The country seems to have lost the art of peaceable dissent. It’s not really gone, but it’s been driven underground. We are also in the midst of a political spasm that will shape the future. Whoever is able to bring the art of peaceable dissent to the surface in a constructive manner will shape the landscape of the near political future.
Both sides suffer from a want of peaceable dissent. Whether it’s tea party members calling Rubio a RINO, or Empower Texas calling Texas Alliance for Life nominally prolife, conservatives are equally guilty as liberals. We seem to forget that those who agree with us 80% of the time are our friends. However, since we do agree 80% of the time that’s enough about our faults. The same point can be made with hats and snowflakes.
In the recent past, the lack of peaceable dissent was mainly confined to Black Lives Matter and associated groups. Now, the plague of vileness and violence has become pseudo mainstream. Whether it’s the vulgar hats or snowflakes melting down and rioting at Berkley the art of peaceable dissent has been abandoned by some on the left.
The questions are why, and how can conservatives use the lack of peaceable dissent to shape the landscape? The why is answered with the processional caterpillar. A processional caterpillar will march behind the leader without fail. Experiments have shown how unfailingly the pack follows the leader. The hat wearers, rioting students, et al, are simply following their leaders in academia and Hollywood. Academia and Hollywood are inflamed, and have abandoned the are of persuasion in favor of will imposition. Their students and minions are gladly following their lead like processional caterpillars. So how do we win?
We win the political spasm with baby steps. Michael Novak died this week. While he has many great sayings, one of the best is one of his most simple. He was talking about how Reagan won debates with what now is the same forces that are driving the current spasm. He indicated that Reagan won by explaining the baby steps of the argument. Rather than engage in the academic principles he brought the argument back to the basics and explained them clearly where everyone could understand. That blueprint was shown effective with President Trumps victory. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump it’s clear he lowered the grade level of political discourse. The simpler message resonated, and combined with democrat missteps lead to victory. Following the Reagan and Trump blueprint draws the conservative democrats to our side, and keeps the new Trump Republicans on our side.
Keeping the message simple moves the needle in our direction, and causes the lead caterpillar to continue the vulgar, violent dissent. Eventually, their actions reach a critical mass where both the classical liberals become disgusted and the silent majority rise up. Then the political landscape shifts. The classical liberal may not ever vote with us, but they will reach a point where they condemn and try to squash the caterpillars. The silent majority becomes disgusted enough with the caterpillars they drift to common sense and reasonable arguments.
The opportunity to shape the landscape in our direction is before us. The next election affords an opportunity to place the Senate firmly in our control. Will we be wise and temperate enough to seize the opportunity?
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