A Partial Solution
I think the right, not conservatives per se, has developed a persecution complex. Christians are to be joyful in persecution. This persecution complex is separating the Christians from the pagans on the right.
For perspective, we just went through four years of Donald Trump. We had two years of Republican full control. We packed the Courts of Appeals and secured the Supreme Court’s center-right balance for the next generation. Twenty states have not just complete Republican legislative control, but control of the Governor’s Mansion, Secretary of State’s office, and Attorney General in addition to both houses of the state legislature. An additional three have full Republican legislative control and the Governor’s Office. Two additional states have the three major statewide offices controlled by the GOP with a divided legislature. That puts the nation at twenty-eight Republican Governors and twenty-three full Republican General Assemblies.
And did I mention a GOP wave is coming? Hispanic voters are moving to the GOP. A small but significant number of black voters are too. Oh, and the Supreme Court is weeks away from profoundly upending Roe v. Wade.
Despite the GOP continuing to win, the Republican voters feel worse and angrier every day. In truth, I believe it is mostly a phenomenon of social media — the more online you are, the more persecuted you feel.
My friend David French is being excoriated for pointing out that Jack Philips of Masterpiece Cake Shop won in court. Hobby Lobby won in court. Conestoga Wagon won in court.
The response is that they never should have had to go to court and I am sympathetic to that response. One thing to note is that pagan society is a litigious society. Christ told his followers not to sue each other in part because the Roman society around them was constantly in court suing each other. It was a competition for the Romans. It was a thrill. They sued each other and tried to ruin each other for sport. Christians were admonished not to behave like that.
The post-Christian right is going to behave much like the left and be as litigiously vindictive as possible. A lot of Christians on the right will cheer it on, giving up on the perseverance of the faith in favor of solidarity with the partisan cause.
I am sympathetic.
Ultimately, with the exception of a smaller portion of the new right, most of us just want to be left alone in our communities of interest. But the left insists on conformity. If you have a small town where the public school kids pray together, look for the ACLU to move in and file suit for the one aggrieved atheist.
Want a school district where boys cannot compete on the girls’ team? Look for the NCAA and others to swoop in and file suit or sanction the teams. Look for corporate America to threaten any state that passes such laws.
A decade later, maybe if your name is not Baronelle Stutzman, the Supreme Court will hear the case and maybe agree with your side.
That doesn’t seem right or fair.
The cultural institutions of America have leaned left for a very long time, but until recently they were not aggressive agitators of their cause, using their money and clout to bully states and communities into conformity.
Culture, so many including Andrew Breitbart have said, is upstream from politics. But the upstream culture is converting a lot of people to the right’s side and perhaps it is time for the right to deploy politics to then shape culture. Maybe it is a circle.
I’ve hoped someone smarter than me could offer an idea. But it seems the divide is between “everything is fine, calm down” and “we’re at war, send ammo.” Actually, most things are fine, but there are some problems. So here’s my attempt at a partial solution. I’m not sure right-of-center think tanks can offer a full solution anymore because they fundraise off the perpetual struggle, not actual solutions.
First, remember that voters are only with the right at this moment because voters hate the left more. They hate the left more because Biden is President and the economy is in the tank. Also, the left has gone nuts against police, for transgenderism, etc. But the voters will turn on us too. Just give them time. People are stupid and voters are people.
Second, one way to either slow the turn or soften the landing is to not be arrogant. That is why the football spike in Florida was, in my mind, a bad idea. You got what you wanted, i.e. the Parental Rights in Education Act. Now, to spike the football, you’ve killed a tax improvement district that actually worked well for the area of Florida in which it existed. When you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face, you come ever so closer to looking like the ‘defund the police’ nuts. Be humble and avoid coming across as arrogant. Voters love that.
As an aside, I can hear some of you with your spittle yelling that they are different things. One is something the government gave that it did not have to. The other is a governmental function. I don’t expect all of you to understand my point because some of you have been so poisoned that you yourselves have become poison in this fight and you are the ones I must caution against — the always online hyper partisan who is incapable of holding his own side accountable as long as he perceives points being put on the board. Don’t be like those insane Democrats who think they should actually double down on defunding the police and redistributing the wealth.
So, let’s presume ending the tax improvement district serves the purpose of showing our side means to fight if we must. Other corporations are paying attention. We can move on now and let the courts and politicos sort out the rest of the Disney matter. Hopefully, as deterrence, it will serve a purpose whether the decision to repeal the tax district stands or not.
Third, advance culturally conservative positions: end CRT indoctrination; prohibit boys from girls’ sports; protect conservatives on college campuses by passing campus free speech laws and using boards of regents to promote ideological and intellectual diversity on college campuses; and advance religious freedom acts in the remaining states that do not have them.
Fourth, begin to very publicly, through the state policy network of conservative think tanks, list out all the tax breaks and advantages given to major corporations in each state. Make sure it is public. Go on and let conservatives agitate for their repeal. Many of them won’t get repealed. But the knowledge of ready-made lists will serve as further deterrence. Expose the corporate entanglements now and hope never to have to attack them in defense. Frankly, conservatives should be getting rid of them all now, not because these corporations may side with the left later.
Fifth, understand the consequences. There will be consequences. It is probably only a matter of time before progressives convince California to end the tax-exempt status of Christian schools that do not comply with California indoctrination programs. You’re going to have to come to terms with the idea that some states will fundamentally go in the exact opposite direction inspired by your actions. And you’re going to have to be okay with that.
In reality, we should want a clear doctrine from the Supreme Court that a state cannot punish a person or business for the exercise of their first amendment rights and that includes lawfully taking away benefits or privileges granted by the state if doing so is punishment for speech.
It is pretty clear, though, that both sides have given up on the America that was and are really arguing over an America not yet in existence. I do not see how the fifty states can continue in a union unless we agree to let communities of interest exist and stop making Washington the center of our lives.
Ironically, corporations have a role to play in this by engaging in interstate business without pressuring states to conform to one ideology or another. They are failing.
Fight smart with humility to soften the landing when the voters decide they’ll give the Democrats another try. There is nothing permanent in American politics and you must, above all else, remember that, which requires humility. It may not keep the left from going full speed ahead when they have power, but it will help convince the voters very quickly to return us to power after they’ve switched. We are seeing that even now.
Sixth, don’t lose your hope in Christ as you fight in politics. No politician, no party, no platform, no policy, and no idea will save you from the world. The world will steadily advance with all its paganism until Christ himself returns and wins. Don’t sell your soul for a Pyrrhic victory, a precedent later used against you, all because of the fierce urgency of now in a partisanship cast as faithful to Christ, but that does not reflect Him.