As a writer, Ben Howe is a good IT guy, and as a critical thinker, he’s an absolute DaVinci with Sarah Palin’s cleavage.
But Ben Howe thinks he’s good at both. Hence the title.
I met Ben once, at the 2011 CPAC convention, sitting among friends of RedState.. I couldn’t help but be taken by his posture, or should I say, imposture, for he struck a pose much like Bill Buckley interviewing a Rutgers law student, his head thrown back, speaking as if he were holding court with after-school delinquents, while our entire assemblage was more then 20 years his senior and had already forgotten things about conservatism he had not yet even learned. I think Ben was about 33 at the time, but spoke with the gravity of an English vicar officiating a gay wedding. (I later learned this to be a trait among RedState editors even younger then Ben, so assume the pose of “gravitas” has replaced “sincerity” as the thing his generation most needs to be able to fake in order to rise among Beltway media.) Stroking the false beard, as it were, is a thing Ben can’t quite pull it off in the company of veterans. But God knows, he tried.
Speaking of God, Ben and I also shared membership in a by-invitation-only private email group of RedState writers. Neither of us were regular attendees, if I recall, but he did get angry once when I used the term “goddam”, which I often use in the same manner William Buckley did in the title of his book “Cancel Your own Goddam Subscription”. Like WFB, I like to fire for effect, but it outraged Ben, which I thought laudable, displaying a sensitivity I respect, as I have used myself. In the YMCA shower room, among profane young men, I asked if any of them know what that “C” stands for in YMCA. “Even if you don’t, many of the older members here do, and they are quite sensitive about it.”
But today I consider Ben’s sensitivity a little hokey, if he even mentions it, as I do the “professional Christianity” of Erick Erickson. EE seems to alway glorify himself when he mentions God, giving me the sense that #IMatterMost is his true highest calling. Although I’m not sure where Ben stands with God anymore, I sense the same self-glorification as his old boss. I never visit RedState anymore, but from second-hand information I sense that many of the younger RedState crew seems to have the same sort of identity conflicts with Christian morality and mockery as Bruce Jenner has picking out clothes at Kohls. On the business side of their world, apparently God and many so-called Christian conservatives are as compatible as oil and water…ironically a sin they’ve appointed to themselvcs to judge among others, especially in the private business sector.
It wasn’t with Ben Howe in mind that I wrote last week “Missionizing Millennials, Saving Ben Shapiro”, for he is an “internet generation” ahead of Ben Shapiro. But there’s the comment one writer mentioned about that photoshop of Sarah’s cleavage, “I suppose that’s a funny picture… if you have the mentality of an emotionally underdeveloped frat boy, but to most adults, it isn’t”….that causes one to pause and consider the maturity level of whose approval he seeks.
I dabbled in psychology as a trial lawyer, (which I once was) trying to understand the motives of others. Consider; if Ben Shapiro, age 32, a very successful second-wave internet figure (mentioned above) has his own Wikipedia page, while the other Ben…Howe…aged 38 or so, arriving on the scene in wave No 1 ten years before, still does not, then does Ben Howe see his standing in the Club moving up or moving down? Ben’s not alone and represents an awful lot of people, not just at RedState, including many names you know much better. A changing of the guard is taking place and has been going on long before Donald Trump became a part of the equation.
Many are afraid of being left behind, or worse, with the rise of Shapiro’s newer second generation, being made irrelevant in the celebrity-based sandbox they’ve been playing in for a decade. At 40, you either create your own moon to orbit the center of the earth, as some, Michelle Malkin, have successfully done, and Erick Erickson is desperately trying to do ever since I’ve known him, well before Trump, or you hang up your cleats and go back to what you did best.
For this sort of mindset, up to and including the likes of Bill Kristol and Karl Rove, with much larger moons in orbit, Donald Trump quite unexpectedly represents a shaking out of the very order of their entire world, top to bottom. (If I wanted to get biblical I could say Trump represents a “Flood”, but I won’t.). In Ben’s world of tiny satellites, the best and brightest of that first internet wave he rode in on has mostly moved on, even upward, people such as Tucker Carlson, who will have no problem being successful in a post-Trump diluvian world. He’ll be even better at 50. Some of my favorite writers at RedState, most of whom were professional in something else, e.g., Labor UnionReport, Vladimir, have a clear idea of the conservative mission and will also prosper and continue to contribute, somewhere, somehow.
Ben Howe’s run, not as a very good IT guy or visual production specialist, which he is, but as a deep thinker, may be nearing an end. He was never very good at it. Maybe the grease paint and klieg lights got to him. The day of the shallow-pool-of-warm piss conservatives is nearing an end. The Ben Shapiro wave, still largely a blank slate, offers better material to work with, assuming there are qualified people to give them a hand up.
That’s why even if either Ben Shapiro or Milo Yiannopolous have chosen wrong in 2016 (one against Trump, the other for) their careers will likely survive…while, if Ben Howe proves wrong, his tiny little orbiting asteroid could spin off into space and his celebrity fail as quickly as Milli Vanilli did in 1977?
I don’t read Ben’s pearls of wisdom at RedState, but from time to time I do visit his twitter page to pick up pearls there. While I don’t like him, I confess a morbid concern about his soul, all because of that outburst about my blasphemy…as if offering his service to Hillary over on Satan’s side of the political ledger isn’t blasphemy writ much larger..
Recently Ben tweeted: “Marxism is not worse than fascism. They’re both incompatible with our way of life. That’s why Hillary vs Trump doesn’t matter.” (Celestial choir in the background.)
Where to start on all that train wreck of misinformation? Technically, Marxism is different from fascism, but only if seen from the top down. From the bottom-up, they both hurt just about the same, and in the same way. So much, then, for Ben’s scope of vision and conservatism’s connection with those living on the bottom. Ben’s allusion is that Hillary is Marxist while Trump is fascist. But on closer inspection, from one who knew her when Ben Howe was still in middle school, Hillary Clinton was always less a Marxist than one who just liked being in their orbit during her formative years. Saul Alinsky would have considered her an “easy target” in the same way the Philby spy ring was recruited in Cambridge in the 1930s, inasmuch as their base psychology…a spoiled superiority complex, a tinge of homosexuality, and a vain need to be appreciated for their specialness. Hillary lost her Marxism the first time a Tyson family member ran a thousand dollar bill through her trailer park in Arkansas. Hillary’s been in the game for the money and privileges ever since. Her path to privilege has always been in exchanging political favors for money and power.
So, the fascist in Ben Howe’s equation is Hillary Clinton, and the entire fat-cat wing of the Democrat Party, with whom, ironically, he’s signing up with in order to defeat the fascist-in-his-mind-only, Donald Trump. Ben needs to bone up on his homework
Law: if a corporation comes to a government officer and offers money in exchange for favors you have bribery; prosecutable corruption. But if, instead, the government comes to the private corporation offering special favors, such as picking winners and losers, then you have fascism.
But even a blind hog can find the occasional acorn. Right?
Misdiagnosing Hillary does not necessarily mean Ben Howe’s wrong about Donald Trump. Trump could still turn out just as Ben Howe imagines. Ben Howe, and many others …could be right, only for none of the reasons they cite since they rely on a kind of clairvoyance common to Trump detractors, who always seem to divine his intentions. Their hatred is more visceral and more personal. What specifically has Donald Trump said or done that is fascist in nature? Or actually offends them? And isn’t this question actually moot now that Ben has signed on with a real-live fascist in order to defeat Trump?
Short of proof, the thing that seems to bind all the vitriolic anti-Trumpsters together, “one ring to bind them…” is money, celebrity and status and the risk of losing it.
#NeverTrump is an advertising slogan, no more, no less than “We try harder” which once upon a time was a byword for conservatism. It’s practitioners are called ad-men, not conservatives. They are paid, and their rice bowls depend on them getting that slogan being passed around as widely as possible. But since its unintended spawn, #NeverHillary, will likely surpass it long before November, it’s had its uses, I suppose. Still, it is now a dying emblem and will soon be as uncool as a wearing a striped tie with a plaid shirt. Still some, for the reasons stated, will cling to the idea behind it and will eventually crash and burn. I don’t care, for I can find no deep love of America and certainly not God’s plan for America in them. They are selfish and self-glorifying.
But Ben Howe in still young, and very skilled, and should jettison his scrapbook of photoshops of great teats and go with hardcore tech work. There will always be a good living there. In the meantime, he should spend 10 years growing in wisdom and knowledge, and in the real study of both, learning just what conservatism is, then capture it. Then come back to the political world when in his late 40s; or early 50s.. He will see many people he knows now, who have been on a similar journey. More importantly, my generation will be dying and in need of replacement. #JustinTime. This is how the torch is passed. But you can’t carry a torch if you have no fire, and #OnlyIMatter is as cold as a witch’s teat….so you will find no relief with Hillary.
For the rest of you, in the meantime, remember all the old timers who have been manning the ramparts of conservatism as volunteers while these kids sort things out. We have nothing but mature adults here at UnifiedPatriots, and I have had the pleasure to know, but never meet, some of the finest Americans, who I swear, sometimes are holding this country together with their teeth, their knuckles bleeding. “These few, these happy few,….” mostly retired, a couple buried, none have never been paid a penny for their efforts. We’ve been holding down the fort for several years while this shaking out of our brighter youth takes place. I can think of several other sites similarly situated, wonderful people. In another ten years most of us will be dead, but our work probably not done. That’s why I want to save Ben Howe. The circle should not be allowed to be broken. Bill Buckley sent out one letter a year at National Review, I’ll only send one this lifetime. Tell your friends to come push our DONATE button and for others to push the button of other sites like us who’ve kept the whole damned fire burning the past several years.