It has often been said that you learn more from failure than from success.
We don’t doubt the wisdom in that observation. So, if it is true, we need to look at the state of American Conservatism today. This is the movement that supports the Constitution, the ideas of limited government, personal liberty, personal responsibility, free markets and the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Conservatives over the years have created an impressive array of think tanks, publications, and books. We have had some success at politics. But even as we have succeeded politically on occasion, the broader battle for the soul of the nation has gone against us.
We have failed. It is not a partial failure either. It has been a rout across a broad swath of institutions and public attitudes. Only in the recognition of that failure is it possible to move forward.
Part of the reason Trump could come out of nowhere to defeat multiple primary opponents and the Clinton machine was that people were frustrated with the current Conservative leadership. That leadership had failed us. It is a time for a realistic assessment of where we are in this ideological battle.
Conservatives have lost the universities and the secondary and primary schools. We have lost the metropolitan newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, sports, Hollywood, Broadway, popular music, museums, classical music, art, magazines ranging from men’s health to teenage girls, most of the network news organizations, book publishing, most of the mainline churches, comedy, large parts of the medical profession and healthcare and many large corporations. No doubt we left some things out but you get the point.
While small business still leans our way, we have even lost the Chamber of Commerce. Big business not only sides mostly with Democrats, they openly insult us with left-wing political and absurd “woke” messages in their advertising.
Increasingly, even the institutions of the military and our intelligence agencies are now largely under the sway of our opponent’s thinking. We have largely lost the courts and the permanent bureaucracy that controls our way of life. We have lost much on the county and city levels as well, with many major cities under Democratic dominance for a half-century.
The many local tyrants have been revealed even in more conservative jurisdictions by their response to the Covid crisis and their embrace of lockdown policies. A paradigm example of this is the governor of New Jersey, who when challenged by a reporter about his policies, admitted that it never occurred to him to consult the Bill of Rights.
Talk radio and independent publications such as The Prickly Pear remain the only areas where Conservatives hold sway.
We have been outsmarted by our opponents. While we sincerely disagree with them, one has to admire their ability to stay in the fight and persevere for the past century, their ability to organize, fundraise, and promote their own within our cultural institutions. They are serious about advancing their ideas, are willing to be ruthless and cunning while Conservatives tend to be passive because of their inherent desire to be left alone and to leave others alone.
We can learn much from our opponents from their success and our failure.
The success of the left is they realized early that they must capture the schools and the major organs of communication in society. They have been working on that for a century. Conservatives backed the opposition to international communism, and many paid with their lives doing so. The irony is, we largely won the war abroad but lost the war at home.
Collectivists of all stripes are easier to organize because they are collectivists. Conservatives are like trying to herd cats. Our fierce independence is both our strength and weakness. You just don’t see Democrats cave on vital issues like you see Republicans. They understand that politics is a team sport.
It is said that politics is downstream from culture. What does it say then for America’s future when a former stripper has 70 million followers and is solicited by a political party to interview a Presidential candidate? We of course are referring to Cardi B, the rap “artist.” Maybe you are unfamiliar with her work. Click here to see the lyrics of her hit WAP (Wet Ass P..sy) of last summer.
Given this cultural effluent, if politics is indeed downstream from culture, we have a problem, don’t we?
The good news is despite the Left’s control of the schools and of culture, at least half the population remains on the Conservative side of the spectrum. We expect that quite a few old-fashioned Liberals will be coming our way as the Left accelerates its use of violence, intimidation, social canceling of any and all opponents of their declared socialist agenda.
Leftism is really a secular religion. If you are outside the canons of their racial guilt (the white man’s exclusive original sin), you are a heretic to be shamed and persecuted. Some on the left are now even talking about re-education camps for those that don’t follow. But Americans don’t like being pushed around and one of Trump’s most attractive characteristics was that he fought back. In doing so, he spoke for many Americans who could not find their own voice.
Perhaps progressive education is so inherently bad that the propaganda isn’t sticking or Conservatism tends to emerge spontaneously from those maturing, raising families, and engaging in commerce. This has been observed for years. Whatever the factors are at play, it is remarkable given the Progressive dominance on the idea conveyor belt, that we are still even in the fight.
There is an aphorism of some truth, that has been incorrectly attributed to Churchill, Clemenceau, and even John Adams that goes something like: “If you are not a Liberal when you are 20, you have no heart. If you are not a Conservative when you are 40, you have no brain.”
The disagreement is, after all, about the nature of man. It takes a while to see how people interact with each other over a period of years and circumstances to form an opinion. A more realistic view comes with experience and maturity.
If you believe man is basically good, then concentrating power in a few to rule over others is not a problem. If you think mankind must constantly struggle against a flawed nature, then you are skeptical about allowing power to concentrate anywhere (the Founders knew this so well). That includes multinational corporations that snuggle close to the government. And it is equally true of multinational corporations that snuggle close to the Chinese Communist dictatorship.
So, the good news is that there is still a substantial remnant of alienated, unappreciated and ignored people who do not like the direction our culture and politics are going.
They are silent for the most part and intimidated. Right now, they are a bit depressed as well.
We at The Prickly Pear hope to wake them up, inspire them, educate them, embolden them and get them in the fight.
Some question if there is still a “silent majority”, but evidence suggests it still exists. After all, with all the forces of media against President Trump, he received about 74 million (legitimate) votes. He may have even won the election, but it would appear the Left outsmarted us when it came to election integrity.
We are discouraged that so many individuals on the liberty side of the political spectrum don’t feel election integrity is more important. That issue needs immediate work. Why a Conservative venue like the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal acquiesces is astonishing.
This is no time to be silent. It is time to rise up and let your voices be heard. Even though the Presidential election was “lost”, good progress was made in the House. The most enduring thing that might come out of this election mess is a stronger backbone among Republicans as it relates to election integrity.
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If you are not willing to fight now, when will you?
In future articles, we will explore what we have done wrong as Conservatives and what we may be able to do better. But for now, we have to recognize what we have been doing is not working. The other side is winning.
We must overcome the natural aversion to action that plagues Conservatives. We don’t wish to rule others and we reject being ruled. For the most part, all we want is ordered liberty and to be left alone.
But we are past the time to ‘consider’ fighting back. It was Edmund Burke, considered by many to be the first modern Conservative who said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Join us at The Prickly Pear and get in the fight. We hope to have a dialogue with you and other liberty lovers so that we might improve and amplify the Conservative message. Click on the CONTRIBUTE button and help us grow. Be sure to bookmark (or favorite) us in your browser and tell your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues about our truthful, aggressive and fearless Conservative website.
Have courage. The election mess is a temporary event. It will only do lasting damage if you concede defeat in your own mind.