Friday, October 25, 2013

The Paralysis Of Analysis

I've been following Bill Whittle's stuff since shortly after he started posting it online. I absolutely love it, and recommend him to anyone looking for the sort of rhetorical brilliance we used to take for granted among our political leadership, before we were gifted with such political kitty litter box truffles as John McCain, Mitt Romney, and John Boehner.

But I humbly suggest in this latest commentary Bill has gone off the reservation somewhat.

First, we aren't in a military campaign. Would that we were; our side has most of the guns, and nearly all the military veterans. (But then again, how'd that work out in 1861?)

Second, the media aren't the Air Force, for either side. They are merely the Ministry Of Propaganda. On their best day, that's exactly all they are. At the top of their game, whether you're talking Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, or Bill Maher and Rachel Madcow Maddow, they are preaching almost exclusively to the choir, and they have about as much effect on outcome as the fans in the stadium do on a game of Monday Night Football. Let's not confuse them, in any sense, with swarms of F-15s and an overcast of B-52s. They're generally more like a bunch of smart-alecks with paper airplanes, water balloons, spitwads, and cork-ammo pop guns. And as a rule, just about as intelligent or mature.

Third, as the rapidly declining ratings and print readership demonstrate, the average people get that. Don't look for the media itself to trumpet its own irrelevancy in print or on man-on-the-street broadcasts.
Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

So, IMHO, the Absolute Last Thing We Need is to rebrand conservatism as something else to make it hip, cool, or trendy. (We also don't need to go out of our way to make it seem uncool, stodgy, boring, and so-two-centuries-ago, thankyouverymuch).

Freedom is freedom, liberty is liberty, and goodness is goodness. As Bill has noted previously, changing "Do Unto Others" into "Don't Be A Jerk" is merely a translation of idiom into the modern vernacular, which is always well-advised.

But we don't need to morph into pretending to be some scrappy underground insurgency either. Yes, we need to take a long view, but the scrappy insurgents were the first people Ho's successors, and Fidel, and Mao, and Lenin rounded up and shot. Insurgents are unreliable, because they're ideologues, and they know how to topple a regime, and they scare the bejeezus out of control freaks for those reasons.

Conservatism isn't an insurgency (unless you currently work in the newsroom at MSNBC or at the NYTimes or WaPo. In that case, you don't need guerrilla tactics, you need regular intercessory prayer).

To the vast majority of America, who holds similar views on almost every issue one can name, conservatism is just What Everybody Thinks. Wheat farmers in South Dakota and auto mechanics in Flagstaff don't particularly give much of a damn about what some poncey faux hipster on the cable version of The Idiot Box, or some pointy-headed 20-something trying to be edgy at the NYT thinks about things (if such alleged mental activity can be said to discernibly occur there at all).

What they care about is how high their taxes are, what those taxes are being squandered on, and whether they can earn any kind of living, educate and raise their family, and if they can make it to retirement without needing to dine on cat food in their waning years or die between now and then from a lack of decent medical care.

Media gas on the subject generally brings only a small amount of familiarity and a large amount of noxious odor to such ruminations.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with endeavoring to best the liberal media at the game of swaying opinion, even if we do no more than get the truth out. But the fights on the editorial page of the papers had about as much effect on whether we won any war as the cheers and jeers did at any game ever played.

We don't need more megaphones and louder hooligans.

What we need are some players who know the playbook, can take whatever the other side dishes out, and still come back and pound them into the ground, on the field of sport, or battle, take your pick.

We aren't lacking fans nor cheerleaders.
We need competitors who'll suit up, butt heads, and play like they mean it.

What we've been getting are a cross between the Three Stooges and the Keystone Kops, without being either as accomplished or as entertaining as either.

So rather than rebranding conservatism for the 34th time, if we want to win more battles than Caesar's Legions, let's simply agree to stop sending in the clowns.

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