Political discourse in this country has changed tremendously, and there is a pair of new books that capture how they have dealt with it through personal experience and how you can learn: The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics by Kevin Williamson, and Never Play Dead by Tomi Lahren.
The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics
By Kevin Williamson
Gateway Editions, an imprint of Regnery Publishing; hardcover; $28.99
Kevin D. Williamson, the lively, literary firebrand from National Review who was too hot for The Atlantic to handle, comes to bury democracy, not to praise it.
With electrifying honesty and spirit, Williamson takes a flamethrower to mob politics, the “beast with many heads” that haunts social media and what currently passes for real life.
The Smallest Minority is by no means a memoir, though Williamson does reflect on his own experience with the social media mob that ousted him from his new job at The Atlantic.
Rather, this book is a dizzying tour through a world you’ll be horrified to recognize as your own. There are biting appraisals of social media (“an economy of Willy Lomans"), political hustlers (“that certain kind of man or woman…who will kiss the collective ass of the mob”), journalists (“a contemptible union of neediness and arrogance”) and identity politics (“identity is more accessible than policy, which requires effort”).
This is destroying our capacity for individualism and dragging us down “the Road to Smurfdom, the place where the deracinated demos of the Twitter age finds itself feeling small and blue.”
Williamson writes, "We are undergoing a process that is in some ways parallel to what medieval Europe went through with the disruptive emergence of primitive capitalism. Globalization has brought wealth and cooperation, but it also has disturbed longstanding modes of life and upended communities, especially those affected negatively by outsourcing and offshoring, changes in the nature of work which are themselves the misunderstood and ignorantly hated manifestations of the integration of global supply chains and other deep economic changes that are, gradually, making the world a radically better place.
"Some communities have lost political influence; others, especially the coastal cities, believe that they have not gained enough. Changes in the patterns of family life have left many men - especially those who are not economic high-achievers - devoid of sources of status and social fixedness, and have frustrated many women's pursuit of marriage and motherhood. The quality of material life in the United States has improved radically across the board since the 1980s, but the profits of globalization have accrued disproportionately to a relatively small group of entrepreneurs and high-tech workers, along with those in related fields such as finance and, inevitably, government. Americans are as a whole better off in most of the things that can be measured, but the story grows more complex the finer you cut it...
"This exudate of outrage and dread has arrived together with the rise to prominence of social media and other instruments of communication that not only are better-suited for emotional outbursts than for reasoned discussion, but which, as a consequence of their basic social architecture, reward rage, extremism, and hostility while they suffocate intelligence, charity, and gentleness. Communication is only incidental to social media. Social media is not a platform for publishing but a means of seeking human connection, or at least a simulacrum of it. Social media is not the second coming of the eighteenth-century pamphleteer; it is Homo bolus at prayer - to himself, of course."
The Smallest Minority is a defiant, funny, and terrifyingly insightful book about what we human beings have done to ourselves.
Never Play Dead: How the Truth Makes You Unstoppable
By Tomi Lahren
Broadside Books; hardcover, $27.99; eBook, $14.99
Fans are always asking Tomi Lahren, a political analyst and contributor at Fox News, where she gained the confidence and candor that have made her who she is: a celebrated free-speech advocate, a conservative media star, and one of the most controversial pundits in America.
In her new book, Never Play Dead, Tomi cheers on anyone, especially other young women willing to speak their minds. She takes readers on a tour of the internet trolls, political correctness police, campus activists, and condescending elites who never pass up a chance to quash honest debate. She also skewers the self-esteem movement that ironically discourages people from speaking up for themselves.
Lahren tells the story of how she worked her way out of South Dakota to television fame in Los Angeles, surviving social isolation, a truly terrible boyfriend, and awful workplaces. Along the way, she was tempted to follow everyone’s advice to keep quiet and bide her time, but she never did.
This comes at a cost, as Tomi makes headlines any time she posts a video or sends out a tweet, it makes headlines. A video of a stranger throwing a glass of ice water at her and her parents went viral, and the president tweeted about it.
Lahren was fired at The Blaze because she wouldn’t toe the party line. However, it’s fine to lose followers as long as you never lose yourself. Whether you’ve been told you’re not good enough by parents, lovers, frenemies, bad bosses, or social media, it’s time to take Lahren’s advice and fight back. She feels that free speech isn’t just saying what you want; it’s hearing what you don’t want to hear.
"People say that when I got to college campuses or I'm on Fox that I'm trying to make others think the way I do," Lahren writes. "They say, 'All you do is tell people how to think.' No. Not true. If you really listen to my 'Final Thoughts' or anything else I've said, I tell people how I think.
"I give my opinions. Boldly and directly, I put out exactly how I feel, but I never tell people they have to think the same way or that they're not allowed to have an opinion. I deliver my commentaries and I'm very honest and transparent that what I'm sharing is my point of view. I try to speak common sense to start a conversation but I never say, 'Think like me.'
"My goal is to create a jumping-off point for conversation. The biggest frustration I had growing up watching mainstream media like NBC, CBS, and ABC is that they tried to appear neutral when they were not. I would have more respect for Anderson Cooper if he didn't try to play like he's in the middle. The same with Chris Cuomo, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, and others. One of the reasons I got into this business is that I have an opinion. There's nothing wrong with having one if you don't try to pass it off as news, because that is subtle brainwashing. When we're talking about college campuses, I don't have a problem with a professor saying, 'Guys, I'm a flaming liberal,' but when they say, 'I'm just being neutral,' and then go into all their liberal propaganda, that's what frustrates me.
"Be who you are. I never tell people I'm a news reporter, a journalist, or an anchor and that I'm just giving you the news of the day. No I'm a commentator. Feel free to disagree but at least you see me, the real me, and I'm being honest. I'm explaining my thought process and why I'm passionate about something but I'm not trying to disguise it as news; I'm not trying to trick anybody. To me, the most authentic thing you can do it be 100 percent yourself so people know where you stand. The problem? most people pretend they are something else; they try to see which way the wind is going to blow. Yes, sometimes you change your mind about things and that's okay, if you're honest about your journey and your thought processes and you don't do it for fame, money, or votes. If you're authentic, then you don't have to explain yourself."
Never Play Dead teaches you to shed your fear, find your inner strength, speak the truth, and never let the haters get you down.