As with all issues, a persuasive a case for the right course of action must be made and (here’s the key) extensively disseminated.
The good news is that conservatives have produced the studies, policy proposals, and commentaries — a to z, soup to nuts — on almost any issue you can think of. All the big political, governmental, and social issues we discuss and debate have been and continue to be covered well by the army of conservative writers, researchers and think tanks.
Most Americans, unfortunately, don’t even know those think tanks exist. The number of articulate and persuasive conservative commentators on TV and the Web has exploded. Most Americans, unfortunately, never hear their arguments.
Conservatives should be winning on every single important issue — but we are not for one very simple reason: moving public opinion on a mass scale still isn’t taking place.
Men like our Founding Fathers and others understood that without public support, your great ideas will remain in the idea form only. Examples of their statements appear on this page — here is an example:
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
That was Thomas Jefferson, the guy who wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. Here is Jefferson’s friend and fellow Virginian James Madison, the man whose “Virginia Plan” was the first draft, so to speak, of the U.S. Constitution:
Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.
So, the author of the Declaration and the “father” of the Constitution agree — as did a guy who came on the scene a few decades later, Abraham Lincoln:
Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.
A couple of weeks ago, one of those nation-impacting events took place with the mass murder in Parkland, Florida. The dominant narrative is a debate over “gun control.” CNN conducted a ridiculous “townhall” meeting that in many ways typifies the national discussion: one-sided, heavy on emotion and light on facts.
So, here’s the pattern we are now dug into: 1) A big event happens or issue arises. 2) Conservative think tanks and commentators rally to make their case explaining both the problem and the solution. 3) The narrative that dominates the public square only occasionally includes what those conservatives thinkers are saying. 4) The particular policy area remains unchanged or is made worse through yet more ill-advised government action. 5) My hair gets even more gray.
The only way to break the cycle (1 thru 4 above, if not 5), is for conservatives to learn how to fight the information war on all fronts. Conservatives need to get to the place where more of our fellow citizens read and hear and get better informed about what conservatives have to say.
“Whoever can change public opinion,” Lincoln said, “can change the government, practically just so much.”
If you want to change the government — change public opinion. It’s pretty simple, actually. The political left does it effectively and every day through every avenue. Conservatives, on the other hand, too often only preach to the already converted.
The “case study” I refer to in the title of this article is demonstrated in this page: An Information War Case Study: Pro-Second Amendment Articles. In my sprint through the daily news and commentary since Parkland, I gathered links to good and great and important points made by conservatives about both school safety and the Second Amendment. The sheer volume is impressive — and of course, that list represents only a fraction of the materials produced.