According to Psychology Today, the phenomenon known as groupthink “occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.”
The decision to rescind Yiannopulos’ invitation to speak at CPAC was prompted by videos in which he praised pederasty, the act of grown men having sex with post-pubescent boys. However, those videos had long been available on the internet. Why did they make a difference now?
Jonah Goldberg, conservative thought leader and senior editor at National Review, recently published an opinion editorial in The LA Times, diving deep into how the invitation was extended in the first place:
From the outset, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of the Cult of Milo opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is that, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight.
Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulos. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.
And that’s part of the problem. We are in a particularly tribal moment in American politics in which “the enemy of my enemy is my ally” is the most powerful argument around.
“This is fascinating,” Glenn said Wednesday on radio.
Glenn made the case that what happened to moderate Democrats under Barack Obama is now happening with Republicans under Donald Trump.
“Now that Barack Obama is gone, it’s left a vacuum of just who was around him. Hillary Clinton and the Blue Dog Democrat are gone. The Blue Dog Democrat no longer exists. The Hillary Clintons no longer exist. So who are you left with? You’re left with Marxists and radicals. And now the Democratic Party is saying, “Oh, man, this is . . . wait. Hold it.” And they’re seeing — not all of them — but enough are seeing what we saw,” Glenn said. “The same thing is going to happen with the Republican Party.”
Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.
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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: I want to — I want to tell you the story about this New Yorker who is becoming a conservative now. And I think these people existed under Obama, but they were — they were willing to accept more — let me see if I can find this. From — yeah —
PAT: You think there were Democrats that were shocked by the radicalism of Obama?
GLENN: Yeah, yeah.
PAT: I mean, his radical ideology where he virtually has Marxist policies. Because we never heard from them.
GLENN: Because I think the same way we’re not hearing from conservatives who are shocked by Donald Trump and some of the things that he does and the radicals he has around him. Nobody is saying anything about that.
And it’s because you’re going to get shouted down, and a lot of people are like, “Well, but I like kind of the stuff — I like the direction he’s headed. So just don’t say anything.” Okay?
PAT: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
GLENN: And they don’t see that — like they’re seeing right now in the Democrats, once you lose, who really is in charge? And so the Democrats — when I read this thing from the Democrats, it will blow your mind.
But here’s what is happening. Here’s what happened to the Democrats. And we’re at the beginning of it. This comes from Jonah Goldberg. Now, this is just about what happened with Milo and CPAC. The decision to rescind the invitation was prompted by a surfacing of videos, available long on the internet, which Milo praised — how do you say it? Pederasty? Pederasty. Sex between an older man and prepubescent boys as young as 13. From the outside, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of —
PAT: Had you even heard of such thing?
PAT: The reason we don’t know how to pronounce a word is because I’ve never heard of it.
GLENN: I’ve never heard of it.
PAT: It’s the distinction. It’s supposed to be post-pubescent. Right? So pedophilia is prepubescent. And after is post.
GLENN: And this is post.
Those who consider themselves part of the cult of — opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight, said Jonah Goldberg.
Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulos. On Monday’s Morning Joe, he insisted, the fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to, a lot of young conservative people.
And Jonah says, we should be asking the question: Why are so many young conservatives?
Precisely because he enrages so many young liberals, and that’s part of the problem. We’re in a particularly tribal moment in American politics, which the enemy of my enemy is my ally. It’s the most powerful argument around.
John Tubey, the evolutionary psychologist recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public, it would be the coalitional instinct. In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If you had no coalition, you were nakedly and at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency preexisting and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership.
This is why group belief is free to be so weird. We overlook the hypocrisies and the shortcomings within our own coalition out of a desire to protect ourselves from our enemies.
This is fascinating. We’ll come back to it in a second.
GLENN: So going over Jonah Goldberg’s editorial yesterday in the LA Times. And he’s talking about how we are overlooking hypocrisies on our own side. And I contend — I want to share this with you because I believe this is what happened to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is in worse shape than the Republicans are, by far. They are now fighting for the soul of the party. Are they going to be this Marxist radical party, or are they going to come back to the center?
And I think that Barack Obama gave them — was such a distraction that nobody cared about who was — except for us, who was advising him. You know, who were the guys that were really — that influenced his life and shaped him? And who were the people — the Bill Ayers and the Bernardine Dohrn and all those people that were in and around this White House? And it gave us, I believe, a false belief on who the average Democrat is.
And that’s because I think the average Democrat looked at Barack Obama the way many Republicans are looking at Donald Trump. They may not like him. They may not like all of those — but they’re not — they’re not concerned about Steve Bannon. They’re not concerned. They think he’s going to be held in place. This is America. We’re not going to go against Europe and NATO. That’s just not going to happen. And we’re going to be fine.
And he’s moving the ball in our direction. I think that’s the way most Republicans look at him. And they’re like, “You know, tell me the things — yes, he’s done some things I don’t like, but he’s moving the ball in our direction, and we’re winning, generally, on the things that we want.” Right? Would you agree with that?
I think that’s the way many Democrats felt under Barack Obama, except Barack Obama did not have the harsh edges that Donald Trump does. Barack Obama didn’t make the average Democrat feel uncomfortable. He was — he was super slick.
If you would have seen the people — it’s why they brought Michelle Obama at the very beginning back into the White House. You can’t talk because she was making average Democrat feel uncomfortable. Her last speech on the campaign trail, the first time around, was the speech where she said, “You know, we’re going to have to change our tradition, we’re going to have to change our thinking, our history. We’re going to have to change everything.” And they’re like, “No, no, no, that’s making Democrats worried.”
So they didn’t see the Marxist radical rot until now. And now they’re being shouted down if they disagree with things like Keith Ellison. And they’re saying, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I was really kind of more of a Hillary mainstream supporter, if you will.” I think those Reagan Democrats who still voted for Democrat are really in search of a place to go.
Let me explain what happened to the Democrats by using Jonah Goldberg’s words on what’s happening to us right now. Today, the right sees the left as enemies. And I should say vice-versa.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a hero for many because he fights political correctness and is transgressive.
STU: This is a note, I have no idea really who this person is, and certainly no idea how to pronounce his name. But we should probably settle on one.
GLENN: I like Yiannopoulos.
STU: I don’t know if that’s it. But I’m fine —
GLENN: It’s Yiannopoulos, right?
JEFFY: But we’re settling with Yiannopoulos?
GLENN: Yiannopoulos. Yeah.
A flamboyant provocateur, who wears his homosexuality on his sleeve and acts very much like a left-wing performance artist. He gives the right an edgy cultural avatar to pit against the left. At a time when entertainment and celebrity matter more than facts and arguments, he is an entertaining celebrity.
Until recently, he was also a self-described fellow traveler of the racist and anti-Semitic alt-right. He advanced their worldview primarily from his perch as a senior editor of Breitbart News, the website formerly run by Steve Bannon, a senior adviser to President Trump, who also sought to make Breitbart the platform for the alt-right.
GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.
STU: Formerly. Yeah. Formerly. Sure. Formerly.
GLENN: Last year, alt-righters got attention for hurling bigotry at Trump’s skeptical journalist on social media. For instance, my National Review colleague David French was subjected to almost daily pictures of his adopted black daughter Photoshopped in a gas chamber with a Nazi uniform-clad Donald Trump poised to push the button.
It was horrible stuff that happened to David French’s family.
Yiannopoulos’s defense of all of this was that it was funny and rebellious. Quote: Just as the kids of the ’60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair, and rock ‘n’ roll, so too do the alt-right youngs’ meme brigades shock older generations with Holocaust jokes and Klan humor.
It was a way for he and his colleague — it was, he and a colleague wrote for Breitbart, undeniably hysterical.
Well, writes Jonah Goldberg, I can deny that. Countless conservatives defend Milo who admits he’s not a conservative, in much the same way Democrats defended the anti-Semitic radio priest Charles Coughlin, as long as he supported the New Deal as Christ’s deal.
Conservatives cling to rationalizations to defend their champion. They say he distanced himself from the alt-right. He did cynically, only after “Daddy” — his term for Donald Trump — was elected. They credit his claim that he can say anti-Semitic things because his grandmother was allegedly Jewish, and he can say racist things because he sleeps with black men.
These are the kinds of arguments a coalition accepts when it has lost its moral moorings and cares only about winning. Free expression was never the issue. If it were, he would — he’d be at CPAC and Breitbart expressing the case for ephebophilia. I don’t even know what that is. Apparently, conservatives still draw the line there, but not at anti-Semitism or racism. The tent, sad to say, is still big enough for that.
That’s Jonah Goldberg yesterday.
My thesis here is that there are a lot of conservatives right now, at least, who are looking at Donald Trump and saying, “I — I’m — I’m pretty okay with the direction of where he’s going.” Nothing bad has happened. Would you agree? We disagree with some of his appointments, but so far, okay. Right?
STU: There’s been some good. Been some bad.
GLENN: Yeah, there’s been some good. There’s been some bad. And I think the average person feels that way on the left. Because we are falling to deaf ears on the thing — the only thing that the left is hearing. And the left is hearing racist anti-Semitic — they’re looking at the people surrounding Donald Trump.
Basically, the same thing that we did when we were at Fox. We were looking at Van Jones. We weren’t looking at President Obama. We were looking at Van Jones. We were looking at George Soros. We were looking at the people behind the man. Now, that was important for us back then because it’s who you put in the office around you. And there were some mainstream people around Donald Trump — I mean, around Barack Obama, that would — that, of course, the left would say, “They’re not all radicals.” And they did a good job of washing those radicals clean like Van Jones.
No, he was a former communist. He’s not really a communist. He never went to prison. He went to jail. Okay?
They did everything they could to whitewash him, to make their own constituency feel good because Barack Obama was doing the things that were making them happy. But we were saying at the time, guys, you can’t give him this much power. You can’t do this. Don’t turn a blind eye.
Now that Barack Obama is gone, it’s left a vacuum of just who was around him. Hillary Clinton and the Blue Dog Democrat is gone. The Blue Dog Democrat no longer exists. The Hillary Clintons no longer exist. So who are you left with?
You’re left with Marxists and radicals. And now the Democratic Party is seeing, “Oh, man, this is — wait. Hold it.” And they’re seeing — not all of them — but enough are seeing what we saw.
The same thing is going to happen with the Republican Party. And I think there’s going to be a — a pull from both of those parties. And what happened in 1854 is going to happen again. And it’s going to be a party of common sense and common values, traditional values.
Let me say it that way. But I want you to understand, traditional values, not in the way conservatives view them.
I believe traditional values meaning the American values, which is the Bill of Rights. The people who actually on both sides say, “No, we don’t want to spy on our neighbors.” No, you don’t have a right to spy on me. No, stay out of my bedroom. Stay out of my — stay out of my pants and my bathroom stall. Stay out of my life. You don’t have a right to tell me who I can marry, and you don’t have a right to tell me what my priest or my pastor can say from the pulpit. You don’t have a right to do that. Leave us alone.
Those traditional values that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. I think — and I could be wrong — I may be being too optimistic. But I think that there is a coming movement of the Bill of Rights. And it’s not going to be taken by the Libertarians. Because the Libertarians — the Libertarians don’t do enough for this moral foundation theory that we talked about. I’d like to take you guys — you guys have to take this test. This moral foundations theory that we talked about, was it last week or this week?
STU: Last week.
GLENN: Last week. Last week, we had Jonathan Haidt on. He’s a professor at NYU. Thought he was liberal. Started doing research and realized, “Holy cow, I’m conservative.” And I think that is exactly the point.
When you start actually looking beyond the labels — and he has devised the way to look beyond the labels. And it’s called the moral foundation theory. And when you see that, the average conservative actually has five moral foundations.
But we only concentrate on three. Well, the left only has two. And they only concentrate on those two. And unfortunately, the three we concentrate on don’t include those two.
And if we would concentrate on those two, we could bring them along. And because Libertarians don’t have that moral foundation theory. They don’t have any really of those five — and I’m talking about as a party — that’s why they fell on deaf ears. That’s why they couldn’t get anybody from the right, and they couldn’t get anybody from the left. Because they’re speaking to an empty space, an empty auditorium where there’s just not enough people.
What they have is the Bill of Rights. They don’t have the moral foundations. And believe it or not, a different — I can’t even say that. Not what we claim as a — as a morality party today. If I said that, you would think, “Well, that’s a church-going, God-fearing, red, white, and blue, you know, served in the military — not that. Not that. Think bigger foundational morals. Think of the Bill of Rights. Think of compassion. Those underscored by common sense are going to become fashionable again. I’m convinced of it.