Andrew Breitbart once told me that the most important experience in his life was walking in front of a million-person audience, getting hammered for his beliefs and ridiculed on national television, and then getting up the next day with a smile on his face.
He said liberalism in our culture makes you think the fate worse than death is getting attacked, belittled, and mocked on TV. But the bullets they shoot at you, he said, are like those in the Matrix: You can hold up your hand like Neo, and they will stop and fall because the bullets of the left aren’t based on reality.
Going out to face what he saw as the agents of the subversive progressive machine and absorbing and deflecting their attacks is precisely what he did, day after day.
I first met Brietbart in Santa Barbara, Calif., in July 2010. He was giving a talk to about 25 students about his philosophical movement from left to right.
He was hilarious–bombastic, focused, energetic. He tore into liberalism with a wild intensity in his eyes and a warrior’s laugh. He defended the two pillars of American society – capitalism and Judeo-Christian morality – by skewering the left for hypocrisy, cowardice, and paranoia. He considered liberals “intellectual child molesters” for indoctrinating of students like himself in public schools and universities. And causing them consternation gave him pleasure, he said.
When the room had emptied, he stayed behind to talk with a smaller group of us. He told us not to be afraid of the left. The attacks didn’t matter. The truth was all that did, and in order to save our culture, we had to fight back by creating controversies for the Left.
Agree with him or not, Breitbart did what he intended to do with his new media weapons: he was a cultural warrior, causing chaos for those who he saw as enemies of our culture.
The last time I saw him, he was chatting with myself and a group of conservatives in Washington, D.C. at CPAC in February. Breitbart told us the story of how he was adopted into a loving home, and how fortunate he was to be part of a country with enough caring and enough prosperity to adopt kids like him. That’s why the culture matters and why religious freedom matters, he said. So Americans can keep caring for the littlest ones.
After he I met him in 2010 he wrote his personal email address down for me on a scrap of paper. Even though we were just a group of college kids and he was a nationally recognized figure, we mattered to him.
Andrew Brietbart has passed on, but he can leave knowing that he passed on inspiration to thousands of young culture warriors and gave them the new media tools to fight the machines of liberalism.