It’s a common refrain among conservatives: “Just imagine if the roles were reversed!” they say, reducing right political praxis to simply complaining about unfair treatment from the left, the state, the media and their allies.
At this point it should be well established that the American and international political landscape is deeply unfair. This is not a novel insight. And what of it? In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, “Life is unfair.” He certainly understood just how unfair life could be.
Indeed, the call for “fairness” or decrying the contradictions of the intolerance of the left are not just unproductive, they are counterproductive. They reduce the right to the level of children on a playground observing that rules of a game are not being enforced equitably.
Most intelligent observers have caught on to the fact that the game is rigged. And that’s a good thing. But it does not point to a way forward. It is simply a sophisticated form of whining.
The game is not fair, nor will it ever be. But this is not an excuse to throw one’s hands up in despair. As Heinlein once wrote, “Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.”
So what is the way forward?
Specifics will work themselves out in the course of struggle. But in the broader strokes, a way forward begins with the recognition that since your enemies do not play fair, neither should you.
The political principles we hold as conservatives, libertarians, patriots, Constitutionalists, America Firsters, right-anarchists — however we define ourselves — are important. But they are the end, not the means. While we should certainly not devolve into a totally amoral conception of ends always justifying means, we need to be honest with ourselves about what is at stake and what we must do about it.
As a starting point, I would urge everyone to read the key works of Vladimir Lenin. Namely, What Is To Be Done?, which describes the process of building a fighting political movement and State and Revolution, which deals with the nature of state power and how it can be disrupted, dismantled or overthrown.
Anyone balking at taking lessons from a man whose ideology took over such a significant chunk of the planet for such a lengthy period of time is, bluntly, not serious about the acquisition and exercise of power.
The bottom line is that the right needs to stop reacting to the left and start playing offense. I have discussed in the past how, for example, anti-abortion laws can be used to punish and exclude the left from political participation. This makes the pro-life cause important even to those who might not agree or might not consider the issue of significant importance. Your enemies do and they will flee your state in droves if you deny the exercise of their religious sacraments.
The short answer to the refrain “Just imagine if the roles were reversed!” is “That would be awesome.” The roles being reversed would mean that you have the power that the left now yields over you.
Rather than gnashing your teeth over the lack of access to power, or vainly wishing power didn’t exist in the first place, you should get serious about the study of power: acquiring and exercising it to achieve your goals.
Anything short of this is pure wishcasting. As much as some might wish that power didn’t exist, it does. It’s time for the right to become not just comfortable, but confident about contending for real power that it can use to execute its goals, punish its enemies and reward its allies.
Nothing succeeds like success.