Defending Brave Sir William

Derbyshire defends “My Boy Bill”

Jonah, Ramesh: Your insouciance about the prospect of Bill O’Reilly going down in scandal is, I believe, misplaced. You may not like the guy; a lot of conservatives don’t like him; any time I have put in a word for O’Reilly on this site I have got a sheaf of e-mails from conservatives telling me at great length why they don’t like him.

Sure, O’Reilly’s no movement conservative. Sure, his positions on actual issues are all over the place. Sure, he’s way too full of himself. Sure, he thinks the feddle gummint should get into all sorts of things you and I would much rather it keeps out of. Sure, he’d split the difference between Churchill and Hitler in his efforts at “fairness.” Sure, sure. Consider the following points, though.

1. My enemy’s enemy is my friend. O’Reilly is a **huge** hate figure for the Left. They loathe the guy. His downfall would be immensely energizing for them. Whatever you think, *they* consider him a conservative.

2. In war, you take what allies you can get. You’re not going to get Edmund Burke hosting on prime-time TV. Heck, you’re not going to get William F. Buckley, Jr. This is *TV*. It’s junk. If there’s a junk-conservative, a sometime-kinda-conservative, a not-quite-our-kind-of-conservative running a popular prime-time TV show, go down on your knees and give thanks. It’s more than we can expect. It’s more than we had for 50 years.

3. Conservatives have taken too many of these lifestyle hits. If O’Reilly goes down on a lifestyle charge, it’s bad for us, whether you like his program or not.

As much as I appreciate Derb’s own insouciance, I think he’s absolutely wrong on all three points here. I see it thusly:

1. So what if the Left is energized? Bill O’Reilly is not a conservative, never was a conservative and has more in common with Lenin, Stalin and Mao than he does with libertarians. The fact that the Left is dumb enough to burn one who loves the government almost as much as they do only indicates that they’re either stupid or faking it. Their hatred for George Delano is much the same.

2. O’Reilly and Fox News are a firebreak, not an advancement of freedom and human liberty. True conservatives and libertarians would likely be better off if Fox did not exist instead of being a mechanism for Big Tent Strong Government Republicanism smothering the right by feigning agreement then moving left at every opportunity. Again, George Delano is the case in point.

3. No, it isn’t. How does it harm the cause of freedom if somebody who constantly echoes the government’s message that they’re working for you goes down? Work for yourself and don’t let any blowhard or bureaucrat convince you that they have your interests at heart. They don’t.