by Brad Nelson 9/4/14
First off, mea culpa. With the caveat that writing can be therapeutic, that it can scratch one’s creative itch, and that it can impart useful information and opinions, it is my belief that much of what passes for “conservatism” is little more than a way to let off steam.
My thesis is that listening to conservative talk radio, reading conservative magazines and web sites, and even writing conservative articles often acts as a mere pressure-release valve or as a way to make ourselves feel free while remaining trapped inside someone else’s cage. I have the image, for instance, of some government worker, job for life, who spends a few hours each day on some conservative site telling us how he or she hates statism. Or the “conservative” sitting at home collecting Social Security who tells us all (and himself) how much he dislikes Obama. Or the HR director of some medium-sized business who hates political correctness even while drawing a salary as a de facto “diversity director.”
And I offer no evidence of this other than personal observation, intuition, and no less of an authority than Mark Steyn. Steyn says regarding your typical “Progressive” in Europe (and I roughly paraphrase) that the state may run your life in regards to all the big stuff (health care, education, retirement, etc.), but people feel that they are still free because they can choose the color of their iPhone cases.
And that’s what “conservatism” is for a lot of people. They live in an increasingly unescapable “Progressive” culture (as do we all), but they haven’t given in because they listen to Rush Limbaugh. They aren’t facilitators, even collaborators, with socialism and the Left because they cheer when Mark Levin says, “Shut up, ya big dope.”
One of the true Founders here (Mr. Kung) reminds us every once in a while that all our talk is nearly useless. Where the rubber hits the road is getting out and actually helping conservative candidates — via doorbelling, contributions, attending GOP meetings, getting involved in the GOP apparatus, attending official meetings at city hall and having your say, etc.
And he’s quite right. We have to admit that as right as Rush Limbaugh is on most issues, and as popular as the conservative media is (relative to such attempts as Air America), it hasn’t changed the landscape of our country. As Rush himself never fails to acknowledge, it’s difficult for conservative candidates to try to get the message out once every election cycle when in between times the rest of the culture is feeding people “Progressive” ideology 24/7.
And some of my conservative friends (at least of the Facebook variety) deal in a fair amount of delusion when they castigate some losing GOP candidate for not “reaching out” to this or that community, as if that was the problem. But it’s not the problem. The problem is that a “Progressive” culture has been “reaching in” and has taken over the mindshare of the West — even in and amongst its major competitor (Christianity) which is becoming more and more “Progressive.”
And many people want to pretend otherwise, thus they blame a political defeat on some poor conservative schmuck somewhere who supposedly just didn’t try hard enough to tell welfare moochers and others who receive government largesse that they are a really really nice guy — no, really. There’s a lot of pretending and reality-escaping going on these days.
So what are we doing here at StubbornThings? Is it all just mental masturbation? Do we read here, maybe post a comment here, or perhaps pen an article here as a way to make ourselves feel better without doing much at all to stem the tide? And I’m not singling us out (again, mea culpa) as any better or worse than everyone else. But it does seem to be a factor in regards to the feebleness of the right in changing the culture.
That said, I do think it is fitting and proper that we get our minds right. And our souls. There are therefore things we need to talk about and that we need to write about. Although I’m not a practicing Christian and remain skeptical of various theistic tenets, I understand (no, really, I do) that the world is larger than me. I also understand that Christians are potentially our biggest ally against statism/collectivism in a way that not even the most liberty-professing libertarians can ever be. It matters that we acknowledge our friends just as much as it does knowing who are enemies are. And perhaps others can be our allies as well if we can break the spell.
So, what’s the problem? Is it mere “factionalism”? Certainly humans are given to that, even in the best of times. But I think it’s more than that. Or perhaps it is far more useful and artful to say what needs to be done instead of trying to stuff the whole problem into any one word. And if I could condense the principles or factors needed to show that our emperor has no clothes (Obama), and to show that all such as him are suitably naked, and to get us to quit voting for these creeps and to reclaim our honor and integrity as citizens of a great republic and a great heritage, the general makeup of this x-ray vision to see through that nakedness would be:
+ Get over yourself. Reacquaint yourself with the notion that the world doesn’t revolve around you, nor should you be freed from criticism or offense just so that you can stay in your bubble. Narcissism is not just a river in Egypt.
+ Everything in life has a cost. If you’re trying to get something for nothing then recognize in yourself that you are at least part thief and moocher. Human nature is prone to this.
+ Re-educate yourself. Nearly everything you’ve been taught about America and Western civilization is a lie. Yes, they really did lie to you. Which leads to…
+ Don’t assume that you are so smart that no one could ever deceive you. You are not, and they have — numerous times. Stop being played for a fool. And simply glomming onto some half-assed ideology such as libertarianism is not a substitute, nor is believing that you are among the Enlightened and Especially Nice People because you know how to regurgitate PC phrases.
+ Pray for your nation. It can’t hurt.
+ Put down your damn iPhone. Shut off the flippin’ TV. Stop going out of your way to try to rub stupid and vulgar into your brain. Stop allowing yourself to baste in the lowest-common-denominator — and liking it. You should hate it. You should want something more. You were made for better things.
+ Read a book (no, not stupid romance novels or comic books — I mean real books).
+ Grow a pair. Instead of being an obsequious toad, stand up for yourself when someone tries to get you to do something stupid. Be willing to be a man (or woman) and tell the politically correct idiots to take a hike. You’re not a “racist” or anything else just because they call you one. Start off by calling a bully a bully and then go from there.
+ There is more to life than groupthink (see the above point). And if you are no more than what other people think of you, then you have not achieved the status of a real human being.
+ Morals matter. It’s not enough (are you listening libertarians?) to just say that mere uninhibited personal inclinations are the glue that fashions a good society and holds it together.
Most of the stuff that needs doing we can do in and around our lives without a Herculean effort. We just need to stop bleeding off our energy by giving in to tyrants or, conversely, pretending we are doing something when we are not by immersing ourselves in elements of conservative media culture. Perhaps (at least analogously) do as I did a few months ago when I threw a socialist out of my office. Stand up for yourself. Start thinking for yourself. Be willing to take a little heat. Man-up, whether you are a woman or a man.
And by all means keep reading StubbornThings and keep contributing on that little Donate button down on the bottom right. But most important of all is to do something that the conceited hippie generation supposed they were doing long ago (but never really did): Free you mind. Take the red pill instead of the blue one. And don’t be such a dumb-ass. “That’s right, I said it.”
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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