinists) traded conscience for power; the NeverTrumpers and dissidents chose the reverse. Conscience can be made to suffer, but in the end it usually wins.
That’s why NeverTrumpers matter; why the Trumpers know they matter (which they prove every time they feverishly assert the opposite); and why progressives who dismiss NeverTrumpers as politically irrelevant are wrong.
Suggesting you’re standing in front of the Trump agenda because you think it’s wrong is one thing, but it’s far less reputable to compare yourself to people who put their lives on the line for freedom.
Stephens added that “Charen can still make a positive difference” in changing hearts in minds “in a way that people like, say Elizabeth Warren cannot,” but he again undermined Trump skeptics by arguing that someone will have to play the role of the first West Germany Chancellor (Konrad Adenauer) in uniting the right after Trumpism.
He closed without any additional comparisons, but instead a firm warning for Democrats as the party moves even further to the left, as exhibited by the California Democratic Party’s refusal to endorse current Senator Dianne Feinstein for reelection.