Gut Check: The Right Way to Rebel

gregReprinted from

So, let’s say you realized, that, try as you might, you’re not like the rest of them.

You’re different. You don’t instantly agree with them. Their assumptions are no longer yours. Maybe, secretly, they never were. But now, you find yourself the odd man out as they rant, they rave, they ridicule.

You realize–in a quiet, private moment–that you aren’t a liberal. What next? What do you do? Can you let go from the safety net of agreeable party conversation and follow your own path? It’s quite a leap. Anyone who has done it will tell you–it’s never easy. See: David Mamet.

And I know–I know–you’ve never considered, ever, that you might be a conservative. Because, for the longest time, being a conservative was met with edgy derision and mockery. The “typical conservative,” as identified by the media and those in entertainment, is a cloddish clown–a humorless scold devoid of contemporary caché and hip fashion. Some of them make you angry. Some make you laugh at their earnestness. Some… you just don’t get. They’re weird.

I get it. I was there, once, facing a new terrain of oddballs. It’s important to note, however, that this stereotype–although true in some parts–in the larger sense is false. And it is a stereotype created by a movement and its proponents in the media that has owned the narrative since I was in diapers (at least ten years). The idea that conservatives are somehow more intolerant and angry than liberals is a lie. Both have their fair share, but the nature of conservatives is “live and let live.” It’s a shame that a few of them still don’t get that part. But all in all, the oddballs are oddly cool.

How do you make that transition from left to right? How do you accept that you are now the hated? The reviled? The dork? The hater of women, minorities, and women minorities? Should you even bother, if bothering means you’ll be smeared as a racist? Is it better just to walk out of one group and avoid the other? Disown any identification and remove yourself from such ideological battles? That would be easy, if you did not live in a liberal world. But if you do live there, then what do you do? How do you come out of the closet, as a rightie, without ruining your life?

By asking that question, you answer it. The animus directed at one who leaves the fold explains the value of the journey out. Its struggle dictates the meaning. The slings and arrows one experiences means, quite simply, that you are onto something. For the anger toward your move is a sweaty reaction to courage that others (like the attackers) lack.

If you were to define real rebellion–the act of a true recalcitrant–it would be through the condemnation of your leap. Consider that by becoming a liberal–moving from right to left–you will be the recipient of the age old “strange new respect.” You will be lauded. You will gain opportunities afforded to the cool who made that leap already. You will keep friends, and make more. You will experience opportunities that are available only to those who speak what pretends to be daring, when it is solely predictable. That observation tells you that there is nothing rebellious about it. Ariana reaped a new life from it. So did David Brock. And every celebrity on the wane. It’s the lifeline for dead ends.

Consider the opposite, my dear troubled liberal. Moving right cannot be done at night. The first time you reveal a traditionally conservative thought (you are pro-life, you believe in American exceptionalism, you decry dependence and government interference, you balk at racial politics, you embrace free markets while eschewing punitive taxes and regulations*), it cannot be hidden. The spotlight finds you, and, like a magnifying glass on a spider, it seeks to fry.

For that alone, your change is worth it. There is nothing more rebellious, truly, than turning right. There is nothing more daring than standing alone, facing the onslaught of a smirking media, and saying, “Here I am, I am not you.” There is nothing edgier than saying to the edgy, “You lie. You are as edgy as a frisbee.”

The colonial rebels were resisting the same thing. They didn’t want to be overtaxed, controlled from afar, or have all aspects of their lives regulated. They were TRUE rebels, not fake Sean Penn champagne rebels. That’s what the country was founded on, and that’s what we’re in danger of losing. (It’s STILL what defines us. Unlike every European country, we find “security,” i.e. a safety net available at our beck and call, beneath us. That may be the most significant manifestation of the American mindset. THAT is American exceptionalism. “Rugged individualism” is NOT dead. We’re NOT that far from the frontier, nor do we wish to be. We’ll leave a stultifying, deadening desire for “security” at all costs to the ossified empires of the past. We want freedom, and the risk is the exhilaration.

The only way I truly changed was interpreting the rejection of my “change” as validation. It was liberating. It was freedom. And it’s the only way to convey the value of such transformation to the young and confused. It is time to accept that a peculiar creaking creepiness exists in certain places on the right, for it will only open doors to new recruits, relieved that you understand their reticence.

And when they come, accept their own weirdness with open arms.


*NOT all conservatives believe in “all” the same things, however. It’s the problem we have with many newbies who wish to climb aboard. By forcing them to accept every conservative idea, they see it as too hard and choose the other direction because it’s easier. Give them time, and do not appoint yourself the bouncer of a movement because it makes you feel superior or “more conservative.” That only makes you irritating. Likewise, new converts who embrace all ideas and principles with hard-charging relish should pull back on labeling others around you for not being as “hardcore.” Chances are, those people were conservative when you were reading Highlights.

Greg Gutfeld is a mainstay on Fox News as co-host of The Five and the host of Red Eye. He’s also the NY Times best-selling author of The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage. For more from Greg check out his official site or follow him on Twitter.

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  • Jason

    Great article. You’ve put into words what I’ve been thinking for some time. Pretty much anyone who is not left wing are rebels nowadays. We have become the contrarians of our age. Also a good point of being accepting of people like me, who don’t agree with every aspect of right wing thought, but on the whole do agree.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Thank you FPM for finally putting somebody like Gutfeld on your site. He is effective not just because he’s funny, but because he doesn’t hesitate to mock the dorks on the left.

    Only mockery and exposition works against those dweebs. They are not cool, they are total geeks. Why is Obama supposed to be cool? Because Snoopy Dog and Hannah Montana say he is? Why should we care what those rejects say?

    The left is comprised of totalitarian scumbags who want to dictate everything we do even though none of us really like them.

    Fuck them.

    I want to see more articles like this.

  • John Trout

    David Mamet’s book, “The Secret Knowledge” should be mandatory reading for every recent college graduate who can’t find a job with his Sociology degree. For everyone else, it’s a tour de force of honesty and reflection on the mindset of the average American leftist and their “effort to stave off a feeling of powerlessness” that comes from trying to substitute God with an all-powerful “benevolent” government. This has never happened and will never happen as long as human imperfectibility exists.

  • Chezwick

    One thing is certain. There is a great deal more ideological diversity and tolerance within the conservative “movement” than among liberals. Conservatives are frequently in-fighting over one issue or another. Liberals are much, much more inclined to march in lock-step with the fold, desperate to avoid running afoul of their own, vaunted thought-police.

    • Guy Fromage

      My wife’s side of the family were gathered at a wake for her great-grandmother. If a few precious exceptions, her family is made up of reflexive democrats, or worse. An aunt was bitterly ranting about how Republicans are lockstep lemmings who all vote the same way, and take cues from some central authority.

      When I responded with the modest proposal that congressional voting patterns would suggest a greater degree of intellectual diversity among (R)s, compared to (D)s, she, and several around her, reacted as if I had just come out of the closet as a pedophile.

      • Chezwick

        Well friend, my own side of the family is no less liberal than my wife’s. They are – to a person – intelligent, good, decent, ethical people….and they are flaming liberals without a clue.

        It’s strange how libs tend to be culturally sophisticated and yet politically, quite uninformed. They have a very vague, superficial knowledge of the issues, enough to make their talking points. But try engaging them in the details, the minutia, and their ignorance becomes all too apparent.

        In a discussion of our country’s economic problems, it occurred to me to ask my older brother the size of last year’s deficit. It was obvious he didn’t have a clue and he became enraged that I had the temerity to expose his ignorance…(though he tried to deflect the reason for his anger onto an innocuous remark I had made 20 minutes earlier, one that evoked no reaction whatsoever when I had made it and that wasn’t even directed at him).

        When all was said and done, I actually felt sorry for him. Needless to say, we don’t talk politics anymore.

        • Boogie’s Daddy

          In my family the problem as I see it is “sophistication” in a Websterian sense. It isn’t culture it’s that they are jaded. They have aquired a crust that prevents ideas from getting in.

      • Drakken

        Well I come from an area rich in liberal DFL thought and lockstep. We have a saying up here, if you took Mickey Mouse, put him on a bar stool, slapped a DFL label on him, the folks here would elect him. There are a few in my family that think that I am a tad right of Attila the Hun, now who am I to dissuade them of that notion?

  • AdinaF

    The complete self righteousness, absolute intolerance, of those who hold tightly onto their “liberal” bonafides becomes a sacred act. In an Orwellian sense, while they ridicule conservatives as “bitter clingers” and all which said pejorative implies, the fact of the matter is that they are wedded to their ideology more so than many religious people are to their religion.

    It is their rigid inflexibility, coupled with their reflexive ridicule of all things deemed non-liberal, which causes many to stay hidden as “closet” conservatives.

    No matter. Think of it this way: ‘Leftist Dogma Is The Same World Over’. As demonstrated within, even in Israel, leftists, though a very small fraction of the Jewish majority public, are so overwhelmingly shrill and condescending (in tandem with their mega war chests from abroad, but that’s another story) there is no relief from them either. Nevertheless, there is NO option, but to beat them back.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Guy Fromage

    Anyone who still harbors the silly meme that “hipness” positively correlates to leftism, should spend a little time among my tweeps on Twitter, and the lefties they pwn on a regular basis.

    One will quickly come to the conclusion that hipness and leftism are intertwined, only if hipness mean a slavish and intolerant adherence to an ideology of enforced dependence.

    • WW4

      I would go more on what bands they’re into.

      • Guy Fromage

        The Army You Have would make the average hipster’s head explode in a cloud of sparkles.

        Rush works, too.

        • ziggy zoggy

          Try “99 problems” by Hugo. Not even a lefty could hate that one.

  • Seek

    Give us a break. Hustlers, hookers and hangers-on are a dime a dozen in American politics and especially in Washington, D.C. And there are plenty on the Right as well as the Left. I’ve personally known hundreds of them over the years. As for David Brock, he didn’t move from Right to Left to achieve fame and fortune. He already had those things during his American Spectator days — far more, in fact, than the years since. He moved because he recognized b.s. when he saw it.
    I oppose the Left by instinct, but the snarky and unfunny Greg Gutfeld isn’t our meal ticket.

    • ziggy zoggy


      Yeah, I’m sure you have known hundreds of hustlers and hookers. Your chin is still dripping from your impressive life experience. Glad you aren’t just a spectator.

      I oppose ret@rds by instinct. You come in first place, short bus. If you suck any harder you could become my Happy Meal ticket.

      • Seek

        Enlightening you are not. Insulting and stupid you are.

        • ziggy zoggy

          Yeah. Real zinger, dude. Gutfeld has competition.

  • m4253y

    As a rule, when faced with a liberal in debate of anything, it is generally an excellent practice to stay true to the literal definition of words and meanings or otherwise be drawn to a devolving and degrading debate of groundless and baseless bovine excrement.

    Up until perhaps the late 19th and early 20th C’s, Liberalism stood for the very tenants of what is construed as Conservatism today. Namely, smaller and less intrusive government, free market capitalism, and the rights, liberties and freedoms of the individual.

    Have a read of the definition of the word Liberalism and think to yourself how the evolution of wealth transfer, bigger government, interruption in the capital markets and the encroachment on individual rights, freedoms and liberties are the rally cry of every socialist, whoops, i meant Liberal, today.

    liberalism noun (Concise Encyclopedia) (courtesy Merriam Webster)

    Political and economic doctrine that emphasizes the rights and freedoms of the individual and the need to limit the powers of government. Liberalism originated as a defensive reaction to the horrors of the European wars of religion of the 16th century (see Thirty Years’ War). Its basic ideas were given formal expression in works by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, both of whom argued that the power of the sovereign is ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, given in a hypothetical social contract rather than by divine right (see divine kingship). In the economic realm, liberals in the 19th century urged the end of state interference in the economic life of society. Following Adam Smith, they argued that economic systems based on free markets are more efficient and generate more prosperity than those that are partly state-controlled. In response to the great inequalities of wealth and other social problems created by the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America, liberals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries advocated limited state intervention in the market and the creation of state-funded social services, such as free public education and health insurance. In the U.S. the New Deal program undertaken by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt typified modern liberalism in its vast expansion of the scope of governmental activities and its increased regulation of business. After World War II a further expansion of social welfare programs occurred in Britain, Scandinavia, and the U.S. Economic stagnation beginning in the late 1970s led to a revival of classical liberal positions favouring free markets, especially among political conservatives in Britain and the U.S. Contemporary liberalism remains committed to social reform, including reducing inequality and expanding individual rights. See alsoconservatism; individualism.

  • Douglas Mayfield

    Nothing remains for the Left but anger and vitriol, verbally and in print, because if the 20th century demonstrated nothing else it was the absolute catastrophic failure, and virulent immorality, of socialism.
    But the dealers in socialist poison, the Democrats, never quit. They continue to espouse ‘From each according to his ability to each according to his need’. That people must actually work for a living to pay the bills for the Democrats’ ‘charity at gun point’ is a fact they scrupulously evade, both personally and politically.

  • oldschooltwentysix

    Good essay. One need not be pure, and can even switch back and forth, depending on the issue.

    But apostasy, from either side, is a mortal sin to the former believers.

    I especially like Red Eye, which is beyond what most progressives comprehend when it comes to what is on Fox News, steeped in their stereotypes.

  • Paul Rainwater

    Greg Gutfeld thinks he’s the new conservative George Carlin, newsflash; Gutfeld doesn’t have an ounce of the talent Carlin had; how this Gutfeld loon got on TV and gained some popularity just shows how many mindless ignorant people we have that think his lame brand of political hate monger commentary in the guise of comedy is funny, pathetic and sad…but he’s riding the wave and cashin in, just like ex governor quitter Sarah Palin did, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    • ziggy zoggy

      Pule Wahwhiner, “Red Eye” is the funniest show on TV. The only thing that even comes close is “The Late Show” with Craig Ferguson.

      You hate Gutfeld and Palin. That means you hate funny guys and hot chicks. Which means you’re a gay dude who can’t get laid. Maybe MSNBC will give you your own show so you can whine along with all the other losers that nobody watches.

      “Red Eye” has higher ratings than prime time shows on the fake news channels……..and it airs at 3: FUCKING AM Eastern time!

      How many pele do you think would watch a show with a boring puller with you in it. George Carlin is probably glad he’s dead just so he doesn’t have to listen to you. I know you’re making me wish I could die sooner.

      • Paul Rainwater

        I liked Gutfeld on Redeye 5 years ago, I though it was a funny show and he had some potential, I no longer see Redeye here in Thailand on Fox, but I get The 5, and he seems to have changed and really gone over the edge and off the far right cliff. He tries too hard to be funny and is just mean, inane and banal.

        • Drakken

          Say hi to your ladyboy “girlfriend” will ya? I am sure he/she/it and you are very happy together. Oh by the way, paying for it doesn’t count as having more “girlfriends” as the rest of us.

          • Paul Rainwater

            LOL like guys get it free where you come from, say hello to the head nurse at the loony bid you live in. You’re a moron…

    • Boogie’s Daddy

      I never found Carlin all that funny. His “observations” were about a year behind the wise-cracks my friends came up with on an minute to minute basis. Placed in the improv environment on Red Eye, Carlin would have been totally lost. Carlin became irrelevant outside of liberal echo chambers about two years into his career because his “observations” became nothing more than stale, reworked talking points. Jon Stewart at least makes no bones about that being his schtick. Today Ed Asner is as funny as Carlin was, in a much sadder way.
      And let’s talk about political hate mongering.
      Sarah Palin wrote a book? Oh my! A best seller as I recall. The shame of it all!!! How dare she do such a dirty thing.
      Obama wrote three (count ‘em) ……all about himself….complete with “composite characters” and omitted names to protect the perverted. (Not counting the copies that the DNC bought and gave away they didn’t sell all that well. Most likely because many Obama voters cannot read beyond a third grade level.)
      I have never seen a politician more focused on collecting “funds” than this guy. He puts the Clintons to shame.

      • Paul Rainwater

        Obviously your far right bias has blinded you and trying to say Gurfeld is a genius compared to Carlin is like comparing a 1st grade child to a PHD, and you’re just wrong, hateful, and a racist saying things like “Obama voters cannot read beyond a third grade level” why don’t you go to your KKK and NRA meetings to get some love and support for your ignorant medieval ideas, I’m you’ll find plenty of fools to agree with you … from my cold dead hands… praise the lord and pass the ammunition, blah blah blah

        • Flowerknife_us

          Obama’s supporters in Congress didn’t “read the Bill” because they couldn’t read it.

          Conservatives are just not that willing to sell their freedom away for the Trinkets People like you profess to offer.

          • Paul Rainwater

            you guys are so lame, all you have is this “can’t read” crap LOL

        • Drakken

          Ah yes, the liberal/regressive catch words, KKK, NRA, race card, hate, ignorant, medieval, beneath contempt. Let me guess, you voted for Obummer didn’t you? Because it is obvious that you are far more enlightened than us knuckle draggers. The irony would be rich if it wasn’t so pathetic.

          • Paul Rainwater

            “knuckle dragger” you said it not me, sounds like you had a good look in the mirror! LOL

    • Servo1969

      WTF does George Carlin have to do with anything?

  • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

    Gutfeld, the right way to rebel is to begin reporting on the fraudulent activity committed by Barack Hussein Obama (Barry Soetoro). The man has been flaunting a Forged Birth Certificate since April 27th, 2011. The man has been using a Flagged SS# (042-68-4425) which means that it is more than likely fraudulent. The man Fraudulently registered with the Selective Service in 2008, punishable by a $250,000 fine and a 5 Year prison sentence. Start covering it on your Red Eye show. Oooops, I forgot Fox ordered you not to report on these crimes.

  • Ser

    O Gutfeld, you poor thing… are you so persecuted and reviled for being a conservative? Awwww….
    Since all the above can equally be written about conservatives deciding they’ve had enough and want to turn liberal, I guess this shows that what you really are is a cry-baby. You do realize you’re talking about political leanings, don’t you, which shouldn’t be like one religious zealot fighting another, but about looking at the facts and debating them? Now man up and stop playing such a drama queen, it doesn’t become you.

  • Zombee

    That was a great article. Way to go Greg.

  • bill

    Recently, as part of a discussion of a mutual interest in literature with an acquaitance [whom I know to be a liberal because of her involvement with Elizabeth Warren’s campaign], this temperate, intelligent woman commented she would not want to bring a “Tea Partier” through the Kennedy museum as they were too cold hearted to be capable of experiencing the emotional impact of the place ! Unfortunately, as she knows nothing of my polical views, I could not summon the courage to tell her she was conversing with a card carrying member. Shame on me, I guess…but I must admit to a slight sense of superiority in not divulging my position, though it might have served to correct in a small way, her feckless bigotry.
    Anyone else experience similar situations and what did you do?