May 8, 2009

Conservatism, and selling it

There's a great post on why conservatism will win in the end, from Canadian Cincinnatus. In it, the writer clearly outlines the position that American Republicans seem to be hunting for in terms of their party's message.

Remember though, as Canadian Cincinnatus puts it, these are fundamental truths. My point is that finding the message is not the problem - communicating the message is the problem. It has to be clear, simple, relatable to people's core beliefs and it has to cut through the both the main stream media AND the barrage of daily information coming into people's lives, including things like advertising and television shows and music.

What points does Canadian Cincinnatus expound?

Free markets are better than central planning.
Monetarism is better than Keynesianism.
Saving is better than spending.
People shouldn’t be shielded from the bad consequences of their behaviour.
Work is good.
Democracy is better than authoritarianism.
A constitutional republic is better than a pure democracy.
A legal system should be based on the British common law tradition.
If you want peace you must prepare for war.
War is an unpleasant fact of life that cannot ever be completely done away with; it can only be forestalled by good statecraft backed up with military force.
Private charity works better than welfare.
Giving people money to do nothing rots their character.
A separation of church and state is better than an official religion.
Privately held faith is better than aggressive atheism because religion can have an important regulating effect on individual behaviour.
The traditional family unit is the fundamental building block of society.
Respectable children are most likely to be raised by both parents working together.
Sexual freedom has bad consequences.
Patriotism is an essential glue that holds a society together.
Self-sacrifice needs to be acknowledged, and where possible, rewarded.
Incremental change is generally better than revolution.
Big ideas, especially those freighted with heavy consequences (e.g. ending global warming) must be approached with scepticism and caution.
Mass migration profoundly disturbs the existing order.
Criminals must be punished.
Most social order is regulated by unwritten custom and tradition, not written rules.
And if we hold these truths to be self evident (assuming most conservatives would agree with the vast majority of these principles), then we need to make sure everyone has the information they need to possibly come to the same conclusion. That means that, as Marshall McLuhan said - the medium IS the message. You can't show people why these truths are truths if they aren't exposed to the ideas.

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