Jonathan Krohn, the former conservative boy wonder who provoked an angry reproach from the right last week when he announced his reinvention as a liberal, is out with a new op-ed shedding light on his political shift and countering the fallout from his decision.
In a column for Salon, Krohn describes his transition from a "naïve" and "nasal" conservative idealist to a maturing, compassionate teenager disenchanted with the current state of "ideological warfare." The one-time Conservative Political Action Conference fan-favorite writes that the right's response to his conversion underscored his belief that political discourse is increasingly becoming a battle between "drunken college boys fighting over which one of their fraternities is cooler":
I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13.
Krohn also says his transformation was motivated by life experience and a new frame of mind that his younger self couldn't comprehend.
What does a kid who has never paid a tax bring to the table in a conversation about the burden of taxes? What does a healthy child know about people who can’t afford healthcare because of preexisting conditions? No matter how intelligent a person might be, certain political issues require life experience; they’re much more complicated than the black and white frames imposed by partisan America.
Like many 17-year-old guys, Krohn also appears to have more apolitical topics on his mind. He regrets not having dated Mila Kunis, admits to wanting a woman with "cans the size of my head," and suggests one must be "old enough to have consensual sex" to weigh in on political issues. Krohn also calls himself a "nerd who’s never been laid" and attempts to clarify that he didn't become a liberal in an effort to cope with that.
In a previous interview, Krohn explained the roots of his political transformation.
"Social conservatism was the first thing to go," he said, a claim that may have been foreshadowed last year when he denounced the "extreme views" of some conservatives. Krohn says he is now pro-choice, supports gay marriage and would vote for President Barack Obama if he could. He'll still be 17 in November.
Read Krohn's entire column at Salon.
Below, a look at 20 extraordinary wunderkinds.
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