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We must support principle, not personalities.

By Scott Tibbs, March 1, 2017

Conservatives need to stop obsessing over personalities and return to defending principle. It is our movement's repeated embrace of celebrity "conservatives" that has poisoned conservatism and led us into far too many high-profile embarrassments. We have to stop it, and we have to stop it right now.

The day my most recent letter to the editor was published, a controversy was raging because of a video where Milo Yiannopoulos defended the concept of pederasty. My enemies seized on this, taunting me and attacking me for defending Yiannopoulos' free speech rights. But my letter was never about Yiannopoulos. My letter was about defending free speech and opposing violence and terrorism.

Let me be very clear: What Yiannopoulos said was wicked and depraved. That has nothing to do with the principles I advocated in my letter. I defend free speech as a principle, no matter who is speaking. I oppose rioting and arson to censor free speech as a matter of principle, and who is speaking is totally irrelevant. Rioting and terrorism is wrong and must be condemned on its merits. There is absolutely no justification for it, or to cave to the demands of rioters and terrorists that speech they don't like be censored.

In the comments for my letter, my enemies were totally desperate, throwing out red herring after red herring to distract from Leftists rioting and committing acts of terrorism to silence speech they dislike. My enemies are desperate to discuss anything but the topic of my letter - violent Leftist radicals who rioted to censor free speech. That speaks volumes. The desperate, pathetic attempt to cover up Leftists rioting and committing terrorist acts speaks volumes. This is why Donald Trump is President. This is why you lost.

I am not a blind groupie for any political figure, pundit, columnist or celebrity. I was defending the principle of free speech, and opposing violence, rioting and terrorism. Humans will fail. Some will make utterly wicked statements in public (as Yiannopoulos did) and others will commit crimes of varying severity. This is why attaching yourself to a personality will either leave you disappointed or will turn you into a hypocrite.

Principles, however, stand on their own, and are not tarnished by the sins, failures, crimes or depravity of any individual person. I stand by the principles I advocated in my letter, defending free speech and opposing violence. I stand by those principles without apology or compromise.

Conservatism needs to stop being about personalities and celebrities, and is most certainly needs to stop seeing political figures as some sort of Messiah. Obviously, there will be differences within our movement about what conservatism really means and what compromises must be made in advancing that agenda. But our movement must be about principles. While we will always have leaders of our movement, we must always place our loyalty to our leaders or our political party far below our devotion to our principles.