A post entitled “Can Alinsky’s Tactics Work on the Right? Should They?” by Christian Hartsock in Big Journalism, along with local battles between ultra- conservatives and other conservatives over using Alinsky’s tactics to further the cause, brings to light that the matter of “factioning” (breaking apart into rival groups) has become a concern.
As an engaged Republican on the inside of politics for more than a decade now, I have seen pro-life activists faction and thus kill good bills for the sake of credit. I have seen primary candidates lie about other candidates in order to win races they should not have won. I have seen one person’s opinion smack down another conservative’s attempt to do right over side issues irrelevant to the goal. This never produces real winners, and forces duplication of efforts for conservatives fighting the good fight.
The good news is that if conservatives are clashing, that means that the natural law of division is engaging, because there are enough conservatives to fight over how to defeat the left. That is a convenience reserved only for groups that are strong, and winning.
The bad news is that total division at this time would be tragic, maybe even fatal. The right is arguing over whether James O’Keefe’s acting as a pimp to enter ACORN offices to uncover arguably illegal activity was wrong. It seems to me that the show staged by O’Keefe and Hannah Giles was precisely that…staged. Would the ultra-conservative right rebuke a movie or play about the Passion because of the presence of a prostitute? The people in the movie are actors, after all. If we impose the standard of never “acting” to accomplish our goals, we tie our own hands as we proceed in this political battle for our republic. We need to maintain decency, absolutely. If we impose all of our values, clear down to clothing style, on everyone who labels himself a conservative, we lose our size and might. More importantly, we lose our ability to mentor those who aren’t as far along in the establishment of their whole philosophical underpinning.
As we all find our way in this new political era, and do the very best we can to expose leftist journalists, reveal the truth, and to expose corruption, let’s make a commitment to stand united over the basic conservative values we share. If we do not, then we demolish ourselves.
Personal conversations about tactical error, or immaturity, or strategic concerns can be productive and necessary. Publicly attacking those who are fighting for the same values you are is divisive, simplistic, and ultimately destructive.
In the era of citizen journalism, new media, and social media, the discipline of conservatives to remain cohesive will be tested as never before. Liberals know when to “quietly wait to pounce on their piece of pie, and vote as a pack” and they do. That is why they win. Liberals cannot win in the war of ideas because their ideas are not inherently truthful (if you believe in absolute truth)—to successfully deliver the liberal message, you have to group benefits for each segment of your electorate: the pro-choicers, big labor, big government, the anti-war, the class-warfare fear mongers, the moral relativists, the race baiters, and even the banking profiteers all know when to sit down and shut up and wait their turn to get their piece of the pie.
Labor bosses know that many of their members are pro-gun, pro-life, and anti-illegal immigration, and yet they shut them right up when labor issues are on the table. Their papers spend a page or two dogging business and “anti-labor” efforts, and four or five pages on hunting, fishing, and gun-related content. One knows that big labor bosses who dream of a socialist world do not want guns in the hands of their rank and file. They tolerate it, though, so they can garner trust and continue to gain ground. This is the psychology of effective politics.
The trouble is that their issues are about money and pursuit of gain, and conservative issues are based on morality, which requires an understanding of absolute truth, so those of us who believe we have “achieved” an understanding of absolute truth have trouble reconciling our own silence on sin in our ranks.
Perhaps patience and grace can come first, and we can resign ourselves to person-to-person, gentle confrontation, or church-based confrontation if something absolutely needs to be resolved.
If, armed with the new-journalism and new communication tools of this exciting new era, we who agree on the basic tenets of conservatism keep our fire trained on the enemy, and not on one another, we might actually change the world.
Dr. Gina Loudon is a contributing author to big journalism: you can see the article here.