What is the purpose of the American conservative movement? Our society continues its decades-long leftward slide, and the liberal ruling class moves ever closer toward complete control of our institutions. Yet the right, with a few exceptions, doesn’t seem to have a strong or unified plan for fighting back.
Worse, many supposed conservatives are themselves liberals in all but name: They hold views that made up left-wing talking points just a few years ago but are no longer extreme enough for today’s left.
It wasn’t always this way. When the Trump campaign took off in 2015, the right began to steer the national conversation for the first time in decades. The America First movement pushed bold new rhetoric and ideas into the popular consciousness through catchy content. Establishment influencers had no counter to these young, irreverent right-wingers. “The left can’t meme” became a meme itself.
But the left can meme: In fact, leftists excel at controlling how society thinks. Memes are just cultural phenomena, and the left has dominated the culture for decades. Even as Trump claimed victory, liberals continued their relentless march through our societal institutions. Then they used their power to deplatform and handicap the America First movement.
With the populist right on the defensive, the GOP establishment relapsed into its losing mindset. In recent years, many Republican politicians and pundits have started complying with liberal framing of key societal issues, and so has their rhetoric.
This can’t go on. It’s time for conservatives to stop promoting the language and worldview of people who hate them. Here are some examples:
1. My Opponents Are the Real Bad Thing
How many times have you heard the GOP establishment claim that “Democrats are the real racists” in a yet another feeble attempt to win over minority voters? Have you noticed that conservatives tend to oppose the left’s gender agenda by positioning themselves as the real feminists, not by calling transgenderism out as the perversion of nature that it is? The right seems unable to make arguments that aren’t constrained by liberal political commandments.
If conservatives wish to achieve anything, they need to get comfortable with the true principles of the right. This means ignoring false accusations of “racism” which function to shut down honest discussion of controversial issues. It also means taking on the gender agenda in its entirety, not piecemeal. Otherwise, the GOP will deflect to issues like women’s sports while conceding the agenda’s core claims. Fox News did just that by hiring “Caitlyn” Jenner as a “conservative” talking head, and even President Trump tried appealing to “LGBTQ Americans.”
Left-wing race ideology is dangerous because it undermines the rule of law and our nation’s heritage, not because liberals somehow hurt their minority constituents by granting them benefits and political power. And gender propaganda is evil because it leads to young people being physically and emotionally mutilated, not merely because it disrupts college athletics. To put up a meaningful resistance, Republicans must act as real conservatives, not pose as the real liberals.
2. Every Political Issue Is World War II
In some ways, this is another case of the previous problem—but this time, it’s about who’s the real Nazi. Ever since Trump became the face of the GOP, the left has labeled all populist sentiment on the right as “fascism.”
Of course, most liberals can’t define the term and have a middle school–level conception of 1930s Germany. But that doesn’t stop them from claiming that the fascist takeover of America is right around the corner and that anyone who opposes them is enabling it.
This means that a “Nazi” in the left-wing imagination is really any social conservative, any traditional Christian, and any proud American. It’s a mystery why anyone on the right still thinks that shouting “no, you!” in response to this slur has any effect.
The ultimate vision of the left is not Hitler’s national socialism. It is that of the Bolshevik butchers in the early Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the corrupt post-colonial regimes of countries like Zimbabwe. Instead of drawing flimsy parallels to Nazis, conservatives would do well to learn about the left’s historical crimes and remind Americans that today’s left will act no differently if allowed to seize total power.
3. This Is Just Like That One Scary Book
Faced with censorship, dehumanization by the media, and a justice system that targets political dissidents instead of criminals, many on the right have started comparing America to the oppressive societies in classic dystopian literature, especially George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
But once again, conservatives inadvertently grant legitimacy to their opponents’ principles. Few recall that Orwell was actually a lifelong leftist who fought alongside Marxists during the Spanish Civil War and fantasized about “red militias” seizing power in his home country of England. Huxley was also a questionable character, dabbling in psychedelics and cultish mysticism even as he warned of the mass sedation and brainwashing of society in his writing. To be sure, 1984 and Brave New World are important novels. But conservatives should think hard about where to find validation for their (very much justified) concerns.
Rather than constantly making the same cliché references, the right should explore the large selection of literature offering real accounts of left-wing extremism, from the communist revolutions in Russia and Hungary to the civil war in Spain. These stories should remind the right of what’s truly at stake: not only our freedoms but the foundations of our civilization.
Conservative politicians need to embrace the true principles of the right—and being afraid to cross lines drawn by liberals is not one of them. Our aim should be the full restoration of our nation and its founding values. Our rhetoric and mindset must reflect this without a hint of apology or hesitation.
Image credit: Flickr-The Epoch Times, CC BY-NC 2.02 comments