Although I’m a centrist, not a conservative, I desire to see the political factions balanced in order to have a balanced politics. But for some time the political left has had excessive influence: they dominate the media (both mass and elite), education, the arts and sciences, professional associations, NGOs, the judicial branch, and in many cases the executive and legislative branches, too. The only places where conservatives might have an edge are in the military, business, and traditional religious bodies, but even these have drifted leftward. And the younger generation is more left-leaning than their elders.
In short, although conservatives have achieved some political success, they are coming from a position of weakness, not a position of strength. The conservative position on many issues has trended leftward over time since it is under constant pressure from the dominant left.
As a centrist, I would like this imbalanced addressed. Conservatives, or non-leftists, should hold an equal share of influence. Then the factions will balance one another, and they will need to compromise toward the political center.
That said, what can conservatives do to improve their political position?
All too often conservatives criticize the left without understanding how they got where they are and how they maintain their position. So first, conservatives should learn the nuts and bolts of the domains that are leftist strongholds. How does the media work? What does it take to climb the academic ladder? How do professional associations made decisions? How are judicial arguments won? What are the techniques of successful politicians?
Second, conservatives should put significant resources into changing these cultural and political institutions. These resources are not merely money; they are strategies that have worked and volunteer time by many people, including some who will dedicate significant parts of their life to this effort.
Third, conservatives should take the high road and develop the best intellectual case for conservatism. Philosophy, theology, the humanities, the sciences, and every intellectual endeavor should be looked at from a conservative perspective. For too long conservatives have criticized elites and sided with anti-intellectuals. Conservatives need to make their strongest case, articulate their best way of thinking, and express the heart and soul of conservatism.
Fourth, conservatives should quit whining, give up the negative talk, and stop berating people. No more conspiracy theories, ironic speech, or foolish arguments. Speak politely, treat people with respect, and answer their questions.
Fifth, conservatives should say what they believe and believe what they say. Hypocrisy and inconsistency undermine everything. Live the life of a conservative. Integrate conservatism into your whole life. Ground conservatism in your religion.
And last. do all this and keep doing it. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Continue until you prevail. Keep at it until you win. As MacArthur said, “There is no substitute for victory.”