Tom Nichols used to be a Republican.
Honestly, at this point, I don’t remember him espousing any particularly Republican-like things in the past. I’m not saying he didn’t, mind you, only that I don’t recall any. I also recall that for the last little while, Nichols has been somewhat insufferable as a Never Trumper. He’s entitled to his opinion.
What he’s not entitled to is his own facts, yet that’s what he’s spreading in an interview with Newsweek.
former Republican has blasted Conservatives for choosing to sell out “actual patriotism” for “gun worship” under President Donald Trump.
In a series of tweets published on Monday U.S. Naval War College Prof. Tom Nichols lamented how gun culture appears to be spreading “from a corner of the GOP” to the entire conservative party under Trump.
“Even when I was a Republican, I never understood people who measure freedom by how many of us walk around with guns,” wrote Nichols, who parted ways with the GOP after Republicans allowed Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The professor said under Trump there appears to be a growing “cultural change” with the spread of “gun culture from a corner of the GOP to the entire conservative moment.”
Driving that shift, the former Republican suggested, was a need among conservatives to redefine what it means to be a patriot after having to “sell out so much actual patriotism to Trump.”
“The spread of gun worship is conservative virtue-signaling,” Nichols explained. “Never liked it when I was among my old tribe, and it’s gotten worse as ‘conservatives’ try to figure out new markers for what makes them ‘patriots’ now that they’ve had to sell out so much actual patriotism to Trump.”
In other words, Nichols never really cared about our civil liberties and now he’s really upset that in addition to electing a president he doesn’t like, we’re also taking the right to keep and bear arms seriously.
However, he’s wrong if he thinks this is new.
The Republican party has almost always taken the more pro-gun stance between the two parties. The difference is that the GOP was willing to give a little ground in the past.
What we’ve seen since then, though, is that it’s a one-way street. Anti-gun lawmakers define a compromise as just not taking as much as you’d really like to. They never seem to be willing to give us anything we might like. When the discussion of banning bump stocks first arose, there was no effort to find something they could offer in exchange for such a ban. No, their idea of a compromise was to maybe grandfather in old stocks. Maybe.
The defiance Nichols is calling virtue-signaling is nothing of the sort. It’s the inevitable result of a group being pushed and pushed, only to recognize they’re the only ones ever giving ground.
Frankly, Nichols is someone who I used to enjoy reading, but since his “conversion,” he’s been increasingly less sane in his takes. This is a prime example. He’s taking his own anti-Trump biases and, because everyone doesn’t share them for whatever reason, has decided that everyone else is just selling their soul and trying to rationalize things.
I’m not a Trump fan. He’s done some things I like, some I don’t, and I expect more of the same in the time to come. I don’t have any great affection for the man.
Yet I’ll also point out that many of his detractors are like broken records. It’s not enough to bash Trump for them but to also bash everyone else who doesn’t think exactly like them on the topic. That’s all that’s going on here.
Republicans haven’t budged on the Second Amendment. Nichols just has to claim it has so he can signal his own virtue.