Time for Conservatives to Unite and Fight
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.