Dave Rubin is finally free. After years of hiding his true self from the world, seemingly ashamed of who he really is, he says he’s at last loud and proud…to admit he’s a hardcore Donald Trump supporter and a conservative.
“In many ways, it was harder coming out as a Trump supporter than coming out as gay,” Rubin writes in his feeble new book Don’t Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia.
Famous in the right-wing media ecosphere as the “Why I Left the Left” guy, Rubin claims to have had a totally organic evolution in just a few short years from a Bernie Sanders-supporting lefty to a “classical liberal” ostensibly devoted to civil discourse—and now all the way around the bend to his current incarnation as a MAGA shitposter who calls every Democrat, liberal or non-right wing media figure “evil.”
Rubin made his name as the host of the Rubin Report on YouTube, where he gained a substantial audience hosting anti-woke “Intellectual Dark Web” figures, far-right activists, and overt racists for uncritical (or slavishly fawning) interviews.
But nowadays, he’s more of a full-time political commentator than a bobblehead interviewer—frequently appearing on Fox News, Newsmax, and basically any right-wing outlet that will have him (while openly admitting that he won’t engage his critics or be interviewed by anyone who doesn’t promise to be super nice to him beforehand).
He’s got over a million Twitter followers and hangs out with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Large Adult Son Donald Trump, Jr., and right-wing billionaire and political financier Peter Thiel. In Club MAGA, Rubin’s a VIP.
In Don’t Burn This Country, Rubin at last sheds the pretense that he’s “the last sane liberal” or even a “classical liberal.” He writes in the book’s introduction that his first tome, Don’t Burn This Book, was “my last-ditch effort to save liberals from themselves,” but that just two years later he’s “not so sure the original concept of liberalism is salvageable.”
He adds, “The problem is we’ve overdosed on tolerance and self-expression to such an extent that we actually don’t stand for anything.”
Much like his first book, there’s little commentary you won’t already find on his Twitter feed: The left is no longer liberal, they’re “a mob of angry, sex-deprived people.” The right is tolerant, “a toga party with a bunch of people drinking and smoking and sharing different and often competing ideas.” Jordan Peterson and Larry Elder are among “the greatest thinkers and educators of our time.”
What differentiates Don’t Burn This Country from its predecessor are the awkward insertions of “smart” content—long passages that are just quotes from the likes of Ayn Rand, Thomas Sowell, and Alexis de Tocqueville, along with the Wikipedia-depth medical bits about how the brain works. And there’s less dumb af content than in the first book—which at various points argued that the Vietnam War was good and that Hitler was of the political left.
But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of dumb and disingenuous goodies to be had here.
He calls James Lindsay—the Trump-supporting activist and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist who helped birth both the critical race theory and “groomer” moral panics—”a lifelong liberal (in a good way!).”
And Rubin weaslely refers to Trump’s Big Lie by saying the 2020 election was “fraught with skepticism,” falsely smears the COVID vaccine as “unproven and untested,” and gruesomely paraphrases the Beastie Boys, writing: “You gotta fight for your right to parrrr-take in freedom.”
But if there’s one thing that defines this book, it’s the Trump worship.
To Rubin, Trump is the most honest and brave president America has ever had, and the first “in modern history” to not “start a new war” (which must be news to anyone alive during the Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter administrations). He even takes on some of the 45th president’s tics—as partially evidenced by the amount of sentences he begins with “Trust me…”
Rubin recounts the time in 2019 when he chatted with Trump for a few minutes at Mar-a-Lago (a story he’s already told ad nauseam on his own show, other people’s shows, and on Twitter). Rubin says the then-president told him within seconds of meeting that “I don’t give a shit that you’re gay” and praised him and his husband’s good looks. This single sentence made such an impact on Rubin that he made it the sub-heading of the chapter titled “Dismantling Systems of Structural Stupidity," and continues to lean on his Trump anecdote as evidence of the right’s near-universal acceptance of gays.
Trump, personally, might not give a shit that Rubin is gay. But a whole lot of Trump’s political allies and supporters in Rubin’s audience do.
After Rubin and his husband announced they’d soon be welcoming two children through surrogacy, MAGAs swarmed his Twitter mentions to tell him what an abomination he and his family were.
The American Conservative published an article in response titled, “No Allies Who Buy Babies.” Right-wing YouTuber Mark Dice called it “horrifying” and said “Any Christian or conservative congratulating them is just as bad as the Marxists.” Former Trump legal adviser Jenna Ellis called Rubin her “friend” but added “the homosexual lifestyle is morally wrong” and “moral gerrymandering does not and cannot legitimize any sin.”
Clearly shaken, Rubin went on Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV show to address the attacks. But rather than stand up to the Trump-supporting bigots in his audience, Rubin said he understands why they’re so scared of two men raising a child—because the left is just that bad!
It’s this kind of audience capture that has made Rubin rich financially, but bankrupt of integrity.
Throughout Don’t Burn This Country, Rubin repeatedly whitewashes the homophobia of a substantial portion of the conservative movement—absurdly insinuating that anti-gay GOP activism ended the moment SCOTUS legalized gay marriage in 2015. And though his freedom to be married to the person of his choosing is clearly imperiled by Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ legislation and open skepticism of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Rubin sees no evil—unless it’s a Democrat.
Philip Roth’s 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, imagines an alternate history where the Nazi-sympathetic aviator and "America First" movement leader Charles Lindbergh is elected president in 1940, and then immediately signs a treaty with Nazi Germany. The character Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (played by John Turturro in the HBO mini-series adaptation) supports Lindbergh, earning access to the White House and a modicum of fame as the Jew who tells Lindbergh-supporting Americans that they’re not antisemites. It doesn’t end well for Bengelsdorf.
It’s hard to not see the parallel with Rubin, who ascended from left-wing media obscurity to right-wing media stardom, running interference for people who value him as a political pet, but hate who he actually is. This is all while a GOP-led legislative storm brews, which threatens his own family.
In that sense, Don’t Burn This Country isn’t just Rubin’s MAGA love letter, it’s 193 pages of self-loathing opportunism.