American conservatism—the so-called “culture of life”—worships annihilation.
A decade ago, in my first public writing since leaving Capitol Hill, I warned that the Republican Party, in its evolution towards an extremist conservative movement allied with extremist Christian fundamentalism, was becoming like “one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.” After Donald Trump’s enthronement as the decider of our fate, I analyzed the GOP’s descent into a nihilism that belied every one of its supposed “values.”
In recent weeks, the seedy existence of celebrity landlords came to the fore when word got out that Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gifted the residents of their two Los Angeles buildings a rent-free April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bell and Shepard live in a $4.3 million home in Los Angeles’ posh Los Feliz.) But instead of providing a warm and fuzzy PR moment for the actors, their landlordism exposed something disturbing about the charismatic celebrities who are ubiquitous on our various screens: Many of them are not simply (rich) workers, but capitalists.