LOPEZ: What’s the good news?
SHAPIRO: The good news is that the bullies have been at it for 100 years, and we’re still here. We have been cowed into silence by their name-calling, by their labeling, by their grandstanding. While conservatives think individually, the Left thinks institutionally — they’ve taken over virtually all the major institutions in American life, from Hollywood to the public schools to the media to government. And we’re still here.
Imagine how successful we could be if we stopped running from our positions every time somebody shouted “racist,” and instead punched back against these bullies.
LOPEZ: You write that “America is on the verge of moral and economic bankruptcy, racial chaos, and loss of confidence in herself.” That confidence thing is a big one, isn’t it?
SHAPIRO: It’s the biggest thing. An America without confidence in her beliefs and values is a worthless America, a tool of foreign interests and “change agents” who see us as a ripe experimentation ground for untested or failed philosophies. If we don’t have confidence in what makes us great, what is worth preserving?
Progressives believe that there’s very little to America worth preserving ideologically, and they’ve convinced many Americans that to oppose their agenda is ignorant and immoral. If we don’t begin to have confidence in ourselves again — if we don’t tell those who call us names to shove it, and that they’re the real bullies and thugs — there won’t be much left for us to save.
LOPEZ: I still haven’t watched that Hating Breitbart movie, I miss him too much. Why is it important to read the rotten things people say and confront them? What was so special about what he did and how can it inspire us today? Even those who might not be temperamentally disposed to throw punches?
SHAPIRO: First off, Hating Breitbart is wonderful and everyone should see it. Andrew was fond of retweeting the hate — showing everyone what the Left believed when it was open about it. It’s important to read the hate and confront it because the Left has been able to get away with a despicable double standard: They can be as vile as they want because we’re the villains of the piece. The truth is that their vileness shows that they’re the real villains.
Andrew had three true lessons: Don’t believe the media narrative, walk toward the fire, and have fun doing it. The media will lie to you, promote the leftist agenda, and label you evil if you oppose them. They’ll do that no matter how civil or nice you are. So embrace it. Fire back on them. Don’t be cowed by their name-calling and thug tactics. When you realize how empowering it is to fight back against these bullies — to not care when they call you racist for something you know isn’t racist, for example — they can’t touch you. The only tool the Left has in its arsenal is emotion. When you don’t let their anger cow you, they have nothing left. They’re all bluster.
For those who aren’t inclined to throw punches, Andrew taught that you didn’t have to: You just had to stand tall and be willing to take punches. There are two ways to win a fight by knockout: Punch somebody hard enough to knock them out, or rope-a-dope them by letting them punch themselves out. The conservative movement needs to do both. And if you’re not up for punching, don’t shy away from the fight — just let them take their shots, and know that those of us who want to punch back will fight back, even as you play defense.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.