I was recently delighted with receiving a gift for my 80th birthday in the form of vindication, when my iron law of Conservative Inc. behavior was fully confirmed. This happened when Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg decided to dissociate themselves from Fox News because of the network’s association with Tucker Carlson, who has maintained—with ample evidence—that FBI agents were involved in the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Hayes and Goldberg are both fixtures of the anti-Donald Trump website The Dispatch and formerly of Fox’s “All-Stars” team of panelists. Although they have raged quite tediously against the former president and against anyone who has defended him, neither has been removed from “conservative” TV. Quite the contrary! Goldberg has been free to express his torturously constructed views on what is considered by some to be the indispensable conservative channel. Unfortunately, this opinionator typically sounds like a constipated version of what the listener hears more crisply stated on CNN. But Goldberg has enjoyed the beaming, sympathetic support of Bret Baier, who is another inveterate Trump-hater, each time he holds forth.
To their credit, Goldberg and Hayes have left Fox of their own accord. Though Fox executives have since said they didn’t plan to renew their contracts next year anyway, I doubt this is true. Goldberg and Hayes are the beneficiaries of the iron law Conservative Inc.: left-wing deviationists from the conservative party line will never under any circumstances be expelled from the conservative establishment, unless they leave of their own accord. Whether it’s David Brooks, Bill Kristol, or Max Boot, any conservative celebrity who situates himself to the left of where the movement has momentarily positioned itself will suffer no dire consequences. He will instead continue to be feted and put on public display by party apparatchiks until he spits in their faces and emphatically demands to be taken off their celebrity list.
In all probability Hayes and Goldberg will find multiple places on leftist channels, where, like Kristol and Boot, they will be generously rewarded for their left views. It’s doubtful that Fox will lose “balance” because of their departure. Fox’s directors are already paying a king’s fortune to keep other leftists on hand, like Juan Williams and Richard Fowler, with whom house conservatives can hold canned dialogues.
An equally telling example of my iron law can be found in the recent decision by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) to confer a special achievement award on Andrew Sullivan. ISI started out as a very conservative organization in the 1950s, but now they are giving an award to a decades-long LGBT activist despite claiming to be upholding “permanent things.” We may wonder what these “things” are. Perhaps gay marriage as a family value.
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