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Jack Butler at NRO wants everyone to know that “Red-Pilled” is synonymous with “Kook Who Believes in Cuckoo-Nuts Whackadoodle Conspiracy Theories” and Jonah Goldberg nods his chins in eager wholehearted agreement. 0-+Butler takes out his four-lane-wide brush to paint those who question what we are supposed to believe about politics as deluded social outcasts who reside “in digital worlds of their own creation.” He chastises them for rejecting “superior forms of conservatism, ones that appeal to reason and to more reliable forms of knowledge and authority.” Butler goes on to say, “The redpilled also tend to have a contempt for politics as it is practiced in the real world,” to which I reply, “What rational person wouldn’t?”
The “superior forms of conservatism” Butler refers to can only mean, given where he is writing, those that have accomplished no conservative policy in this century other than tax cuts for the donor class. Butler derides Red-Pilled skeptics as conspiracy nuts, without ever addressing their beliefs, or how they arrive at them. Let’s break down some of it, won’t you?
Blue-Pilled Superior Conservative Narrative: The Republicans are the opposition party to the Democrats; representing fiscal conservatism, free markets, and individual liberty.
Red-Pilled Reality: The Republican Party is controlled opposition that rarely rolls back any policies enacted by Democrats, much less advances conservative free-market policies or fiscal responsibility. The Republican Party sent two dozen Obamacare Repeal bills to Obama’s desk when they knew they would be vetoed. They couldn’t even manage to get a single, watered-down, weak tea partial repeal to Trump’s desk when he would have signed it. Paul Ryan was presented as a fiscal hawk, but his budget deals spent even more money than “irresponsible” big spender Barack Obama asked for. When it comes to tax cuts for their donors, Republicans get those done no matter the opposition. On Border Security, on Health Care Reform, or even cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, it’s invariably “Well, gosh, we just couldn’t do it. The Democrats (or the Democrats+a few supposedly rogue Republicans) straight up blocked us. Shucky Darn. Please donate so we can fight harder next time.”
Blue-Pilled Superior Conservative Narrative: Our multiple national security agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, HLS) are populated by non-partisan professionals of unquestionable caliber and professionalism who are worthy of our esteem because of their important work protecting the nation’s interests.
Red-Pilled Reality: For some, the ultimate red pill is the track record of our national security agencies: The FBI was tipped off that the Boston Marathon bombers were up to no good and chose to ignore it. The FBI interviewed Orlando Pulse shooter Omar Mateen, but decided he wasn’t a threat. It’s been four years since the worst mass shooting in history, and the FBI has… nothing. Jim Comey’s FBI was tipped off that Larry Nassar was molesting little girls, but did nothing for a year and a half. On the other hand, the FBI sent 13 agents to check out a garage pull at a NASCAR site in North Carolina, and busted Aunt Becky for bribing a college official. (Oh, and have you been paying attention to the FBI’s utter clown-show in instigating a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer?)
It’s striking how conservative skepticism of enormous government bureaucracies utterly evaporated while Trump was president and his presidency was undermined daily by longtime bureaucratic operatives. In the words of Jonah Goldberg: “Deep-staters are now those who follow the rules in ways inconvenient to Trump’s personal desires or political ambitions.” When I was in college, the existence of the permanent bureaucracy (i.e., the Deep State) was poli sci 101. When Trump finally exposed it, suddenly the left and the Never Trump conservatives insisted the Deep State was a “conspiracy theory.”
And in the broader Federal Bureaucracy, Republicans failed to hold anyone accountable for the Obama VA Scandal that allowed 300,000 veterans to die waiting for care, or anyone at the EPA accountable for dumping a million gallons of toxic waste into the Animas River, or anyone at the IRS accountable for targeting conservative groups for harassment, or anyone at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms accountable for the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal. But only nutty, red-pilled conspiracy theorists believe that our bureaucratic state is corrupt, incompetent, and never held to account.
Blue-Pilled Superior Conservative Narrative: The Justice system, while imperfect, largely succeeds at dispensing justice impartially and equitably.
Red-Pilled Reality: Hundreds of January 6 protesters are being held in jail indefinitely on nonviolent misdemeanor charges while the FBI destroys people simply for being present in Washington DC on January 6th. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters who burned neighborhoods and looted businesses are released the same day with charges eventually dropped entirely. It certainly looks like the level of “Justice” one receives depends on one’s political alignment and social status.
Certainly, there are some people who take the red-pill thing too far and believe in some crazy stuff. (“Yes, that’s exactly what I would expect one of the Bilderberger Lizard People to say.”) But Butler is using those nuts to justify establishment conservatives who consider their skeptics a bunch of “rabble,.”
Being red-pilled just means you’ve been paying attention, thinking critically, and recognizing that a lot of what you have been told to believe just isn’t so.Published in