More than a change of policy, though this can hardly be understated, has come a change in attitude. For many years, the left has been home to in-your-face politicking and the siren call of populist uprising. Of course, some of this drifted in a rightward direction from time to time, but it mainly remained ensconced on leftish ground.
How the times have changed.
Nowadays, both the right and the left make politics deeply personal. Diversity of opinion has become the stuff of insult and long-running feuds. This, mind you, applies to differences on the same side of the aisle. What many folks feel about those on the other end of the spectrum cannot be put into words suitable here.
Caught up in the intra-movement crossfire is Ben Shapiro. He has been one of American conservatism’s most recognizable voices for several years. As a bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and editor-at-large for Breitbart News, Shapiro consistently articulated his ideas.
He is not the sort to back down even -- or perhaps especially -- when opposing voices bring more than a bit of controversy in his direction. Shapiro's traditional conservative values draw ire from social justice warrior lefties and alt-rightists alike.
Since stepping down from Breitbart last year, he became editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com and hosts his own radio show. Shapiro spoke with me about several timely topics. Some of our conversation is included below.
Joseph Ford Cotto: A few years ago, certain political forecasters claimed that the future of America's center-right belongs to libertarians. Since the 2012 presidential election, protectionism has surged in both major parties. Now, in the age of Trump, libertarianism's once-ascendant nature seems a distant memory. Would you say that right-libertarian politics have any serious potential under Trump?
Ben Shapiro: I think they have potential as some of the economic nostrums promoted by Trumpism fail. But yes, they're in trouble with the president-elect pushing hard against free markets internationally and engaging in case-by-case corporatism at home.
Cotto: More than anything else, why are protectionist economics transforming the American conservative movement?
Shapiro: Trump has rightly gauged that there is a key group of constituents in purple states who have seen the downside of free trade as producers, even though they're benefitting in smaller ways as consumers. Protectionism has generated concentrated upside for that specific group of people, even though it costs everyone else.