Jonathan Krohn, the author of "Define Conservatism" and political prodigy voted "Atlanta's Most Talented Child" in 2006, was the talk of the Conservative Political Action Conference for a brief portion of the afternoon session.Dude! It's like having a real life Alex P. Keaton speak at the conference.
How, exactly, a 13-year-old (Krohn turns 14 on Sunday) got to this place is story of an intense, downright obsessive, interest in politics. Sitting at a table and signing copies his books -- his red tie flopping on top of the white tablecloth, a flag pin pinched to his sports coat -- he assigns credit for his fast ascension to none other than Bill Bennett.
"I got into politics when I was eight years old. Six years now. And I got involved because I started listening to talk radio. It goes back to one event. The Democrats filibustered something in the Senate when I was eight years old. I don't remember what it was on and I didn't honestly care when I was eight years old. I cared about the history and the Senate rules," he told the Huffington Post. "I listened to Bill Bennett and tons of other talk show hosts who talked about that and other policies and started branching out and caring about other issues in regards to politics. Bill Bennett really became an idol for me. I listened to him every morning from 6 to 9 for, oh, years. And I started learning more and started to be able to think on my own, understanding politics on my own. I started to be able to use my mind to engage in political conversations under the conservative banner."
He talks fast and with high-pitched emotion (no cracking of the voice), often banging his two fists against the table (each one holding a pen) for dramatic effect. His mother, naturally protective, reminds him at one point that he's talking to a reporter from the Huffington Post.
"I know he is a liberal," he replies. "But you are not the first liberal I talked to at CPAC."
Meanwhile, Jesus General has been doing some irreverent Twittering from CPAC. I noticed this entry: "The Youth for Western Civilization booth has the best deals on jackboots and truncheons at #cpac #"
Which I assumed was a joke about how "right-wing" the group is and how the name "Youth for Western Civilization" automatically makes one recall fascist youth propaganda. Then I googled the group's facebook page and saw this (bold emphasis mine):
The purpose of Youth for Western Civilization is to form a right wing youth movement.Then, to the right, I noticed the organization's crest: an arm carrying an axe. Which sure as heck looks like a fasces. If I had to guess, Jesus General's Twitter entry must have happened after he walked by the booth and saw the crest.
Youth for Western Civilization educates, organizes and trains activists on campuses across the nation to create a subculture that promotes the survival of Western Civilization and pride in Western heritage.
Youth for Western Civilization provides guidance, educational materials, and funding for student groups which work for Western values on campus.
New groups will be established if none are present on a campus and all possible assistance will be given to those groups that wish to work with us.
The end goal of Youth for Western Civilization is an awakening of young Westerners that will fight for their heritage and their liberties against leftist occupation and restore sanity to American universities.
(Youth for Western Civilization crest) (Image of Fasces from Wikipedia)There isn't really much about the group on the web, but the SPLC has an entry about them at Hatewatch noting that the group's founders have flirted with white nationalist, xenaphobic and racist organizations.
A few days before CPAC, at a speaking event at American University sponsored by the group, Tom Tancredo (R - Colo)* suggested that immigrants need to adopt "white, anglo-saxon culture."
*See here for my previous entry on Tancredo's dog whistle nativism.
Update: In the comment section, Josh pointed out that the axe is actually a hammer symbolizing Charles "the Hammer" Martel. I offered some additional comments about this, here.