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Famed Child Conservative Jonathan Krohn Becomes a Liberal Teenager

Famed Child Conservative Jonathan Krohn Becomes a Liberal Teenager

 

Remember Jonathan Krohn? He was the 13-year-old kid who delivered a right-wing speech at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, the video of which went viral. Following his sudden Internet fame, he made appearances on dozens of political television and radio shows. Billed as the future of the Republican party, Krohn even wrote a book titled Define Conservatism. Well, it turns out that although Krohn can still define conservatism, he no longer chooses to label himself that way, instead expressing a number of liberal viewpoints to Politico.

A little more than three years after his popular CPAC speech, Krohn has definitely shifted his ideologies. For one, he likes the new health care legislation. He also supports same-sex marriage. Not to mention that his favorite television series are “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” As for the upcoming presidential election, he says he would most likely vote for Barack Obama… that is if he were actually able to vote. He is only seventeen, after all.

It is rare for the media to pay attention to teenagers’ political views, particularly those under voting age. However, when Krohn initially spouted the conservative talking points, he became a welcome younger face for the Republicans, a party often associated with an older crowd. Pundits including Newt Gingrich, William Bennett and Mike Gallagher all heralded Krohn at the time.

That same speech that brought him so much attention is now hard for Krohn to stomach. He chalks it up to naivety. “That speech was something that a 13-year-old does,” Krohn tells Politico. “You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13.”

Krohn credits his pursuit of education for changing his ideological ties. “It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful,” he said. “It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it.” Perhaps this is why the Texas Republican party opposes the teaching of critical thinking skills.

Four years ago, critics accused Krohn’s parents of brainwashing their child. His mother and father denied this charge, which seems more plausible now that Krohn has developed opposing views. That is not to say it was an easy transition, however. “Neither of them were overjoyed, but it didn’t really make a difference in their respect and love for me,” Krohn said.

Krohn does admit that he has gotten a lot of flack from other people who say he is wasting a great opportunity. They believe he could use his notoriety to run for political office or become an even more famous Republican pundit. Krohn insists that this concession is no big loss, as he would not be able to pursue a career that clashed with his values anyway.

That’s not to say that Krohn is out of politics entirely. After all he’s been through, he cannot help but keep up with political news, even dabbling in writing some political satire. For the time being, though, his plans are to take philosophy and filmmaking classes when he begins attending New York University in the fall.

Notably, despite his increasingly left-wing viewpoints, Krohn is unwilling to label himself a “liberal” at this point. “I’m tired of being an ideology,” Krohn says, acknowledging his folly of blindly aligning with a political party previously. He may only be seventeen, but that is a lesson plenty of adults still have yet to learn.

 

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6:57AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Does this mean increased knowledge, maturity and education lead to more liberal viewpoints (research has shown this relationship)? And explain why the GOP is not supporting efforts to make college more affordable?

2:42PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

AS he said during an interview. The only station we got was an am station…..I for get the call letters he mentioned. But it was am talk radio. And am talk radio is DOMINATED by right wing hosts. He wasn't brilliant when he gave his original speech. He was simply spewing what he heard all day and night for YEARS. I am hoping he is expanding his mind more. Not so he can be a flaming liberal but so he can be a well balanced thinking man.


2:39PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

AS he said drink an interview. he only station we got was an ann station…..I for get the call letters. But it was am talk radio. And am talk radio is DOMINATED y right wing hosts. He wasn't brilliant when he gave his original speech. He was simply spewing what he heard all day and night for YEARS. I am ping he is expanding himself more. Not so he can be a flaming liberal but so he can be a well balanced man.

9:26AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

As the mother of gifted children, he struck me as gifted intellectually, and many of these children jump into a subject and immerse themselves totally in it and after they have learned all they can, they move on to another. Classic gifted child. Give him time, let him learn all he can and in a number of years, ask him what he thinks then.

8:58AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I don't care what beliefs a person claims, as long as they are his or her own.

8:51AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

"It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it.”

If he understood neurological development better, he would realize that the same thing is still happening. He may have switched from the adults in his life to philosophy books, but as his prefrontal cortex continues to develop, he will be compelled to seek new experiences. To someone his age, almost ANYTHING new can be interesting and appealing.

Not that there's anything wrong with his changing attitudes. By reading books regularly, he's already ahead of the game, and the more he widens his field of study, the better off he will be when his brain reaches full maturity in his mid-20s. He may develop further liberal views - or he may even reconcile with some of his conservative stances - as his understanding deepens. But because of what he's doing now, his thoughts are more likely to be truly his own. More teens should follow his example.

6:20AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I'm glad that this kid saw the light...

4:53AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

thanks for posting

2:51AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Yay! It takes a lot of people longer to outgrow the ideas they absorbed in childhood-- encountering real life is an important part of developing views.

12:27AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

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