Berlau Column: Let's Not Forget the Progressives Like Bill Maher Who Bullied Jonathan Krohn for His Conservatism

Just a little over a week ago -- in a new low even for him -- HBO's Bill Maher publicly advocated giving a teenage boy a "wedgie." Now, Maher will likely join other liberals in embracing Jonathan Krohn because of Krohn's just-announced change in political philosophy.

Krohn, who gave a rousing speech at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and followed with the book Defining Conservatism, told Politico in a story that ran Monday that he had moved to the Left. Krohn, now 17, called his CPAC speech "naive" and "something that a 13-year-old does." Krohn now calls ObamaCare a "good idea" and says he would "probably" vote for Barack Obama in November if he were allowed to vote.


Many liberals are jumping on Krohn's leftward move, arguing the ever-so-salient point that it demonstrates that conservatism is a political philosophy for immature 13-year-olds, whereas liberalism is the philosophy of sophisticated 17-year-olds, who of course have it all figured out. Maher argued the former point in his show broadcast on June 22, right before he suggested physically assaulting Krohn for the audacity of being conservative.

Upon showing a clip of Krohn's CPAC speech, Maher exhorted conservatives,"When 14-year old boys sound exactly like you do, and can produce radio shows and books and speeches that sound exactly like yours, maybe you should rethink the s--- that's coming out of your mouth."

But the next thing coming out of Maher's mouth, in addition to a crude reference to Krohn's last name, was the suggestion of physical violence to put Krohn in his place. "Is there a charity or something we can give to? Wedgies Without Borders?" Maher asked.

For those who need reminding, a "wedgie" is the wedging of underwear or other garments against the buttocks. Given that liberals are the ones who scream loudest about any form of "bullying" -- verbal or physical -- one would have thought that they would have been the first to attack Maher's call to assault. But apparently while a 30-year-old law student arguing for subsidized contraceptives needs protection from being called a "slut" -- and Rush Limbaugh should have apologized, as he did, for using that term against Sandra Fluke --- a teenage conservative is on his own against personal attacks and even threats of violence.

In his commendable search for truth, Krohn would do well to remember all the wonderful things his new friends had called him. The word "creepy" had been repeatedly thrown about in descriptions of Krohn speeches to conservative gatherings. Alex Pareene, who hailed Krohn in Salon.com as "so much more mature and wise now" just after Krohn's conversion to liberalism, is the same writer who called Krohn "a sad, creepy spectacle" and a "sign language speaking ape" in a 2010 post in Gawker. Sounds like Krohn had more wisdom and maturity at 13 than Pareene will ever have.

Ironically, liberals are all about children "expressing themselves" when it comes to hectoring parents to recycle or stop smoking. But let them express any thoughts that are right of center, and suddenly these children should neither be seen nor heard.

Krohn is entitled to whatever opinions he wishes, and I wish him the best in his search for truth. I just have a couple pieces of advice for him.

One is, since according to Politico he is reading philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, he should also pick up the philosophic works of John Locke and Adam Smith (who was a moral philosopher before an economist) to learn about natural rights and rational self-interest.

The other is to watch out for bullies such as Maher and Pareene among his new friends.

John Berlau is a writer and economist in Washington, D.C.