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Andrew Klavan
The Long Game « Back to Story

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Thats it GOP move ever further to the right, this right-wing dogma that conservatism holds all the answers is the language of the extremist.
Dear Andrew, since you mentioned "Religion for Intellectuals" and the 'Great Conversation' in your article above, I would request you to read the following books ('Being Different' and 'Breaking India' by Rajiv Malhotra) if you have the time/ inclination:
THANK YOU. No one seems to be addressing your first point. If the news that most of the country receives is constantly maligning Republicans and constantly protecting Democrats, how can we ever win? If Republicans ever want to win or have a party in the future, something must be done to address this glaring issue. Better candidates and a sharper message is nice, but what difference will it make when no one will get to hear about it in an impartial way?
Lollercopters! God doesn't exist moron.
Mr. Klavan, thank you for saying, here, what absolutely NEEDS to be said.

I'm an aspiring Conservative writer-director of mainstream movies with Conservative themes. Heaven knows how many times I've shaken my head and sighed upon witnessing, for example, openly conservative films open only "in select theaters", with little marketing other than trailers on FoxNews--and nowhere else but on the Internet...on Conservative sites.

And then, we wonder why these films bomb at the box office, and we can only stand back and watch the Left smugly gloat about how the Right doesn't really "get" what audiences want, or...something.

How do you change that? Distributers--distributers--DISTRIBUTERS!
republicans must embrace social liberty as well as economic in order to return to relevancy.the hypocrisy of government controlling our personal issues. Lose a lot of potential republicans.With the Democrats a buying votes with tax dollars there is no room for this.
Mr. Klaven your essay almost touches on the truths the Republicans need to address in order to recapture the votes they will desperately need in future elections. Abortion,gay marriage,immigration,middle class wages etc...are issues the right have to come to terms with without the "holier than thou" attitudes that scream out at the those who must work for others to survive.
Thanks for at least pointing in the right direction, Andrew. The challenge is enormous and it's difficult for me as an individual to choose which are the most effective, concrete, day to day tasks that will allow me to contribute. One thing I can choose NOT to do, however, is this:

"We must stop waging the war as knuckleheads (see Aiken and Mourdock) and Neanderthals (see Limbaugh et. al.)."

We've got to stop shooting each other. We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.

When you and other social conservatives loudly and unambiguously renounce the Mourdocks and Akins; when you clearly and truly understand that government has no role in our bedrooms, and that family planning including contraception and abortion are a woman's business, and that of her family, and when men no longer orate on the floor of congress about transvaginal sonograms, then you may sound less like a hypocrite when you talk 'big government.'Until then you have no legitimacy, it's just more paternalism. It would also help your cause if you would wrest the mic from those who believe the earth is six thousand years old, dinosaurs and humans inhabited the planet together, and the earth is flat. Okay, that last is one a joke but so should be the prior two examples. We cannot take you seriously when your party embraces the most extremist perspectives. That doesn't even begin to touch the rampant homophobia, racism, and paternalism toward women demonstrated during this last election cycle. These issues are your problem, not your message, not your organization or lack thereof, not your even your disdain for modernism. It is your value system, one that is more aligned with extremist Muslims than the majority of Americans. Both religious extremes have no place for, see no value in, have a fully formed role for women in their religion or their society. God help women if these two extremes ever banded together.
Well said, Mr. Klavan, and thank for your thoughtful comments.
I'm formulating an idea that I haven't heard from anyone in the public eye. It is to stop putting the Conservative label on things, stop talking politics directly, and start to enact conservative-valued activities for those who don't know what it is. It sounds a little bit Saul-Alinsky like, but instead of building a grievance group and a "we need a program" mentality, ours would be a "stop complaining, look what you can do" mentality.
Somewhere along the way the advocates of Western thought based in Judeo-Christian principles stopped defending moral truth. Klavan is right when he says that we need to confront nihilist philosophy with "sound argument made publicly, unabashedly, and without fear." Otherwise the unsatisfying and ultimately tyrannical ideologies of atheism and secularism will overwhelm America's culture.

Free agency is at the heart of the Judeo-Christian thought and has allowed liberty and Ideas to flourish in the Western world. The other "isms" will always lead to enslavement and nothingness. Unless, we explain why this is so our children will become assimilated by the ever growing crowd that is hostile to the philosophical and religious foundations of our culture.
Look at the long game is absolutely what conservatives need to be thinking about and I think that the final point about intellectual Christianity is good. However, I think that part of the problem with modern conservatism is a poverty of political theology. James Hunter talks about a conservative negative morality, but the problem is more vast: we have a negative narrative. Our narrative is obsessed with cobbling together arguments from disparate intellectual lines and critiquing the stupidity of leftist arguments but that isn't actually a "narrative" or a political worldview. Our policies are effective because the critiques and the counter-solutions are true. But for all of these solutions, we cannot motivate, we can only anger. Both get things done in the short run, but motivation is more compelling in the long run.

For too long, the conservative approach to religion has been to take the lowest common denominator values, extract those, derive policies and present them with a "Catholic/Protestant/Jew Approved!" stamp. We need people to develop distinct political theologies in all of the traditions so that there is a robust argument instead of a watery ecumenism. This doesn't have to spin off into endless hair-splitting. Evangelical Christians agree enough on Biblical authority to share a political theology. Catholics are united in their devotion to Scripture and Tradition and share a political theology. The various conservative Jewish sects, I speculate, also do not necessarily devolve into infinite private interpretations.

If we can couple a focus on deep-level political theology and a robust account of pluralism (so that the differences between the theories doesn't destroy our coalition with each other and the libertarians), we can revitalize thoughtful and effective conservatism.

Anyway, that's what I think.
Any time you try to appeal to all of the different mindsets, you will definitely sacrifice all of your moral code, providing of course, that you had one in the first place.
The real and important issues were never addressed, much less answered. Hollow promises aimed at the general populace, presented in such a was as to deceive most of the people as to what is really being said have put them over the top...possibly you could throw in a little 'voter fraud also. Most of the campaign money went to the TV companies...wonder who owns them?
If this is a 'free' country, why do we have to tolerate the endless barrage of pathetically stupid political ads that are all a lie anyway. Since when is a job that pays $400 K per year worth 4 Billion to get it ???
The USA sold it's soul to Satan many years ago. Too bad.
“All lament the abandonment of our commitment to the Great Conversation—the intellectual’s belief that the creative tension of the uniquely brilliant Western literary and philosophical canon can lead us in the direction of moral truth.

But the authors cannot fully grasp the nettle of the solution. Many assume that the Great Conversation depended on the sort of open mind only secularism can provide. As Kronman puts it: “Every religion insists, at the end of the day, that there is only one right answer to the question of life’s meaning,” thus rendering the pluralism of the Great Conversation impossible. I would contend the opposite: only the existence of a God in whose image we are created can support the notion of moral truth at all. It was always Judeo-Christianity, and that alone, that made the Great Conversation possible.”

The ancient Greeks were not big adherents to Judaism, much less Christianity; thus they did not engage in the Great Conversation? I suspect many – Constantine and Aquinas among them -- would disagree.

Moreover, even if the existence of God is necessary for moral truth, the Great Conversation can only occur in a context in which that existence is subject to doubt. God’s existence may well be the CONCLUSION of the Great Conversation, but it cannot be the premise – or the conversation is constricted before it has begun.

And this is the puzzle: Why do people who know the truth of their views fear subjecting their ideas to the marketplace of ideas? As Jefferson said, “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
"That is a mere prejudice and needs to be answered in the culture, not with Bible-thumping literalism and small-minded judgmentalism—nor with banal happy-talk optimism—but by sound argument made publicly, unabashedly, and without fear"
Yes! We can no longer beat others into submission with the Bible, allow judgmental finger-pointing, nor hold hands and stand around the campfire and sing "Kum Buyah".
I feel most people want to by-pass the milk and toast of the "Great Conversation", and get to the meat and potatoes of sound reasoning.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Too many want to consume the fish in the present rather than learn how to fish to extend the future.
Civic virtue, almost by definition a long-term value whose purpose is to constrain immediate or short-term desires, is what's most been lost culturally.
It's always hard to sell intangibles as opposed to material goods, but that is the challenge before us.
Brilliant, Andrew! We need more writers able to articulate the truth as convincingly as you do!
"The smartest political writers in the country, all of whom are conservative..."

What a startlingly un-smart, provincial thing to say.
It's about marketing. The Republicans have to find out what makes the people tick. Examine that, market that and make what the republicans have so desirable the masses cannot turn their eyes from it. So powerful they crave it more than anything else.
Andrew, check out Doug Phillips' Vision Forum and in particular the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
Since opponents of Obama are now in "blame" mode for why a slam-dunk election that should have thrown Obama out of office, didn't go so well, I nominate Mr. Klavan as one of the intellectuals of the right for blame.
As the WSJ and Ira Stoll (of Future of Capitalism) have pointed out in recent days, one way of looking at the failure of the Romney campaign is by properly placing the blame on the No-Nothings of the 21st century (I'm naming these current folks after the anti-immigrant party of the 1850's). Those No-Nothings, who, with vituperation and malice on PJTV and elsewhere, attacked the "illegals" who flocked to America to be able to live a better life, were the proximate cause for Romney going over to the dark side and attack immigration in louder terms than his then-opponent Rick Perry. That the Republicans got fewer votes from Hispanics than the pathetic result of McCain is truly stunning, and symptomatic of the intellectual and moral failure of the No-Nothing wing of the Party, of which Mr. Klavan is a vocal member. Mr. Klavan and his fellow travelers helped elect Obama.
The Republican Establishment will never take this seriously. What Andrew says nails the point perfectly, but unless the 'hipsters' who shape culture are invested in, you can forget ever having a shot at winning again. Perhaps it's time to shoot the Elephant and start fresh. Dinosaurs never seem to acknowledge that their demise is imminent.
Thank you for a good article addressing the Long Game. I agree we need more media choices to add to Fox News and talk radio. I don't agree that Limbaugh is a Neanderthal; he just has a bad image. But his stuff is generally good. We just need more channels and programs. There IS an audience out there for them. Humor, discussion, debate all have an audience. If there is room for BET, several music video channels, and real estate makeover marathons, there is room for our content.

I also believe we need to vote with our wallets and remote controls. Actively punish pernicious leftist media and reward good rightist media (even if it is a bit smarmy at times). We need a ratings or seal of approval mechanism that consumers can access for trusted and fair evaluation for OUR political correctness score.
Great points. Living here in blue Massachusetts immersed in a family of public sector union - er-state workers, I am very discouraged. My husband's medical practice will now be transformed and our son's dream of following his Dad into medicine... well, perhaps engineering may work out better, son.

Problem number one for me right now - so discouraged by the reelection of president obama, under qualified, school-marm lecturer in chief, I kind of now have to figure out a way to rebuild some respect and affection back to my liberal family members...hopefully by thanksgiving...prayers may help me.. Thx - sheepish :} .
He was just given a "do over." He is a "new mang." We'll see how that goes.
Ritchie The Riveter November 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM
Contrary to what many believe, we have not moved past "religion" ... we've just allowed one to exclusively use our public and cultural institutions to proselytize and promote the tenets of its faith ... and as a result, it has become dominant.

Problem is, the Supreme Beings in that belief system have a well-documented record of error and mendacity.
Unfortunately, a lot of conservative media IS an embarrassment -- Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, the PTL Club.

This publication should put its mind into how to expand into the mass media, to create a view of conservatism that's current, educated and forward-looking.
"Recently, a number of books by secular intellectuals have noted the disaster that is postmodern relativism—the nihilist philosophy that has corrupted and gutted Western liberal education."

To whom are you writing this for? I pasted this quote not for its content, but that I couldn't imagine anything other than you trying to impress the those conservative writers which you admire as part of an academic intellectual exercise. The secular postmodern gutted nihilist education? This would make as much sense for the general public as you just wrote.

If you want to know politispeak cliches for the masses, memorize this...

The fact of the matter is that when push comes to shove, at the end of the day when all is said and done, our thoughts and prayers go to our blood and treasure that we put in harms way, because the the ship of state must sail!

Now that makes more sense than the article that you just wrote.

We conservatives are adept at creating businesses, but we have a visceral antipathy to the academy, the arts, and the media. Well, these forces are also culture-shapers, and perhaps we need to recognize that some of the profits some conservatives make in the markets need to be channeled into encouraging other conservatives to regard defending freedom (including the free market) in the academy, the culture, and the media is a worthwhile enterprise. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is relatively small; we need more. We also need international ventures, because Leftism is on a worldwide march 25 years after 1989.... a European/American National Review? A European/American First Things?
At last someone who writes beautifully what I have been saying to my husband for over a year...we need more FOX TVs, conservative late-night talk shows, more conservative rappers, stand up comedians etc. Numbers are strength. Thanks for this brilliant article.
Brilliant, Andrew. You understand what we must do to win the culture war better than all of the talking heads on TV combined...
So will your movies be more like Birth of a Nation, The D.I., or Red Dawn?
Is there a market for objective news? If each group is able to access the news that fits their world view, their beliefs are reinforced and they come back for more. Conservatives have no idea how people could vote for this narcissist in chief with the worst track record since Jimmy Carter. Fast & Furious, the politicization of the Justice Dept., and Benghazi prove incompetence bordering on the criminal (many would argue impeachable). But all those blue blobs on the electoral map think the exact opposite; how could all of those people vote for that flip flopping, out of touch rich guy Mitt Romney? Conservatives keep waiting for people to wake up to the reality of $16 trillion worth of debt, more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, our eroding position in the world. But NY, LA, Chicago, and Washington are reading the NYT, LA times, Tribune, and the Post where they report DNC talking points as the news. The left believes Obama's policies are better, that they address fundamental issues of justice and equality, and that the reason conservatives oppose them is selfishness, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Conservatives are stuck arguing against these silly attacks on their motives.
The consequence of of not having an objective source of news is that we can't discuss the actual merits and demerits of competing policies. We are split as a nation with no way forward. That the vast majority of republicans are reeling still from what they see as insanity should give the left pause. They may think they have one; I would argue it is a pyrrhic victory whose consequences will prove devastating for years to come. It would be great if there was a news source both side would read so that maybe they could begin to at least understand each other.
Religion for Intellectuals: I have a slightly different outlook on Christianity than some of my more evangelical and liberal brothers and sisters.

Unlike the other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam, Christianity does not tie the theology with the philosophy (worldview). One can practice the philosophy without acceptance of the theology. I believe it is this dichotomy which allowed the "Great Conversation" to occur. One could argue philosophically on various fronts, both pro and con, while tying the discussion to the morals or values.
Lord of the Rings and The Dark Knight are deeply conservative films? Really?

This was the most bizarre read I have seen in a very long time. If Conservatism intends to survive, it should never listen to nonsense like this.
Excellent. Well reasoned and well written.
I believe that liberalism will be dominant until the bill comes due. We will have another recession and, at some point, a sovereign debt crisist. At that point, the masses may get the point that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Until then, the democrats and Obama will keep handing out the goodies to buy votes.
Without moral absolutes - Natural Law (religion if you will) who or what is the final arbiter of morality? If morality is in fact manmade, then morality is subjective and constantly changing.

This concept is not the product of the Christian right. This concept has its genesis (pun intended) in Plato and Aristotle but was more fully developed by the Roman statesman Cicero.

This belief is clearly manifested in the Declaration of Independence (“we hold these truths to be self-evident...”) and is woven into the U.S. Constitution.

To quote John Adams “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

It is insidious, but the death of religion ultimately leads to the demise of a free society and to the justification for wealth redistribution etc.

Cicero wrote “the most foolish notion of all is the belief that everything is just which is found in the customs or laws of nations.”

Sorry if that makes some people uncomfortable.
Very profound, Andrew, and true. But do we have to analyze how we had the univerisites and the schools, movies (for the most part)and culture in general, but then we lost it. As the Alinskyites were doing their "long march through the institutions," regular, moral people either didn't notice or did nothing.

Parents didn't protest when they saw their educational institutions becoming more and more leftist. Conservatives do their own thing in their families but they don't actively protest. We were sleeping on the job.

I don't know if this election woke enough of us up. If it didn't, perhaps the next four horrible years will.
A very good article. I have been screaming for a news channel that presents rational arguments instead of political talking points. In fact, I would like to see hosts have a team of experts in statistics, economics, and philosophy on call to rip into anyone who bloviates and distorts the truth. I would make guests come up with 3-4 key points that were provable or disprovable or at least acknowledged as personal opinion. Hard facts, hard truth, words that would have to be defended in a follow up program. Every guest would get another shot after their "facts" were checked. It would never be perfect but some type of real time fact checking and accountability would go a long way. Idiots who have baseless talking points would be humiliated.
As a part-time academic, I find Mr. Klavan's last point the most critical. For any story to be successful, it must have a moral core. The left must always disguise its message. The news media are their own worst enemy and are destroying their credibility and ratings daily. But it is the casual atheism of academia that is insidiously working its way through all branches of learning and inexorably into the culture. It is not simply that those in the natural sciences confine themselves to looking for purely natural solutions (as every scientist should), but that the university itself wants to eliminate God and true religious belief from the conversation. That religion has been organizing humans since the beginning of civilization, and that a lack of religion often leads to the dissipation of civilization, are ignored, replaced by a belief that society should be run by....academics (or at least by enlightened politicians guided by academics). They must kill God to advance themselves. They have created a bastion against conservatism and religion that we must breach if we are to save the country.
Begin by throwing out the heretics --- a person like Pelosi, Kennedy, Biden, and Kerry -- all worship ABORTION and profess to be Roman Catholics! They are heretics!
Loved this until I reached the religious bits. I disagree vehemently. Ayn Rand disagreed...and a TON of us fiscal conservatives cringe down to our toes every time religion raises its head on our side of the political fence. Sorry. Not gonna beat the dead horse, but if you think that it takes religion to be moral, you have basically eviscerated the largest minority of folks in this country by saying that. :-(
this is about a million times dead on...
You deride Bible thumping literalism and small minded judgmentalism - your chosen words to throw a rock at those who would take their Christian faith seriously. Come on, Mr. Klavan, will you too see yourself as superior to those "bitter clingers"? You can't have the benefits of faith and while denying the truth and application of its underpinnings! You are trying to hold the truth of the gospel while denying the power thereof.
I am trying to accrue.
The new American value
Religion will be done
No need to save or help someone.

Follow our great leader’s example,
Don’t give anything that’s ample.
Take all you possibly can
From the governments hand

Red Cross should shut their door.
We don't need them anymore.
So should Wounded Warrior,
We have a new savior.

We all now know Obamacare
Will soon be known as Mediscare.
You will need to take vacations
Just to get prescriptions.

And when the money is all spent
Rejoice the Muslims were exempt.
With what Barry and the UN done
No one will be allowed a gun.

Our military now an afterthought
No more wars will need be fought
We need not worry of the home land
China will have won as planned

No need to go help Sandy’s victims
I understand, its government jurisdiction
Our Ambassador was a bump in the road
So what’s a few more bumps right here at home

The rich will now become more poor
And the poor oh ever so much more
But government will take care of all,
Or at least until its fall.

So after this election
Here’s now the new benediction.
I don’t mean to be contrite.
But I agree with Reverend Wright.

“Not God bless America,
God damn America.”

It is not just cover ups and Republican gotcha moments that the msm engages in. Don't forget the deliberately provocative stories they love to run when highly charged events like this election are happening. Read the la times today with page after page lecturing the republicans, gloating over Jerry Brown's tax hike and the democratic super majority. Then read the ugly comments from what I can only assume are normal people who would never say such things publicly to each other. The paper just loves to throw out this red meat, plain old news is just not enough to sell papers, or maybe it is just too much work. It will take a lot of education for people to understand how they are being played.
Forget reaching out to the Lumpenproleriat. Coddling them is what dumped us into our accelerating death spiral. Conservatives need to reach out to the wealth creators and offer them and their capital shelter from the coming storm.

Sound too apocalyptic? I don't think so because (1) Obama & Co. have no plan to reduce spending or borrowing, which guarantees (2) an annual interest expense of $1 trillion in 10 years, amounting to one third of the budget. Think about that: 33 cents of every dollar collected in tax must be spent on servicing the national debt. Now factor in over $100 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities, and you can see that I'm not being apocalyptic.

So forget reaching out to the Lumpenprols. Instead, get yourself armed and trained how to use them.
I see why he writes for young adults. Why should any adult take him seriously when he makes claims as unsubstantiated as "The smartest political writers in the country, all of whom are conservative"? All? Every one? That is quite the assertion. Once again we find a conservative that starts with a foundational assumption that conservatism is right and anyone who doesn't believe that is an immoral lunatic. I would love to finally hear a conservative pundit say, "We screwed up. Conservatism is a function of what we want to get done and what we want to do isn't what the population wants. So we need to figure out what that is and then apply conservatism to that." But I wont. Today's conservatives are too wrapped up in "I'm right, you're wrong" to ever realize that conservatism is a method to get from point A to point B. Conservatism doesn't mean that raising taxes is always bad, mmmkay. It means that in certain situations, raising taxes is the correct thing, but that it must be managed well so as not to be burdensome to capital. I could go on and on, but whats the point? The people who get heard are the loud mouths who rely on exclusion and fear-mongering and Klavan sounds just like them. He just disguises it with nice prose.
Agreed. There is a narrative, ripe for the times, penned to accomplish what this article urges: ELGAN AND GRACE - A Twentieth Century Saga. For an honest, literate narrative revealing the gritty lives of real Americans of an ealier era, go to
The problem is, extreme libertarianism ultimately is the law of the jungle; it's a world of mafia. Private armies = a gang world, it's a world of druglords, where the only justice is justice created by having the biggest set of guns. It's radical rugged individualism taken to its most absurd extreme.

I actually believe that there's an advantage to a less regulated, more free market economy. America has that, and it is the most dynamic in the world. But a smattering of social safety nets, prudent but not overly onerous regulation, environmental thinking such as pollution credit markets, and paying attention to the actual science of global warming --- this doesn't destroy freedom. Is Canada or Germany or France a hellhole Soviet-style Gulag because they have universal health care? No. Their economies are somewhat less dynamic than ours. I think we have the advantage there. But adding a small amount of prudent regulation makes a whole lot of sense and it doesn't destroy "freedom".

I don't want private police forces, private armies, private roads. I want ONE police force, governed by democratically elected officials. I want ONE army. ONE set of public roads that everyone can use. Some things can and should be done in common. I want publicly funded research, such as that which created the Internet. We have HDTV because of government intervention.

But there has to be a limit. MOST things should be done by the market. By free enterprise. As is the case in every industrialized nation. And I think the US is right to do more things privately than other industrialized nations. But certain things are best done in common. The question is how much. not whether. You conservatives are going way too far in one direction, while at the same time hewing to the idea that government ought to dictate private moral decisions, even regulate who should be allowed to marry, because of your religious beliefs. It's too much and Americans are right to reject extreme conservatism. Extreme conservatism is un-American.
To Tom (and perhaps others - I don't have the time to read all comments posted as I am a self-employed, taxpaying, productive member of society with multiple obligations and commitments…in other words a Republican):

The faith life of our founding fathers is certainly an issue that is open to some debate. However, the very intellectual foundation of our nation is based on the existence of Natural Law and moral absolutes.

The Declaration of Independence is premised on the fact that Man is endowed by his creator with certain unalienable rights. The assertion that these rights are divinely given is the basis for the moral authority upon which our very Republic exists.
The notion of the separation of Church and State was officially foisted upon the American people in a Supreme Court decision (1947 I believe) by activist Justice Hugo Black. Since that time this now “sacrosanct” concept has been force-fed to us from the American Left in a bastardization of what is actually stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Period. That is what the U.S. Constitution says.

In fact, this was written in the Constitution not to protect government from religion, but rather to protect religion from government.

I believe what you are arguing is that the notion of waging a religious argument is a loser in modern American culture. I would argue that it is only a loser if we allow ourselves to be bullied by the American Left and I submit that the recognition of divinely given law is the most basic requirement for the existence and continuation of a free society.

Recognize that it has taken the Left a long time (Marx, Lenin, Stalin, FDR, LBJ, BHO to name a few) to move Western culture to where it is today – and don’t fool yourself into believing this is has been an accident - the march has been insidious.

It will take a long time to reverse this erosion in what ultimately is our freedom – and I recognize that we may ultimately fail. But we mustn’t cower from the fight.

Instead, conservatives must become better educated in the philosophical foundations of our Republic and we must not concede the intellectual argument to the Left. We must learn to use popular culture and technology. We must stop waging the war as knuckleheads (see Aiken and Mourdock) and Neanderthals (see Limbaugh et. al.).

I’m not saying this is an easy sell; rather it is an essential sell for the future of a free nation. As the premise of this piece states, this is a long game.
Brilliant as usual Andrew and I couldn't agree more! I've somewhat ignored the "Great Conversation" and it's vital influence on democratic culture since several years back when my op-eds to the Ojai Valley News caused a stir.

In an effort to avoid personal animus I've always been carefully respectful to my detractors even as they spewed vicious insults my way. The progressive Editor appreciated the effort and my submissions elicited multiple responses.
Many were highly offended by notions such as "When a terrorist organization chooses to be your enemy, you in fact do have an enemy whether you acknowledge it or not."
Those who openly disagreed often wished harm upon me and our sons in the military and those who viscerally disagreed made an interesting collective rebuttal... they surreptitiously terrorized me and my family even as they insisted they were not my enemy.
You should read this.
"Leftists know their Hippocrates."

Do you mean Herodotus?
The republicans cant overcome the one big demographic.

That demographic being the "Give me free stuff" demographic.

Well said. Thanks so much for the reminder that it is the ideas, and I would say ideals that we hold that win the day. The problem is being able to communicate them in a way that breaks through the wall of news media and entertainment and inspires the electorate.
These are dominoes. The first one falls, the rest will follow. Remove the filter through which all leftist propaganda flows and the people will see what the Democratic Party has truly become.

Destroy the MSM. Don't wait for it to cannibalize itself, forget nibbling around the edges. Destroy it utterly. Think ACORN, all at once. We need insiders, spies, double-agents, whatever you want to call them. There is enough corruption in the MSM to sink them all inside a week, its just a matter of finding the proof.
Conservatives are not in a "long game." Fact is, you are what you do. Right now.

Dixiecrats and anti-abortion folks gave 100% of the GOP's 206 Electoral College votes this cycle.

Everybody else, though narrowly, knows today's leading conservatives are either tools of Birch Society billionaires or else aiming to turn back the cultural clock. Two fool's errands, at best.
All well and good Andrew, but for the past year I have been trying to raise a small amount (a fraction of one of your advances) for my Whittaker Chambers documentary and, despite articles in, the Weekly Standard website, and Breitbart, no one has stepped forward - including the conservative foundations, one of which turned us down for a grant. "We need to challenge the entertainment industry" blah blah blah. As Elvis Costello sang, there's no action.
Thank you. I am glad to have found your voice. The above states matter of fact exactly what I have been saying for several years! Again.....THANK YOU!
"The smartest political writers in the country, all of whom are conservative..."

Lol, who are you referring to? George Will, Michael Barone, and Dick Morris all picked Romney to get over 300 electoral votes. He got 206. How smart could these people possibly be? They can't even read a simple averaging of the polls.

Meanwhile, the New York Times got all 50 states correct.
As long as cultural conservatives are aligned with the money-changers of Wall Street and similar cesspits of moral corruption - as well as their self-serving laissez-faire claptrap - the United States will continue to sink into decadence. The example American conservatives should follow is that of General de Gaulle of France. In particular, his Memoirs of Hope: Renewal - which articulates an unapologetically patriotic and dirigistic agenda - should be required reading amongst American conservatives.
So if the 49% of the Voters who voted for Romney quit supporting Hollywood Entertainment, the Networks & the Liberal Press--TOMORROW--that might have some effect on their freely discounting & demonizing half the population.

The culture is a byproduct of education. And the Marxists have infiltrated every level of academia and have poisoned our children against America and our ideals for nearly 50 years. We can shout and scream all we want about demographics, immigration reform, the corrupt media, Hurricane Sandy and everything else under the sun. But to paraphrase a certain president, "IT'S THE SCHOOLS, STUPID."

I have been screaming that we must take back the schools and begin the process of deprogramming our children. Perhaps we may have had a shot but now it's now too late. The left has succeeded in changing our culture and society, seemingly forever.
Thought the last paragraph is good.
Nice article, but you are totally wrong about Bible-thunmpers. There is nothing that infuriates the pseudo-intellectual bufoons more than a Christian who can quote the Word of God at anything the atheist or moral relativist says. The Word of God does not return void, and the Bible will do its work on the sinful human mind and heart.
This is true.

Mainstream media- It's astounding that a Businessman like Romney would try to succeed in any arena while ignoring and forfeiting distribution.

Distribution is a factor critical to getting any business off the ground. The media - mainstream, where the eyeballs are - *is* the distribution of ideas.

Conservatives need to understand that they need to attack and expose the media. Perhaps additional properties can be launched to carry our side of the conversation, but we should *not* concede the existing market leaders. No appearance should be made without forwarding this line of argument *while naming names*.

This cycle was littered with bias from the start - "white hispanics" by the AP during the Trayvon Martin episode. Even Moderators during the Rep Debates- the "war against women" started with Stephanopolous and his contraceptive bender during that debate. It's very curious that *no one* was talking about that topic during that time and Stephanopolous just happens to have weekly discussions with Dem strategists. He was setting the stage, knowing later what the Dems intended to do.

Hits on Marco Rubio, the Bain Capitol outsourcing timeline being completely wrong (the company was led by a Dem bundler while the controversial outsourcing took place)... each of these started in the "media".

Each blip was mildly objected to by the Right and then let to pass. Republicans cannot concede *any* of these incidents, and should actually keep them alive as a continuing indictment of the Media. Again, no appearance should be made without an indictment being made and a tally kept.

Beyond incidents too egregious not to be labeled bias, the Media is constantly engaged in disparaging "Republican" as a "brand".

We saw Chuck Todd at one point this cycle scratching his head saying "oh Romney is being well received, but he's being weighted down by the Republican brand".

It's a "soft" bias, mockery, that allows so called centrist media figures to partake. See: any mention of Mitt's dog.

Quantifying would be easy- Take "mainstream media" output for any one period of time. Count the number of times the word "Republican" is used as opposed to "Democrat". They cannot disparage the brand without mentioning it. I suspect you will find the tallies widely inaccurate. A further step could then be qualifying the context of each mention as positive or negative. But the trend will be apparent on quantities alone I suspect.

Entertainment- I would argue the opposite of the Author. Not producing "conservative" shows or movies or what have you. Not "making" but rather taking away. Give the mass of regular people some means to *turn off* or block whatever they don't like. This means regulation. All broadcast media should be required to carry a unique identifier. This is not impossible, just look at the architecture of the web. Individuals not happy with garbage streaming into their living room can then block that identifier as they wish. This is actually decentralized and distributed "smart" regulation. And as our economy moves towards tailoring services to ever finer degrees, blocking decisions actually provide very valuable business feedback.

Of course, media will object- Jay-Z should be allowed to call someone a whore in the middle of your living room. But perhaps this would be an attractive way of accommodating Social Conservatives. Give people the tools they need to exert influence upon the environment in which they live.

Academia- We have public records of faculty voting registration. We have several studies on political affiliation within academia. There was recently published a report that Liberals would actually deny funding to their Conservative peers in academia just based on political affiliation. This is a legal battle, using the affirmative action framework the Left holds dear- Disparate Impact. Conservatives are massively underrepresented in academia. I believe a study found the Sociology field to be the worst, with a ratio of 44:1 liberal to conservative.

The next Conservative applicants denied academic hire should be supported in bringing suit. Repeat across the country, until we get some kind of representation in the academy. Or the Left finds that it really doesn't like the legal theory supporting "disparate impact" rulings.

All of these efforts need to be pursued outside the election cycle. They are multi-year projects. Conservatism is not losing on its merit. It is losing in its distribution.
Absolutely...I have had one world in my mind this's the culture. We are doomed if we do not fight to transform the culture into something that values virtue, etc, etc, as you have stated. Bingo.
When's the book burning?
If you ascribe to a particular religion because you believe the Word of the Lord, you should be committed to living by the Word in deed and practice. Everyone falls short and that is a given because we are imperfect beings. Far too many have walked away from the practice of striving because it is difficult and requires discipline of thought and deed. The Bible teaches that God is in control and he will discipline His people when they stray from The Word. There seems to be a confluence of events taking place that suggest we are being warned. Many know and have chosen to walk a differnt path as evidenced by our culture rot. Time will tell and we will not have the final say. God's will be done.
Andrew great article

PArt of me really thinks that if Breitbart were still around the election would have went differently. No disrespect to Nolte but at times like this not having his vision is a loss
Kinky Friedman told me today the happiest person in the world this week is Assad. I mention Kinky Friedman because I'm a name-dropper but also to make the point there are performers out there who are smart, informed & cool. I'd like to see more conservatives show up when I produce shows. Kinky is coming to California in a few weeks and will be performing in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Ventura and my personal favorite, Santa Ynez. Kinky is a true American Original in the Will Rogers tradition. I know conservatives don't like going out because I'm a conservative and I don't like to go out but I feel it is my duty as an American to support artists and movies who advance conservative ideas. I think your assessment is spot on Mr. Klavan. I hope people read this and make a real effort to find out which music promoters are conservative and force themselves to go out to a concert after a long day at work. Who knows? They might accidentally enjoy themselves :)
I vigorously agree agree with the gist of this article. It's the cultural war stupid, which we lost more than 30 years ago. Since then the left has been unremittingly spreading its influence and consolidating its gains. With the reelection of Obama we are witnessing the final ground assault. To the three targets of counter attack mentioned--mainstream media, entertainment industry and religion-I would add the sexual revolution and its companion feminism. Two generations later, look at all the developed countries where it has been embraced and we see the atrophy of marriage and family, the minds and souls of large swaths of youth malnourished in parental poverty, and slow-motion demographic suicide.The left loves to invoke the idea of environmental sustainability while taking a wrecking ball to the foundations of culture.
There continues to be a great deal of denial among Republicans. Until that is dealt with, long may the party suffer.

First, you reference media cover-ups. The modern media are incompetents, there is no doubt. But it isn't about cover-ups. The media sell things, no different than McDonalds sells crappy food that people greedily eat, so too does the media sell crappy news that the population hungrily consumes. And in both cases, they rapidly move on to the next sale and consumption of the next meal. You won't change that. And claiming "liberal bias" and "the media is in the take for who-so-ever" is point in denial. You compliment Fox News? They surely are no journalistic standard bearer. I consider them to be a large part of the problem and one of the founders of terrible, terrible consumer driven journalism.

Second, you want a return to a religious basis. This is contrary to the movement of the population. Every study shows that more and more people are moving away from religion. Only the extremists in each religion cling to deep seeded faith. What's more, there is no basis for the intermingling of religion and politics. Several of the Founding Fathers were atheists, others agnostics, and only a few were devoutly religious. Leave your faith out of the conversation, it weakens the arguments of conservatism.

Third, the party needs to begin to identify and promote actual intellectual candidates. Look at the recent losers, look at the string of candidates promoted during the presidential primaries. These are people that represent the Republican Party. They are not only caustic and crude, but infantile, inane, and ridiculous. They appeal to the most base emotions and preach anti-intellectual rhetoric. They demean the party and nation.

The Republicans got beat because they stood for nothing. Gone are party regulars that actually backed conservatism, liberalism, and intellectualism. This crowd believes that meaningless slogans and fear mongering will win elections. There is no reason, no logic, no purpose, no vision, no sense of nation, no connection to some greater good. There is only contempt for those across the aisle.

Government isn't broken, but the two parties are. One of them is rebuilding, the other is in a shambles. And if they don't recognize and admit the actual reasons and, instead, continue with their long held beliefs the religion and money are their only purpose, their only salvation, then they shall become irrelevant.
"The smartest political writers in the country, all of whom are conservative,..."

...In denial much?
Where there was once something called derisively the "LCD," the least common denominator among the people, there is now a vast and growing class of underlings -- who can vote -- who just a few years ago would have fallen below the "LCD" designation. It's a permanent and pandered-to underclass, a HUGE group of people who survive by government handouts, and know it. Barack Obama will be the president for the next four years because this underclass exists and is funded -- suckled -- by the monster in Washington.
I came of age in the 1980s when conservatism was cool. We had P.J O'Rourke, cigars, Jack Kemp, the opportunity society. Reagan crushed Mondale, who represented old, tired, big govt liberalism.

In the age of personal empowerment through the internet, cell phone, high tech startups and other decentralized opportunity, it is ultra ironic that a philosophy of 1930s, top down, centralized planning, FDR govt is winning our elections.

Republicans must use tech models and terms to describe their ideas, and reposition the freedom protected by conservatism and free enterprise as being the natural partners of young entrepreneurs and students.

You make a good point also that religion needs to be reenergized, perhaps more as a revival of moral/ethical thinking rather than evangelicals. Lots of people looking for spiritual inspiration but shunning organized Christianity. Just ask them if they like their Apple iPhone and remind them that Steve Jobs might have never lived if abortion was legal...Jobs was adopted at birth.
Sorry, I want it to burn. I want Obamacare to crash the health care system and watch people die of minor infections and old diseases. I want the Constitution to fail for a thousand years under Obama court appointees. I want to see the economy collapse and people starving and homeless for years on end. I want Islamic extremists to attack and kill hundreds of thousands, China to bully and kill its way into power in the southern Pacific, Russia to re-enslave its people and as many eastern Europeans as possible. Elections have consequences. I want to see them get what they asked for. Maybe I'll get over. Probably not.
Emulating the Founders is hard work. What did they do? Well they created a nation and gave it a limited and effective government. All three, not one, not two. The national purpose was defined as freedom/opportunity on the one hand and community/prosperity on the other; what made those bedfellows an adult and productive couple were the ideas discussed in the article.

But I don't think secularism is the problem, so long as it starts with human nature - whether created by God in some sense separately than by the universe, or whether it comes from the universe as it came to be and made us (which certainly has enough of the majestic all-encompassing all-effective always-present character of the divine, whether it is an artifact as are humans of the entire thing, or a special act of creation, our nature is what it is.

We have thought to shape our self-training. We have experience and how we learn from it. We have our emotions, our personalities – which seem to determine most of our choices most of the time, including political choices. We have our moral instincts, similar over-all for the species but individual both in weighting, in action as our circumstances and personal circumstances differ considerably, and ultimately are unique. We have finally the conversations, religious philosophical ethical and political, where we seek to make positive sense of all that.

This last one was the Founder’s forte, for in shaping a nation, a system of constitutionally limited government, and a system for a prosperous democratic capitalism, they gave us a template useful in the first step: how ideas shape how we raise ourselves and our children.

The Democratic Party has long been a coalition at war with itself; some of their most amazingly boneheaded things seem to stem from papering that over by simply adding enough for enough factions that the national camel's back is quite sore, maybe in danger of breaking.

The Republican Party has some tendencies in the same direction, towards suicidal bickering or attempting to be all things to all Republicans. The budget wars are a good place to look for signs of that..

Maybe some of the newer in politics folks, like you, may come to articulate a winning message. I am thinking it would focus on the American Dream: extending freedom and opportunity, welcoming all who will join in that, creating prosperity, a future that is more secure more comfortable more creative more diverse and inclusive at the same time, more noble by supporting the higher aspirations of human beings.

You know, the old 'shining city on a hill, chicken in every pot' stuff, only functional, successful, growing and improving.

You misunderstand this election. This was a grievance election - the darkest, most troubling election since Reconstruction. There were no ideas put forward. Instead, Obama identified an electoral challenge in White Men, polarized that voting bloc by associating them with "Republicans," and used code words such as "war on women," "voting is the best revenge," and the cultural symbols that resonate with aggrieved minorities to expand the electoral base. This is new, and incompatible with republicanism in the long run. Men must disengage for the time being and use their private power to wrest a semblance of protection in the short run. We must understand the true nature of the election if we Republicans are to combat it. Intellectuals are trapped in a prison of logic. Eventually, men will need to become a voting bloc like African Americans.
It would help the conservative cause if the GOP would nominate conservative candidates.

Early in the 2012 election season Erick Erickson on "" said "Moderate Republican nominees always lose presidential campaigns." He was proven correct this time.
It's a good idea,but I wish to know how in the world you'd implement something like that. It's going to be difficult doing.
This is great, Andrew. Not easy, but great. (The one state solution is still my absolute favorite though.)
Amy Sterling Casil November 08, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Ridiculously awesome. You are a prince among men, Andrew.
Hey Klavan on the Culture:

I like the essay. I just don’t see how I can implement any of your ideas. I just wish there was someone out there, somewhere, who has contacts within this new guerilla media world. Yeah, and with some knowledge of how Hollywood works and how concepts are sold, and maybe some commercial media exposure; who also shared your views, and could make a pitch. That might do it, but alas where is this person to be found?

FWIW, Re News:
As the alternative to NBCCBSABCCNN we have already in FOX and talk radio. But most of their content is nearly as much snark-fest as MSNBC. BTW, could FOX replace that angry unappealing morning crew, or what?
FOX & Limbaugh may serve a purpose as an alternative, that bolster and entertain the already converted, but who does it convert, really? Five more FOX clones would barely move the needle.

AS an alternative, I suggest some Sheldon Adelson type (or a consortium of new media conservatives ); would consider funding a start-up, PBS-like alternative. Like CurrentTV only not insanely stupid and hosted by retreads and has-beens. I do think there is a profitable market for an serious, smarter and balanced news channel. But also, not as smug, self-important, dull and ponderous as much of PBS. Rather a fun but elevated discussion. It might grow slowly and may be a loss leader, but what’s the point being filthy rich if you cannot waste your own money. Why leave it to your rotten kids or a foundation which will be perverted to promoting leftism, like Ford or Carnegie.

I have this belief that a smarter channel with straight news, long form interviews (not 3 min speed-debate fight club) and long form investigative specials (60 Minutes directed at Govt?); would thrive and be commercially viable. It would fill a void and be palatable to moderates; and less easily dismissed as Faux News. Format is the key to success. The goal is to not to out-shout, or merely produce more content. Something new that does not turn off those capable of hearing an alternative. It’s to engage and draw them in to a discussion that they have not heard before, outside of bumper sticker pissing match version. Conservative arguments have an intellectual foundation, so by their very nature require more time. Something

If a BDSM subtitled film in Aramaic language can grab Christians and make Mel $400 Million, imagine a well-made but remotely pleasant movie could do.
So far, conservatives have mostly failed artistically. See, “An American Carol”, Oddly, “Team America” drew as much liberal blood as any overt attempt (yea, hip ridicule).
Narnia and The Rings trilogy are great, but they are metaphors. I think you have to be a bit educated to begin with, to draw much from them and to extrapolate into the political realm.

Still, this last few years have proven the market exists. Money talks. Look at “Act of Valor” revenue versus “Rendition”, et al. A fairly dry and conservative documentary 2016, makes real money. A non-Oliver Stone style pro-military movie with frankly, smarmy dialogue and mediocre acting is a hit.

You argue a bit against thesis here; appealing to intellectualism? Not that that’s a bad thing.

I suggest for the religious>cultural impact; quality “family themed movies” with decent plots, A-list actors and with artistry and more subtlety will make money. Versus the air-headed zombie Christians falling to their knees in a field then receiving gifts the next day (saw that one last week). The current “religious” cinema is 3 part; Crisis > Conversion > Deus ex machine/happy ending, which I find trite and unappealing and I’m not even an antireligious bigot. (Ok, maybe with one exception). I still watch them with my kids who are not yet so discerning (ok, not yet cynical); but as they get older they will naturally recoil from the obvious manipulation. It’s not the 1950’s anymore, and you can’t get back that audience. However, even “mainly secular” parents are not all happy with the filth PG13 trashy options.

SUGGESTION FOR YOU; pitch an alternative to Jon Stewart. It’s also an absolute essential to counter that Market; entertainment as news, and news as entertainment.
It has to be smart and funny. The lefts’ most potent weapon for low info voters AKA recent college grads, is satire. Alinsky was right. Oh look, here’s a fine example:

A wise person once said, you cannot reason someone out of an opinion that they did not reason themselves into… we will so rarely get to battle on that field.
Americans are poorly educated, mis-educated and more recently indoctrinated. The “long march” through the educational institutions is won. So without the time or an inclination to read books, or pursue deep dive discussions, how to convert the emotional, intellectually lazy (or just damn busy), and mal-educated?

Forget about limousine liberals, and “the takers” who will always go Dem. Counter to Romney’s 47% quip, a large chunk of the democrat voters are people who already do pay taxes and/or who work hard and aspire to someday “pay more taxes”. They are not rich enough to be liberal, and not congenitally or generationally damaged enough to be supplicants. Yet, they just are still unable to “hear” conservatism, as it’s been so effectively laden with negative baggage and boring angry white guys. Even if they happen upon and understand the occasional appealing and countervailing arguments, they still swim in a sea of culture and in the end, revert to the “socially desirable” opinion and vote that way.

I think it’s possible to grow some a hip and appealing cultural venues and the approach will work wonders.

Now, go start a TV station, dammit!
the war on women is a straw argument; the war is reverse- the war is on men and particularly white men. Women use their issues and portray "white men" as the enemy. Until that perversity is addressed, no way the republican party can win.Women in positive relationships with men vote republican!
If you have been in business, do not apply for public office; the general public does not like you. You are EX-Authority! Better you stay in the private sector to pay more taxes.... reverse slavery! VALUES, VALUES; it's all about values!
So in order to win the game your strategy is not to ask question like why didn't we talk about overspending during the Bush administration, it's we need to make people understand what obvious victims we are. You worship in the same temple that you despise. I want to vote for a republican but if conservatives don't have any interest in self criticism I feer victims like you will continue to control the argument.
I couldn't agree more that we need to directly confront the mainstream media. In fact, I think we should start a boycott of the msm news. They are harming the country by misinforming the voters. The only way the suits will listen is if we can show that we are affecting ratings. Surely we can do this if we all get together.
A really well done article. I agree completely. Although I'd say that demographics, to the extent that they influence culture and ideas *can* in that way become "destiny." Still, excellent points!
The comment comes from Horace
Andrew, I live in a town thay is extremely conservative, where they harras the head of the school board for not passing out bibles in the public school, and think education is a sign of moral failure (I'm a Phd physicist with a philosophy degree, married to a preacher at a small, mainstream Protestant church). Most of the arguements I get from conservatives are post modern. They think that science is fundamentally political when it comes up with well verified theories that differ with their prejudices. Although I'm religious, I don't think it's the answer to fighting post modernism. Rather, it is an acceptance that your theories are falisifed by facts. November 08, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Thank you Andrew for addressing the vast hole in the ground that serves as a venue for conservative artists. Ever tried to see a stage play enacting overt conservative values? There are little to none. Yet gov't money goes in a floods to community playhouse venues across the nation. Liberal playwrights, poets, screenwriters, novelists are lavishly supported and funded. Conservative? Cue the chirping crickets. Conservatism cannot take hold without culture. But calling a work conservative means risking it, so audiences can't put a name to the values they're watching that stir and inspire them. We need a Fairness Doctrine alright. We need it to protect conservatives in every artistic arena EXCEPT talk radio.
Andrew, from your lips to God's ear, you are stating what I have been wanting to happen for at least a decade!! When and how can we set up network Truth Media for common,free, mainstream distribution both on TV and in the Movies? Indeed this is very long overdue. Can you help us here in northern Nevada and ASAP?! We must all band together and make it happen. We must reach everyone through their choice of media/means. God bless the USA!
Bruce Deitrick Price November 08, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Attacking the lopsided left-wing prejudices of the New York Times is crucial.
Regarding religion for intellectuals, I think you, as well as most Republicans, as evidenced by this election, shows how utterly Republicans have misunderstood their position here.

Republicans don't own the religious vote as much as they like to think. Much of the immigrant population is Christian and very much so. Latinos, Blacks, Asians all bring their Christian faith with them, much of which is Catholic. Their 1st/2nd generation children may not follow them in their faith, but it still remains firmly embedded in their culture, however displaced.

Yet despite this expanse of fertile common ground and what you describe as religious moral structure, Republicans chronically fail to cultivate, much less embrace, much from this religious face of America. And I'm willing to bet there isn't a single Republican that wants to recognize it, much less explain it, never mind mend it.

The religious moral structure may be missing from the youth vote but it isn't missing from the immigrant vote. It's fundamentally missing from the worldview of Republicans, because the only "religious moral structure" Republicans ever actively appeal to in an election is that of evangelicals, effectively alienating the immigrant "religious moral structure" as "other".

As evidenced by the last two elections, even without significantly appealing to the "religious moral structure" of immigrants, Democrats still won by simply appealing to important issues without threatening the "religious moral structure" that does exist in those communities.

Republicans look within their evangelical "religious moral structure" and see diversity, which is certainly true enough. But it's self-limiting, which is how it's seen from "outside".

You may read the same bible, or one that's similar, but culturally and metaphorically, you speak a different and clearly unappealing "language".

And therein lies the problem.
There's little to argue with here, except the real challenge, IMHO, is the "how" and not so much the "what."
I have to tell you that you're wrong, in so many ways.

I'm a moderate - a conservative liberal, or else a liberal conservative. I would like to vote for a decent, fair-minded, moderate, fiscal conservative for President; I wouldn't have voted for Obama if the Republican Party weren't so in thrall to extremist nuts.

I did vote for him, though, because it is. I don't think I'm alone in this. "Conservatives" are now "radicals," and don't even know it, because they're stuck in their own echo chamber. I don't want mean, mean, crazy people in power. I want efficient government, without all the kookiness. I do not want to be in debt. Your Michelle Bachmanns and Newt Gingriches and Mitt ("47%") Romneys are your problem - not Barack Obama.

Your contempt for people is your problem. Your open loathing of the people you think of as your "enemies" is your problem. And, BTW, you're stuck in this feedback loop, while the rest of the world has moved on. You lost, for instance, the gay rights argument by transparently using people who've done you no harm at all as a "wedge issue" - so people think you're just mean and have nothing else to offer.

It's YOU, in other words. Until you realize this, you'll continue to lose. Do some serious and rigorous self-examination - that's a core religious practice, BTW - instead of all the finger-pointing, and you have a chance to come back. If you can't, you're going to keep losing "hearts and minds" - and elections.
Mr. Klavan, I have one thorn sticking in my brain about the power of the media. It seems every time I look at viewership polls, fox news (o'reilly) is on top, followed by Hannity and NBC, CBS, CNN are usually at the bottom. How can the corrupt media be so influential in spite of their (seemingly) low viewership?
Super. More crazy god talk. That'll fix it. Just keep that up. How's that crazy god stuff workin out for ya?
Ritchie The Riveter November 08, 2012 at 1:35 PM
Pied Piper, let me repeat my response to your cut-and-paste: all your young people have done is vote to learn a very hard lesson on socio-economic reality ... and learn it in a very hard way, that many of us avoided when presented the same choice in 1980.

What won this election for Mr. Obmaa is simple ... the Progressives have been successful in their century-long effort to persuade us to "outsource" our personal responsibility and personal initiative to that elite few at the top, thinking that they are so smart they can solve all our problems FOR us and we don't have to worry about them ourselves.

All we are doing there, is making ourselves even more vulnerable to the errors and mendacity of the human beings that make up that elite few ... who just like the "banksters", will leave us holding the bag when they fail us, as they scurry off to the think tank, the university, the lobbying firm, or government-funded retirement.

The fundamental principles that governed humanity in the 1950's have not changed ... you and those young people have just chosen to ignore them, right along with the cultural embellishments of that time that you appear to confuse with those fundamental principles.

You will soon learn that those principles will not be denied ... despite your wishes to the contrary.
John Pollit;

The underachivement of black and hispanic students may better be explained by this than resorting to demands for ever "better" schools.
“In their study of family-based expectations for Caucasian, Asian-American, African-American and Hispanic adolescents, Steinberg, Dornbusch, and Brown (1992) found strong ethnic and cultural differences related to students' beliefs about the consequences of negative school failure. Asian-American students overwhelmingly believed a bad education would have negative effects on finding a good job, and African-American and Hispanic students predicted few negative consequences of a bad education. Although students across all ethnic groups reported that their parents valued education, African-American and Hispanic students "devoted less time to homework, perceived their parents as having lower standards, and were less likely to believe academic success comes from working hard"
Science provides no answer to the questions of what is the origin of matter and the origin of life (even single cell life). Modern biochemistry proves the vast improbability of chance creation due to the complexity of DNA and cell function. Darwin was completely unaware of this complexity. This needs to be made clear to the masses, so they know that there is tremendous evidence for a designer or God. This argument can be won and could be via pop culture. The religous do not need to fear this issue. Science ducks this question with smoke and mirrors.
If conservative principles are to triumph, then we need to start being much more active at the local and state level, building on principles, not panders. As you said, ideas.

I believe school choice (which can be affected at the local and state level) needs to be a matter of much effort. We don't need Super PACs for candidates, we need them for moral based education programs in independent schools.

You want the black vote? The Hispanic? Give them good schools outside of the public schools. Give them a place where they know their children will learn, and be safe. And away from the propaganda of the Teacher's Unions. That should be the number one priority of conservatives.
Your insightful lesson on mass media's influence on our cultural and therefore elections is much appreciated. In addition, I see the Republican/ Conservatives' LACK of PERSUASION TECHNIQUES as neutralizing most of the Right's message. Obama has his "Rules for Radicals". Where is our "Rule" Book? Persuasion techniques can be ethical as well as effective; but they must be learned and devised to neutralize the liberals' class warfare propaganda during this era of diverse immigration to the U.S.
Andrew, I implore you to try to figure out a way forward that includes people like me who lack religious faith and will never change in that regard. I have never had need of a deity to support my deeply held moral philosophy (which you would find quite familiar). You, like so many others of our political persuasion, seek to cast me out and treat me as the enemy of mankind and freedom. You are making a terrible mistake.

I have a "mechanism" for advancing the principles that you've set forth in this piece. I would be happy to share it with you, and to work to advance the precepts that you've laid out.
Great piece Andrew. Left unadressed though is exactly HOW our intelllectual and financial resources are to be committed. Do we attempt to actally influence or even take over, say, a CBS, or a particular studio or agency. Or do we want to leave these corpses to rot and start our equivalent institutions from scratch? I'm with Andrew in my my amazement that some ten plus years after FOXNews got going, the only new station in Cable News is Current TV. OTOH, my guess is that the Breitbarts, PJTVs, Ricochets will manage to migrate to my TV a lot sooner than CNN & co will ever rid themselves of their bloated, iredeemably liberal staff.
If you believe in morality, as I do (strongly), and if you believe in the potential of humanity and an inherent "rightness" and "wrongness," you can still be perfectly atheist. Morality does not require god. Even a bloodless, godless pragmatist would come to the conclusion that murder is bad on its face, as it destabilizes society. In this way, murder would be deemed "immoral" even in a society without religious beliefs. One can even say that, if "good" is the advancement of society (as it is a virtuous circle that will in turn advance the well-being of individuals) and the maximum amount of freedom weighed against infringement on others, you can come to a STRIKINGLY similar world outlook without god that many true believers reach.
I'm truly hoping that these are Op-Ed articles, otherwise you are running the risk of losing many subscribers to your paper.
Excellent points. Lots of post election talk about reaching out to the "new demographic." But with what? Who can articulate "Americanism" (or conservative) ideals? That's a good place to start.
Or we can just hunker down for a few years and wait for the Left to run out of Other People's Money. Quicker and easier, if you ask me.
Andrew, you hit on similar areas I've thought, adding entertainment (education, media, God). I've always wondered why we as republicans/conservatives (w/ the assumption we have the money) that more billionairs don't invest in media...

my husband and i were talking this way but you added so much more to our conversations. my husband could be on of those contenders and have give us fuel..great job!!
You (commenters) ask why religion is necessary? Because bad actions must have penalties, either guilt (internal) or shame from the community. It is very easy to delude oneself into thinking that one's actions however foul are justified because... In a society like ours, this lack of moral standards leads to lack of trust - in elections, in human relationships, in every aspect of life. Who can you trust?
I would add that while I don't care what people do in their bedrooms, I definitely don't like having to slavishly approve activities I regard as immoral. I can avoid media that tout these activities, but I can only avoid having my children indoctrinated in them if I take very expensive actions not available to people poorer than myself. As far as gay "marriage" why are civil unions not sufficient to give the same privileges?
A fond Farewell to the Vanished World of Wonder Bread, Sealtest Ice Cream, Aunt Jemima’s Pancake Mix, Borden’s Milk, the Sears Roebuck and Co. Catalog, and All That

Election Day, 2012, will enter the history books as a seminal date in our History. For on that date, a fundamental transformation of the American character took place, a change long since in the making, with the resounding and embarrassing thrashing of the Republican party (the party of the old guard) by the party of the future.

I remember looking at Romney during the long campaign and I kept asking myself: Who is he representing? Who is he talking to? I could never figure that answer out.

Romney and Cia. went down in ignominious defeat precisely because he was representing an America that no longer exists – even in the Midwest. (After all – and just as an example- our first “openly gay” senator just elected to Congress is from Wisconsin – as “heartland” a state as you can find. Not only that, she’s a woman to boot. (Talk about a double whammy).

But it was more than that. I remember those scallywag Republican leaders plainly stating things like “Our main job is to deny Obama a second term” and “We will not cooperate with them at all” and so on. They should have been forced to resign if that was their attitude. People like me clearly remember all that and vowed not to forget it and let no one else forget it either.

The 30s, 40s and 50s are over. They simply are. It’s a new ball game with different players. The sea change that has taken place is now a permanent part of the American panorama. Those who refuse to admit it and to adjust to it are simply living in the past and becoming more irrelevant and inconsequential as time goes on.

Amen. Amen. (And I am not a religious person.)

Finally, an idea on how to move on. Enough with the crying and wingeing. Let's get going.

And we must start NOW-- the Liberals started working on 2012 at least four years ago. As Andrew notes, it's a long game.
Thank you. I've been disturbed by calls for the Republicans to become carbon copies of the Democrats.

I believe that the ancient arguments need to be "translated" for a secular culture. I share the values of Christian conservatives although I am agnostic. When moral arguments are made with nonbelievers it's important not to use religious references or they stop listening. It doesn't mean that you can't persuade them.

I'm not Catholic, but the Catholic church is the one major institution taking a stand against the narcissism of our day. I can't be a Catholic, it's too far a reach, but I certainly can see far enough ahead to agree that the church's positions are correct if we want a civilized future for our children.
Ritchie The Riveter November 08, 2012 at 9:15 AM
What we have here, is not just a failure to communicate ... what we have here, is a nation comfortable with intellectual dishonesty.

The intellectual dishonesty ... that refuses to recognize that secularism is merely blind faith in human omniscience, that refuses to acknowledge and reinforce Callahan's Principle of Leadership: "a man's got to know his limitations" ... but instead treats that faith as something different - something "objective" and therefore more worthy of respect and passive acceptance, and requiring less intellectual oversight, than the alternatives.

The intellectual dishonesty ... that refuses to recognize that allowing an arbitrary definition, detached from immutable biological reality, of the dividing line between human tissue and a unique human life means that the line can be moved and/or duplicated anywhere along the continuum of human development, to suit the utilitarian fancy of those who see vulnerable lives as "inconvenient" and/or "non-cost-effective".

The intellectual dishonesty ... that remains passive in the face of an effort to re-define an institution that has transcended religion and culture to stabilize human society for thousands of years, simply because it would make a few feel more warm and fuzzy about their lifestyle choices ... and (at a wit level of between 0 and 0.5) confers upon them their very own version of the Race Card to facilitate the muzzling of all their critics, no matter how principled, as the cardholders seek to establish their "new normal".

You notice that neither God's name, or His Scripture, were invoked to justify the above ... that is because issues like abortion and gay marriage have SECULAR impacts that are not being acknowledged because to do so is considered as "jamming one's religion down one's throat.

But wait, there's more ...

The intellectual dishonesty ... that has led millions to passively "outsource" their personal responsibilities and personal initiative to an elite few at the top ... thinking that only these "smart people" can solve their problems, FOR them ... unaware of how they have placed themselves in a highly-vulnerable position to the errors and mendacity of these "smart people", who will leave them holding the bag when they fail and scurry off to think tank/lobbying firm/government-funded retirement.

The intellectual dishonesty ... that leads one to believe that strident, high-volume criticism that is based upon sound principle is somehow "uncivil" in the face of others' outright intellectual dishonesty and must be avoided.

The intellectual dishonesty ... that fails to recognize how that elite few described above is jamming THEIR socio-economic morality down OUR throats, with a fundamentalist zeal that makes Baptist preachers look like libertines out for beads at Mardi Gras.
Thanks for this hopeful perspective, Andrew. I'm glad you're taking the long view. From where I sit, as a teacher of preaching, my own concern is that even the church (or at least the former mainline) does not know its own book sufficiently well to grasp the long view of history. We have been so well schooled so as to be embarrassed by texts that speak of the "end" (understood as both goal and conclusion) of history. In a deep bow to the Frankfurt school, we have expurgated many vital, watershed texts from the pulpit, so as not to offend people with talk about sin, the reality of evil, the need to repent, the nature of eternity, the threat of perdition, the uniquely redemptive work of the crucified Christ, etc.

In doing my bit to counteract the use of the "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" of the Bible in preaching, I recently published Year D: A Supplement to the Revised Common Lectionary, in order to gather up the outtakes from the lectionary preacher's cutting room floor.

Here's a link to it:

I simply mention it to you as perhaps a handy tool in your own writing for identifying texts with which even well-meaning Christians may not be familiar as they endeavor to speak truth to the culture. Not that I think you don't know these texts. On the contrary, I see them reflected in many of your articles; thus, my boldness in writing to you. But I do not see these texts operating in the church generally, at least not in the mainline tradition in which I labor. In short, Year D is a programmatic book for the preacher who takes the long view. Thus, I thought you might find it illuminating as you consider where the weak spots are in the culture's (mis)understanding of the Bible and Judeo-Christianity.

Tim Slemmons
What the country needs now is a Margaret Thatcher, a Latina Margaret Thatcher. I think that when the electorate looks in the mirror they see someone more like the current president literally and figuratively. Following Dick Morris' advice to change the type of candidate put forward by the party, a Latina would recognize the important role of women, especially professional women, in the modern world and would show a serious recognition of the ethnic changes in the population. Someone like Susana Martinez comes to mind or someone from the business world with a resume like Mitt Romney's. A female vice presidential running mate would really show that the party is serious about recognizing the changes in the electorate. A presidential ticket with two impressive women, now that would shake up the world! It would do a lot for the women of the rest of the world too.
We are living in a child like era where the in gang holds sway. Cliched thinking, the daily talking point and delightful nasty accusations are the au curant mode of communication. How this has come about I leave for others. The problem of conservatism is that we use reason rather than ridicule. To ridicule, to snub in our current culture is the right way to go. To point out the fallacies of , thinking is just so "white". While a Fluke can sit in front of an ad hoc committee of congress, with all of the trimmings of legitimacy to accuse, whine and poor mouth and get away with it is facile to any thinking person it is the party line repeated ad nausem that wins the day. When a Nancy Pelosi offers up claptrap, "we will have to vote it to read it" while as the second most powerful politician in the land can refuse to pass a Constitutionally mandated budget and never be taken to task we can observe that we as a people no longer value the law.
To change this aspect of culture will take several years of using the left's most valuable tool; control of the cliche. Sure the "meme" is da bomb but the underlying truth need not be exposed nor explained. Just repeat, repeat and repeat. Most of all, repeat over the long run. The right thinks, all too often, that once proved indicates truth while the left has long lived off of the big lie, oft drummed into culture.
Empirically excellent as per usual, Mr Klavan, and so few grasp that these things all go together and are not separate and independent. Thus they, and sadly often conservatives included, too often fail miserably while all the left ever produce IS failure, if one simply waits long enough. No, really. Colonel Neville.
Another great book about HOW the young electorate is "informed" - The Victims' Revolution and the Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind - Bruce Bawer (who gave us the great "While Europe Slept")'%20revolution%20the%20rise%20of%20identity%20studies%20and%20the%20closing%20of%20the%20liberal%20mind
I think repubs need to do some soul searching, especially on how to broaden our party to get that remaining 5% we need to win, with groups like hispanics, asians, and women. Hispanics and asians are workers and entrepenours and dont want gov handouts, they just want an accomidation on immigration. We can't cede 70% of the hispanic vote to the dems and win, we need to move on immigration. And we need to make sure that if we nominate any pro life candidates, at least they are not religious nut types like Akin and Mourdock, who badly alienated women and moderates. We also need to move on gays to win young people, who really cares if 2 men want to get married, they dont hurt us or cost us anything. We cant just depend on fervor within our present cooalition, we must expand it, and the type of issues I cited here are not the vital type of pocket book issues we must stand firm on, but can win us a lot of new votes.
I would like to thank you for this article. As to your opinions about religion, I believe that Christianity is the only view that offers plurality to the great conversation. It is the trinity that states there are multiple persons in God, and it states that despite this, they are all the same God. Furthermore I believe all dissimilar signs of beauty, truth, and goodness point to the same divine love. It is the assumption of hard science that there is only one answer. And according to secularism, that answer points to nowhere.
I would also like to say that as a 19 year old Catholic conservative voter in California, I left this election very disheartened. But this article has inspired me to pursue novel-ism (or is it novel-ing?(either way, writing book (and apparently verbing nouns))) as at least a hobby while I try to contribute to the economy with a conventional job.
All excellent points. I would agree with your top 3: informative media, entertainment media, and religion or man's role in the world vis-a-vis God. The first two represent the tools through which words/ ideas are used, while the last is the end game. The one I would also add with both Media related arenas is Education. Without the ability to inculcate some set of beliefs in our young - we're doomed to a Sisyphysian fate. The knowledge and critical reasoning as well as acceptance of history MUST be made early or the outcome will be eternal fighting on the flanks.
1. Glenn Beck's Internet channel suggests a way to build a conservative network that might have public impact.

2. Bill Whittle's Declaration Entertainment suggests a way to impact the entertainment industry.

3. Religion can be addressed in a long game by involving pastors and priests in the conservative political discussions published by the foregoing channels.

The foregoing is using modern technology to pamphleteer and broadside. If Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine could do it in their tech age, we surely can do it in ours.
Nice exposé of the subject. Conservatives and patriots don't do 100 year plans like socialists. It's been 100 years since the income tax and the fed. Change that. Legislation does not get repealed. There is no turning this doomsday scenario around. The poison has set in. It's academic (ironic or funny). They got the children's minds, and now they are after the rest.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on my recent post:

The approach you seem to be advocating, leans heavily upon the intellect and formulating responses to these various venues. There is certainly a place for this, however, I believe there is a far more foundational spiritual element that must be found within those who profess Christ.
As a writer, I'm looking to send out for review a number of short stories that, as you say, "speak their values plainly." I checked the index of the Directory of Little Magazines & Small Presses for possible venues, and found headings for everything from "Anarchist" to "Counter-Culture" to "Zen," but nothing for "Conservative." Many editors of small presses operate within university English departments that have rejected the Western Canon. So how does the infrastructure for conservative artists that you reference come into being? Who will step up to create communities in which conservative writers can connect with readers?
Mr. Klavan, your usual snark is much appreciated by this viewer/reader, but your articles like this remind one that you have real intellectual chops as well. Many thanks for both!
Thank you so much for this. I couldn't agree more.

The culture is spewing out Leftist ideas 24/7. That is how people are influenced.
conservative culture as key
The Objective Historian November 07, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Romney was terrible. Obama's narrative was that the crisis was Bush II and Republican policies and that his $4T in defecits made the USA better off than it would have been otherwise. Romney never challenged that falsehood disprovable by economic criticism. He just bemoaned the last four years.

But it was not a crushing defeat in absolute terms. It was just far short of what we hoped for and expected. Cummulatively the election was very close to a draw. Bush II went up about 4% from 2000 to 2004. Obama wen down 4%.

55% in the House is important.
We lost to a party that booed God three times and had to have the word forced back on to their platform.
Relative to point number one, my concern is not that the media still influential, but that conservative media accepts much of the premises published in the liberal media. The reaction to candidates Todd Akin and Murdock from those on the RIGHT, Mitt's debate performance on the second and third debate indicates conservatives are abiding by the premises created by the Left. For us to win, the first order of business is to completely ignore the Left.
Oh, and one more thing, the excellent Mr. Klavan has identified for us one of the important elements of our planning.

I.e. providing infrastructure and support for American cultural expression.

So now go an figure out what are the parts of the project, and which ones have to happen this year.

Where do we want to be with this in 5 years. What do we want to have accomplished by then. What does that tell us about what we have to do next year?

Where do we want to be with this in 10 years. And so on.

Get busy. Wise up. Don't be a sap.
i'm not sure i agree with Andrew's conclusion: demography is not destiny. Ideas are. Unfortunately, demographic shifts, such as the explosion of the Latino population in America, do not arrive as blank slates clamoring to be absorbed. The Latino demographic shift is but one of many glacial population movements taking place in this country but the point could be addressed to any demographic; black, Jewish or Asian. Any and all of these cultural blocks have community characteristics that have to be overcome before they can be remolded to accept Conservativism. If the cultural bias of a group is too counter to the conservative culture, changing it could be difficult if not impossible. How long has the black culture, for example, existed inside of the the larger body of the American culture (predominantly white Judeo-Christian while being overwhelmingly European) but has shown little if any desire to assimilate. They've generated their own culture in the form of dress, art, music, language and community in an almost defiant attempt to avoid being assimilated, a separate community determined to be anything but white. While studies have shown the black community to be instinctively conservative while culturally in spite of their conservative bent, the chasm between the cultures has appeared to be widening over the last century rather than blending. Hence we see an astounding liberal cohesive bond holding the black community together which defies any conservative outreach. So how can we say that demography is not destiny because any demography carries its own ideas with it?
Just read some of the comment stream. C'mon people! Everybody reading and writing here knows how to do work. Gimme a break.

Let me clear things up for y'all.

We need a series of nested plans.
A 100 year plan
A 50 year plan
A 20 year plan
A 10 year plan
A 5 year plan
A 1 year plan.
Each plan supporting its containing time bracket.

We're talking societal change here people. That's not about the next election and it's not going to be handled in the next quarterly report!

How do we do this?

Easy. Groups of intellectually active people, or even inventive individuals, have to start thinking out what these plans might be and sharing them with other American patriots.

Approach it as you would any commercial or construction project. And I KNOW that YOU KNOW what I mean.

Consider this as a starting point:

If we could wave a magic wand over the schools and exchange all the miserable, semi-literate, commie teachers with competent, knowledgeable, American patriots right this very minute, it would be 10-20 years before the children trained by those people were out participating in life as teens or young adults.

Now consider that no such magic wand is available. So how do we deal with that?

It can be done. But not without some focus and serious mental effort.

And I KNOW that EVERYBODY READING HERE knows what I'm talking about because you do it at work all the time.

So get busy. Wise up. Don't be a sap!
It's the teachers who make the citizens.
Hard-left teachers --> hard-left -- or at the very least, confused -- voters.
Think Antonio Gramsci.

The long march through the institutions.

The commies have methodically been trying to bring us down for most of a century.

I think it's fair to say that we have a little catching up to do.
I dunno. Demography isn't destiny. But demography and ideas are not altogether disconnected.

Even the founders were worried about a large influx of people from despotic nations, who were unlikely to be able to understand freedom.

We've got a mountain of work cut out for us if we are even going to make a dent in this mess ... in the next 20 years.

I think we're kinda boned.

We need to discard the morality of relativism *and* the morality of self-sacrifice. We need a secular, objective morality to guide the decisions we must make to create a successful life here on earth.
Well I very much agree with Klavan that it's necessary to build cultural infrastructure. I'm a screenwriter and I'm quite disgusted about how radical lefty issues and ideas infesting the majority of movies and tv shows. A good idea could be to organize a contest for screenplays propaganda-free but about conservative issues and values.
Obama would never have won if he not have had the Ministry of Truth (Wash Post, NY Times, NBC/CBS/ABC) there to protect him at every turn. We need to counter their lies, as well.
You're right about the long game being culture, and your three areas of focus are those that we conservatives ignored for too long - as a result, we've raised two generations of people brainwashed to believe success is bad (unless you're in sports or Hollywood).
We need to be aware of tactics as well, though. The Dems have a ground network that maintains constant contact with their voter base. The Dems are fighting a guerilla war, while Repubs think they are showing up for a polite college debate every four years.
So where do we start? I'm in. Wanna start a club or something? How about go after some venture capital. Count me. Contact me. Let's do this starting today.
I agree totally Andrew. I've seen some laments today that America is no longer a center-right country.

Bunk! Everybody (by which I mean everybody) is conservative in how they live their personal lives. I've never met a liberal (and yes, nearly everyone in my real-world life is hard left) whose liberalism extended further than bar stool philosophy. They all want more taxes for someone else, they all want more regulation for someone else, and they all want their stuff to be respected.

Conservatism's greatest shortcoming is that its best and brightest lead busy lives working and raising families. The ones that go into politics tend to be poor standard bearers. That's why the Republican Party is known as the stupid party, why it is always letting down its supporters--because the really talented people who have embraced conservative ideals rarely go into politics.

Whether we are willing to be patient or not, Andrew has corretly identified the approach needed to win the long game. Much as we make fun of Obama for thinking he just hasn't explained things well enough, that is conservative's problem. It hasn't explained things well enough.
If "the best political writers" are Republicans, than you ,Andrew Klavan,must be a Democrat. You know the immoral party,the men and women without any integrity , morals or values. !
PS Women do not like men marching in protest to pro choice. I may not choose it for myself, but it is a law to be left alone.
Move forward...
Thank you Andrew,
Who says you can't be a Christian and not have something relevant to say about liberty? The Judea-Christian tradition teaches that you can only have true freedom when it is tempered by morality. And as you rightly point out the founders certainly knew this. People didn’t used to be muddled in their thinking about right and wrong, even when they broke the rules.

Or as someone once said, “Hypocrisy is the price vice pays to virtue.”

Why do conservatives continue to feed the beast... ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC?

Money speaks louder than words.

When 1/2 of the electorate moves 100% to FOX, another and yet another net will want to "split the pie".

Then conservatives will regain their voice!
Mr.Klavan, what is your vision of what your ideas would actually look like? Are you talking about dedicated movie theaters that would run conforming motion pictures? Where would affirmative reviews of these movies be written so as to be available by the public? I understand your overall concept, but would like some more detail to flesh it out.
Andrew is a smart and funny guy.Why cant he understand a man like Ron Paul could have appealed to all Americans. Instead it seems to me he and the GOP turned their collective backs on the very beliefs the GOP was founded on...

OH WELL possibly next time if there is still a republic to pledge to
Excuse me, but how will flooding the goddamn country with 20,000,000 illegal immigrants, who will in turn sponsor an additional 20,000,000 family members, all of whom are affirmative and welfare beneficiaries, do anything but destroy the conservative vote? Anyone else beyond sick of this sickening Chamber of Commerce bootlicking? Hispanics voted a few percentage points lower for Romney than they did for Bush. Why don't you idiots expand on the gains you've made in the last few years by reaching in for more whites instead of obsessing about Hispanics, who are too dependent on the govt. to ever provide significant electoral numbers for the GOP? Enough!
This is good as far as it goes, however this article completely ignores the demographics. The fact is, Obama successfully built a coalition of various special interests that is considerably larger than the republicans/conservatives. Many are suggesting that we change our message to include these folks, but what to offer? Maybe just a little free abortion and birth control to the single women? Maybe just a smidgeon of illegal immigration to the Hispanics? Frankly, I don't see what conservatives could offer that wouldn't gut the conservative's framework. The GOP as we know it is toast until some kind of black swan event changes things (e.g. financial collapse)...
"How is it possible that the mind-boggling success of Fox News has failed to spawn half a dozen imitators at least—especially venues for the libertarian young with their antic sense of political incorrectness?"

If there were more media outlets like Fox News, its viewership would probably drop because some viewers would always go to the other outlets. A recent NY Times articles made a related error. Fox News is supposedly a scary juggernaut and more than balances any supposed bias in the other media outlets because none of them has anything like Fox's numbers. The article did not realize (or intentionally ignored) that the total viewership of all the other outlets (after accounting for duplicates) is more than that of Fox.

A related question is: Why aren't the multiple liberal outlets dying out because their viewer-/reader-ship is declining? Well, the papers and magazines are, slowly. The reason Air America and Al Gore's Current TV failed is that the market is saturated.

"Even leftists love deeply conservative films like the Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight trilogies, because they recognize good values when they’re not forced to apply them to real life."

Except in LOTR they view themselves as Frodo, Gandalf and the rest and us as Sauron and his minions. And they also can't accept what they view as sexism and covert racism in it. Heck, they were apprehensive about "The Incredibles" because of its supposedly conservative agenda.

Obama and Biden and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz lied and broke laws and screwed things up hideously. And people STILL voted for Obama. How much worse do things have to get before they'll vote for Republicans?

Yeah, the pendulum will swing back eventually. It always does. But how long will we be going through hell until it does, and what horrible mess will we be left with?
Wow. Admirable optimism.

And Utterly devoid of any chance of happening.

Well, maybe if we devote as much energy and time (40 years) as the left has in capturing the institutions of the media, law, bureaucracy, entertainment, academia? Anybody round here think we have 40 years to get this done before America is no more?

Yeah, I don't either.
Blame the media??? The middle class is being hallowed out and neither party has a solution. (1) A growth strategy with emphasis on increasing the manufacturing sector to 25% of GDP and annual growth rates of 3-1/2 to 4%. (2) Freeze federal speading at least at current levels (better with some cuts in Defense and other programs) -- objective to get federal spending to 17% of GDP (currently at 24%). (3) Tax reform to restore fairness -- upper incomes paying 15% while working class pay 25% is not my sense of fairness.
The problem with the Republican party is that it is no longer conservative -
While I agree entirely with the principle that conservatives need to fight the long game, and while I respect your religious beliefs and your right to hold them, the idea that "moral truth" can be found only in the Judeo-Christian tradition is patently absurd. One need not invoke religion nor higher powers to construct a functioning basis for moral truth; rather, one need only look at history.

"Moral truth" arose because historically those communities which adopted such beliefs tended to flourish, and those which failed to adopt such beliefs did not. Look at the moral truths promulgated by the various belief systems throughout history and you will find in common elements such as hard work, honesty in dealing with one's neighbors (but only far more rarely does that honesty extend to foreigners), courage, and respect for authority. Each of those elements is necessary for a functioning community, and helps that community succeed over its rivals. More importantly, each of those elements is actually a net detriment to success on an individual level; in other words, these belief systems are designed to exhort the members of a community to act for the common good rather than their own good. If one subscribes to a Darwinist view of things, then it is no surprise that such views were incorporated into the various successful religions. Thus from such a viewpoint, to claim that moral truth would not exist in the absence of the Judeo-Christian tradition gets things exactly backwards; rather, the Judeo-Christian tradition would not still exist if it had failed to adopt at its core a set of well formulated "moral truths."

It is quite possible to argue, based on the fact that the Enlightenment arose in societies dominated by the Judeo-Christian tradition that, therefore, the core beliefs of this tradition are superior to other belief systems. But please, do not confuse that with the claim that moral truth arises from said tradition. And, lastly, please do not insult those of us who derive our beliefs from other traditions (or from no tradition at all) by claiming that no moral truth is possible without subscribing to your religion.

It is possible to be conservative and not religious. If you wish to eventually have hope of converting those who are neither conservative nor religious to conservatism, you will have better luck if you do not attempt to force religion on them in the process.
Native Hollywood here, and Klavan is spot on. Free markets don't always lead to free minds- Josef Schumpeter showed us a century back (in a non-Marxist model)how Capitalism will conform to Leftist consolidation over time.

Sorry atheists, I sympathize with you but even on the days when agnosticism grips me hard, I realize that the idea of transcendent meaning and morality is always what frames my outrage at an unjust world. Transcendent religious philosophy is unquestionably the fount of Liberty and the Rights of Man.

Klavan has this Sine Qua Non nailed, and I might also add that when 70% of Obama's black voters disagree with him on Gay marriage, and the majority of Latino voters remain staunchly anti-abortion, that social issues are the achilles heel of the Left, not their trump card. The problem is that Libertarians and Conservatives have not framed the conversation of how Free markets have benefited our most religious voting blocs (Blacks and Latinos).

If Blacks voted their social values the same way that secular Jews do, the Democratic Party would go extinct overnight. Sadly, only the Left is having a conversation with these people through pop culture, as Klavan has so aptly pointed out. And this conversation is rife with falsehoods and urban legends that serve to manipulate these socially conservative minorities and idealist young people. It's time we took Klavan's advice if we want to preserve our ideas in history.

Last night we witnessed the unraveling of a series of history's all-time-most-awful misreadings of simple data. That misreading of poll data (or refusal to accept it) influenced strategy & tactics that very well may have swung the election.

If what conservatives need is more of that (and stauncher refusal to consider mainstream media reporting & research), conservatives will not win many close elections.

Truth ain't what they think it is. We all saw it.

The Aspen Institute was founded by a Chicago family in the 1950s to teach US business leaders how to understand and articulate the values of Western Civilization. Great reading list and speakers. Context was the battle of ideas in the Cold War. It has lost its focus and needs to be reinvented.
I disagree on the third point. We don't need to double-down on religion in campaigns; we need a separation of religion and politics. Th U.S. is not a theocracy and has a historical tradition we should honor of religious tolerance and separation of church and state.

If you want a reality-based morality without religion from a right-leaning perspective, look to Ayn Rand. For pure moral passion, not even a fire-and-brimstone preacher can match her. There's even a new book out presenting her moral defense of capitalism: "Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government".
Great piece.

I have never understood why the power of documentary is so under-utilized. Where are the well-produced, informative documentaries explaining the harmful effect of welfare programs, the fiscal threat that social security and medicare represent and the general destructiveness of cultural liberalism? Why is it that, when talking to friends on the issue of life, there aren't many documentaries I can ask them to watch to understand the close ties between Planned Parenthood and the Dem party and how exactly that plays out? Anything preemptive on Obamacare yet?

If there are any, why are they poorly distributed? What do Republican millionaires spend their money on other than the huge injection of funds at election time-funds often spent unimaginatively?
Andrew is but not right enough. We've all thought a burst of energy over a few years would right the ship. Now we know it won't. To recapture or bypass the cultural institutions the Left has claimed over the last 50 years (entertainment, art, education and the media) will take the same effort ont the part of those of us who believe in limited government and individual liberty. Who's up for it?
I think one glaring problem was that there was no Nuremburg Trials for communists. They just sort of blended in with the European Left Wing.

When I watch old episodes of the twilight zone I am surprised to see very strong conservative and anti-collectivist themes

Anyway, you're right it isn't about Demographics it's about themes. Devolving into identity politics, while politically effective, will be the undoing of the Republic and any sense of unity
Go with that religion thing. That will do it -- continue to press religion, social issues, pro-life, that will work in the 21st Century. Pleeze. We capitalists and lovers of freedom will sideline ourselves for the next millenium and after with that at the core of our message. What I need is another party, free of all that. Frankly, we need to jettison so much of "conservatism" today for us modern capitalists and successors of Hayak and Thacher to flourish. Toss it overboard before we sink.
Even in the early 20th century there was a dearth of good fiction with a conservative backbone (though certainly not as thin as today) prompting C.S.Lewis and Tolkien to agree that each would write a novel that they themselves would want to read. This resulted in Lewis's space trilogy--if I'm remembering rightly--and the Hobbit.
Well written and a nice try – but, changing demographics actually are destiny, while ideas are merely ephemeral constructs with limited lifespans and an unbreakable date with a future mortality. Once the recent vote is analyzed, a few undeniable conclusions will emerge. First, and most important, the majority of Obama’s supporters came from the ranks of those who couldn’t have legally voted 200 years ago. In point of fact, Obama himself wouldn’t have been counted as a citizen during the periodic census taking in those days, let alone as an eligible voter and candidate for public office. Women weren’t voting then either, they were home churning butter and spinning fabric. Hispanics and religious minorities also weren’t voters – although atheists could vote if they owned property and were otherwise upstanding citizens. If that change in voting status and demographics combined with its effect on current voting patterns isn’t destiny, then what is?

Second point and continuing to the final point, the Republican Party has definitely lost its future voter appeal with the possible exception of a major military defeat during the next four years which costs America some present territory and a self-acknowledged loss of national pride. The party of “angry white men” and maybe a few angry white women is officially and undeniably toast. If this economy couldn’t guarantee the Republicans a certain victory, then demographics has certainly spoken, loudly and in no uncertain terms. And the message is “we have arrived”, followed by “things are definitely gonna change around here”.
There is no long game;
World economic collapse this term.
ReUnited States government with a
franchise limited to the employed.
Thank you, Andrew, for your keenly insightful response to our crushing defeat. It's been a long, depressing day and you have helped me get a new perspective. I was elected to the school board in a small town and will take your ideas with me. I want to conduct myself in a way that makes the truth winsome. Keep inspiring us in the written and spoken word!
I made some TV, some films, and had offers to do more... but the stench of Lefty Hollywood was so trenchant, the potential damage to my young daughters so probable, and the incessant churning hatred of all things American and decent sent me packing. The skills I learned and the talents I sharpened to create what I loved - simple stories, simply told - now serve me doing small projects and freelance. corporate productions. I don't have the money to fund this new infrastructure, but I have military leadership skills, a voice and the ability to form a team, set an objective and achieve a goal. #WAR... I guess I need to make it my battle cry. Thanks, Mr. K., You've got it.
Admittedly far from being the sharpest tool in the shed, I sent a note to the RNC today and thought it relevant to reiterate here as congruence to your brief essay:
I voted GOP this time, because the incumbent failed to demonstrate American priorities. You, the GOP locked out Ron Paul supporters. You reject gay marriage. You have no answer to the immigrant presence, legal or otherwise - they are here and were unaddressed. And the result is horrible - the incumbent re-elected.
Our infrastructure is a joke. Power generation is crumbling and will fall further. Our current education structure is an epic fail.
The bitter solace is that the collapse will be squarely on the incumbent's shoulders.
I forward recommendations for the next election cycle: Champion free on-line education from elementary grades through the Bachelor's Degree ( save for the final year which must be done on-campus) for all disciplines. "We all begin as equals." New slogan. Avoid the obvious fail interpretation by the lazy third-gen entitlement demographic.
The syphilitic camel is joined by the arthritic elephant for now. Churchill warned of the "Musslemen."
The Elephant's Child November 07, 2012 at 7:29 PM
Michael Medved remarked today that people don't vote for ideas — they vote on emotions. Paul Ryan, when speaking in this campaign spoke of America as an idea. The day after — is a day of blame and recriminations, and common sense will return.

We could start by so ridiculing "The People's History of the United States," Howard Zinn's Communist History of the US, which has trained more than one generation in the awfulness and error and failure of this country, that any school district would be embarrassed to require it. It would be a start.
Precisely (again, as with Bill Whittle's commentary).
Why cower and let Liberalism win when you can fight to the bitter end? Evil may triumph for a while but good is the final result.
Something the right must re-think is the knee-jerk support by some conservatives for the so-called "War on Drugs". In liberal Washington state and libertarian-leaning Colorado, voters approved decriminalization of marijuana - which constitutes a stinging rebuke to government intrusion on the issue.

No-one has to like recreational drug use, but it's time to acknowledge that it's none of the government's business. As Jefferson stated, "it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
New message until 2016:

Work is now optional.
In the Old Testament, Israel needed chastisement to learn to cling to G-d and to chose morality.

That chastisement came through being enslaved, neutered (the reason why Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon had no children), starved, and killed in battle.

Perhaps our reason for failure is protecting people from the consequences of their bad actions.
Yes, Andrew was right about the media and Hollywood and we quickly need to find his successor(s), which the one yard pickup of your three points. On the other hand, the most critical piece - and the longest game - is pushing out ideas that clearly demonstrate the nexus between God and freedom. The right has failed us in this regard. (WFB, where are you?) Ideas? I am happy to get involved.
Mr Klavan is absolutely right. However, when major denominations abandon the Bible for cultural and leftist directions (e.g the PCUSA) there is little opportunity to present ideas and be heard.
I guess we thought that people could see the downside of electing a liar, and basing the economy on theft without actually feeling the horror of having based your life on a lie that you believed, or feeling the pain of having the things you worked hard for stolen.


How do we make the unwashed feel that horror, that pain? One way would be to not increase the debt limit, and force the Democrats to propose spending cuts. There is the downside that Obama will then get to shut down the government in the way he wants (most constitutional functions first, least constitutional functions last), but certainly there would be plenty of pain and horror enough to go around.
I agree we need a long game, but more Fox news, Hobbits and religion won't connect with the minority groups and the under 45 year olds that conservatism has ignored and/or left behind. And these results won't change unless conservatives wake up and fashion a message based on intellectual and ideological honesty that resonates with those groups. Some introspection is in order, followed by answers to the questions: Why don’t they see "the light"? And... What does "the light" offer those groups who just don’t get it? And while we're at it, we can stop selling out to baser instincts and anti-tax absolutists who leave our candidates for leadership in pseudo-ideological straightjackets blabbering incoherently about math and science and morality by the time they qualify to carry the conservative banner into battle.
The quality of message is not the problem, the problem is with quantity. Obama shouldn't have won even if the Republicans didn't put out any messages at all. At the very least, conscientious democrats should've replace Obama in a primary challenge. This didn't happen because many decent people, both Democrats and Independents, didn't know Obama needed to be replaced. The fault with that lies squarely with the MSM. So, the question Republicans, independents, and libertarians should be pondering is what to do about the media that is derelicting its responsibility as an independent watchdog.
Republicans lost this Presidential election because they did not get out and vote. Romney received 57 million votes, 3 million less than McCain received in 2008. How is that even possible? The Party was supposedly energized, and all reports indicated that we had well-established ground games in all the key states. Obama was easily beatable, as he received 10 million fewer votes than he did in 2008.

If Romney had reached McCain's vote total, he probably would have been elected. Given the importance of this election, it is unbelievable to me that Romney did not exceed McCain's total by several million. I believe Obama became the first US President ever re-elected who received less votes for his second term than for his first. This election was there for the taking and we blew it.

Before we go trying to invent new ways of reaching other groups of people, I think we should try to understand why Republicans choose to sit out a landmark election and develop ways to unify current party members in support of the Republican candidate.
1. Go on a buyers strike for 2 years. In 2014, see if we can elect honest people to serve (an oxymoron, but our only hope). Don't buy anything but necessities. I will continue driving my 1998 auto I had planned to replace if Romney won.

2. Cancel your cable and print media immediately. This hits them in the pocketbook. You will save money and be less influenced by them. Use the internet for information.

3. Band together in a few, concentrated organizations to fight as one. Commit time and money. Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks are some orgs to consider.

4. Prepare for tough times.
Gopers are morons
But they don't know it
Gopers are morons
But they don't know it
We lack a critical mass of voters who understand how wealth is created and why limited government is desirable. Could we put big money behind people who are good at creating effective media to educate the American people on these ideas?
Truly the best analysis of the situation I can imagine. Thanks for this beautifully crafted battle plan.
Republican/conservatives should totally drop the social issues crap. Who cares who marries whom? These are losing issues for conservatives -- every time.
I'm shaking all over. I feel sick. I couldn't sleep last night. I feel that the greatest nation the world has ever seen in its entire history has been demolished. I'm afraid and I think for good reason.
"But Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Laws,..." Therefore John Adams -- a prime mover behind the Declaration and the Constitution -- must be wrong about everything, ever. Back up and try again, Mr. Solomon.
"John Adams and the other Founders were right about this: an irreligious people cannot be free."

But Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Laws, resulting in imprisonment and sometimes death of innocent Americans whose only "crime" was to criticize the Adams administration. Please back up and try again, Mr. Klavan.
Liberty lives in the palace of moral truth, and you can’t build that palace on the empty air.

I agree on that point -- and that's precisely why religion is not on the side of liberty.

Believing in an otherworldly (aka supernatural) God is simply another way of saying you base your morality on "empty air." We need to be grounded in reality, not religion.
Around 2007, I began to be overtaken with an overwhelming conviction that there were hard times coming, and we would have to take comfort in our history as Americans ... and to do that, we would have to reclaim it. And I began to feel that the best way to do that would be to make ripping good - but historically accurate - yarns about it. We had to renew our faith in our country as the magnificent experiment that it was, and renew the vision of our ancestors (real and metaphorical) as decent, couragous, optimistic people. I published them independently, ran into a number of other indy writers who were also doing the same thing. There are wonderful books out there - fiction and memoir and history alike, but they are at present on the very edge of mainstream. But they are there ... and publishing them without the intermediation of the conventional literary complex is an advantage - especially now.
You are absolutely right about the importance of God, Andrew. The problem is that people approach the idea with too many presuppositions. Something like "I'd like to develop a relationship with you, God, but I'd like to think of you as being domineering and controlling, OK?"

But the Truth is out there, pursuing the lost.
Two common conundrums come to mind (answers in the mp3):

1/ If God is just, how can He allow ____ to happen?

2/ If I don’t see any good coming out _____, does that mean that there can’t be any?
It is over. This country is lost. American Exceptionalism was never based on our wealth or our power. It was based on our Judeo-Christian beliefs that we are a shining city on a hill. I don't believe that we stand for those principles anymore when I look at the other half of the country who equates progressivism with anti-religion.
You're saying what I've been saying. This is good, that lots of us are saying it.

Right now, I've gotta admit, I'm not feelin' it. It's discouraging coming off of a defeat like that.

But what it tells us is we haven't done a good enough job selling the message.