Conservatives have spent a lot of time and effort trying to convince John Q. Public of the stormclouds on the horizon.
They’ve spent it trying to warn about things like Debt Crisis, public education, class warfare, the Economy, loss of personal, political and religious freedoms, general moral decline etcetera. The list goes on and on, and on forever. Doom-and-Gloom, for some, is all they have to say.
Call me crazy, but “stick your head between your knees and kiss your arse goodbye” is not an actionable plan. We’re conservatives, right? Aren’t we the group whose first inclination is to NOT ask the government to solve to our problems? Ok, then, let’s man up and drivef the solutions to the problems we’ve been warning them about.
Here’s a for-instance:.
First, risk reduction and recovery — if the wheels really are going to fall off, how can we minimize risk, taking a glancing blow rather than a direct hit; and bounce back quickly even if we take one on the chin?
Second, community — how can we help those around us?
Third, culture — what can we do to undo what’s gone wrong?
Risk reduction and Speedy recovery.
What are some of the things that can go wrong? The economy is a big one. If jobs are lost, or hours cut, people who thought they were in good shape might suddenly discover how fragile their situation is. What can you do about that? On the cost side, be smart about consumer debt, keep it low if you can. On the income side, cultivate skills and revenue streams beyond the scope of your direct employment.
Teach yourself to be alert to solutions, not just problems.
Consider turning your hobby into an income source. Become a “momtrepreneur”. If you’re out of work, and nobody has hired you, hire yourself and start your own business. Self-employment once WAS the American Dream.
Build on practical skills that can help in a pinch. Cooking (from scratch), gardening, auto repair, first aid, plumbing — anything. You never know when it’ll come in handy.
That has become a buzzword lately, but the meaning really isn’t complicated. There are people whose lives intersect with yours. Look out for those people.
Obviously that starts with your immediate and extended family. Be there for each other when you need help. (That will sometimes mean sacrifice… a word all but forgotten in our generation. Do it anyway.)
But community goes beyond just relatives, to your social circles.
The people who used to “get it” were the Churches. There was a time when people went to Church not to show up for an hour and leave, but to connect with the other people there — really knowing each other.
They were committed to celebrating good times, and supporting each other in hard times. If someone was recovering from childbirth or illness, people would show up with soup or oven-ready meals. Children of widowed moms might be mentored by the men. Families would really know each other, and look out for each other.
If someone was out of work, people would be watchful for something he could apply for. They might even hire him themselves, either for their company, or for odd jobs to help make ends meet without undermining his self-respect.
Similarly, a deliberate choice might be made to patronize a business within one’s own Church (or another Church), because they support who and what they are. (See: Galatians 6:10)
This extends further still to local community.
Is someone in your neighborhood having a hard time? Help them to be “solution-minded”. Give a heads-up if you hear of an opportunity that can help them. Visit shut-ins, and check on them. Offer to watch a single mom’s kids for an evening. Invite someone over for supper. These are the little things that helped create vibrant communities in the first place.
Intentionally make your community better. Is there a cause you believe in? A charity you support? Something you’re willing to sink your time and talent into?
Be the person supporting charity, instead of asking for it. Do it cheerfully, not cynically; not for what it might do for you, but because it’s worth doing; and the people you’re benefiting are worth helping.
As you do all these things, you will make friendships, meet people, and expand your horizons. You and those around you will be enriched in so many different ways.
When you start looking at situations in this way, you may just find youself contented, happier and more likeable. People will see you’re not just looking out for #1. And when you begin to tell them about the traditional values that motivate the decent, generous and hardworking things you do, those values will be seen in the light of the person you’ve already shown yourself to be, not the caricature that your detractors paint you as.
Go out, and change culture in whatever small or great ways you can. Not everyone will have cultural influence as broad as a Breitbart or Reagan. Others will have conversations over the back fence, write music, be a foster-parent or improve your world in any of a thousand little ways whose effects might never been this side of eternity.
In so doing, you will have been truly waging war with the decay and entropy that eat away at cultures from the inside, and building something better in its place.