|Subjects||International Affairs, Politics|
Jonathan Lee Krohn is an American journalist and writer. He has written for The Guardian, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, and Mother Jones, among others. In March, 2013 Krohn was made the International Affairs and Politics fellow for Kurdish media company Rudaw's English language news site.
Prior to his work in journalism, Krohn wrote and self-published the book Defining Conservatism, in which he sought to outline core conservative principles. He gained national attention when he addressed the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at age 13. Krohn convinced skeptical organizers to allow him to speak for three minutes at the CPAC event on February 27, 2009. His speech was well received by the audience and later gained popularity on the internet, garnering Krohn attention on national news programs on CNN and Fox News Channel. In 2009, he was a finalist for Time magazine's Time 100 for the year. His second book, Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back, was released on February 9, 2010.
In 2011, Krohn openly declared he no longer held conservative views.
Krohn, an only child, was born to Doug Krohn, a computer system integrator, and Marla Krohn, a sales representative and middle-school drama and speech teacher. Krohn's family lived in Duluth, Georgia. In 2006, he was voted "Atlanta's Most Talented Child" by Inside Edition. Krohn became interested in politics at age eight, after hearing about a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations in the United States Senate. The event prompted him to research American history and governmental rules and policies, and he developed an affinity for conservatism and began to listen regularly to conservative talk radio, particularly Morning in America with William Bennett, to whom he became a regular caller.
Krohn wrote Defining Conservatism, which was self-published in 2008, when he was 13 years old, because he felt the term conservatism was often misused. The book was in part a response to criticism that John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, received regarding his conservative credentials. The book outlines four fundamental principles of conservative thought: support for the United States Constitution, opposition to abortion, less government, and more personal responsibility. Krohn went on to apply the principles to current events and define whether specifically cited actions violated those principles. The book was dedicated to Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Barry Goldwater, whom Krohn describes as his political heroes, along with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. Krohn paid to have the book published from his own savings. He described it as a "first effort" and immediately planned to write a second one, which he said would focus in part on Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe.
In January 2009, Krohn contacted organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference and asked to speak at the event. Organizers were reportedly skeptical, but gave him a three-minute spot on a panel about grassroots activists. He delivered the speech, on February 27, 2009 and described the conservative principles outlined in his book. When the speech was over, the panel moderator said, "Watch out, David Keene," referring to the chairman of the American Conservative Union. The next day at the conference, William Bennett said, "I used to work for Ronald Reagan and now I'm a colleague of Jonathan Krohn's!" The speech attracted the attention of national media outlets, and became popular online. Sam Stein of The Huffington Post said of the speech, "It was filled with the type of rhetorical flow and emotional pitch one would expect from a seasoned hand. Except, [he] is more than four years away from being able to vote."
After the conference, Krohn's parents received hate mail accusing them of brainwashing their son, but both insist Krohn developed his own political thinking. Within a week of the speech, Krohn appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. A staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor also asked to meet with him. Several Facebook fan pages were started for him, including one called "Jonathan Krohn 2032", a reference to the first year he will be eligible to run for President of the United States.
Krohn wrote a column for Human Events, a weekly conservative newspaper. Krohn wrote a second book, Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back, released February 2010. The book was praised by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher, who said of it, "Any time I am depressed about the state of the country or the future of the modern conservative movement, I consider two words: Jonathan Krohn." Gingrich offered to write the foreword for the book, but Krohn wanted it to be written by William Bennett. Krohn attended the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, but did not have a speaking role. Krohn has also spoken at several Tea Party protests.
Change in political views
In 2011, the French conservative media Nouvelles de France revealed that Jonathan Krohn was not conservative anymore. In 2012, he confirmed to Politico that he no longer considers himself a conservative, and in fact takes a liberal point of view on many issues, including same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. He also said that if he were old enough to vote in the 2012 presidential election, he would vote for Barack Obama. However, he refused to describe himself as liberal, instead rejecting ideological labels entirely. Krohn attributes his change to reading works of philosophers such as Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. He said that he rejected social conservatism first, before rejecting other conservative viewpoints. Krohn stated that he had matured and described his 13-year-old self as "naive".
Conservatives immediately lashed out at Krohn for his reversal. In an article for Salon.com, Krohn was critical of partisan politics in general, and conservatives in particular, describing his conservative critics as "scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy." In an interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio subsequent to the Salon article, Krohn pointed out that his critics were so shallow that they claimed he shouldn't have been reading philosophy at only 17 years of age.
- Krohn's publications in well-known national media include: Atlantic Monthly (February 28, 2013) Another Problem in Syria: How Do Kurds Fit In?, Salon (July 8, 2012) I was a right-wing child star and Mother Jones (January 25, 2013) What the Senate Filibuster Deal Does—and Doesn't Do. Retrieved on: 2013-03-30
- "Defining Conservatism" book information and release date Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- Hoffman, Jan (March 6, 2009). "A Conservative Pundit Turns 14". The New York Times (Duluth, Georgia). Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Stein, Sam (February 27, 2009). "Jonathan Krohn: 13-Year-Old Conservative Wunderkind Wows CPAC, Joe The Plumber". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Schneider, Craig (November 4, 2008). "Georgia Republicans proud of turnout for Chambliss, McCain". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Gillispie, Frank (November 8, 2008). "Day 2 at CPAC: The Jonathan Krohn Interview!". Madison Journal Today. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Jonathon Krohn (February 27, 2009). Day 2 at CPAC: The Jonathan Krohn Interview! (Video Interview by Ana Marie Cox). Washington, D.C.: Air America (radio network). Retrieved September 19, 2010.
- Graff, Laura (June 6, 2009). "Teen Conservative: 14-year-old gained national attention for views about fiscal responsibility and lowering taxes". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Rothstein, Betsy (December 18, 2009). "Reporters Watch Out: Political Prodigy Returns". Mediabistro.com. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Eric Martin (March 17, 2011). "Jonathan Krohn n’est plus conservateur !". Nouvelles de France. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Patrick Gavin (July 2, 2012). "CPAC's boy wonder swings left". Politico. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- MSNBC Hardball July 3, 2012
- Jonathan Krohn (July 8, 2012). "I was a right-wing child star". Salon. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- Defining Conservatism, by Jonathan Krohn (official site, archived)
- Jonathan Krohn Addresses CPAC
- Jonathan Krohn on Twitter