Dave Rubin is having a hard time claiming he’s still a liberal. After announcing his latest decision for The Rubin Report to join Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV, an online network which exclusively hosts conservative pundits and their programs, his touted ideology of “classical liberalism” has become the self-fulfilling prophecy of rallying behind a notorious right-wing echo chamber all because he just doesn’t “buy the YouTube game anymore.” To the surprise of literally no-one, Rubin’s plausible deniability as an independent creator is gone.
Whether it’s for the money, exposure or a genuine belief in this brand of political organization is irrelevant. Even BlazeTV describe their new partner as having a journey “from a left-leaning progressive to a free-thinking libertarian”, indicating they’ve recognized his rightward shift despite his continual denials to the contrary. “I’ve been saying for years that defending my liberal values is becoming a conservative position,” Rubin recently scoffed on Twitter after the announcement. “Unfortunately, that’s not what they mean with these headlines. I shall try to go on nonetheless!”
Even if we agree with this faux-liberal intent, conservative content is the natural consequence of his own actions, resulting in how he’s changed camps in this “massive political realignment” he admits is currently happening. There’s just a lack of personal responsibility taken for his state in the discourse. But let’s ask what are these supposed “liberal values” he’s trying to defend exactly? “I’m gay married, [begrudgingly] pro-choice, pro-weed legalization, for reforming prisons, for public education and anti-war,” the pundit continued to rant. “Basically if you think for yourself at any level, you’re now a conservative.”
While this is all well and good for a simple reactionary bumper-sticker — as most of Rubin’s input amounts to — it doesn’t address his objective political persuasions. In recent years, Rubin’s quick spiel on his beliefs has dropped his support of single-payer healthcare — the only policy indicating a uniquely liberal value. In an interview with progressive host David Pakman, Rubin revealed his ideal healthcare solution being government subsidies of private plans for the unfortunate — which is almost an exact replica of the 1993 Heritage-foundation proposal later adopted over into the Obamacare individual mandate system. After abandoning his strongest policy point for being a pro-free marketeer position, where does he often go from here?
It should go without saying the term “gay married” is an outright dishonest and unironic form of identity politics, so broad in its application here that it lumps his new-found Thatcherite enemy Milo Yiannopoulos under the same banner. The nebulous terms of “pro-weed” and “anti-war” are also among age-old right-libertarian values which are dating back to the days of the anti-prohibitionists in Milton Friedman and the anti-interventionists like Murray Rothbard. Even among the Republicans, the public support for both funding public education and prison-sentencing reform has only increased under the Trump administration. The one issue of unique persuasion, which he admits is held with a “begrudgingly” centrist pessimism, is abortion — a topic where former Blaze host Tomi Lahren was famously fired for coming out as unapologetically pro-choice.
It’s almost like his defenses, without a substantive backing in strong policy, philosophy and a track record of honesty, are just words flailing around to cling onto his unique term of “classical liberal”. It’s especially funny when he discusses his approach to the face of his right-wing colleagues, he immediately folds making classical liberalism and right-libertarianism as interchangeable by his own words. “I always find it funny when people say, ah, you libertarians, you’re complaining, you’re not allowed to complain because you don’t want the government involved so you should just shut up,” Rubin tells Beck in his interview. “No, that’s the beauty of Libertarianism or Classical Liberalism, or whatever — use your voice without demanding that someone behave the way you want them to.”
This inability to genuinely seize his own political label, however, hasn’t stop Rubin from trying to use the social clout of classical liberalism which is slowly fading away. In May, his talk show tried to plan a sit-down interview with the presidential contender Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) which he claims was derailed because an “outrage mob” of activists and journalists informed the campaign on why the decision is questionable. In the weeks prior, Rubin was called out in four separate Quillette articles challenging his “tribalist pull”, noting his slanted guest line-up towards his partisan right-wing and IDW “allies”.
Rubin has continually given an uncritical platform pass to these guests on the topics of race and IQ and ethno-nationalist sympathies, while using bad faith takes to avoid argumentation with the left, whether of the social justice or dirtbag persuasion, such as Pakman, Sam Seder, Ana Kasparian, and others rejected from discourse. Once the Buttigieg interview fell through, the spot was subsequently given to Mike Cernovich, a reactionary deplatformer who was given the soft and agreeable approach that proved the thesis of writers Uri Harris, Cathy Young and myself (not to brag).
Rubin circulates in a field of avoiding the very same labels and responsibility for the right which he breaches against the left. When Rubin announced his partnership, he later said that Kyle Kashuv, the Parkland school shooting survivor and Second Amendment advocate, would be joining The Rubin Report. “Harvard foolishly rescinded the acceptance of Kashuv, so we hired him as our new Digital Director. Instead of racking up college debt he has a paying gig. Welcome aboard, Kyle!” he wrote at the time.
What he fails to mention was it was rescinded on the basis of racist and anti-Semitic messages in a public school forum blaming “n*gger jocks” for his inability to get laid and laughing about “killing all the f*cking Jews.” It’s the exact kind of rhetoric he would falsely attribute to leftist politicians the likes of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib who’s he’s smeared under these monikers, providing no evidence outside virtue signal tweets. If there’s one area where Rubin is comfortably left, it’s playing the partisan stereotype his career necessitates as an enemy.
This isn’t to say Rubin can’t give the appearance of good faith contribution to the discourse, but there’s more to be done before buying the words of a transparent grifter who was under the thumb of sponsors like the Koch-linked sugar daddies in Learn Liberty and Turning Point USA. The video announcement describes how BlazeTV, his new social media company ThinkSpot and another business venture of his are going to help online free speech through a new development that “gives everybody their own app” for new ideas. “You will be able to create your own terms of service for your own community,” according to Rubin. “I will never sell your data, I don’t want your data. Creators will also have the ability to weed out trolls, because the platform will be subscription-based.”
As I’ve written in the past, Rubin and his platform associate Jordan Peterson have their own hypocritical history when it comes to free speech, public transparency and how they handle themselves in the digital marketplace. From the continual defamation lawsuits on flimsy grounds, debate dodging their critics and keeping their proposed platform as a centralized entity without the necessary government regulation to stop tyranny, the reactionary fire behind this smoke just can’t be ignored any longer. While Rubin will continue to deny the political reality he’s forged, this shady partnership with BlazeTV is just the pissing more gas everywhere.
Thanks for reading! This article was originally published for TrigTent.com, a bipartisan media platform for political and social commentary, truly diverse viewpoints and facts that don’t kowtow to political correctness.
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