Andrew Breitbart recently put out a call to conservatives — especially conservative activists — to unite. Specifically, he called for conservatives to make full use of the Internet, as their left-wing counterparts are doing:
Much of Mr. Obama’s vaunted online strategy involved utilizing “Internet trolls” to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that’s called “vandalism.” But in a political movement that embraces “graffiti” as avant-garde art, that’s business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people’s property in pursuit of electoral victory.
For I don’t know how long now, it’s been said that conservatives are generally less organized on a grassroots level. Ed Morrissey predicts that since conservatives are out of power, so to speak, traffic and awareness of conservative blogs and sites can only go up:
I’d expect better organizing efforts over the next couple of years, as the passion will switch sides as conservatives and Republicans go on offense. That doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate electoral success — the Democrats lost ground in 2002 and 2004, remember — but the same market forces that shaped the Left will do the same for the Right.
The Rightosphere will probably get a lot healthier, in terms of traffic. Our traffic here at Hot Air has reached November 2008 levels. Other conservative blogs have seen similar increase in traffic and interest. Frankly, I’m surprised that traffic didn’t tail off like it did after elections in 2004 and 2006 — happily surprised, of course. It’s an indicator of energy and enthusiasm that I believe will pervade the conservative activist base and portend interesting things for 2010 and beyond.
Perhaps. But conservatives are notoriously “unorganized” as far as a coordinated political movement goes. Jon Henke elaborates:
Now, let me be clear: there’s nothing really wrong with advocating, fundraising, plotting, and organizing to pursue political, even partisan, goals. But I don’t think it’s ever been as overt on the Right as it has been on the Left. Heck, I did new media outreach for the Senate Republicans, and I can tell you we never had the benefit of this kind of organized, energetic “tell us what to do” attitude from the Rightosphere. As far as I’ve been able to tell, neither House Republicans nor the Bush White House did, either.
Why? Henke thinks it’s because the Right is becoming “more and more alienated from its base.” That may be part of it, but I have another theory, and it’s tied into the philosophies of both the Left and the Right.
Leftists, liberals, progressives, statists — whatever moniker you use — believe in the collective. They may try to Balkanize us by dividing people into convenient groups for the purpose of convincing them they’re victims, but they all have one thing in common: a belief that centralized government will cure the ills of civilization. It’s the never-ending search for utopia. It hasn’t worked yet — just ask members of the former Soviet Union, citizens of North Korea, and those who suffered under Pol Pot, to name a few — but leftists believe that once the “right people” are in charge, it’ll work like a charm.
If you haven’t heard about “democratic centralism,” you should. The 10th Congress of the All-Russian Communist Party adopted democratic centralism in 1921:
The Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilich Lenin declared that the party was not a debating society in which all opinions were tolerated and freely expressed; it was a “vanguard” party whose role as leader of the revolution demanded extreme discipline and a high level of organization. Unrestrained discussion, he insisted, would produce intraparty disagreements and factions and prevent the party from acting effectively. On the other hand, absolute control by a centralized leadership would discourage new ideas from lower-level party members. Therefore, Lenin argued, free discussion within the party should be tolerated and even encouraged up to a point, but, once a vote was taken, all discussion had to end. The decision of the majority should constitute the current party “line” and be binding upon all members.
In other words, leftists look for marching orders. Groupthink is the order of the day:
I really want to help pass the stimulus package at its current size, but I honestly don’t know how to do that right now. It is very frustrating when you want to help, but you don’t even know if that help is wanted, or exactly how you could help even if it was wanted. If President Obama would let us know which side he was on — the center-right Senate coalition’s or the Democratic congressional leadership’s — and urged people to take specific actions to help that side, everything would be a lot clearer.
So when Organizing America, the group representing Obama’s never-ending campaign, sends out emails exhorting supporters to show up “at the Democratic National Committee headquarters — three blocks from Capitol Hill — to personally show Congress our support for President Obama’s budget” and “send a powerful message to Congress about the support the president has for a budget that tackles the long-term challenges to our prosperity,” leftists answer the call.
On the other hand, conservatives and their close cousins, libertarians, believe in the power of the individual. That’s not to say they don’t believe in community — in fact, conservatives often bemoan the decline of community in America, but here I speak of local community: friends and neighbors whose common interests bring them together. This is not to be confused with Barack Obama’s belief that it is his “responsibility to lead America into recognizing that its interests, its fate, is tied up with the larger world.” Would you put the well-being of your neighbors before that of your family? Not likely, although it seems as though our dear leader president believes that to be the case.
Let’s take a look at conservative individualism in action: When I was at CPAC in February, I met a woman who was handing out business cards for her new blog venture. Cynthia billed herself as a “newly conservative lesbian” and I said, “Welcome to conservatism.” She replied that the reaction from those she had met at CPAC was a lot warmer than she had expected. She even related that she could no longer hang out with many in her local lesbian community because of some of her new political views — it seems she is viewed as a “traitor” to the cause. (For more on such knee-jerk reactions to political correctness and the left-wing agenda, see this Big Hollywood piece by Charles Winecoff.)
If you read Cynthia’s blog, you’ll see that she does not share every conservative view known to man — her main concern seems to be taxes and “the right to use your own money for yourself and the causes you want supported, which often are causes that never would be supported by government.” Is that enough to be considered a conservative? Some would say “no,” and I myself often decry those RINOs who are in elected positions within our government. But if you’ll read between the lines of the quote I include from Cynthia’s blog, you’ll see that what she’s espousing is individualism — something near and dear to every true conservative’s heart.
Here’s another example, going back to America’s pioneer heritage. I’ve always been a fan of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder — so much so that I even have books with other writings by both Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. During her lifetime, Rose was an internationally known journalist and writer, and it was due to her influence and support that her mother wrote her landmark children’s series.
One of these books, titled A Little House Sampler, features short stories, poems, and speeches by both women, and it’s a speech titled “My Work” by Laura — first delivered to the Mountain Grove Sorosis Club in the early 1930s — that I would like to share with you. The speech focused on her new career, embarked upon in her 60s, as a children’s writer.
No, I won’t share the entire speech here; that would violate copyright law. But this one particular passage that, in the wake of the election of a man whose past statements and actions show him to be a socialist, is particularly poignant as it speaks to how America used to face crisis and hard times:
There is still one thing more the writing of these books has shown me.
Running through all of the stories, like a golden thread, is the same thought of the values of life. They were courage, self-reliance, independence, integrity, and helpfulness. Cheerfulness and humor were handmaids to courage.
In the depression following the Civil War my parents, as so many others, lost all their savings in a bank failure. They farmed the rough land on the edge of the Big Woods in Wisconsin. They struggled with the climate and fear of Indians in the Indian Territory. For two years in succession they lost their crops to the grasshoppers on the Banks of Plum Creek. They suffered cold and heat, hard work and privation as did others of their time. When possible they turned bad into good. If not possible, they endured it. Neither they nor their neighbors begged for help. No other person, nor the government, owed them a living. They owed that to themselves and in some way they paid the debt. And they found their own way.
Their old-fashioned character values are worth as much today as they ever were to help us over the rough places. We need today courage, self-reliance, and integrity.
When we remember that our hardest times would have been easy times for our forefathers it should help us to be of good courage, as they were, even if things are not all as we would like them to be.
The pioneer spirit lives on today, but if the leftists have their way, it’ll be relegated to the dustbins of history.
During the Bush years, liberals loved to accuse conservatives of always being behind the president 100% of the time — calling conservatives what they thought to be imaginative names like Bushbots and Repuglicans — yeah, whatever. Hello? Does anyone remember the outcry against Bush’s support for “comprehensive immigration reform”? How about fiscal conservatives’ displeasure with “compassionate conservative” spending? Don’t tell me conservatives always agree with the leaders in their party. Meanwhile, the same people who told us dissent is patriotic during the last administration nearly have a coronary when Rush Limbaugh expresses a desire for Obama — and his policies — to fail and tell us all to give the new guy a chance. It’s kind of like “giving peace a chance” without Yoko Ono screeching in the background.
The belief that you can do for yourself better than any large conglomeration can do is a conservative core value. This may explain why conservatives almost instinctively shy away from anything that is mass-organized, which is why you see fewer conservative rallies and protests converging on Washington the size of those put together by the Left. Of course, it helps when liberal college professors offer students with malleable minds course credit for attending anti-war gatherings and the like — who wouldn’t want to get an A for skipping class? The running joke is that conservatives don’t have time to go to protests and rallies because they’re too busy going to work and taking care of their families, and there’s something to be said for that.
But if you’re looking for a reason to unite, just think of the words recently uttered by the man elected to lead our nation while on his world apology your:
Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.
We really shouldn’t be surprised — American leftists have been bending over backward to apologize to the world for years. Barack Hussein Obama just happens to be in a position where people sit up and take notice. But this man was elected to represent us. Are we going to sit back and twiddle our thumbs while he does his best to trash our reputation so that he can remain popular in Europe and other foreign climes? Is his ego more important than America?
It’s time to get past our distaste of mass-organized events that somehow reek of the 1960s and make them our own, and we can do it without giving up the individuality that we cherish. I don’t claim to have the magic solution, but the Left isn’t going to stop. It’s time to fight fire with fire, and the only way that’s possible is to use their tactics. The tea parties are a great start. It’s time for the next step. Are you ready?