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5 New Year’s Resolutions For Conservatives In 2018


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"Remember politics isn't all about you."

Michael J. Knowles

January 2, 2018

"And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne." How can conservatives translate the momentum of 2017 into success in the new year? Focus on five resolutions for 2018:

1. Abide Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment

"Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Ronald Reagan popularized this “Eleventh Commandment,” which then-California Republican Party chairman Gaylord Parkison to combat the constant attacks against the Gipper by his co-partisans. Parkinson’s goal was to prevent a repeat of the East Coast Republican assault on Barry Goldwater, whom party elites like Nelson Rockefeller assailed as “extremist” and unfit to hold office. Sound familiar? After two years of conservative pearl-clutching, hand-wringing, and self-flagellation, President Trump defied the expectations of his myriad critics on the Right by delivering the most conservative year of public policy in a generation. Such unparalleled successes should give his conservative opponents pause when next


3. Use only the best words, folks.

The Left weaponizes language to evade debate, subvert culture, and advance its agenda. Political correctness replaces clear language with insidious euphemisms to obscure reality and tilt policy debates in the Left’s favor. Any reasonable citizen would enforce federal immigration law with regard to illegal aliens, but only a hard-hearted bigot could deport a “dreamer.” Juvenile delinquents ought to be punished, but “justice-involved youth” need a hug from the society that has failed them. Republicans start wars; Democrats manage “overseas contingency operations.” On the high end of estimates, 0.3% of Americans suffer from gender confusion. Why then has the cultural Left launched a years-long campaign to confuse gendered pronouns and facilities at every social institution, from the campus to the workplace to the federal government? Sly euphemisms give away whole premises, which in turn shape culture, which sets public policy. Conservatives should take care to use only clear, precise language— “the best words”—lest we concede even one syllable to leftist barbarians. Such civilization-defining stakes should spur conservatives to…


5. Resist ideology.

Much like consensus opinion, ideologies are always to some degree wrong. The word is a creation of the Left, coined after the French Revolution and popularized by Karl Marx. The underappreciated political philosopher Michael Oakeshott offered a good definition of ideology as “the formalized abridgment of the supposed substratum of rational truth contained in the tradition.” But politics is “the affairs of the cities,” how men relate to one another, and no pseudo-scientific abridgment could ever comprehend human nature. No less a statesman than Otto von Bismarck observed, “Politics is the art of the possible.” It isn’t about standing for disembodied ideas; it isn’t about standing at all. It’s about doing. Lord Acton described the dilemma:



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