It's Time To Bolster Conservatism, Not Abandon It

November 12, 2012 - 4:11 PM

American conservatism has suffered some great losses, but it’s certainly not a lost cause.

ObamaCare will be implemented, more businesses will be forced to close, unemployment is expected to rise, and more debt will pile on. Moreover, the HHS mandate, threats to religious liberty, and the promotion of leftist social policies will also define Obama’s second term.

Although this is cause for alarm, there is no need to panic and abandon conservative values.

Elites and so-called moderates are blaming social conservatives and Tea Partiers alike for being “too extreme” on social and economic issues respectively. They think pandering to groups rather than outreach will benefit our side. How exactly is taking a page from the liberal playbook going to work in our favor? It won’t.

Another troubling instance is whether or not House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other elected officials will represent conservative interests in the 113th Congress. Support for continuing resolutions (CR) during the debt ceiling debate, and more recently Boehner’s recent remarks on ObamaCare now being the “law of the land” - among many things - should leave conservatives distressed and eager for new leadership.

Instead of displaying weakness by agreeing to “compromise” with leftists, conservatives must be tough in their resolve to fix this nation.

Here is how conservatives can outsmart the Left and win:

Make the moral case for free enterprise

Economic freedom is the cornerstone of our movement. Lower taxes, less spending, and balanced budgets comprise our economic policies. Although some on our side have dabbled in cronyism and big government, there is no need to abandon or diminish free enterprise. Instead, make the moral case for it.

American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks wrote “The Road to Freedom” to explain why free enterprise is right and moral in American society. Sure, Republicans can call for lower taxes, less spending, and balancing the budget, but if there is no convincing argument made for it then the message is lost. Brooks writes, “Free enterprise advocates need to build the moral case to remind Americans that the future of the nation is worth more to each of us than a few short-term government benefits,” (8). Articulate the moral case for free enterprise or else big government will continue to succeed.

Sound conservatism, not moderation, fosters unity

Many establishment Republicans are calling for the abandonment of social issues. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize that many social conservatives are also economic conservatives. Renowned scholar and Princeton University professor Robert P. George wrote in “No Mere Marriage of Convenience: Uniting Social Conservatives and Economic Conservatives” that the case for sound conservatism can be made. He wrote,  “Sound conservatism, as a matter of principle and not mere pragmatism, will honor limited government, restrain spending, and provide honest money and low taxes—while at the same time upholding the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions; the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and the innocence of children.”

Tap into pop culture, entertainment, and social media

One of the weaknesses in our movement is reluctance to use social media and entertainment to convey our message. Undoubtedly, leftists have mastered pop culture to their advantage. Our side must use pop culture and social media – especially Twitter, Facebook, memes, and videos –to appeal to potential young voters and activists. There are plenty of entertaining conservatives out there. Pop culture will bolster the movement’s message by modernizing it, not moderating it.

Outreach, but don’t pander

Calls for embracing amnesty, abortion, and gay marriage would not bring more supporters to the Conservative Movement. Some are blaming “extremism” from conservatives for Mitt Romney’s loss. Many factors are to blame, but certainly conservatives aren’t at fault.

Instead of pandering to liberal interests, embrace issues like school choice that can sway people to our side. School choice is a movement that has taken the nation by storm. It is one that affords parents greater wrest of their child’s education. This allows us to make freedom and prosperity attractive to people in urban areas. Explain to them that greater choice-not government handouts-uplifts people in society.

It is essential for our side to talk to people that gravitate to the Left but are easily persuadable. Be persistent and reach out to people!

Conservatives should look to bolster their efforts and numbers. When equipped with a clear message, facts, and other powerful tools, our side can and will win. Don’t dilute our message; entice people with it.

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