“Ever since the end of the Second World War, the tendency of American public opinion has been more or less conservative. But there exists some danger that conservatives themselves might slip into a narrow ideology or quasi-ideology—even though, as H. Stuart Hughes wrote some forty years ago, ‘Conservatism is the negation of ideology.’” -Russell Kirk, The Errors of Ideology
Despite Dr. Kirk’s warning, the slide into “a narrow ideology” has been an ongoing trend for people who call themselves “conservative” in recent years. This hardening of the mind is likely the result of two external causes, 1) a natural response to the leftist ideologies that seem to be carrying the day in government and the media, and 2) a lack of knowledge and understanding of what being “conservative” actually means, according to the minds who have defined it, due largely to an educational system that has worked tirelessly to extinguish such knowledge.
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“June 4 will be a very important day in British politics…”
“It is even possible that this might prove to be the last Labour Government…”
Looks like the Brits have had enough of what we are just now starting.
Something has begun…
When the Student is ready the Teacher will appear. So goes the old adage. I think the Conservative/Republican movement is now ready, and the Teacher is beginning to appear. The Teacher will have many faces and many names, but the message will be clear and powerful.
This is one example of the appearance of the Teacher. Hugh Hewitt posted the following on his blog. It’s from an anonymous marketing exec, known only by his email address, bearinthewoods84 at gmail.com.
I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple of weeks about the communications strategies and tactics that are currently being employed in favor of White House and Congressional initiatives, and against all who oppose them. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how discordant the GOP’s response has been. There are bright spots, to be sure. A groundswell of grassroots activism in the form of Tea Parties. The Speech. And growing discussions I’m hearing, especially amongst young voters and moderates who are realizing they’re getting a bit more than they bargained for. The problem I’m having is that I’m not hearing a universal emotional truth that resonates across broad swaths of voters. I’m hearing wonderfully articulated arguments, and some good old-fashioned common sense. I’m just not hearing it boiled down into something that’s easily embraced. But the more I think, the more I think a potential unifying mantra is staring us in the face. At the risk of being presumptuous, I have a suggestion:
The two most powerful words in advertising have always been: “Free” and “Truth.”
The problem is, once they get turned into marketing language, they sometimes develop twisted meanings. But, if, in fact, marketers can use the words legitimately, they absolutely should employ them whenever possible. It’s important to understand that many times, though, the two words conflict. Yes, something might be “Free,” but the “Truth” is, in the end, you still have to pay.
It’s clear the Democrats have embraced the concept of “Free.” Just look at all the stuff they’re “giving” away. I’m reminded of a discussion I had a few years ago with a Canadian friend of mine — and no, it wasn’t about health care — but it was about some other government program from which he believed he was getting free services. “The government’s going to pay for it!” He was ecstatic. Then I asked him his tax rate. Although he made less than half of what I made at the time, his rate was 15 points higher. A lightbulb went off when he realized that yes, the government was paying for his service — with his money. This is the twisted concept of “Free” the American people are being sold by congress and the president. But “Free” is seductive. And emotional. And people are almost universally willing to buy it. The Democrats are, quite literally, banking on it.
But, then, there’s the Truth. One of the most successful public service campaigns in recent memory has been “The Truth” campaign against smoking. Just the facts. Just the truth. Presented in a raw, yet emotionally arresting way.
When, in times past, Republicans have presented the Truth in an emotionally arresting, and creatively competent way (The Bear in the Woods, The Contract With America) we’ve succeeded. I’ll even throw in the Swift Boat spots for good measure here, just to make a point. When we’ve failed, we’ve done one of two things: (A) We’ve failed to live the Truth, for instance, by becoming big spenders while telling the country we’re not, or by shutting down communication altogether, thus obscuring the Truth; or (B) we’ve failed to articulate the Truth in a way that is concise and emotionally appealing. Which is why I frequently liken GOP responses to Liberal banner waving as the communications equivalent of a white paper.
The Truth is powerful on its own. It can be spoken in short sentences.
The Truth is simple. The Truth is pure. The Truth trumps opinion. And although “Free” is frequently considered the more powerful marketing word, the truth is, the Truth wins head to head. Irrefutable Truth eventually ends every argument. Emotional Truth eventually wins every heart and mind. There is, right this very moment, a massive opportunity for the Right to not only embrace, but to — in a marketing sense — “own” the concept of, and the very word: Truth.
The Democrats have gone too far down the road, now, of a faux concept of “Free,” and made too many missteps along that road, to be able to own them both. It’s ours for the taking, and the American people are showing every sign of hunger for exactly that: The Truth.
To pull it off, though, we must live as we speak. We can’t call out their pork, and ignore or brush off ours. We can’t talk around our own mistakes — we have to own up. Living up to the Truth is difficult, in the best of times. But even in times like these, it’s never impossible. I agree with Ann Coulter’s take in Guilty that the Truth infuriates both Democrats and the mainstream media. Because both have such trouble owning up to it. The time is now. Not only do we have the opportunity to be the voice of Truth, I’ll submit that we have the duty. Just imagine how, plainly stated, Truth stands up to what we now know are the Democrats’ versions of the following: Free, Change, Hope, Bipartisanship, Fairness, Transparency….I could go on, but I don’t see the need.
The truth is, our mantra is staring us in the face. We need to live the concept, so the word has power. But we need to use the word. Literally, use it, the way the Democrats used the word: “Change.” With purpose and conviction. Over and over. We have the opportunity to give America what it desperately needs and wants the most: The Truth. And the best part is, the Truth is on our side.
The message is right on. It’s simple, yet powerful. If incorporated at the National level, the Republicans have a very good chance to roll back the damage done by the Obam administration beginning in 2010. But, as “bear” notes, they have to live it and not just say it.
Democrats got some bad news yesterday: Hurricane Gustav wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was downgraded to a category 2 storm, and made landfall to the west of New Orleans. Does this mean that God isn’t on their side after all? Will “Foul Fowler” really apologize now?
Not only was Gustav weaker than the Democrats had hoped, it missed our oil derricks in the gulf as well, which resulted in a drop of nearly $7 in the price of a barrel of oil.
What does it say about these people who have to hope for the worst to happen to people? There’s something deeply wrong there, and very disturbing.