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When conservatives disengage, we lose. End of story.

When conservatives disengage, we lose. End of story.

Is “CounterCulture” Counterproductive When Everything is Political?

Over the past few years, social conservatives have found their lifestyles (and in some cases, their livelihoods) under full assault by a very vocal, activist minority in the left. Progressive ire directed at the pro-life, pro-family, etc. crowd is nothing new, but with the advent of platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it’s easier and faster to sling mud with few consequences.

The Sunday Edition of the Dallas Morning News republished an essay by National Journal and Atlantic editor Jonathan Rauch about conservative Christians’ “great secession” (his words, not mine) from the culture. Via the Dallas Morning News:

I am someone who believes that religious liberty is the country’s founding freedom, the idea that made America possible. I am also a homosexual atheist, so religious conservatives may not want my advice. I’ll give it to them anyway. Culturally conservative Christians are taking a pronounced turn toward social secession: asserting both the right and the intent to sequester themselves from secular culture and norms, including the norm of nondiscrimination. This is not a good idea. When religion isolates itself from secular society, both sides lose, but religion loses more.

Jonathan Rauch is a liberal. A gay, atheist liberal who writes for mainstream media outlets. But this article isn’t about Jonathan Rauch, and it doesn’t matter what he believes. The important thing to glean from articles like this one—even if something strikes a well-tuned nerve—is that there are people out there who aren’t as gay, liberal, or faithless as Jonathan Rauch who are noticing these things too.

In America in 2014, everyone has an opinion about everyone else. Texas has her guns, California has her gun shows (no, not that kind of gun,) and the east coast has its high society clam bakes and the tendency to embrace terrible things like “small plates restaurants” and the New York Rangers. The South is racist, the North is rude, and Colorado is high. The Christians hate the gays, the Feminists hate Hobby Lobby, and conservative bloggers tend to not like anybody very much. We embrace this state of affairs because it makes it a heck of a lot easier to advocate for our brand of social change when we have a list of talking points we can use against the other side.

The problem with relying on talking points to exact change is that there are millions of Americans who exist outside of our 24-hour political bubble who are given exactly zero context. I don’t agree with everything in Rauch’s article, but what struck a chord with me is the fact that Americans who exist outside the bubble may be feeling the same way as Rauch, and we’re not engaging them.

Why the hunkering down? When I asked around recently, a few answers came back. One is the fear that traditional religious views, especially about marriage, will soon be condemned as no better than racism, and that religious dissenters will be driven from respectable society, denied government contracts and passed over for jobs — a fear heightened by well-publicized stories like the recent one about the resignation of Mozilla’s CEO, who had donated to the campaign against gay marriage in California.

The rub is that these fears are completely justified. The case against Hobby Lobby, a closely held corporation run by a single family, went to the Supreme Court over the company’s failure to cover exactly four types of birth control known to cause accidental miscarriages. Family owned bakeries are being forced to provide their employees with “sensitivity training” after refusing to bake a wedding cakes for gay couples. As Nicolle Martin, an Alliance Defending Attorney said about the wedding cake case, “[progressive activists] are turning people of faith into religious refugees,” and it doesn’t seem like this concerns the free-minded liberals in this country at all.

Still, that’s no excuse to disengage, especially since conservatives aren’t the only ones drawling lines and digging foxholes:

I must sadly acknowledge that there is an absolutist streak among some secular civil rights advocates. They think, justifiably, that discrimination is wrong and should not be tolerated, but they are too quick to overlook the unique role religion plays in American life and the unique protections it enjoys under the First Amendment. As a matter of both political wisdom and constitutional doctrine, the faithful have every right to seek reasonable accommodations for religious conscience.

We’re missing a fantastic opportunity to stop talking and start engaging with people who don’t roll out of bed thinking about the latest power play in the Senate. These are the people who get their news from the first outlet that manages to slap them in the face with a promoted post on Facebook. These are the people who changed their Facebook photo to the Human Rights Campaign’s “equality” logo during the Supreme Court’s deliberation over the Defense of Marriage Act not because they’re hardline activists, but because they have a gay friend who felt very strongly about the rulings and wanted to show support.

The moral of the story is, the politically disengaged are not going to come to us if we stick to the talking points that get the base moving. The Republican Party—and by and large the conservative movement—has been portrayed by the mainstream media as the creepy house at the end of the block that turns into a monster and eats kids (especially gay kids and little girls) after dark on Halloween. Nobody in their right mind is going to approach a party that refuses to step outside and have a conversation about why its policies are better for actual human beings than are progressive policies.

The “actual human beings” thing is key here. Messaging is targeted at various demographics, but the content of the message should be 100% focused on who we’re talking to. This is a conversation, not a sermon: people have questions, and comments, and we need to be prepared for that. “Why should I listen?” is a valid question, not a challenge or a rejection of conservatism.

But the message that mainstream Americans, especially young Americans, receive is very different. They hear: “What we, the faithful, really want is to discriminate. Against gays. Maybe against you or people you hold dear. Heck, against your dog.”

It’s possible to reach out and change minds, especially now that President Obama’s approval rating has dropped below 50%, and even mainstream outlets like the New York Times are publishing editorials criticizing his tactics against conservatives. To reject this opportunity in favor of the comfortable status quo is to put the political future of conservatism at risk of rejection and eventual destruction by a very savvy, vocal, and dedicated minority of progressive activists who don’t have to follow the rules to win the argument.


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“Why the hunkering down? When I asked around recently, a few answers came back. One is the fear that traditional religious views, especially about marriage, will soon be condemned as no better than racism, and that religious dissenters will be driven from respectable society, denied government contracts and passed over for jobs — a fear heightened by well-publicized stories like the recent one about the resignation of Mozilla’s CEO, who had donated to the campaign against gay marriage in California.”

Another quote to be considered:

“We can, and must, write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

V.L. Lenin

Promoted in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radical to pick a target, freeze it, etc. We have already seen that if you disagree with the left, you will have a label (hater, homophobe, racist, et al) attached to you. It seems the Communists have made great strides in the Last Great Hope of Mankind.

OK. I’m confused. And I’m rarely confused by anybody on LI.

“We’re missing a fantastic opportunity to stop talking and start engaging with people…”

WTF does that even mean…???

What are we supposed to do…use sign language…???

    Talking is just spewing platform nonsense. Engaging means building relationships with people who may have never heard the true conservative message before.

      Ragspierre in reply to Amy Miller. | August 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Sorry. This is not a revelation to me. I’ve been doing that for decades, and preaching the same gospel.

      Though I do take exception to your “platform nonsense” hand-wave.

      I “engage” on principles and superior ideas, not any form of “nonsense”.

        Empty talking points are platform nonsense to people who don’t already have a connection to the platform. Now taking the platform and actually having a conversation with people about why our platform > their platform? That I’m on board with 100%. You have to be willing to assume that the people you’re talking to may not have the context of American History and political theory to feed off of.

        If you’ve been doing this for decades, then do it more. And louder. With gusto. We need you!

        snopercod in reply to Ragspierre. | August 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

        I engage” on principles and superior ideas…

        Oh yeah, like you can really have a rational conversation with a leftie. Two seconds in and they’re already calling you a racist-homophobe-mean-hater-etc. Most of us just walk away…

          JoAnne in reply to snopercod. | August 7, 2014 at 11:29 am

          I could be wrong but I think she’s talking about people who are not leftist or rightist – they are people who haven’t thought beyond the bumper sticker slogans.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Amy Miller. | August 5, 2014 at 12:15 am

      One of the things we miss about “engaging” concerns one of the elemental truths about moving people to your side of an issue. People don’t care how much you know, until you show them how much you care. By that, I mean putting a human face and human interaction onto the message we’re getting across. Don’t tell them, show them. The mind follows the heart on any journey.

    RandomOpinion in reply to Ragspierre. | August 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I think the idea that is attempting to be conveyed in that quote is the idea of Christian love through service as opposed to just giving traditional Christian rhetoric.

      There are also a lot of people out there to whom we deny the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reaching out and sharing our values. Beating back Alinsky takes an enormous amount of work, and the terrible thing is, if we don’t start now, we keep rolling downhill.

        David R. Graham in reply to Amy Miller. | August 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        “… if we don’t start now, we keep rolling downhill.”

        How old are you? I am past 70 and have been fighting Alinsky and his myrmidons since I came down from university. By God’s grace I have done my duty so far. I, therefore, accept your insulting innuendo as unintended, as from an eruption of an excessive exuberance of youth.

          yup. article makes use of a lot of assumptions.
          the readers here are not the ones that need to be told this, hell we’ve (on average as a group) probably been doing it longer than the author has been alive.

          You’re more than welcome to take issue with my age, if that’s what satisfies you. I’m 29 and not as experienced as others who have been out knocking on doors and strategizing for 20 years. But as someone who is currently on the ground, I can tell you firsthand that there is a need to take engagement and outreach to a new level. This doesn’t mean reaching out to hardcore liberals; it means reaching out to the undecideds and the disengaged and the people who have been ignored in their precincts for one reason or another. They’re out there, and they’re listening.

        That’s what revolutions are for. We are well beyond “talking” with these communists in order to turn them.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to RandomOpinion. | August 5, 2014 at 12:21 am

      What I wrote above, “People don’t care how much you know, until you show them how much you care,” is actually a principle used in evangelism.

      One old preacher told me he once helped a farmer and his wife get in a crop of hay, and as a result he was able to get the couple, plus two other relatives, to obey the Gospel.

      We change minds by changing hearts.

    Try stepping gout of you deluded bubble from time to time. Also, try advancing positions that more and more people don’t find repulsive. Also too, less lying, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia in the name of “traditional values”.

      Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm


      Gus trots out his psychotic delusional catalog of phantom horribles, not one of which exists in reality.

      Gus never reads outside his moonbattery, so he never will understand that CONSERVATIVE ideas are ascendent according to polling.

      Question, Gus: Is there any lie Pres. ScamWOW can tell that you won’t just suck up?

        “CONSERVATIVE ideas are ascendent according to polling.”

        Which ideas are those, inspector?

          Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

          “All of them”, to quote your bullspit answer from the other day.

          I’ll give you the same hand-wave, moron.

          (Actually, if you had a particle of intellectual integrity, you’d have researched that by now. But we know that is a deficit as great as the national debt.)

          You didn’t answer the question about a Pres. ScamWOW you won’t just swallow when he shoots it in your mouth.

          C’mon… Step up.

      Nice straw men. I hope they keep you warm at night.

      gasper in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Have you EVER had an original thought?

        Gus in reply to gasper. | August 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        A funny response given the *conservative* circle-jerk you never exit.

          Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

          You do know your days of trolling here are numbered, right?

          gasper in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

          There is a distinct dividing line between those who think and then write, and those who protest against thinking but write anyway. I suppose you receive some pathetic satisfaction in being able to string a series of words together that result from emotion rather than thought. We have not yet caught you in the act of thought. Please make the sacrifice and show us it is possible.

          Paul in reply to Gus. | August 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm

          That’s a funny comment coming from the guy who came in first AND third in the OFA circle-jerk.

There seem to be two schools of thought among Christians and Catholics when it comes to engagement with “the world”. One school is that Jesus is love and if we can just reach the world, somehow, and show them His love, they will join us. This results in my going to visit my friend’s church and being treated to a hard rock concert and dozens women of shaking their groove thing in rhythm with the music while a band that sounded a bit like a grunge version of U2 screamed about how awesome Jesus is.

Then there’s the school that sees itself standing on the deck of a ship in a lake of fire, encouraging others to climb aboard before the proverbial match gets thrown.

These are gross simplifications of course, but if you’re trying to fix the world, you know which camp you’re in. Much love to you, brother, but a church that tries to make Christianity look more like the secular world only manages to lead Christians away from the goal of a Christ-like life, and spoils their testimony.

Christians are a body apart. Minister to the lost, but don’t fellowship with them, and for the love of Christ, don’t become like them. The fear of God is not popular.

“The Christians hate the gays, the Feminists hate Hobby Lobby, and conservative bloggers tend to not like anybody very much.”

I saw what you did there… 🙂

Anyway, your comment about “engaging”… Problem is, you’re talking about engaging with, basically, two groups. The uninterested, who don’t care as long as they are left alone, and the Left/liberals/”FSA”, whose idea of “engagement” parallels their idea of “compromise” – “You give us what we want and we won’t ask for anything else… until we do.”

    That’s not true. As someone who has implemented strategies based on this sort of engagement, I can tell you that there is a voter bloc out there who will turn out and cast a vote simply because someone came out and talked to them about why X policy will help improve their lives.

      David R. Graham in reply to Amy Miller. | August 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      You are wanting to lay something on people rather than ask them what is on their minds and hearts. You want to do that, fine, do it. Steer opinion towards an outcome you want. Fine, to it. It is not service, it is electioneering, and while some no doubt will respond to it in a manner you approve and feel satisfied regarding, it is a posture that has subdued the patience and the sympathy of very, very, very many across all “demographics” (another cringe-worthy electioneering, not service term). One who wants to serve seeks to love, not to be loved.

      Vancomycin in reply to Amy Miller. | August 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      And if you talk to the wrong person about any of this, you will lose your job, and be harassed until you go into hiding…

      Good luck.

Engage….it used to be that folks didn’t talk about religion, or politics in company because there was an implied tolerance in America for differing views and that meant there was no need to discuss and point out the differences.

The left has now begun another phase of their “remaking” of America into the Marxist/Communist paradise they envision. And that begins with “calling out” anyone who doesn’t think like them. They are pushing into society wherever they can, inflicting angry and hate filled wounds across everyone concscience by constantly labeling everyone as racist, bigot, homophobe, religious nuts with low IQs and a trigger finger poised on their stash of guns. Demanding that every individual PROVE they are none of these things. And only by constantly declaring one’s allegiance to progressive and secular things, and demonstrating actions that meet with their approval is the only way to “engage” these people. For they do not want to be engaged, they want to be agreed with and praised, given worship, etc.

    Radegunda in reply to Uh Huh. | August 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    “Demanding that every individual PROVE they are none of these things.” — Like that bank that was asking its employees to check off boxes indicating, inter alia, whether they were a member of the “LGBT community,” or someone who sympathizes with or supports the “LGBT community” — the latter obviously intended to make employees either declare support for whatever the current LGBT aims are, or declare themselves bigots.

David R. Graham | August 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

I do not credit advice pushed at me by the inimical except to note its noting in me that of which the inimical is afraid. An enemy’s advice is a compliment. Furthermore, when change is asked or commended, I assume the asker wants to mess me up. And when a tornado visits, one drops into the storm cellar. One does not, unless one is suicidal, engage the tornado. Tornados are temporary phenomena. One is much less so, especially if one can pivot, roll with punches and hold then advance one’s interests. Although regretting its use, I have to concur with the spirit of rag’s obscenity on this one.

Trying to “engage” with these people is suicide on a personal, career, and possibly legal level. Who wants to drag their family through that?

    Ragspierre in reply to Vancomycin. | August 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    That simply is not true.

    You commit suicide by giving up, not by fighting.

    You only win by fighting. Don’t be skeeered.

      Vancomycin in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Yeah, it’s completely false that Brendan Eich’s support of traditional marriage didn’t cost him his job. Suuuuuure. I’m sorry, but I’ve got a family to make sure gets fed.

      Vancomycin in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Also, it’s completely untrue that the IRS isn’t going to start monitoring churches for this stuff either, right? I mean, that was completely made up and not actually going to happen.

      Yeah, I’ll keep my views to myself and those few I know I can trust, thanks.

It’s a free country. I don’t want anybody to tell me what to do – especially an atheist. (I don’t care if he is gay because – it’s a free country.)

Notice how quickly it became “discrimination” and “homophobia” and “hate” to say that a tiny subset of the population should not be able to compel everyone else to redefine the most fundamental social institution since time immemorial.

Gay individuals have always had exactly the same right to marry as anyone else, but they have not wanted to participate in that institution, and until very recently they largely scorned the idea of something like marriage for their own relationships.

Now they argue that gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. But couples don’t have constitutional rights; individuals do.

So they say that gay individuals, like heterosexuals, should have the right to marry the person of their choosing. But there is actually no legal guarantee that any individuals, including heterosexuals, can marry the person of their choosing. Maybe that person is too closely related; more often, the person of their choosing may not want to marry them. The Constitution won’t help you there.

So the basic question really is not about equal rights. It’s about what kind of relationship merits special governmental recognition and legal protection and social support. Answering that question as more difficult than shouting “BIGOT!”

Didn’t Prof. Jacobson have a post about “concern trolling”?

I have a sibling and many dear long-time friends living in the NY or California liberal enclaves, with all of whom I’m “engaged”. There is no bringing up a mention of anything that disagrees with them (including a gentle fact in response to the continual snarky comments about right-wingers, racist conservatives, etc.) without immediate shrieking hysteria ensuing, spoiling what otherwise might have been a very nice day.

atheism is just another religion, albeit one that is almost as violently unaccepting of other dogmas as Islime…

lieberals refuse to entertain any thoughts or beliefs other than their own, nor are they willing to engage in honest debate or entertain the idea that maybe everything they “know” to be “true” might not be quite accurate.

facts and information that deviate from what they want to hear are labeled s lies, and anyone offering up a different position is shouted down with whatever level of vehemence is required to overwhelm the heretic.

i even know one person, who, since they are in the entertainment ‘industry’ ought to know better, who insists with a straight face that the MFM (CBS/CNN/MSLSD, etc) is controlled by conservatives, and that lieberal views & stories are routinely suppressed in all forms of mas media here in the US.

and no, he’s not an escaped mental patient or a homeless person…he’s just a lieberal #Failifornia resident.

Everything is political? Not.
I don’t believe for a minute that the culture war we are all in right now will be won by political engagement. I don’t even think conservatives know what they are fighting for, in any case. Is it fiscal restraint? Smaller government? To what end? Do they know?
Regarding Jonathan Rauch comments about conservative Christians’ “great secession from culture: who walked away from God-given natural rights (and limitations) to embrace the value system of the world, the flesh and the devil?
For starters, it’s staring you right in the face – someone who declares himself to be a “homosexual atheist.” Jonathan Rauch made the choice at some point to walk away from mainstream traditional culture to be a “homosexual atheist.”
(FYI: Atheism is a post-Christian phenomenon. Homosexuality and sexual deviancy, though, has been around at lease since Sodom and Gomorrah. The Tanakh (the Jewish canon) records this.)
I remain a Christian-conservative-Milton Friedman-William Buckley Libertarian with an ideological exception to drug legalization. And, if homosexuals want to practice homosexuality in their homes that is their business but don’t make it mine.
I have and will continue to engage people with truth. This includes fiscal, political and social conservatism derived from its original form: Liberalism born of God-given natural rights and not of ersatz ‘values’ and moral relativism. And, why push “inclusion” and “diversity,” both vacuous terms, to win an election. What have you won?
If the Republican Party is the personification of conservatism then conservatism is in trouble. Muddled actions and motives speak louder than words. At least Democrats are up front about their deviousness, their ‘tells.’
Conservatives, as I understand it, are to conserve time-tested tradition, truth, right thinking, all that is meaningful, good and just towards your neighbor. Engage all you want. Without something of lasting value to offer people from your own example what is the point of engagement?
Following the Ten Commandments (You know, the God given laws which prohibit behaviors that are not in keeping with YHWH’s holiness) are a good starting place for conservatives and not the morass of a values-based conservatism. This means excluding all that is bad, worthless, meaningless, etc. Sometimes you say “No.”
For me, the Kingdom of God is priceless compared to a temporal political cycle. The Kingdom of God is where you will find many Christians – working in the fields which are ripe for harvest.
Everything is political. Not.
The real culture war is taking place behind bars in Irani prisons and prisons throughout the world where Christians are being held captive. These Christians engaged their world with truth and love and the world rejected both. These Christians are willing to pay the price.
Republicans, these days, do not represent Christian values. They represent some ideals that have worn thin because they have rejected the truth for a lie.

    I don’t believe for a minute that the culture war we are all in right now will be won by political engagement

    But it can be lost that way.

    The basic strategy of Progressivism is to bring the New World Order, whatever its exact form, into being by political and legal coercion, from the top down.

    You won’t hear concepts like “Congress shall make no law …” or “… shall not be infringed” coming from a Progressive.

    David R. Graham in reply to jennifer a johnson. | August 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm


think about how you spend your dollars.

Don’t vacation in California. Don’t support anything going to Mexico right now…(stop shitting on our border!!)

Support businesses large and small who fight.

When I travel— I stay at Shilo Inn… when Hobby Lobby comes to our town, bet your ass I’m shopping there for Christmas gifts over Target.

I wish we had a chick filet in our town…. also when I was running a small business on the side and could quote my own prices and choose who to serve, the price went up 30% if you were a hate spewing liberal with a car covered with stickers denouncing my beliefs.

I’m not an evangelical Christian, but I said aside 10% of my income to “give” —- and I give to those who inspire. DO THAT!

    snopercod in reply to Andy. | August 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    …then for God’s sake, don’t buy any Tabasco sauce. Their peppers come from Columbia, Peru, Honduras, and Africa, not Avery Island.

LukeHandCool | August 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Too Affinity and beyond.

I am not a Christian.

Yet, I feel a much closer affinity for serious religious Christians and Jews in America than I do for atheists and those who look down upon religious Americans.

My twenties were an era of excessive drinking and sexual debauchery (which I fondly remember). Yet, I feel a much closer affinity for a Mitt Romney-like character than a Bill Clinton-like character. I acted more like a Bill Clinton in my youth, but I try to act more like a Mitt Romney as a father.

My closest friend is a gay coworker. On the gay marriage issue, I would prefer the civil-unions compromise, but I am open to hearing calm, reasoned opinions advocating gay marriage. Yet like my gay friend, (a mild-mannered, civil-at-all-times, ideal citizen with a politically incorrect sense of humor) I find not one iota of affinity for the gay-activist establishment.

I am white (although of swarthy Slavic complexion with Teutonic highlights).

My wife is not white and is not American, to boot. Obviously, my children are biracial (and, arrogant brown younggins that they are, mock my proud displays of the deepening hues of my late-summer tan with laughs of, “Daddy, you’re pink!”

Yet, I feel absolutely no affinity for the nonsense of “white privilege” and the racial hucksters and grievance mongers. I feel no affinity for affirmative action or quotas of any kind. I feel absolutely no affinity for racial/ethnic bean counters.

I taught ESL adult night classes to immigrants (most, likely illegal) from Mexico and Central America in the past. I loved my students and hope they are all doing well.

But I feel no affinity for those who favor anything but strict, absolute control of our borders.

George Will has said that most Americans are ideologically conservative and operationally liberal.

Sounds like me, eh?

There certainly is a dichotomy.

But I vote conservatively.

The ideologically conservative part of the equation is political.

The operationally liberal part of the equation is cultural.

To make it more conservative, the focus has to be on culture. Not high culture, but pop culture.

Change, or at least add a heaping, counterweight balance of conservative influence to the pop culture, and you change how people act … and you further change their voting affinities.

In short, make Horatio Alger hip.

Henry Hawkins | August 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

To the extent that anyone has noticed or cares, the reason I haven’t been posting or visiting LI is the proliferation of articles like this one, which seems to have come from a high school level civics class. Like poster David R. Graham, it admonishes me to do what I’ve been doing for the past half century or so.

I understand that LI has grown remarkably and that Professor Jacobson simply cannot do it all himself any more. I am sincerely happy for him on this and remain a huge fan, but the farming out of daily article writing has diluted the quality to where LI no longer stands out to me, indeed, I came to the place where I often left the site shaking my head over many of the articles.

One curmudgeon; one opinion.

    I for one have been wondering where you have been. I also miss your well thought out responses, but most of all your humorous messages. Please consider checking back often. You have much to offer and perhaps you and others have some lessons and experiences that can be passed on to these young writers. Maybe the professor would invite someone write a rebuttal as an article rather than in this forum here?

    snopercod in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Try to think back when you were 29 and knew everything, then smile.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to snopercod. | August 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      I am reminded of the time long ago, early 70s, when I was in a record store and overheard two fourteen year old girls marveling over a Wings eight-track: “Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?”

    Radegunda in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    “Like poster David R. Graham, it admonishes me …” — Somehow I don’t see where David R. Graham is admonishing you.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Radegunda. | August 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      And somehow I don’t see you doing anything more than picking a nit on form in a comment section without an edit function.

      I should have typed “As poster David R. Graham noted…” or something along those lines. I hope no one else’s understanding was likewise derailed by this. /sarc


      The writer took fifteen paragraphs to say “don’t just regurgitate talking points to those outside your bubble, engage them”, and does so as if this is a refreshing new idea. It also assumes conservatives by definition are in a bubble, an assertion not in evidence, and a sign the writer does not understand what a political ‘bubble’ is.

      Basic conservative principles – already quite simple and devoid of need for stagecraft and gimmicks – may be reduced to the assertion of the primacy of family, that from the beginning of human existence all has revolved around the protection of family, and further that societies and nations emerge as collections of families. Destroy families and you destroy the world.

      My advice for conservatives is to advance our cause through attraction, not promotion. Know one’s principles, live one’s principles, speak what works and why, and how it affects families. The number of humans who do not value the family is too small to matter.

      To be clear:

      Attraction – Illuminating how conservative principles in governance makes life better. Example: That what small gains we’ve seen in job growth has come from conservatively run cities and states statistically overcoming the damages done by liberally run cities and states and ought not be awarded to the current uber-liberal administration. Texas vs. California, Fargo vs. Detroit. “Here’s how we can help you and your family…” If conservatism, like liberalism, didn’t have a good track record, we’d be left with:

      Promotion: The flash and bang of modern advertising techniques, gimmicry, cynical populism, identity politics, and outright lying and deceit. Examples: “If you like your plan or your doctor….” “Within the first year of my presidency I promise you immigration reform…” Cash For Clunkers, Obamaphones, etc., etc.

      Because of the current state of politics in this country and the current state of formerly proud institutions like the press, etc., a presidential campaign must go with both attraction and promotion, but this article is about (I think it is, anyway) how individual conservatives ought to speak with potential new allies, and on that I repeat – attraction rather than promotion. Reagan and his team were masters at this, as were his supporters. It certainly wasn’t the MSM that put Reagan in office.

Upon further consideration, I believe I have found my conservative outreach:

Greetings Fellow Citizen. You are not a victim. You have been endowed by your creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You DO have the same opportunity as everyone else and you can achieve whatever you work yourself towards. We do not want anyone to interfere with your liberty in achieving your dreams. A larger government is only restricting your opportunities and keeping you from your God given opportunity for happiness. Join us in setting yourself free from those who wish to subjugate you.

    David R. Graham in reply to Mark. | August 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    An historian of my acquaintance with direct personal and familial experience with the two points out a difference between the Nazis and the Communists: the Nazis would simply shoot you if they did not like/want you whereas the Communists, on the same cause, would deny you freedom in every aspect of your life, to the smallest part and measure and keep you barely alive for the purpose. So their contemporaries in, say, Poland, preferred the Nazis to the Communists. Nazis simply get rid of you. Communists grind you into pieces, getting into your mind as well as every orifice to the umpteenth generation to wreak extended torture. One quick and easy. One long and hard.

David R. Graham | August 4, 2014 at 9:17 pm

“This doesn’t mean reaching out to hardcore liberals; it means reaching out to the undecideds and the disengaged and the people who have been ignored in their precincts for one reason or another. They’re out there, and they’re listening.”

Now that I can commend. The post would be improved by that as its BLUF. “Reaching out” is commie-speak, but I can brush past that to your point.

Still, instead of “they’re listening,” I would be more heartened to hear, “I’m listening.” I think we are not promoting a party program, or even a values program. Or, should not be. Nor are we promoting a course of action. People can handle/do all of that themselves. I think we are promoting a “what obstacles do you need removed so you can do for yourself?” program.

To help someone, one does not put something in to them, one takes something away from them, something that is obstructing them, tying them up. One does not instill things or values, one removes burdens. A doctor does not add health, they subtract disease. A sculptor does not make a statue, they remove the stone obscuring the statue. A person is not a market, they are a creature with a homing instinct.

Something like that.

This topic is a tragic waste of well-meaning people’s time. Conservatives proved in Nov. 2010 that we can advance our principles and have the country on our side. Many conservatives devoted a year of their lives to get the historic Nov. 2010 election results. What happened after that? The GOP laughed in our face, made their number one goal to silence and remove the best people we gave them. It must be faced that the so-called Republican party has merged with democrats for the purpose of permanently silencing us. They’ve made it clear they’ll use the most vicious means necessary to do so. GOP and liberal billionaires partnered hatefully against conservatives in the recent Mississippi election. In last year’s Virginia Gov. race, “conservatives” backed radical left Terry McAuliffe and traveled the state campaigning against conservative candidate Cuccinelli. Alinsky and liberals aren’t the problem, the problem is GOP, Fox News, Bush crowd, etc. are running interference for them and calling conservatives ‘racists.’ Further, the US southern border has been erased. A country with no southern border isn’t a country. The entire political class has wanted this for decades.

Cultural Conservative have held on to Drug Prohibition long past its sell by date. They are losing badly on this issue. Just as they did in that other Prohibition era. 1932.

It is no wonder they are demoralized. They have done it to themselves.

Gus doesn’t know much, other than what is in his talking points email each day from Crazy Nancy Pelosi.

Until enough people like Gus get mutilated by pressure cooker bombs (or whatever the new terrorist bomb de jour is) it’s a waste of time arguing with the likes of him: there are people worth appealing political sense to. If we don’t, the vacuum will be filled with adolescent useful idiots like Gus.

In the meantime, I we should all dis-Gus.

But Gus is instructive – people like him play on the desire to be accepted and popular. I have so many LIV liberal friends on social media that post lefty memes, not because they really understand the issue or want discussion, but simply so they can broadcast “hey I’m one of you guys, can I sit at the cool kids table with you?”

Liberalism is a brand. The only way to rescue these people is to make that brand toxic.