This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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It Is Difficult Being a Conservative
It is difficult being a conservative, mainly because it is an often misused term. We are fewer than Republicans at large and are often the primary target of the fear-mongering and emotional leftist and left-wing radicals. Conservatives are seemingly blamed for everything. If there is a bottleneck in Congress, it is the fault of the Freedom Caucus. If there is a shooting, the first instinct of the conservative is, “Uh oh, somehow this will be blamed on us.”
What Does Conservatism Mean?
The first difficulty is conservatism needing to be properly defined. Technically, conservative means “close to the vest,” reluctant to change something that is not broken. This, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. We often hear from our opponents how the system which we treasure is the one which is broken. There is a difference, however, between conservatives and their opponents, which is that conservatism is foundational and stable, while their opponents desire all manner of chaos in order to make their points and take power. Conservatism is also quite religious, usually founded in godly principles. Are there atheist conservatives? This depends on the atheist, does it not? Many atheists subscribe to communism/socialism, or even “anarchy” (if that is a real thing). There are a minority of atheists who are conservatives; therefore, mathematically speaking, there are a smaller minority of conservatives who are atheists.
In the United States, conservatism equals republicanism, which means the states have a unique power over the federal government. The citizens have power over the states through their legislatures, and rights are inalienable via the Constitution. This contract we have with the federal government is supposed to keep the latter’s power at bay. Often we hear that the United States is a ‘democracy.’ This is true to the extent that our voting system, except for the President of the United States, is by majority rule; however, it is the states who make and amend the Constitution, their apparent inaction notwithstanding.
We Must Educate the People
This brings us to the second difficulty of conservatism, the inadequate civic education of the people. When the people are ill-informed, all manner of conservative opponents and, frankly, enemies of the state, are able to infiltrate feeble minds and therefore open-border legislatures, courts, governorships, and so forth. The Republican Party, the conservative’s supposed political arm, neglects to fill this gap. It often falls on spirited citizens, and blocs such as Tea Party, to hold educationals forums and meetings. The left, on the other hand, is extremely motivated, if only to interpret the Constitution as broadly as possible which is the opposite of conservatism. In courtrooms and social media, every manner of argument is made to favor the leftist interpretation of constitutional and legal issues in a leftist light. Meanwhile, conservatism is continuously on the ropes, defending fundamental rights which are attacked as “bigoted” and “oppressive” by a passionate and organized left.
Conservatives Must Stand Together
The third difficulty of conservatism is the tendency of conservatives not to band together. Whether this is a reaction to the leftist organization, as a high-minded protest against such mobs, or whether it is even a genetic predisposition to be alone, it hurts conservatism, and helps its opponents; that conservatives want to be left alone. By contrast, leftists can organize at the drop of a hat, are more technically oriented for the most part, and will not often split their group over personal hatreds. In fact, it is rare to find a leftist publicly attacking another leftist, even one so obviously insane as Maxine Waters. Whereas it is quite common to find Republicans demanding the resignation of another Republican for merely sounding a little ‘off’ or ‘rough.’ The intrinsic problem with Republicans is this preoccupation with ‘looking good’ or acting as if they are ‘better than them.’ While conservatives are a bit more sturdy and pioneering, there is no shortage of conservatives, or so-called conservatives, browbeating other conservatives over a minuscule faux pas.
Such in-fighting and self-debasement is terrific ammunition and target for the enemies and opponents of conservatism. It is quite easy to mark Sarah Palin, for example, by saying she is disqualified for not knowing the “Bush Doctrine” or for implying you can see Russia from Alaska (a true statement, by the way). On the other hand, no matter what Nancy Pelosi says, you will rarely, if ever, hear a Democrat say it’s time for her to retire. To take it to the extreme, Al Franken, who resigned in so-called shame, is already seeing an organized push for his re-re-election, even if he has not yet publicly embraced it (a strategy, not a coincidence). There are many more examples of how the left gets away with murder, but the right cannot even blink incorrectly without it instigating banshee howls from not only the left but from members of the right, also!
It Is Time for Conservatives to Grow a Backbone
The solution, in my opinion, is that conservatism, Republicans, and the right in general, need to grow some courage and fortitude. It is not enough to claim victory with Trump when we endured two terms of Obama due to mealy-mouthed Republican candidates. It is not enough to think we have some hold on social media when the trajectory is more censorship against the right, not less. Instead, there need to be concerted efforts to embrace more Trump-like figures who do not apologize and explain little of ‘what they meant.’ There needs to be more technical investment at election time, and not reliance on the same tired phone lists which are 60% wrong and disconnected. Hint: the left no longer uses these. There are undoubtedly thousands of innovations which conservatism can put to use. The difficulty is, conservatism is reluctant to change ways and equally reluctant to organize.