We Conservatives love to see Champions and bold, dynamic leaders. People with vision who overcome obstacles. The sort of leaders that everyone looks to when everyone else has run out of ideas. We admire names like Churchill, Washington, Reagan and Patton.
We are drawn to derring-do biographies of bold people who persevered in hardship. Names like Ernest Shackleton and David Livingstone.
We love rags-to-riches stories of people who charted their own course, and created their own fortune. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, for instance.
We love heroes, and survivors, achievers and overcomers; people of vision with a cause worth rallying behind.
People in positions of leadership who lack these qualities — like today’s political office holders of any stripe — are often scorned.
But we must not take our adversaries lightly.
Why not? Simple — look how much important public opinion has been drawn into their orbit. We must not mistake the lackluster quality of their leaders as proof that we have a weak adversary.
No. If we are to counter their strategy, (the one we keep losing ground to) we must first identify it.
Had they waited for some dynamic leader to rise up and carry us toward their goal, they never would have hijacked the culture. But looking around, they’ve pretty much had their way in getting the Public to both accept and adopt most of their ideas. They’ve convinced much of the public that their “progressive” vision stands firmly on the moral high ground — even though it does not.
How did we get here?
Their approach — unlike ours — relied more on influence than on leadership.
Did you ever wonder how is it that in our own lifetime, after two terms of Reagan, we could still find ourselves in the mess we’re in today?
Simple: they aren’t looking for a few key figures to inspire and lead the people. They have a different approach. They draw more from the Caesar Augustus model of redefining culture.
Augustus realized that if power remained centralized in his hands, the wheels could fall off in Rome as soon as he was either dead or absent. Any gains he had made, any legacy he’d attempted to build could evaporate as soon as another man filled his shoes.
As a visionary, he wasn’t about to leave his legacy so fragile and unprotected. So he built a bureaucracy. Whatever other strengths or flaws it may have had, it had this one particular quality– it had inertia, and could resist institutional change. However many other Caesars might come and go, it could carry on without them. It would be exceedingly difficult to erase the edifice of State that Augustus had built.
So while we celebrated our leaders, they set out to undermine, enervate, corrupt, defame or destroy our next crop in any way possible. They’ve noticed that without our leaders, our tactics sometimes stumble. They poison public opinion against prospective leaders even before they became ready for prime-time.
But mostly, they worked incrementally to change the opinions of the masses.
They harnessed and politicized academia. They sought high positions in Universities and government bureaucracy. They helped write both policy and textbooks.
They sought positions in the media, and Hollywood. They infiltrated seminaries and the legal profession. They filled much of the judiciary with fellow travellers. They developed activist groups and struck deals with unions. They employed Alinsky-like tactics to identify and destroy possible threats.
What we see today is the direct result of their strategy. The took seriously the importance of having a generation adopt their ideas. They plan to win by default.
They’re counting on our apathy, our inaction and our deferring of the job to some unnamed champion of the cause. Even if they don’t change us, they’re confident they’ll convince our kids.
But it need not happen this way. For all this bad news, there are still places we are seeing opinion pushed the other way.
The obvious one is the question of Abortion. We see fresh energy in the supporters of Life, and new supporters among the young exactly because our side has NOT employed our default tactic of pre-emptive surrender.
Remember, this isn’t the first time our side has had to make the case and persuade the public of small government views. The Federalist Papers were written for exactly that purpose. However awesome the fledgling American government documents may have been, the people still needed to embrace them. That took persuasion.
This persuasion will have to happen again. Really, that was the purpose behind the book I wrote, to give ordinary, non-political people enough confidence and tools to make a persuasive case for smaller government today with their friends, relatives and children. It worked before, and can work again.
As you go, about your community, watch for positions where you can have the most influence. Get elected locally, perhaps. Volunteer somewhere. Become a researcher.
Mentor children. Seek tenure at a university, or maybe even establish competition against the existing ones. Study law or join the public service and make changes from the inside. Excel at business, get fabulously wealthy and help others do the same.
And as you go, meet new people. Talk to them. Make your case. Who knows what results you might get?
I don’t know where you will personally fit in the big picture. But I’m pretty sure I know what will happen if everyone on our side waits for the “other guy” to step up.
It ain’t pretty.
Image: Courtesy of: http://byrne-mythicalallusions.wikispaces.com/Cultural+ Allusions