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Friday Ramblings: Winning the ideological war one person at a time

The other day I learned that an individual I had a few political debates with in the past is now taking the time to educate himself about the founders.  His political leanings are to the left and he is now taking the time to learn about the founders.  I once told him it wasn’t about political parties; it’s about liberty, freedom, and free markets.  I didn’t hammer him for his beliefs; I simply stated that people must learn about the founders and the constitution so they can have a point of origin to base their political belief system on.  Apparently he now agrees.  Why is this?  I mean what made this left leaning liberal decide to step out of his safe zone and cross over to an area that is unknown and scary?  I believe there are two reasons for this change of heart.

The first reason is he feels in his gut that something is not quite right.  Something is amiss with our nation.  The economy is not turning around like they promised.  Our liberties are being traded off for security and freedom is under assault from every angle.  You see moderate liberals tend to feel government has its place in our society and that a certain amount of regulation in our lives is necessary.  However they also believe in freedom of choice and lately many of them are starting to see that their choices are being made for them and they do not like it.  Some of them are finally starting to realize that the far left fringe of their party is controlled by socialist, something these moderates are deeply opposed to.  This moderate liberal state of mind is the same mentality that bought into the conservatism Reagan championed.  They were your Reagan Democrats of the 1980s.  They’re patriotic, own guns, and believe in the system.  They’re not radical leftists and they make up a large portion of Democratic Party.  This is a group worth our attention.  They will fight you, but they will also listen to you.  It’s all how you approach them and present your position.

This is the second reason I believe he had a change of heart.  I approached him in a manner that was politically nonthreatening.  I didn’t talk about Republicans or Democrats; we talked about freedom and liberty.  We discussed the attributes of capitalism and socialism.  We talked about crushing debt and the future of our children.  We talked about the founders and the constitution.  We found common ground on a number of issues and I was careful not to come across as a know it all conservative.  I listened to him even though I didn’t agree with him.  He listened to me even though at the time he viewed me as just another conservative who didn’t care about the people.  I learned that he was not so much different than me.  He learned that conservative ideas were grounded in liberty, the constitution, and free market principles.  This is the method I used to approach him and now he’s reading about the founders.  I call that a win.

In my opinion this is how we must advance the conservative message, one person at a time.  We must seek opportunities to change the hearts and minds of those willing to listen.  The ignorant will not listen or even engage in the process until the process impacts them.  However there is an opportunity to reach these moderate Democrats.  They are somewhat engaged in the political process even though their misguided.  But what this means is they’re willing to engage you and this is when opportunity knocks.  Each of us will have a different approach based on the circumstance; however the conservative message will sell itself if it’s conveyed in a manner that appeals to the freedom loving side of most of us whether you identify with the either the left or right.  I challenge all my readers to seek an opportunity to change the ideological course of a moderate Democrat you know.  You might not always sell conservatism, but you’ll at least get them thinking.  And sometimes all it takes is to plant the seed and walk away; eventually it will take.

Liberty forever, freedom for all.


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  • Trestin Meacham May 27, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    Great story. Sometimes I wonder if the only people we get through to are the ones that already get it.
    Trestin Meacham recently posted..HISTORY LIES- 3 BOLSHEVISMMy Profile

  • Steve Dennis May 27, 2011 at 5:44 AM

    These are the people that we need to focus on; the far left is never going to come around but the moderates and the independents may be swayed to our side if we debate them. It is amazing what reading the founders can do to a person, it really can open up your eyes.
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    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

      Reading about the founders is an amazing journey and will indeed change you. When I first started I felt like I was cheated. This was information that I was never exposed to in high school. I love the “The Real George Washington”. You’re right we will never change the minds of the hardcore leftists because they believe in the principles of socialism.
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  • Bunkerville May 27, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    The History Channel has done some great programming on the Founders. Nothing like a flick to sell the message. The Washington one was great.
    Bunkerville recently posted..Hillary Clinton opens Muslim Exhibit- says ‘an exciting day’My Profile

  • theCL May 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I think you found the key here!

    I didn’t talk about Republicans or Democrats; we talked about freedom and liberty.

    I think partisanship has caused more trouble than it’s worth. The reason I started blogging was because I could no longer make excuses for, support, and/or attempt to convince myself, in the name of partisanship, of ideas and policies that conflicted with my inner beliefs.

    I tried to remain somewhat partisan “for the sake of the team,” but even that I can’t do anymore. Every “Democrat v. Republican” debate completely sidesteps the fundamental issues of the day by arguing trivia not substance.

    If we want to reach out to people, partisanship isn’t the answer. Think about it. How often are you willing to consider an idea from say, a website you know is blatantly partisan Democrat?

    the far left is never going to come around but the moderates and the independents may be swayed

    You’re right, the hard-left is long gone and a waste of time. That said, how many people on the right reject limited government? I think we both know a lot do. IMHO, that’s the best place to start.

    Reading about the founders is an amazing journey and will indeed change you

    Our history is fascinating, complicated, and a valuable source of information and knowledge. The more you learn, the more you realize the basic “story” we’ve been told is hardly the truth.

    Politics is and has been, always and everywhere, politics. Petty rivalries, power struggles, elites, special interests, you name it, it’s been there from the get go.

    We’re always taught one side of the story, when there was always more to it … We know the Federalist papers, but what about the anti-federalist papers? Why did Jackson shut down the central bank? What about Lincoln, the Northern Tariff and his shredding of the Constitution? On and on … Contra the Revolution government growth is always taught as a necessity and/or Divine. But there’s always at least 2 sides to every story.
    theCL recently posted..UN Warns of Possible “Collapse” of US DollarMy Profile

    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 10:55 PM

      There are indeed two sides to a story. I do agree that partisan politics and party affiliation sets a divisive tone from the get go. We seem to be automatically opposed to each other even if we agree on a number of issues. I listen to conservative talk radio and I have started to shift my focus from party supporters like Sean Hannity to supporters of liberty and freedom like Mike Church. It is the medicine this country needs right now. A heavy dose of the founders. Thank you for the well thought out response to my post CL.

  • Silverfiddle May 27, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Very well stated, John. I try to preach this message to fellow conservatives but often to no avail. Screaming at someone and calling them names is not the way to get them on your side.

    Steve is also correct that the 20% on the fringe left is unreachable, but the broad middle is not. And elections are won in the broad middle.

    What some on the right cannot get through their heads is that there are not enough solid conservatives to elect a president. We’ve got to attract those in the middle. Not by pandering to them, but by approaching them as John has described.
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    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      It’s easy to talk at someone. It takes more effort to talk with them. And even more effort to listen when you disagree. But I’m starting to see that if we want to win the hearts of minds of the fluid middle we need to do exactly that. I have spent a lifetime talking at people about the conservative way and it hasn’t changed a single position. This is why I tried a different approach and the results speak for themselves. We must turn this thing around one person at a time and we only can do this if we stop talking about republicans and Democrats and start talking about liberty and freedom. It works!

  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire May 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    An excellent job, John. I think you may have taught this old dog a new trick. Thanks.
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..The Socialist Elites Have Lost Control of the Leviathan They CreatedMy Profile

    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 11:05 PM

      Thanks Jim. Trust me it was hard to do, but now that I see the results, it is the only way I can see turning this thing around.

  • Infidel de Manahatta May 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    It’s the moderates who still have hope of being won over to freedom. The libs/leftists are too far gone. If you disagree with them you insult their religion and they will scream at you (much like the Muslims they so admire.)
    Infidel de Manahatta recently posted..Dalai Lama Admits He’s Only In It for the WomenMy Profile

    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      You’re 100 percent correct Manhattan. The moderates are willing to listen, but we must be willing to listen to them. The far left is too far gone and arguing with them waste valuable energy and time. We need to win the middle.

  • Reaganite Republican May 27, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Good stuff John, way to ramble lol

    Funny how this guy took so long to bother and check if Obama’s little revolution is even legal Constitutionally… much of it isn’t, of course
    Reaganite Republican recently posted..TGIF Rock-n-Roll Oldies- STEELY DANMy Profile

    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 11:16 PM

      Thanks RR. Yeah it took him awhile but at least he found his way there.

  • Matt May 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Well done John. In a sense, you caught him in a state of cognitive dissonance. Reality wasn’t sitting well with his beliefs, and that prompted him to look at things from a different viewpoint.
    Matt recently posted..RINO Alert- Who is Jon HuntsmanMy Profile

    • John Carey May 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM

      Indeed Matt. He felt something wasn’t right with the rhetoric he bought into. Perhaps my timing was right.

  • Teresa May 28, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Excellent John. I think talking in a nonpartisan and friendly manner is the key. Being partisan and combative will never (or hardly ever) bring a positive outcome. Plus, when pointing the finger, saying how the other person’s Party is wrong tends to put the other person on the defensive.
    I was just thinking about trying to teach my niece by mail/phone about the Constitution and our Founders since I know she didn’t receive much, if any, of this information while in school. I’ll probably start out little by little, maybe by sending her a pocket constitution first. She is 20 years old and God knows what she was taught in school. She is a high school dropout who is dependent on the government so hopefully I can have a positive impact on her and help to give her the tools for her to better herself.

    Excellent post, John!
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    • John Carey May 28, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      I think you’re on the right track with your niece. I find the best approach with younger people is to appeal to their individualistic side. Most young people are about themselves and by appealing to this side it’s a way to get the foot in the door. Talk them about liberty, freedom of choice, and working in an environment where you’re reward is based off of individual effort and not the effort of another. Thanks for the comments Teresa.

  • John Galt May 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Sensible approach John. Many of you have good ideas on the issue.
    I just like to point out that there are many voters that are neither Democrats, Republicans, left or right, moderate or independent. So many of them are tuned off from the process. Talking to some so called “Independents” I found that they don’t really know what they are ‘independent’ from.

    In this category are millions of fresh unmolded immigrant families and first and second generation Hispanics, Asian, Indian, and others. Just the Hispanics alone represent 16% of the population and growing at more than twice the average demographic. In many of these groups the Republicans are losing the battle due to messaging not content. It is a suicide strategy.
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    • John Carey May 28, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      There’s a huge segment of the population that fits this description. I see it as an opportunity for us if we use the right approach. This battle is one that must be fought and one a person at a time John. Thanks for the comments.

  • Tony Fernandez May 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    What works best isn’t name calling or arguing about issues that are never going to be resolved. You can get into the other person’s head by finding issues that you both agree with and expanding from there. Once you find a place where you both agree, just make him be internally consistent. You’ll raise his doubt and there’s your chance to change someone for the better.
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    • John Carey May 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      Very well said Tony. This is what happened with this above person in the post. We found common ground and built off of that. The results attained in the above post can be duplicated over and over gain if the right approach is used. It’s for us time to get going with it.

  • proof May 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    John, I’ve found that I can be more persuasive with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word alone. But, your way works, too!
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