The Battle for Ideas is Never Won


The battle for ideas is never won. Just because you win an election, it does not mean you get to rest on your laurels. Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard many conservatives complain that they think Congress has let them down. In the minds of conservatives, Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. This makes it time for Republicans to actually fulfill their campaign promises and repeal the un-affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare), build the wall, and reduce the size of government.

Conservatives are making the same mistake that the United States military made in Operation Anaconda. Operation Anaconda took place shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the mountains of Afghanistan. In Not a Good Day to Die, author Sean Naylor explains that things had been going so well in Afghanistan that U.S. military leaders created a strategy based upon the Taliban insurgents laying down their weapons and running for their lives. The Taliban eventually lost the battle, but not before they inflicted a few casualties because the Taliban chose fight over flight.

Conservatives think that they are entitled to run the government because they won the elections in 2016. However, they must remember that they are not the only individuals who won the election. Some establishment Republicans won, some Democrats won, and some socialists won. Every Congressman and Senator has a voice and a vote in the direction this country goes. Just because conservative principles won in 2016, it does not mean that liberals must lay down and let conservatives do whatever they want. When Republicans were in the minority, they did not let Obama do whatever he wanted. Likewise, Republicans should not expect Democrats to allow them to do whatever they want.

The battle for ideas is different than a military battle that has a start and a finish. World War II was a tragic war but eventually, a peace was called and the world moved on. In war, the winner is able to dictate the terms that the loser must live by. However, just because conservative principles won in 2016, it does not mean that conservatives get to dictate to liberals the direction this country will go.

Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, great pamphlet promoting the cause of liberty. However, just because Thomas Paine wrote those beautiful words, it did not mean that Americans forever would understand the principles of liberty. It also did not guarantee that every American would line up and support the American rebellion. There were plenty of loyalists throughout the battle that made George Washington’s life more difficult.

Most Americans think that after the Constitutional Convention, ratification was a forgone conclusion for the Founding Fathers. It was not. James Madison and the Constitutional Convention had exceeded their authority in the eyes of many people, and ratification was far from certain. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay refused to let the Constitution die a slow painful death. These men wrote the Federalist Papers, a defense for the U.S. Constitution. The Federalists helped educate the nation that ratification was in their best interest.

Republicans were a minority for many years until Newt Gingrich developed a bold plan for educating Americans on the principles of limited government. With his Contract with America, Gingrich was able to convince the public that the Republican answers were the right ones. Republicans went from the minority to the majority as a result.

However, yesterday’s great movement will not move the needle today. Common Sense is not the same best seller that it was when it was originally released. The principles are still applicable, but they need to be repackaged and retold to today’s voters. Today’s Liberty Conservative does not need to convert 100 percent of the nation to their ideas. If you want to make a difference, you simply need to start a movement by influencing those around you about the importance of liberty. A missionary does not convert an entire heathen village in one day, it takes time and effort.

You are not entitled to anything. The liberals are showing up in DC protesting the actions of this Republican-led government. They are making sure that their voices are being heard. Is the Republican-led government hearing your voice? Are they hearing you praise them when they do something right? It is easy to complain when things are not going according to plan, but your politicians need to hear from you when they are doing the right thing as well.

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