Suggested New Year’s resolution for “activists”: Start fighting

Conservative Republicans who want the future to be different from the past had better face some unpleasant facts. It’s logically inconsistent to think that the very same players who advance a massive expansion of gambling and the immature and foolish concept of “homosexual rights,” support abortion, and can’t even add and subtract are now going to miraculously transform into statesmen and stateswomen committed to limited government and traditional values.

One definition of “Cognitive Dissonance” (found here) says that it is an –

— “uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The ‘ideas’ or ‘cognitions’ in question may include attitudes and beliefs, and also the awareness of one’s behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.”

It’s also logically inconsistent to believe that the Illinois Republican Party is a mess but that despite your being a citizen and this being a democracy, it’s someone else’s job to clean up the GOP.

One more item from that website’s page on Cognitive Dissonance:

“A powerful cause of dissonance is when an idea conflicts with a fundamental element of the self-concept, such as ‘I am a good person’ or ‘I made the right decision.’ This can lead to rationalization when a person is presented with evidence of a bad choice. It can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of disconfirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms.”

I’ve said it before but it needs to be said again: conflict isn’t any fun – but anyone who thinks we’ll ever see needed policy reforms without a healthy dose of conflict better think again. An enormous and well-funded taxeating and special interest apparatus exists that isn’t going to be disassembled without a fight – a big fight. If a person can’t handle intramural party disagreements, it’s a good sign they need to find another hobby.

This week on National Review’s The Corner Mark Steyn hit on one of his important themes from his hugely important book “America Alone” when he connected the notion of a nation’s “stomach for a fight” with its survival instinct. Without the one it’s doubtful they have the other.

I have the stomach for the fight and I’m happy to play the role of the bearer of bad news. There won’t be good news to report until reality is dealt with properly. Best selling author Jim Collins summed it up when he said that the first step to building a successful enterprise was to get the right people on the bus and then get the wrong people off the bus.

As with any business, sports, or other enterprise that fails consistently, it’s an unpleasant fact that you have a people problem. The bad news, however, makes way for the good news.

A year ago former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich talked about a bright future and what it would take to get there:

“We are on the edge of a renaissance comparable to Florence in the 16th Century.

I think we are going to have a four-to-seven fold increase in scientific knowledge in the next 25 years. I think we are going to have an explosive increase in our ability to learn. I think we’re going to have an extraordinary transformation of our health system. I think we will fundamentally change our energy system towards hydrogen and towards composite materials.

And America thirty years from now will be the leading country in the world and we will actually be pulling away in net wealth and capability.

But it will only come by going through an enormous transformation of our current failing bureaucracies and requiring that we move from the world that fails into the world that works, and that is going to be an enormous political fight.”

Again, note the words “enormous political fight.” It’ll be rough at times, but worth it. Thomas Paine put it this way: the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. If you’re an activist and you don’t have the stomach for intramural battle, it is best you retire to another activity and get out of the way.

Breaking with a failed past is an American tradition. Republican activists – like you — need to get ready for an enormous political fight.

Happy New Year!

Click here to read part one.

©2009 John Francis Biver