Monday, October 28, 2013

Time to Change Tactics and Go Guerrilla

New look for conservatives.
I'm a big military history buff and when I think about conflict, even conflict of a philosophical nature, I tend to think in military terminology about a response to something I think is just plain wrong. Ellen White's landmark 1888 book, The Great Controversy, lays out the spiritual history of the world in terms of a momentous conflict between good and evil and it is hard this day and age not to see the great political world conflicts as a similar confrontation between good and evil.

In the past three decades, the political division in the United States of America between liberals and conservatives have become become more pronounced to the point that we haven't seen this level of political nastiness since 1859, right before the Civil War broke out.

Politically, conservatism is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of America in favor of a centrist, socialist bread and circuses dispensing entrenched left-wing government bureaucracy and its allies in the Democrat party. There's a reason we're losing the battle.

Bill Whittle pointed out in this week's Klavan and Whittle members-only episode on PJTV that when you look at the situation from a military standpoint, it's easy to see why we're losing.  The left has air-superiority. Over the past century, the conservatives in America have gradually allowed themselves to lose the battle for the airwaves. The left infiltrated journalism schools, bought up media outlets, TV, radio and newspaper outlets and learned from the communist party how to infiltrate and use music, films and other entertainment resources to sell their message. Conservatives allowed liberals to steal a march on us that wound up with an almost entirely leftist mainstream media by the end of the 1970s.

On the media front, there has been an insurgency led by guys like Rush Limbaugh who took a medium searching for a product and gave it one.  AM radio was dying in the 80s because FM stations did a better job of broadcasting music - less static and interference. Limbaugh proved that people would put up with a little static to hear conservative political talk while driving to and from work or taking a lunch break. Limbaugh tried a brief foray into television, but TV was too entrenched and he shut it down, sticking with what worked. Because of his success, other conservative talk shows took off and soon there were radio stations that were all talk. Then Fox News sprang up on the new cable TV alternative to over-the-air network programming and proved that conservatives preferred a more balanced news source by a rather wide margin.

Next the Internet offered independent, unsponsored writers an outlet in the form of weblogs and the new blogosphere suddenly began pouring forth information that had not been sanitized and politicized by the mainstream media. The contrast between information in the blogosphere and in the traditional news was startling. If we are to keep the conservative viewpoint any kind of force at all, we have to get that message out there in any form we can, using any media available. 

Bill Whittle's assertation that we've lost air superiority is true, but we have actually been fighting back nontraditional resources like the Internet. The blogger groups grew up and established a legitimate place for themselves in news media.  Conservative Internet-based media like PJTV, Breitbart and the Drudge Report have outstripped similar liberal net-based efforts, but the mainstream media still seems to have the power to shout down conservative opinion, at least with what Rush Limbaugh has dubbed "the low-information voter".

It's time we start thinking of the battle for the American soul as if it were a war. It is one.  So, what do you do when your enemy has air superiority?

You don't give them a target to shoot at. You have to feel bad about the public blitzkriegs people like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann have had to endure.  Every time a conservative moves to the leadership, the liberals call in air strikes.  And air strikes they are, because every time a conservative leader rears his or her head, liberal thought police like Media Matters assault the news media with talking points and they all dutifully repeat those talking points over and over and over until the American public is forced to look up from the latest episode of Jersey Shores or Dancing with the Stars and notice that the media is saying that Sarah Palin is stupid.

We are entering a phase in this conflict where a guerrilla war is what we're fighting - at least until (and if) we can take back the big guns. In reality, whether we admit it or not, it's been a guerrilla war for some time.  So how do you fight a guerrilla war.

The first thing we do is take off the brightly colored uniforms. We have to stop labeling ourselves as Tea Party or Conservative or Libertarian. We just have to lead with the awkward questions and avoid labeling the questions as "conservative".  Instead of addressing stupidity about global warming by wailing about how stupid liberals are, which identifies you immediately as one of those evil conservatives Diane Sawyer warned you about, know enough about the issue to ask questions like this one from Bill Whittle, "Oh, and which 'climate' are we protecting from change?"  The Earth has had climates that have ranged from so hot the Earth was covered with jungle to so cold the Earth was covered in ice.  Are we talking about the climate of 2013 or 1944 or 1912 or 1492 or 550 AD or even 1000 BC? Climates change. Who are we to decide which one is best.

George Carlin pointed out in one of his more spectacular rants that we can't save the planet and that it's impossibly arrogant to think we can. If mother nature doesn't like us, she'll just swat us like bugs and move on down the road. Send your friend who is concerned about global climate change, the youtube clip of that little speech of Carlin's without comment. They just love Carlin.

Whatever issue it is, the debt, the budget, entitlements or foreign policy, just stop waving the conservative, tea party or Republican flag. It only calls down the drones upon your head. Instead, use the stealth approach.  Simply make the logical argument or ask one of those questions that's hard for them to answer.  If we ask the unanswerable questions and let the public figure it out for themselves, we are harder to discredit.  The liberals are already trying to do that by posing as conservatives and trying to ask those killer questions that prove the left is right. Unfortunately, for them, what seems obvious from the perspective of their laptops perched on one of those little round tables at the university Starbuck's is not so obvious when you look at it from out in the real world. Logic, it turns out, is the conservative's friend.

Like a SEAL team working "in-country", we have to hold back on the machine gun fire and take the time to win the hearts and minds of the real people if we ever hope to at least come out ahead in all this. To do so, we may have to forgo the flags for a bit. We need to stop leading with labels and lead with logic. We have to approach with kindness and simple questions, not hostility. We have to treat those who do not understand what is going on as if they were our neighbors and share information with them in a neighborly fashion.  

It will likely come as a surprise, for some of our conservative, tea party, patriot, Republican, Libertarian compatriots that the folk we need to be reaching actually are our neighbors and that we need to treat them as we would have them treat us - with respect.
© 2013 by Tom King

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