Conservatism, Inc. has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. To continue investing in it despite its dismal record is the very definition of insanity.
For conservatives it seems every day brings with it another betrayal from the professional Right. The hollow people leading the Republican Party and Conservatism, Inc., have been exposed. Some of us have known for years they wouldn’t be up to the task when a true challenge came, but it is still staggering to watch the meltdown happen in real-time.
So maybe it’s finally time for those on the Right to stop doing the same things they’ve been doing for nearly half a century, and instead form a new movement—a New Right that is actually equipped to defeat the Left.
As the think tanks are shown to be ineffective in the face of the aggressive Left, more people are beginning to realize that perhaps the money given to places like Heritage, American Enterprise Institute, and Cato was squandered. And it was a lot of money. The three organizations combined raised roughly $2.45 billion between 2001-2018, and that does not include the hundreds of millions in investments and real estate.
Rational people should acknowledge this reality and stop pretending it’s not happening. People invested billions of dollars in these entities, only to realize they never intended to be anything but sinecures.
Even worse, so-called conservative think tanks have little if anything in common with America First and have been corrupted by corporatism and imagined access to power.
It’s time to abandon the concept of institution building, as though we will ever have the ability to match the Left institution for institution. It’s time for a scrappy New Right to be built with an insurgency approach: we must accept that we are not in power, that we do not control the institutions, and that it’s time to go on the offensive. Our thinking, our strategy, and our investments must reflect that belief.
Let’s Build Fleet of PT Boats
For too long we have accepted the rules of the game laid out by the statists and the Left. It’s past time to stop playing by Goliath’s rules; time to start playing by David’s.
The article, “How David Beats Goliath,” by Malcolm Gladwell offers us some insights about how such an approach would work. Note especially the part about the Eurisko approach to war gaming. Doug Lenat, a computer scientist, fed the rules of the naval war game into Eurisko, his software program. Instead of building a fleet of battleships and aircraft carriers with the trillion-dollar budget each participant was given, Eurisko built an incredible number of PT boats with powerful weapons, but no defense and limited mobility. Guess who won the war game? The PT boat fleet annihilated every other fleet of battleships, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. Lenat won the tournament multiple times until the organizers finally said they would stop having the competition if he continued playing by his rules.
What if we were to do the same? Instead of having Heritage, imagine there were in fact 30 entities built to fight and win; the same goes for AEI and Cato. This is not to say that there is no need for intellectual ammunition, quite the opposite. But why have so much invested into white papers when those are really about governing and only a fool thinks that conservatives are in a position right now to govern. Besides, most of the white papers being produced are essentially fire starter material.
Better to have plans like, “The Four Year Plan for Dismantling the Administrative State” laying out a roadmap, department by department, agency by agency, to reduce the administrative state by 40 percent in four years. With a few full-time policy experts and researchers, and then an army of conservative intellectuals and policy experts from around the country, kept either on retainers or paid for work completed, the cost of having real, meaningful, and beneficial intellectual ammunition would be infinitesimally small compared to what it currently takes to power Heritage and AEI.
The New Right must have its own version of PT boat outfits, small organizations with two or three investigative and opposition researchers who systematically take out targets on the Left: political figures, heads of left-wing organizations, propagandists in the media, heads of public sector unions, and corrupt local government officials. Heck, they could even go after “woke” corporate folks. Trust me, I bet you could find all sorts of stuff on the heads of TV channels, media outfits, and the CEOs of corporations—really awkward stuff that might make them shut the hell up.
And since the Left seems to like pushing around fake dossiers, how about we create our own real dossiers, full of facts, very awkward facts? That would be lit.
The rate of success for the PT boats would be dependent on “body count”; how many on the Left are driven out of the public square, out of office, or quite frankly, put in jail for their very cavalier approach to say the rule of law, the laws governing non-profits, and things like voter fraud.
Some people might think this is mean. To which I say: grow up. There is a war for the republic’s existence and some people are like, “Ew, this approach would make me feel so icky.” You know what will make you feel super icky? When your indoctrinated kids inform on you and get you sent to a re-education camp. So suck it up, buttercup.
Cultivate the Skills to Win
As we see more Republican senators working overtime to negotiate surrender terms with the domestic terrorists on the Left, maybe—and this is just a thought here—we should spend more time recruiting and training the right people to run for office at all levels; from local and state to federal.
I know that’s a novel concept. But shouldn’t we invest in real champions of conservatism instead of taking whatever scraps are offered from the table by the Republican Party? That’s what American Majority has been working on for years now: training and equipping a farm team of conservative leaders who have the skills to win.
I’m a big believer that politics, ultimately, is about ideas and policy. But you have to win politically before you can implement any ideas or policy. What if we could identify and train people like that to run for office in every state? What if we could train people everywhere to be effective activists who win?
There also needs to be “lawfare.” Incessant lawfare like what the American Center Law and Justice and Alliance for Defending Freedom are doing, but multiply it by a hundred at the state and local level. Honestly, there should be FOIA requests directed at every municipality; think Judicial Crisis Network times 10,000.
There should be a real funding mechanism for this, almost like a hedge fund. Not like the absurd dumbass Koch seminars that are really just a way to advance the Koch’s corporate interests, but instead a collection of committed donors who will commit $200 million every year to be distributed to effective groups.
The New Right must be built around a set of ideals: life, family, strong military, Americanism, economic self-sufficiency; we’re not going to sacrifice American jobs anymore or willingly place ourselves in bad trade deals. We want national security, not interventionism or nation-building.
Time to reexamine everything, including not looking at the Republican Party as a place to send money or something you bank on to represent you. Instead it should be seen as nothing more than a legal vehicle by which we achieve our political ends. The party is what people say it is, so use the GOP as the vehicle for Americanism.
All of this to say that the American Republic is at stake. Conservatism, Inc. has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. To continue investing in it despite its dismal record is the very definition of insanity. Without a radical change in strategy and tactics, including funding, it will also virtually guarantee the destruction of the Republic.