Understanding and Overcoming the Headwind Against Conservatism (Part 2)

Politics in America boils down to a battle of ideology between the two major political parties, with injection of new ideas coming from the adjacent smaller political parties.  Success depends in large part on the marketing strategies of the parties and their leaders.

As a long-time political observer, I have noted many ways in which the conservative movement struggles to gain speed against a strong headwind of superficial platitudes blowing out of the liberal/progressive side. 

Please see Part 1 of this series for a longer intro and the first portion of the list.


Here’s the 2nd portion of my list:

11. It’s easy for liberals to claim the 2007 crash was caused by “fat cat” Wall Street bankers and lax government regulations.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain the root cause traces clear back to Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act, Clinton’s re-charter of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the boom in gov’t-encouraged subprime mortgages.

12. It’s easy for liberals to claim government employee labor unions are necessary in America.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain the moral depravity behind the practice of collectively bargaining with transitory politicians, then striking against the permanently-captive taxpayers.

13. It’s easy for liberals to entice young adults with their ideology while they’re fresh and unscathed by real life.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain that life isn’t a perpetual ice cream cone – that life has vegetables to eat and nasty medicine to swallow too.

14. It’s easy for liberals to claim the Constitution is outdated and must become a living Constitution through judicial re-interpretation.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain the Constitution is a contract between citizens and government, intended to stabilize the law and the marketplace.

15. It’s easy for liberals to denigrate conservatives as “clinging to their guns and religion”.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain that the rights to bear arms and to worship within a stationary framework of morality are our defense against collectivists who want to “cling” to our paychecks and follow whatever relative morality is the latest fad.

16. It’s easy for liberals to advocate high taxation and spending on improving the general welfare to “prime the pump.”  It’s harder for conservatives to explain what greater benefit those same dollars could have achieved if they’d been left to fuel the private economy.

17. It’s easy for liberals to promise “freedom from want.”  It’s harder for conservatives to explain that FDR’s “Economic Bill of Rights” was a radical departure from the Founder’s intent in the Constitution.

18. It’s easy for liberals to promise endless entitlement benefits for an ever-growing percentage of Americans. It’s harder for conservatives to explain it’s made possible only by exploding deficits and debt, as we’re selfishly spending our own children’s & grandchildren’s chance at prosperity.

19. It’s easy for liberals to tout well-meaning but ill-thought-out solutions for every societal complaint.  It’s harder for conservatives to remind folks the road to hell was paved with good intentions, and we must anticipate the unintended consequences of the 2nd through 5th dominoes too.

20. It’s easy for liberals to claim that subsidy programs like ethanol are good for the economy and the environment.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain that corn subsidies disrupt both the energy and food markets, and produce more pollution than that prevented.

21. It’s easy for liberals to market the appeal of their permissive culture.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain the long-term demographic benefits of a more principled way of life based on a traditional code of morality and spirituality.

22. It’s easy for liberals to promise they have the best intentions and the best plans to fundamentally transform America.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain that the principles of Separation of Powers, and Consent of the Governed are dangerous to ignore if preservation of liberty is the goal.

23. It’s easy for liberals to say “Yes We Can” … instantly gratify you.  It’s harder for conservatives to say “No We Can’t” … afford it right now.


I invite you to pick one or two that stand out in your mind, and leave a comment.  If there are any that aren’t clear, let me know and I will clarify using a few more words.  For those you agree with, do you have an example or a strategy to share?  Or if you have one I didn’t think of, please submit it using the same template:  “It’s easy for liberals to….  It’s harder for conservatives to….”

I have more than 40 in all.  I will share another set in Part 3.

(photo credit)


About Necessary and Proper

Jeff believes in the Individual's ability to excel when liberty and freedom of choice are protected. Also believes in the Community's ability to take care of the vast majority of its own issues and needs when the federal government leaves the Community's resources and sphere of control alone. State and local choice produce better results than centralized federal control. https://necessaryandpropergovt.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Politics in Practice, Theory of Gov't and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Understanding and Overcoming the Headwind Against Conservatism (Part 2)

  1. OregonDD says:

    # 21 Until strong two parent families are once again the norm, Hollywood and the social media are taking control of our youth. So sad.


  2. Steph Nelson says:


    I am really enjoying how you are laying this out. It is easy to follow and while the principles are complex, you are doing a wonderful job of “putting the cookies on the bottom shelf” for the rest of us. Keep up the good work!

    – S


    • Thanks, Steph.
      When I began preparing, I started with the template “It’s easy for liberals to claim…. It’s harder for conservatives to explain….” Many of the items on the list are this way — they’re just scattered around because I randomized the order.
      But with that template, my mind dried up after about 20. So I removed the two verbs from the template and it took the shackles off. In fact I had to stop at just 43…you really can use the “Easy for liberals…harder for conservatives” template for every single current event or issue that’s out there. Why? As my older (and balder) brother elaborated well in his comment to Part 1, there really IS a pattern. Liberalism is like a fluid seeking a path of least resistance, and shifting that path constantly to remake itself for the Nike-slogan-inspired “Just Do It” crowd. Tradition-based “rules of thumb” mean little in that way of thinking.
      BTW, several of the items on my list were either modified or were directly inspired by what I’ve read on your blog.
      – Jeff


  3. 21. It’s easy for liberals to market the appeal of their permissive culture.  It’s harder for conservatives to explain the long-term demographic benefits of a more principled way of life based on a traditional code of morality and spirituality.

    I am away from my computer for a time and am typing this on an iPod so I will have to be brief.

    I think it’s difficult to defend any objective morality when its root is in religion, because if someone doesn’t share that faith then it is easily rejected and you end up at an impasse. If someone rejects the Bible, why should they care what it has to say or live by its standard? I think that approach is ultimately a losing proposition. Even from my perspective as a Christian, Christian morality isn’t self evident. I believe that it is faith in God and through the Holy Spirit that confirmation of its truth is made.

    Also, you’re opening yourself up to accusations of social engineering, and even from an individualist standpoint you are possibly subjecting the will of many over the few. This is one of the reasons why I generally don’t think it is government’s job to enforce morality, but that rather it is the job of individuals.

    Perhaps there are convincing consequentialist arguments to made in favor of enforcing morality, but I haven’t yet been exposed to them if that is the case.


  4. davidwithastick says:

    18. It’s easy for liberals to promise endless entitlement benefits for an ever-growing percentage of Americans.

    This is the case with a generation that hasn’t worked for the wealth they see. They also do not have an older generation that knows how to withhold material blessings until a child either earns them or understands how to appreciate and care for them.

    I’ll do another house analogy –

    Let’s say you inherit a house worth several million dollars. When you get it the grounds are manicured beautifully, the pool is clear and clean, the furniture is amazing and the place was recently dusted.

    Party time. You invite all your friends over to the mansion and you have a great time together, taking advantage of every amenity the house has to offer. They go home, and you see that a few chairs are broken, some of the dishes are missing, and someone actually pooped in the pool (!). You check your bank account. Hmmm…not much there. SO – off to the bank.

    The bank accepts the house as collateral, and gives you a debit card.

    Party time. For a few years.

    And then the bank calls. Your account is overdrawn. You can’t replace the broken window, and there’s not enough money to fix the backed up toilet that people are using now that the pool is out-of-order.

    So you go to another bank. Party for a while, and use a lot of the money to make the payments to the first bank. Until you have to find another bank and do it again. Each time the party is shorter until you can’t have any friends over because all your time and energy are going to passing the borrowed money around and there’s never enough.

    How come your parents never had this problem? It’s because they built the house and understood what it took to keep it functioning at a sustainable level. Their parties were always short, and the next day they always went back to work. Too bad your parents didn’t teach you how to work so you could care for the house. You didn’t work at all when they had the house – they didn’t expect you to. And you’ve never worked the whole time now that you’ve had the house.

    And now you don’t have the house anymore. Does it matter whose fault that is?


  5. libertyandbagels says:

    “It’s easy for liberals to claim the 2007 crash was caused by “fat cat” Wall Street bankers and lax government regulations.”
    That’s because it was. That’s why it is easy to make that claim. Getting rid of Glass-Stegal in law and in spirit while allowing giant financial institutions to sell junk that they fraudulently rated AAA to retirees caused the explosion. The solution? A Bi-Partisan bailout. Obviously the housing crisis played a big part but most of that was bi-partisan. Clinton was working with a Repub Congress for awhile.

    I’ve gotta say, this whole them-us mentality is quite tiring, especially given the fact that about 85% of the time the Repubs are guilty of what is being criticized, and the Dems are in favor of the things that are being exalted.

    Also, virtually all of the Constitution talk is utterly meaningless. The Constitution is being eroded at furious pace, but that pace began with Reagan (and earlier). Reagan was bad, Clinton was worse, Bush was worse still and Obama’s somehow been even worse. I agree to blame Obama more because he’s actually studied the thing but c’mon.

    Also, marketing is propaganda.


    • Welcome back, and thanks for your comment.

      Enough time has elapsed that there are multiple books out, from respected economists and mortgage banking industry insiders that simply prove that the government policies are directly to blame for the housing bust. You don’t hear that from the liberal media or the liberal politicians running for office in 2010 or this year because it doesn’t conveniently fit their ideological narrative. But it’s the objective truth.

      Big Government imposed upon the mortgage industry the conditions that led to the collapse, and gave them no practical choice but to engage in the sub-prime loan business which defied all their traditional risk-based loan screening processes. The mortgage companies were strong-armed into making loans to risky borrowers, because their resistance to doing so was painted as discriminatory (bogus) and they were essentially threatened into making the loans or else face the regulatory consequences.

      It was not caused by under-regulation…it was caused by over-intrusion of the government into an industry (turning mortgages into a welfare program), and lack of sufficient checks & balances to keep the regulators and politicians from becoming corrupt themselves. I am prepared to go as deep into this topic as you wish, to present the supporting evidence.

      Please take the time to read this series of five articles by Dr. Thomas Sowell from almost 3 years ago. Taken together, they make up a complete chapter from his book “The Housing Boom and Bust.” Here is a lead-in introduction by the editors of Investors Business Daily, which published the series of articles: “We have run the series because of a general lack of knowledge about the mortgage meltdown that brought the world’s financial system to its knees, bringing on an 18-month recession and triggering the second stock market crash in eight years. We also think it offers lessons about what happens when the government, usually with the best of intentions, usurps functions previously carried out by the private sector and tries to force outcomes traditionally determined by a free market.”

      This series ran each Monday from 11/13/2009 to 12/11/2009, with this summary report providing a jump-off page for the series:
      The Politics of the Housing Boom

      Individually, here are the 5 installments of the series:
      11/13/2009: Housing Bust: Sowell Series Starts Today
      11/20/2009: How A Little Law From ’70s Brought The Financial System To Its Knees
      11/27/2009: How Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Sank In The Subprime Quicksand
      12/4/2009: How Congress Ignored Warnings And Stiff-Armed Reform Of GSEs
      12/14/2009: Support Of Fannie And Freddie: Bipartisan And Beyond Words

      Also, a more recent book that corroborates everything Dr. Sowell said 3 years ago, written by a mortgage banking insider is:
      Ted Krager, “Skullduggery: The True Causes of the Financial Crisis.”
      Here is a 35-minute podcast of an interview of this author.


  6. bullright says:

    11. It’s easy for liberals to claim the 2007 crash was caused by “fat cat” Wall Street bankers and lax government regulations. ”

    Actually on a slightly different angle, Clinton has said Bush tax cuts and deregulation basically caused the crisis. Its absurd. You gave the answer in your rebuttal. But libs run with this above short and sweet version which is hyperbole. The size of the housing bubble had little to do with either and not much to do with Bush. He couldn’t do much anything. But more directly, to be even cuter, I have heard them say Bush tax cuts caused the recession. That is hardly ever challenged. There was a good deal of fear (and possibly rumor) in the initial events. That part is hardly ever addressed. In the liberal version, they leave out a whole lot.


  7. Pingback: Understanding and Overcoming the Headwind Against Conservatism (Part 2) « russellsrant

Chime in! Leave Jeff a comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s