If there is one thing that becomes apparent when you talk to a lot of normie conservatives, it is that they have absolutely no idea how or why they keep getting rolled over by the radical Left. They work and they work and they work to win elections, they invest their time and money to get “their guy” into office, only to find him selling them out on the first important issue within a month of taking office. They pass laws, only to be thwarted in the courts. When they win in the courts, they get thwarted by the bureaucracy. They try and try to force government to abide by the Constitution, but find that this document applies in one direction only. No matter what they do, they simply cannot keep Cthulhu from swimming left.
Why is this?
It’s because they fundamentally don’t understand how power actually works. In a sense, normie conservatives long for a world that never existed. They desperately want to “keep” a republic where politicians work for the public good and where government is truly restrained by its founding document. So it’s something of a bitter pill for them to swallow when they finally accept that such a thing doesn’t exist, and really hasn’t existed in any reasonable form in the United States since the Civil War. America has continued to move left for the past 150 years because the Left has been perfectly willing to do whatever it takes to win. The Left has become adept at “manipulating procedural outcomes,” by which is meant the ability to game the system to make an existing structure which is “supposed” to operate one way bring about outcomes which were never really intended (or even considered possible) by the people who put it into place.
How do you get around constitutional restraints on, say, gun laws or federal encroachments on state prerogatives? Well, one example would be to use fraud and deceit to subvert the Constitution’s provision for elections to get your people in office, who then use the Constitution’s provisions for nominating and approving judges to get friendly judges in power, who then use the (dubiously) constitutional provision for judicial review to decide that whatever laws you want to pass are “constitutional.” Other than the initial fraud (which, since you run the show now, isn’t going to be challenged in any substantive way), everything you did was “technically” in line with the Constitution, even though the results are quite the opposite of what was actually intended. Wanna pack the Supreme Court? Technically, it’s legal! Ban political speech you don’t like? Call it “hate speech” and enforce it under provisions in administrative law that have already been allowed to stand by your judges. The Left has become very adept at appearing to “follow the rules” while working the system to undermine that same system for its own ends.
So that’s “how” the Left always seems to beat conservatives, even when conservatives manage to win an election. But WHY does this happen?
It happens because conservatives ALLOW it to happen.
Let’s be brutally honest here – normie conservatives are saps. They continue to play a rigged game, no matter how often they lose. And they do so because they believe it is virtuous to hold onto “principles” which inevitably lead to failure after failure. They never consider that if “holding to their principles” means the destruction of everything they profess to hold dear, then those principles are terrible principles that should perhaps be reconsidered. If you pat yourself on the back for your virtue in “playing by the rules” even as your house burns down around you and the neighbours are making off with all your stuff, then you’re the source of the problem. Don’t blame somebody else for capitalising on your stupidity.
So really, the simple answer is to stop playing the Left’s game. Here’s some more brutal honesty – the old “fair play, Marquis of Queensbury rules of constitutional what-for” simply won’t cut it anymore. What conservatives need to understand is that there will not be a return to the self-restraining constitutional system of America’s mythohistorical past. Continuing to tie a hand behind your back while the Left bodyslams you into irrelevance is going to result in the complete destruction of what is left of America. Huffing and puffing about your “sacred principles” of playing fair with the Left is not going to bring back anything.
What I’m saying is this – the only way to get power to do what you want to do (even if that includes restraining its use) is to use power that you already have. And if you’re in a situation where the Left is using its power to further manipulate procedural outcomes so as to shut you out of power permanently – and this is exactly what the various power plays and bureaucratic legerdemain in Washington DC are really all about – then you need to step outside the existing set of rules and play by some new ones. The Left will shout about it being “illegal,” but who cares? As any number of recent examples will show, they have absolutely no problem breaking the rules when their power allows them to do so. They broke the system. The Right is under no moral obligation to keep abiding by that now-broken system.
A few days ago, I saw this tweet and started to think about how it applies to the present political situation in the United States.
To evaluate this conclusion in light of our current battlespace, we must understand yet another brutal truth, which is that the opinions, desires, and criticisms of the vast majority of people in the United States do not mean a thing and do not count for anything. This is because their opinions, desires, and criticisms do not originate from any considered judgments about politics or current events, but purely from being led around by the nose by power-exercising institutions such as the media and various governmental bodies. This, in turn, happens because these people respond to the open and evident exercise of power, and hey, everybody wants to back the winning horse, right? As the tweet suggests, most people will do whatever those exercising power tell them to do, even if it goes against the beliefs they say they hold. The Left understands this, which is why they spent decades seeking to gain power by taking over our institutions, even if it meant not always winning elections. The progressives know that for the vast majority of people in this country, politics is just one, huge Asch conformity experiment.
If Republican politicians who haven’t been coopted by the lobbyists and the Left want to have any hope of salvaging anything from the Republic, they’re going to need to start getting serious about using whatever power they have in ways that seem “non-intuitive” within the current political Overton window in our system.
In practice, this means that the heavy lifting is going to have to be done at the state level, if only because Republicans squandered the power they had at the national level even after they were handed control of all three branches of the national government. They did this because rather than exercising power, Republican politicians allowed themselves to be coopted, either by money or by fear, into viewing the Left as “the winning side,” and acted accordingly. The prophecy became self-fulfilling.
But understand that simply trying to advance a plain vanilla conservative agenda of tax cuts or whatever isn’t going to achieve anything. Non-coopted Republicans and conservatives will need to get active in contesting the Left’s power by exercising their own. Lawmakers should be directly confronting the Left’s priorities and coalition, because that’s the only way to demonstrate the use of power in a way that will sway the great unwashed, agency-less masses. If you can mount a direct attack on the Left’s intersectional coalition and its visible status displays, you will decrease the Left’s power and increase your own.
That’s why seemingly “symbolic” policy choices at the state level like banning biological males from competing in women’s sports (which is a de facto repudiation of transgenderism), banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools, and tightening the screws on abortion are each one important. Each of these things, and others like them, act as totems to various factions within the “Woke Religion” of the intersectional progressive Left. Acting legislatively against these things, in addition to simply being good policy, are also intentional iconoclastic attacks on symbols and emblems of the radical Left, a casting down of their revered statues, so to speak.
Policy is a reflection of the priorities of those wielding power. Policy, in turn, crafts culture, or to put it another way, “Culture is downstream from power.” Openly and unapologetically signaling that non-Woke policies are the priority of those exercising governmental power will do more for reversing the course of the leftward cultural drift than will any number of remonstrations against the Left’s “hypocrisy.”
What conservatives need to understand is that the exercise of power accrues status, and status is what the vast majority of people (in any society) respond to, rather than reasoned argumentation or moral instruction. You attain high status by being able to enforce your will over those who oppose you. You exercise high status by “Mao-Mao”ing those beneath you in status into going along with your policy choices, whether they want to or not, and even more by convincing them that they want to do so, since it means they share in the increased status of being on the “winning team.”
The Left grasps this extremely well, which is why they use their power to bring about cultural changes that grant high status to their own coalitional partners. Like it or not, being the smart kid at debate camp who can craft the most well-reasoned argument isn’t what is going to win back the culture or the country. Telling leftists, even the ones in private businesses and organisations, that they can’t do the things they want to do to your base and to your country, and enforcing penalties against them should they try, will lower their effective status and reduce their ability to create fear and compliance among the general population.
However, keep in mind that iconoclasming the Left’s revered status symbols is not all that will need to be done. Conservatives at the state level will also need to be willing and ready to potentially exercise hard power to counter and overturn attempts by progressives at the national level to undercut the remaining prerogatives of the states and the people.
What this means is that state legislatures and governours will need to be willing to even go so far as to nullify unconstitutional federal laws (one obvious example being anti-2nd amendment gun laws) and take whatever actions are necessary to make that nullification stick. It’s great to pass a law declaring that federal gun laws will be unenforceable within your state. But unless you want to take a huge status hit, you’d better be willing to back it up with a few arrests of BATFE agents who try to do so, and follow through all the way. If you’re not, then don’t even bother. As Republicans and conservatives, you don’t have the status at the national level to simply bluff your way through. You’ll have to use your power, including the police powers and National Guard, if need be, to make it stick. Almost certainly, adverse judicial decisions at the federal level will have to be ignored. Threats of lost funding for programs or infrastructure will have to be weathered. In short, it may very well mean playing chicken with FedGov. But understand that FedGov has nowhere near the level of legitimacy with the American people at large that it did even 50 years ago, especially with the great mass of Heritage Americans who are being artificially reduced in status by the exercise of Woke leftist power.
Ultimately, the point to using power at the state level is to accrue power back into the hands of the states and away from the federal government. This, of course, will be aided by the fact that (like it or not) the United States is in the terminal collapse phase of its demographic-structural secular cycle, and devolution and decentralisation are natural consequences of this. This presents the states (especially Red states) with the opportunity to try to “steer” what comes after in the direction we want it to go. In our federal system, states are natural and obvious alternative poles of power versus the federal government in DC (which is why DC constantly seeks to reduce state power). But for conservatives in the legislatures and executive mansions of the Red states to be effective, they need to understand that power won’t just fall into their laps. It is something that must be exercised with a view towards developing a positive feedback loop in your own direction. As the collapse of the American empire proceeds in the years to come, canny Red state leaders will need to become adept at pushing the envelope and being willing to do whatever is necessary to enforce their actions.