After a recent posting here, a regular reader sent me a message saying: ‘As usual, Ron, I like very much what you wrote; but in the end, what is the point? You are just preaching to the choir!’ By this, she meant that, as far as she could see, the readership of my blog—and other outlets of a similar bent—consisted of people who were already convinced of the merits of the arguments advanced by me and other conservative writers. Therefore, she wondered, what were we accomplishing beyond the reinforcement of each others already well-established beliefs? She has a point. But I also believe she misses some points. My goal here is to address her concern.
I will first lay out four objectives that I pursue in publishing a conservative point of view in the blogosphere. Then I will step back and briefly describe the current perilous state of our country, which is in part a consequence of the political drubbing that conservatives have suffered recently, occasioned by their failure to practice what they preach. This will lead to a fifth—and most crucial—reason for why it is important that conservative authors continue to fill the ‘pages’ of the conservative blogoshphere with their ideas.
1. Development and Reinforcement. The most basic objective, and the one I stand ‘accused of’ by my reader, is the development and reinforcement of my own ideas on political conservatism. A measure of the worth of one’s beliefs is how well they stand up to one’s own scrutiny as well as the scrutiny of one’s sympathetic listeners. More than three decades ago, my formerly liberal ideas failed that test when several traumatic events (chief among them the forced busing of my child) caused me to closely reexamine my political axioms. It is important that those who are motivated to put their political ideas ‘out there’ should regularly subject those ideas to the tests of self-examination and public scrutiny. In any event, the positive feedback I receive from readers is very reassuring.
2. Refinement. This is close to, but not exactly the same as the first objective. I seek not only to reinforce my and my ‘co-believers’ ideas, but also to refine and improve them. In this regard, the reactions I hear from both sympathetic and non-sympathetic readers are highly useful. We are often seduced by the harmony of our own music, but there is always room for improvement. Putting one’s ideas into the trough of public opinion is a good means to elicit both the friendly and unfriendly criticism that can lead to a sharpening of one’s arguments.
3. Influencing the opposition. I am always a little surprised to learn that my blog does receive some limited attention from liberal readers. In particular, I have many friends and relatives who fall in the enemy camp, and yet some of them read my posts carefully. Occasionally, I get correspondence from such a reader acknowledging a point I made and admitting the legitimacy of my view. A small but gratifying victory. No liberal would be exposed to conservative ideas if the blogosphere did not exist. Other conservative media outlets, some of which have substantial liberal following, play a similarly salutary role.
4. Winning the culture war. In several earlier postings (see, e.g., http://new.ronlipsman.com/2009/04/10/different-visions/ or http://new.ronlipsman.com/2009/05/17/what-culture-is-it-that-the-politics-have-caught-up-with/), I outlined a long-term strategy for recapturing the conservative spirit that once animated the majority of the American populace. Put simply, it was to reverse engineer the mechanism, dreamt up by socialist thinkers a century ago—which was to completely capture the culture of the nation, knowing that the politics would follow. That is precisely what has happened. In those articles I laid out some ideas for reversing the process. The conservative blogoshpere plays a fundamental role in motivating the foot soldiers of the counterrevolutionary struggle.
The Left has been advancing on many fronts in our country for more than a hundred years. They have captured the media, the educational establishment, most foundations, the legal profession and more. Their progress has been steady, highlighted by periods of huge leaps to port (under Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and perhaps now Obama). The only successful counterattacks in the 20th century came under Coolidge and Reagan. And while Reagan had some success, his good work has largely been undone by the Bushes and other fake conservative Republicans who aped and appeased the liberals over the last twenty years—which has resulted in the unmitigated disaster that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime represents.
It is easy for a conservative to survey the scene and be dejected. The behemoth that the Federal Government has become constrains our individual freedoms on a daily basis—and the Obama team is working feverishly to turn the screws tighter. The respect for Western Civilization and our Constitutional, republican system among the people is at an all-time low—and declining. Our economy is crippled by massive debt, a crumbling dollar and runaway entitlements; the latter summons the image of a train speeding on a one-way track toward a brick wall—and Obama is stepping on the accelerator. Who or what shall rescue us? Oh despair…which leads me to my last and most important reason why I, why all conservatives need to keep putting the truth before the American people.
5. Faith. The creation of the American experiment in self-government more than two centuries ago was an act of faith. Our founders had faith, not only in Divine Providence, but also in the good sense of the American people, whom they believed manifested a unique zeal for the ideals of individual liberty, limited government and moral propriety. They understood that the struggle to maintain those ideals in the future would be difficult—that it would require the continued benevolent hand of Providence and the good judgment of the people. Without these, the Republic would succumb to one of the tyrannies at either end of the political spectrum—the concentrated power of a despotic individual or group, or the mobocracy inherent in an unchecked ‘democracy’ devoted to mindless egalitarianism. Today the Republic is in danger, thanks to a bizarre combination of both extremes—albeit much more of the latter than the former.
The fifth objective of the conservative blogosphere is to express its continued faith that the two sets of hands into which our founders entrusted the American experiment are still reliable. Conservatives still believe, as Reagan said, that ‘God had a divine purpose in placing this land between the two great oceans to be found by those who had a special love of freedom and courage,‘ which expresses our faith in both founding pillars. If we lose that faith, then there truly is no hope.