Sunday, March 11, 2012

Conservatives and the war of words

Conservative (Right): A person who believes rights and truth come from God (Nature) and promotes traditional political and social values and institutions such as limited government as defined in the US Constitution. Government exists only to protect God-given rights.

Liberal (Left): A person who believes truth changes with the times, is relative, and is found by experimentation; seeks changes to traditional institutions (calling it progress); believes the autonomy of the individual, and stands for the protection of political and civil liberties. Counter-intuitively, he considers government as a crucial instrument for defining and enforcing human rights and for inducing change.

Moderate (Centrist): A person who, on one or more issues, lies somewhere between Conservative and Liberal and between limited government and powerful government.

Liberals only comprise about 20% of Americans, yet we have government, a "news" media, and entertainment industry that are heavily controlled by Liberals. Because of this disproportionate Liberal influence, it's easy to assume that Liberals comprise at least half the population. Nevertheless, Conservatives outnumber Liberals two to one. Elections are decided by the Moderates who also outnumber Liberals two to one.

We conservatives are always preaching to the choir. Sure, it's important, but it doesn't win anyone to our side. Thanks to the Internet and personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Reagan, conservatives are good at validating the beliefs of people on the Right. But, it's not expanding the base.

Yet, I find that a large portion of Moderates and Liberals discover that they are, indeed, Conservative once they objectively compare their own values with those of Conservatism. In fact, whenever the Republican party puts up a true Conservative candidate (eg Ronald Reagan), he typically wins the Moderate vote. When the GOP puts up a Moderate candidate (eg John McCain), the Moderate vote usually goes Left.

Why do I say that many Moderates and Liberals are actually Conservatives? Thanks to effective Liberal communications and weak Conservative communications, a large segment of America is uninformed, another segment is misinformed, and another is both. Conservative communications strategy must focus on the message and must focus on conveying that message to the uninformed and misinformed.

Obviously, the "news" media and the entertainment industry aren't our friends. Relying on them to convey the Conservative message in an honest way is both stupid and lazy. Most main-stream "reporters", commentators, and entertainers are in bed with the Left. So, the message of the Left reaches everyone. They have no interest in spreading a complete, unbiased, and undistorted version of Conservative views.

So, what can be done differently?

Teach Americans where their values came from (the Bible -- although most non Judeo-Christian religions fit in as well), where their rights came from (God or nature -- not government nor even from the Constitution), and how our system of government was defined, authorized, and limited by the Constitution.

Teach Americans that, in the Conservative view, rights are inherent characteristics of mankind based on our status as sons and daughters of God. A careful study of the wording of the Bill of Rights shows that they are not a conferral of specific and limited rights -- the Bill of Rights simply prohibits the government form infringing on what Conservatives (and the founders) view as pre-Constitutional God-given rights. Rights are free -- they don't cost anyone anything except the will to exercise them. The list of human rights given in the Constitution is not conclusive (Amendment 9). Rights are bestowed by the government nor even through the Constitution. All human rights come through our humanity -- as children of God, created in His image.

Teach them that, on the other hand, Liberals view rights as creations of government and often come at the expense of someone other than the person exercising the right. Liberals such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tend to view the Constitution as obsolete and inadequate because they misunderstand its treatment of rights describe above. They view the listing of rights in the Bill of Rights as limited gifts of government and they seek to define new man-made rights that involve taking from one person to give to another in order to be "fair." For example, a right to health care implies that somebody other than the recipient must pay for that care. A right to choose abortion implies that somebody must die.

Teach them that the proper role of government is to protect the rights of the people -- not to be their mommy nor to spend 46% of what they produce.

Teach Americans that if they want success, they must earn it. Receiving assistance from the government does not make one successful. It makes him dependent and deprives him of his dignity. He gives up his independence to the entity (government) which gives him aid. Acceptance of aid implies that the government may dictate how the recipient may live.

Teach them that the "the powers delegated by the...Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #45) Depending on how one counts them, the central government has less than 3 dozen legitimate authorities. All "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it [the Constitution] to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Amendment 10)

Teach them that, according to Article VI, the "Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof (ie in compliance with the Constitutional); and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land" and "that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.... (Thomas Jefferson, 10 Nov 1798)

Teach them that, due to the protection of property rights after the adoption of the US Constitution, the nation enjoyed over 100 years of and unprecedented rate of growth in prosperity. The rate of poverty continued to decline until the turn of the 20th century when government anti-poverty programs caused decline in poverty to stop. The government has a horrid record in lifting people out of poverty. A few are lifted, it is true, but most who are in poverty today have been so for generations. The best way to help the needy is to stop restricting and punishing success. Successful people provide jobs. Successful people have the resources to help the poor in productive ways. Jesus taught that we, as individuals are expected to care for each other. He never gave that responsibility to Caesar.

Public figures such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Liddy, Ingraham, and Savage generally do a good job of explaining all these things. But, the Moderates and Liberals aren't listening -- mostly because of self-imposed ignorance, peer-pressure, or fear that if they had better information, they'd need to make changes in their lives.

Most of the self-described Liberals, Moderates, and Progressives I speak to change their label to Conservative once they see how their personal values. All Conservatives have an obligation to themselves, their neighbors and family, and their nation to explain what Conservatism is and how it changes lives.

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