And who was Pam favoring this November? Bernie Sanders.
No, I’m not kidding. Though a wonderful person, Pam epitomizes what Conservatives have too long ignored: We’re losing people. Growing inward, not outward, we’re hardening our protective shell.
Oh sure, we organize. We protest. We master talking points. We bring in speakers informing us of the latest Muslim threat, healthcare takeover, gun grab—all great stuff, but no tools for winning people. Getting madder and “more organized,” we just bemoan our nation’s lost character.
And the shell hardens.
Back to Pam. She’s a common case, really. Middle-aged, smart, caring, hard-working, and with kids who’ve become Liberal. Obviously, they’re affecting her with talking points, but the big question is this: Why aren’t we affecting Pam—or her kids?
A Real Problem
The question is critical, because polling numbers show Pam isn’t alone—and claims like “all these polls are rigged” and “Reagan was way behind at this point” become weaker every day.
Why do I say this? Two reasons:
First, the recent track record. Current nationwide polling sources have proven accurate in predicting primaries for both parties—so the numbers are sound. Second, these polls are conducted by a wide array of sources, sampling countless cross-sections of Americans—and they all say the same thing: Our top candidates aren’t selling. At all. In the last 14 national polls pitting Trump or Cruz against a universally distrusted Hillary, Cruz beats her only once. Trump, of course, gets blown out all 14 times. And John Kasich, who is to Conservatism what Rosie O’Donnell is to femininity, beats Hillary in all 14.
No, I’m not saying “nominate the moderate,” since that undermines our message. The answer comes not in dumping principles, but in convincing more people to vote for them. How? Well, talking points aren’t enough. Rallying around these factoids rather than effectively sharing them, we harden our shell with each new statistic. The more we know, the less we grow.
What Do People See?
The dilemma comes not from our principles, but our shell. With the “Shell” method, Conservatism transforms from a shopping mall (where endless choices are offered) into a compound (where a few choices are defended to the bitter end). Get it? Shopping Mall Conservatism offers liberty. Shell Conservatism demands it. Shopping Mall Conservatism is Disneyland. Shell Conservatism is The Alamo.
(As an aside, I’d like to see an “Alamo” ride at Disneyland, in which children choose either to perish at the hands of Santa Anna’s swarming troops, or by the ravages of dysentery. Goth kids would love it)
Again, back to Pam. In describing Trump and Cruz, she depicted selfish, inward men—a rich guy and a slick televangelist. Pam’s words carried an almost Branch Davidian concern, for she saw the shell, not a mall. Unfair, you say? Irrelevant. When customers aren’t buying your sales pitch, you blame the pitch, not the customers. In marketing terms, the customer is always right.
So tell me, do we offer liberty, or demand it? Looking at us, do people see a mall, or a compound? Even when Americans hear Ted Cruz—an eloquent liberty warrior—what kind of liberty do they think he advocates? Everyone’s liberty, or the liberties desired by his base?
I think you know.
Now don’t get me wrong; the loss of our nation’s founding principles is a tragedy. My heart breaks over it. But society isn’t interested in my heartbreak, and they won’t fill sandbags for my compound. No matter how many carnival barkers shout “Step right up!”, they’ll ignore my depressing Alamo ride.
A Real Solution
Folks, we need to stop looking like a cult, and start looking like our true selves. We’re the cool people! We’re the ones thriving on opportunity and growth! When we discuss politics, it should always be with excitement about what listeners can become, not dread over what they will take. “Stop robbing me and taking my rights” is not a sales pitch—it’s a parting shot as we carry supplies into the shelter.
We need to turn outward, not inward. We need to Break the Shell!
- When we say people should work some hours for their welfare checks—either for the state or participating businesses—we’re setting people free from the misery of waking up every day needing others. No one likes that feeling. So we keep them engaged, growing stronger. Liberals only help them in ways that make them need liberals, but we help them in ways that make others need them! Isn’t that awesome?
- What about gun rights? When I say, “Hands off my gun!”, I’m demanding liberty. I’m shouting from behind compound walls. But when I lead with, “I want the greatest safety for you and your children,” now I’m offering liberty. I’m giving them reasons to hear all my neat statistics—the ones showing how more gun ownership creates greater security. Isn’t that awesome?
- What about Bernie’s free college idea? If we say, “We can’t afford that!”, people just hear “You’re robbing our compound to pay for your stuff!” Instead, let’s say, “I want you to have quicker, cheaper advantages. Right now, a High School degree gives you no advantage in getting a job, because everyone gets high school for free. If we make college free, that’s more years with no advantage. So Free College is just longer High School. Yuck!”
Now I’m offering opportunity while exposing a bad program. Isn’t that awesome?
Do you see the difference? I want us to stop shouting from our compound, and start welcoming people to the mall! And lest you think I’m pushing “anything goes,” understand even shopping malls and amusement parks have rules. You can do what you want, but you can’t take that privilege from others—and all your choices cost money. So, you must invest in your choices. There’s a risk; a consequence. And if you break the rules? Greater consequence. That’s pure Conservatism, baby.
Here’s the neat thing about principles: Whether offered or demanded, they’re the same. Principles don’t just exist within our shell. They’re everywhere.
The Quick Sell
Breaking the Shell is simple—just offer liberty instead of demanding it—but it has an even greater advantage: It’s quick. When we demand liberty, listeners resist our talking points every step of the way, as no one likes being dragged into The Alamo. Thus, we think, “Man, winning people to liberty takes years—they’re all so brainwashed!”
But when we offer liberty, we create instant interest in our talking points. In minutes and even seconds, we transform before people’s eyes, from cult to cool.
Do you want to stop losing people like Pam? Break the Shell. Do you want to stop struggling against incredibly weak Democrat candidates? Break the Shell. Ditch the fortress. Take one last look at our surrounding compound, then burn it to the ground.
Trust me on this: You won’t miss it. And neither will Pam.