Republicans in America are licking their wounds after narrowly losing a crucial election. In the UK, right-wing parties are facing voters abandoning them. On mainland Europe, the right wing has made some gains but is afraid to go either too far or not far enough. Is there a future for the right at all?
We’re lagging behind on just about everything. The concern trolls on the left want us to be more like them, which will guarantee that our remaining audience shifts to the left. The pundits think we’ve got bad leadership, too many consultants, bad computer systems or a lack of minority appeal.
However, we should ask ourselves two questions: first, why are there so many problems on the American right? And second, why does the European right seem to have similar problems and no solutions either? We can look at the source of our failings as a single problem with many faces, and then these disparities resolve.
We know we’re facing an uphill battle, by the way. The left is based on socialization, and the kind of wishful thinking and it’s-all-good type banter that allows teenagers to bond with each other. This is the best framework for establishing a “hive mind,” or group trend that borders on an obsession. That’s both a strength and a weakness.
Our approach has its strengths and weaknesses, too. Its strength is that it’s based on gut instinct and is very nature. Its weakness is that it is unreflective. Like being unable to find your glasses because they’re on top of your head, this is something we can’t see because it’s how we see.
This blindness is that few know what conservatism actually is. Most start reciting concepts that you can find on any Wikipedia page or mainstream news site, which makes them immediately suspect. It is always unwise to adopt for your viewpoint what your enemies think you should believe.
Generally, it’s accepted (by liberals) that the right stands for small government, lower taxes, and individual freedom and liberty. However, here is where the error is made: these things are part of what we stand for, but not the whole. In taking the part for the whole, we’ve left out the crucial ingredient.
Conservatives are of a type of thinker that values consequences over intentions. This outlook, consequentialism, comes in two forms. The first, utilitarianism, is based on what most people think or feel is best being the best. You’ll recognize the roots of democracy and popularity there. The second form is more difficult because it is based on effects in reality. This type of pragmatic consequentialism is the essence of conservatism.
As Plato suggested, we seek the good, the beautiful and the true. These are consequences, not methods. We are hoping to achieve these things, not act socially as if we value them. For this reason, conservatives have methods toward this end, but are open to anything that achieves this end and reject anything that does not.
When you are a pragmatist, you have to be careful of “acting like” you’ll achieve your results without actually achieving them. In this context, things like small government, individual responsibility, low taxes, etc. are means to an end. They are not the goal in themselves. They are the tool that achieves the goal.
Conservatives are losing elections because we become confused between our means and our ends. Because we navigate by gut instinct and not a neurotic ideology scripted in academese, we have less clarity about details than the left does. We also don’t know how to communicate our ideals to others. In that void a replacement has seized power.
This replacement is a liberal dream, because its essence is liberal — classical liberal, that is. Classical liberalism idealized free markets and individual liberty as a means of providing a stable democratic society. However, it also made a number of assumptions that kept these things in balance, such as the idea that government would not become the means of achieving them.
Unfortunately for classical liberalism, it was ideologically disordered. When you start talking about individualism, and the individual coming first before the social organism as a whole, you have created a monster. Any boundary it encounters it will see as a challenge to the absolute autonomy of the individual. Soon “responsibility” is forgotten, replaced by an ever-widening circle of demands.
When conservatives became individualists, liberals must have cheered all night long. At that point, the two sides decided to become two visions of the same underlying philosophy — individualism — with only marginal changes on the right. If you wonder why conservatives aren’t more popular, it’s because we offer the same thing but with more demands made of the individual to behave.
Further, this individualist virus has infected how conservatives behave. If we can make money at it, we do it, but we don’t band together (fanatically) like liberals do and work toward a goal. For them, it’s more than a job; it’s an identity, a quest and a struggle that will never end. We don’t need to go that far, but one thing’s for sure: working together we win, but working in isolation, we are quickly overcome.
Liberals flood the internet, the airwaves and daily conversation with people who are excitedly, clearly and persistently expounding on their beliefs and attempting to win others over with socialization. Where are conservatives? They tend to retreat to their own message boards, social groups and media, instead of getting out there and combating the low information voters (LIVs) and their media lapdogs.
When it comes time to have a campaign, conservatives aren’t willing to work together. They each work toward their own reward. The result is a blistering wall of distortion with no consistency, which results in a massively confusing picture of what conservatism is about. It’s a research project for the average voter to understand it, and most don’t have the time.
Liberals are able to summon thousands. Conservatives are too busy doing what they as individuals want to do. The resulting lack of coordination, chaos and disorder shows individuals profiting off the system, and some succeeding, but the front as a whole is stalled.
Somewhere in the past, the liberals stuck a virus in us in the form of classical liberalism, which inevitably leads to modern liberalism because they’re both based on individualism. Since then we have followed that path, and each year we succeed less and become more alienated (individualistic) from each other.
Isn’t it time to admit we took a wrong path, turn the car around and get back on course?