Is it any wonder that so many Americans have developed what David Brooks has rightly labeled a “siege mentality”? If there’s an inch of daylight between you and your ideological friends, you may soon find yourself homeless – despised by those who value loyalty in the face of implacable foes and distrusted by enemies who also require absolute allegiance. Public figures are reduced to “one of us” or “one of them,” and honest brokers are ever-harder to find.
Because of her proven ability to attract viewers, Kelly is a handsomely compensated celebrity, but that shouldn’t blind us to another reality. Honest action carries real cost. It’s a popular myth that those who break with their own team receive great rewards, the “strange new respect” that conservatives often joke about. Yes, it’s true that dissenting conservatives often find sporadic space in elite media, but that’s cold comfort when facing a hurricane of online abuse, fractured friendships, and a sense of ideological and spiritual homelessness.