What’s better than a principled conservative, you ask? How about a principled conservative who can make you laugh?
Help! I’ve wandered too far into the dark corners of the internet, and I’ve stumbled upon – oh no, I can’t even say it, it’s too horrible – Steven Crowder.
I was a freshman in college and still a self-professed feminist at the time when I came across one of his videos. “I’m just a Bill, but I’d like to be Jill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill,” Crowder sang to the tune of the once-innocent Schoolhouse Rock! anthem. Slowly but surely, I started watching his weekly show but avoided at all costs the episodes that dared criticize feminism in their titles. (How dare he call Lena Dunham fat!) The more I watched, the more I lightened up. Watching a Louder with Crowder episode is like taking a large dose of vitamin C, but instead of building up your immunity to the sniffles, it builds up your immunity to being personally offended by everything.
According to Crowder, women aren’t funny, Amy Schumer is fat (and also proof of the whole women-not-being-funny thing), Cenk Uygur likes to consume bacon grease, Bills are Bills (not Jills), and to top it all off, none of that is hate speech because hate speech is just a figment of your imagination. At one of the national Women’s March protests in January, he went undercover as a transgender woman. His producer, Jared Monroe, is known to fans as “Not Gay Jared.” Crowder regularly wears a T-shirt on his show that features a picture of Che Guevara and says, “Socialism is for f*gs.” Oh, and for his criticism of the Prophet Muhammad, he has a fatwa on his head.
He’s horribly offensive, but that’s what makes his show so brilliant. He’s not afraid of a challenge, and he’s not afraid to challenge. A serious debate never scares Steven Crowder. In fact, anyone he challenges on Twitter is invited to debate him on the show. In October, he debated Naomi Wolf, the feminist darling of the moderate left. Of recent, he has released several “Change My Mind” videos. He wears a sign in public that says, for example, “I’m pro-gun. Change my mind,” and lets the film roll while strangers come up to challenge him. Rather than changing his mind, they often end up finding their own worldviews challenged instead.
I used to squirm when I saw anything on Facebook or YouTube that remotely opposed my ideology. Eventually, I started clicking on all of Crowder’s videos, even the ones with titles that offended me. Criticism of third-wave feminism no longer struck me at my core. I got over myself. I was freed, finally, from my ideological mantras. I learned to listen, to hear lively debate, and to take a joke without feeling like a sharp knife had poked an irreparable hole in my pride. Now, two years later, I enjoy more productive debates on Louder with Crowder in one hour than I would see in an entire 24 hours of CNN.
The show is both political and comedic. Crowder is not a late-night host who built his career on appealing unbiasedly to all of America; he’s a political commentator who built his career on a blend of conservative politics and humor. He knows the limits of his own knowledge, too. He doesn’t profess to be a policy expert or a constitutional lawyer (although, he does know his fair share). He’s a culture warrior, almost shaped in the image of his friend and mentor, Andrew Breitbart, who espoused the belief that politics was downstream from culture. In other words, if you can influence the culture, you can influence politics. If you can make conservatism cool again, you can make conservatism relevant again.
Through making me laugh, he slowly convinced me he was right. Through his satire, I learned what conservatism was. Crowder likes his jokes, but he sticks to his values. Sure, it’s fun to trigger leftists on college campuses and make fun of social justice warriors every once in a while. But, as Crowder said in an episode in March, “You have to remember that people are watching you and that you are planting seeds.” He continued: “If there’s no principle, if there are no values to instill in someone else, you cannot plant seeds.” He’s a principled conservative, a believer in the Constitution, free markets, social conservatism, the intrinsic value of human life, and most of all, the free exchange of ideas. But of course, I understand even those concepts carry an innate triggering ability nowadays.
So, swallow your daily dose of vitamin C, get over your pride, and expect to be offended. Click on a Louder with Crowder episode, witness, with your own two eyes, Not Gay Jared dressed up as a woman, and hear the “(You’re a) Strange Animal” theme song ring in your ears for the first time while someone dances around in a gorilla costume for a reason you’ll never know. Screw political correctness. Take a load off, and have a laugh with Steven Crowder.
Reed Ferguson is a junior studying economics. She is a regular contributor to The Arch Conservative.