Moderation does not win elections. If you think it does, go look at the smirking face of Barack Obama. And then imagine him running for office back when Bill Ayers was building bombs. America’s new rulers were once considered far more extreme and unpopular than the Tea Party. Embracing radical and unpopular ideas is not a losing strategy. It is a short term losing strategy and a long term winning strategy so long as your ideas can be used to build a movement capable of turning those ideas into an organizing force.
The question is whether a right-wing movement can emerge that will make the vast majority of small businessmen in this country feel as negatively about a Democratic president as welfare voters feel about a Republican president?
This election has come close to testing that proposition. The time has come to test it further. The left went after gun owners, the way that it went after business owners, and the NRA used its hostility to build a powerful coalition of gun owners who broke the will of the elected left and made them turn on easier prey.
The key is organization. The left built its machines by convincing entire groups that they had a binding interest in a reflexive opposition to Republicans under a Democratic umbrella. Consolidating an opposition based on the same principles, that same sense that its financial oxygen will be cut if the Democrats win, is doable. But it cannot begin and end with the financials.
This is a cultural war and living in denial of that is senseless. Those social issues? They belong on the table. Because the alternative is that the table will belong to the left and we will be stuck arguing the level of regulation that is appropriate in a society whose entire moral imperative is based on the values of regulation.
Most people, left and right, want a society based on values. Opting out of the values debate means that we lose by default. Yes some of that is unpopular. It will make some elections unwinnable. Much like supporting gay marriage twenty years ago. The left kept going and it won because that is how the game is played.
These are all building blocks, but they are still scattered pieces. The right I am describing is based on the left. It is the mirror image, a counter-revolutionary pushback against the left’s intrusions into the lives, values and work of its people. And that isn’t enough. A counter-revolution that is reactive will fail. It is why the Romney campaign was doomed from the start. It is why the Tea Party isn’t enough. It’s not enough to be against things. It’s not enough to be for things because they are the opposite of the things that the people you are at war with are for.
A movement needs a deeper sense of passion. It must be fueled by a certainty that it holds the answer to the problems of its society and its civilization. It must believe that its existence would be necessary even if the left did not exist. And it must be willing to do anything to win.
This is not a mere battle of elections. The left occupied and won other fields long before it had a shot at doing anything like taking power. It is first of all a battle of ideas. And it is a battle of structures. And that means a conservative cultural war will be necessary and conservative structures must be built within the system. Rather than making arguments, we must create facts on the ground.
That’s a tall order and we are way behind. And tactics like these are not very palatable to many of us, because they resemble what the left does. They would rather expect people to naturally do the right thing. And that’s nice. I would very much like people to do the right thing. I would like to stop by one of those long lines that I saw today at the polls, almost as long as the one for free government stuff, and show them a graph of the national debt and the debt that their children will owe. I would like to think that it would change their minds. But I know better… and so do you.