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News & Politics News & Politics

CPAC's boy wonder swings left

Posted by on Jul. 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM
  • 9 Replies
2 moms liked this

 CPAC's boy wonder swings left

Jonathan Krohn took the political world by storm at 2009's Conservative Political Action Conference when, at just 13 years old, he delivered an impromptu rallying cry for conservatism that became a viral hit and had some pegging him as a future star of the Republican Party.

Now 17, Krohn - who went on to write a book, "Defining Conservatism," that was blurbed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett - still watches that speech from time to time, but it mostly makes him cringe because, well, he's not a conservative anymore.

"I think it was naive," Krohn now says of the speech. "It's a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.... I live in Georgia. We're inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.... The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven't formed all your opinions. You're really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It's impossible. You haven't done enough."

Krohn won't go so far as to say he's liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general.

"I want to be Jonathan Krohn," he said, "and I'm tired of being an ideology, and it's not fun and it gets boring and it's not who we are as individuals."

But a quick rundown of his current political stances suggests a serious pendulum swing away from the right.

Gay marriage? In favor. Obamacare? "It's a good idea." Who would he vote for (if he could) in November? "Probably Barack Obama." His favorite TV shows? "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." His favorite magazine? The New Yorker. And, perhaps telling of all, Krohn is enrolling this fall at a college not exactly known for its conservatism: New York University.

(Also on POLITICO: CNN: Voters split evenly on health care)

"One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative," said Krohn. "It just didn't seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues.... I think I've changed a lot, and it's not because I've become a liberal from being a conservative - it's just that I thought about it more. The issues are so complex, you can't just go with some ideological mantra for each substantive issue."

Krohn is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older, a shift he attributes partly to philosophy.

"I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff," Krohn said. "I started getting into philosophy - Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers - Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn't have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn't meaningful. It wasn't me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it."

"I think I've just matured overall," he added.

The problem, for Krohn, is that he's still that 13-year-old kid in the eyes of many. And that, he says, makes him "absolutely annoyed."

"It really has gotten cumbersome having to go through the process of telling people what I've done over the past few years," said Krohn. "I've tried to tell people, but it's not as interesting, apparently. People don't want to listen to me tell them I've changed."

Those old memories sometimes come back to haunt Krohn, as when HBO's Bill Maher recently included Krohn in a biting bit about young conservatives.

"I have no problem with what Bill Maher said," said Krohn. "He's funny. But all these people took it seriously instead of a joke.... It hurt me in the sense that I was compared to some kid who said that Obama is turning kids gay. And that kind of stuff is what happens. I have to explain to people over and over and over again that I'm not a conservative and I have my own ideas and I'm not just agreeing to everything that every conservative said. It's very hard to break a stereotype like that of yourself."

"I've been trying to tell people," he added, "but it's a lot harder to get stuff out there when your mind changes on things because a lot of people who supported you when you're on one side of the issue aren't really going to help you get your changing ideas out there when people still think I'm that conservative kid. ... People don't realize I was 14 when I wrote that book. I'm 17 now. In terms of my life, three years is a long time in a 17-year-old's life."

Krohn's move away from conservatism posed two risks: First, the wrath of his conservative parents. (That was quickly and pleasantly overcome: "Neither of them were overjoyed, but it didn't really make a difference in their respect and love for me.") Second, the discarding of a surefire path to success within the conservative movement.

Krohn said that family and friends noted "all of the opportunities" available to him in the world of politics, but giving that up "didn't faze me because I really didn't want to do anything that would compromise my beliefs as an individual."

As for what's next, Krohn says he can't help but remain a bit of a political geek, but he'll never write a political nonfiction book again. Instead, he's hoping to spend his time at NYU studying philosophy and filmmaking, while occasionally writing political satire.

And that's what Krohn seems most eager to focus on: What's next. Not what's in the past.

"Come on, I was thirteen," he said. "I was thirteen



Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78068_Page2.html#ixzz1zUtshmpZ

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78068.html#ixzz1zUtUOgtn

by on Jul. 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM
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Replies (1-9):
sweet-a-kins
by Ruby Member on Jul. 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

 lol..a 13 year old! lol

mehamil1
by on Jul. 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM
2 moms liked this

Poor kid. I hate it when people still judge me by the things I did when I was younger. We grow and change. 

However, way to go for him to actually exorcise crititical thinking skills rather than just blindly following something! It's easy to listen to others and adopt that model of whatever. It's much harder to seek out different things, think about them, write about them, explore them, and come to your own conclusion. We aren't taught how to do that in grade school or high school. So good for him.

sweet-a-kins
by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2012 at 10:03 AM

 bump

imamomzilla
by on Jul. 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

 Someone posted this already.

A teenager changed his mind??? I, for one, am SHOCKED! LOL

sweet-a-kins
by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM

 Yes, I posted yesterday

and I am shocked..that the right held him up...at age 13... and put him in that position

Quoting imamomzilla:

 Someone posted this already.

A teenager changed his mind??? I, for one, am SHOCKED! LOL

 

imamomzilla
by on Jul. 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM

 So........the left is embracing his change of heart and he's 17 (still not old enough to vote, so who gives a rat's arse?). Exploiting much?

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 Yes, I posted yesterday

and I am shocked..that the right held him up...at age 13... and put him in that position

Quoting imamomzilla:

 Someone posted this already.

A teenager changed his mind??? I, for one, am SHOCKED! LOL

 

 




 "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so". ~Ronald Reagan

imamomzilla
by on Jul. 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM

 You're giving his book " Defining Conservatism" loads of free publicity. LOL

way to go

tnmomofive
by Silver Member on Jul. 3, 2012 at 11:11 AM
1 mom liked this

Never heard of him.I do not agree with either side doing such.My own children make their own choices.What slays me is all the griping from lefties on this kid being indoctrinated or whatever ummm excuse me isn't this what has been happening to our children in the public school system for many years? Liberal indoctrination? Absolutely it has! But then thats ok I guess..

sweet-a-kins
by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM

 CPAC exploited him, as well as his parents and all the right wing outlets that pushed his agenda of lies that he recited...

 

Quoting imamomzilla:

 So........the left is embracing his change of heart and he's 17 (still not old enough to vote, so who gives a rat's arse?). Exploiting much?

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 Yes, I posted yesterday

and I am shocked..that the right held him up...at age 13... and put him in that position

Quoting imamomzilla:

 Someone posted this already.

A teenager changed his mind??? I, for one, am SHOCKED! LOL

 

 

 

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