Friday, June 12, 2015

If Every Young Liberal Longs to be an Activist, What About Conservatives?

A liberal friend recently confided to me that she'd always wanted to get into "activism." And I must say that the notion struck me forcibly. It wasn't that I didn't already know that. I just hadn't heard it from someone I knew personally, and I hadn't thought about what that meant for her and for me.

I've been thinking about this for about a year now, and I've come to think that it encapsulates the whole question of the culture war. If young liberals all want to escape the necessity of earning a living and doing activism, where does that leave conservatives? Do we just sit back and take it?

It's the basic question. Liberals want to get away from their hum-drum little lives, as Lina Lamont might have said, and fight injustice. Conservatives? What do we dream about sitting in front of the computer in our cubicle? Living responsible lives as spouses and parents? Fighting against government corruption? Reforming the welfare state?

It's really important, because according to the latest opinion polls they are making more liberals these days. Peter Wehner has the numbers and he wonders if conservatives are losing the future.

If we are losing the future it's no mystery why. Our kids are being raised by liberal labor-union teachers and all they get is 100% liberal line and liberal activism that issues from the cultural Marxism agenda of identity politics. Lots of nice liberal girls decide that they want to do activism, just like nice Catholic girls a century ago got a "vocation," and they end up indoctrinating our kids and proselytizing their secular liberal religion.

If you wonder about the kids, I got a chilling lesson from R.K. Modena, the daughter of a Filipino reporter and activist. She reports from the years when her father was the Filipino ambassador in East Germany. The young people were totally indocrinated by the "system;" they knew nothing except what they had been taught by the government. Here's what happened when a young woman got smuggled out into the West.
One of the people working at the consulate fell in love with an East German woman. The only way they could marry was if she escaped East Berlin, and so he smuggled her out. The details of that I don’t know, but I remember my dad saying she was struck dumb for three days from sheer culture shock after she saw West Berlin for the first time – and realized that everything she’d been raised to believe, and had known as truth was in fact a carefully manufactured and maintained lie that was possible only through total control of information.
If only that liberal secular religion didn't always call for more government, more spending, more subsidies, and more jobs for liberals. And lies. And total indoctrination of "our kids."

So what are we going to do about it?

I'd say we need a two point program. Point One is to develop a culture of conservative activism. We want millions of young Americans earnestly working towards solving our national problems by reforming and reducing government. I had a email from a woman church member in Vermont last week, wanting data on Vermont spending on welfare. She wrote:
My project is for a church coalition considering a serious attempt at offering alternative services/approaches to poverty in the state of Vermont. 
See what I mean? Here you have conservative activism, honest, earnest Americans trying to make government smaller and people bigger.

Point Two is to delegitimize liberal activism. And I would say it starts with the idea that liberal activism makes government bigger and people smaller. It's time to ask whether the answer to all our problems is another law, another entitlement, another subsidy, another bureaucracy, another unholy alliance between activists and government bureaucrats. I mean, it's 150 years since Marx demanded justice for the workers and for government force as the solution. Here we are, almost two orders of magnitude richer. Couldn't we dial back the coercion, now that the poor are doing better?

How does this work? How about the presidential campaign of Carly Fiorina? She is doing a full court press to change the dialog on women and feminism:
“A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses,” Mrs. Fiorina told a free-market interest group dinner in Washington in speech that was billed as her first major policy address since declaring her candidacy May 5. “A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO or run for president.
Right. And I'd say that a real feminist is a woman who disdains "safe spaces." She's a responsible woman and she owns her choices.
“The left fights to protect late-term abortions and sues the Little Sisters of the Poor, but they oppose over-the-counter birth control,” she told the crowd.
You see what she's doing? She's turning the left's rhetoric back on it, making liberal feminists the issue rather than dead white males and male privilege.

Or, as I like to say: "There is only one kind of privilege in America: Liberal privilege."

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