We’ve all seen crime dramas and courtroom shows where the criminal mastermind gets some low-level associate to do the dirty work while he stays safely insulated behind lawyers and money and an intimidating network of threats and enforcement. Police and prosecutors will scoop up these lower status perpetrators and try to get them to turn on the guys that are higher up, in hopes of landing the Big Fish, the guy at the top of the food chain. In these shows, they lean pretty hard on the little guy, inflating charges and threatening long sentences, hoping to turn them against the mastermind. And each guy who is that low on the totem pole has to make this calculation: of whom is he more afraid – the authorities or the criminal network?
But even as prosecutors cajole and threaten the little guy, it’s clear to all of us watching that this little guy isn’t the Real Bad Guy. He’s very often a pawn, a guy who got caught up in the network by owing someone money, or who engaged in some petty larceny and was nudged deeper and deeper into the network by his circumstances and the people above him. Nobody actually mistakes the little guy for the criminal mastermind; everyone is clear that while he may be aiding and abetting the crime syndicate, he is hardly the force behind it.
Now that I have you thinking about that criminal hierarchy, I want you to apply it to politics on the Left for a moment.
There’s a network on the Left that creates narratives, sets agendas, pushes policy, and leads the effort to move American society and politics leftward. You can find these people in places like leftist think tanks, universities, the entertainment industry, news organizations, and plenty of other places where leftists center their effort and activity.
And you see the result of their work: the Journolist scandal that even few conservatives know about; the almost minute-by-minute coverage of Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war protests during the Bush presidency, which was quickly muted after Obama’s election; campaigns to fight for an increased minimum wage, or unrestricted abortion, or speech restrictions on college campuses. The left has trained and unleashed thousands of people to engage in these fights and carry these narratives.
Your average moderate voter isn’t one of them. Hell, your average DEMOCRAT voter isn’t one of them.
No, what happens is that narrative gets planted into the public sphere by people who very much intend it to be there. Let’s call those people orchestrating the cultural shifts the Institutional Left. These are the Masterminds.
From there, the narrative is picked up by Carriers, people who ally with the Left on many issues – think Hollywood types and mainstream media and others who spread things in the cultural sphere. These are the higher level associates.
And eventually, the narrative trickles down to the guy who lives down the street from you, or the coworker who loudly proclaims her left-leaning political views. These folks definitely don’t watch FOX news (‘It’s Faux News!’ they’ve been taught to say) or read right-leaning blogs. They don’t know there ARE such things as right-leaning blogs. And you can bet if they did know, they would have been warned off checking them out by those above them on the totem pole.
To see this process in action, we can examine the gay marriage issue in recent years. Whatever side of the issue you might be on, the PROCESS is much the same for any of the issues they want to advance.
- Decide on the goal (legalizing gay marriage)
- Build the narrative (‘people should be allowed to love whomever they want’)
- Frame the opposition (‘people against gay marriage are haters’)
- Attach virtue to fighting for the narrative (guide supporters to say ‘I’m fighting for freedom to love’)
- Carry the narrative (media and coverage sympathetic to the narrative)
- Sell the issue with a good pitch (‘love wins’ ‘fight for love’)
By the time the narrative gets down to your coworker, she’s convinced that she’s on the side of the angels. She’s FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE MORE RIGHTS.
And if you oppose her, or her issue, you are – by definition – DENYING THEM THEIR RIGHTS.
Plug in the abortion issue. Plug in equal pay legislation. Plug in any left agenda item you like: this is how it takes hold. The Institutional Left slowly but surely embeds those positions in the minds of the casual moderate, turning them more firmly and dependably liberal over time. And how could it not work, when the Left controls media, entertainment, higher education? We know conservative sources don’t often penetrate into the world of that coworker. Instead, she has a steady diet of Mainstream news, Mainstream entertainment, if she went to college, she had left-leaning professors. She’s learned that she can be a hero by identifying as a left-leaning person. She can feel good about taking whatever position they move her towards, because they’ve worked hard to frame their position as the righteous one.
In short, she’s been Leftwashed.
This is also how inner cities embraced Democrat candidates for decades, even as they have fallen further into disarray and disrepair. A steady diet of left messaging, left leadership, left schooling, left media and left entertainment sources has solidified the Institutional Left narrative. It’s so firmly implanted that inner city residents regularly blame Republicans for problems caused at the local level by political boards that haven’t seen Republicans serving on them in decades. And can we blame them, when we haven’t been to those cities to listen to their concerns, build relationships and trust, and show proof that we care what happens to them? They, too, have been effectively leftwashed. And we let it happen.
The Institutional Left is your enemy. It is also the enemy of your coworker, and of the poverty-trapped residents of the inner city. It’s just that they do not recognize it.
We rightward political junkies look at the world through the lens of red and blue, right and left, ally and enemy. We dismiss people too often for having a different opinion or viewpoint or life experience, rather than probing a little deeper to find common ground. We talk to ourselves in our own language, never hearing (or acknowledging) how different that sounds to apolitical people. We assume the logic and rightness of our causes, even as the Institutional Left is training people to support policies based on emotion. And while we criticize people for letting their emotions lead them, we get swallowed in our own emotional responses to issues.
But what if…
- What if we focused our attention on learning more about those casual left-leaning people?
- What if we learned that they weren’t actually the masterminds of the left ideology?
- What if we discovered that their support of the left was actually pretty soft?
- What if we could reserve our enmity for the people calling the shots, the Masterminds?
- What if we could recognize all these people who have been Leftwashed are NOT our real enemy?
And what if we could steal all that soft support out from under the Institutional Left?
You know who the real enemy is. Isn’t it time to start focusing on them, rather than getting bogged down fighting the low guys on the totem pole? We can steal the masterminds’ work force right out from under them. But the first step is recognizing that plenty of them are convertible, IF we take the time to learn how to engage them properly.
And that brings us full circle, back to the beginning of this series.
There are a lot of people between us and our liberty. A lot. Like, a real lot. And there aren’t enough of us to get it back.
If you want to get enough people fighting to get that liberty back, you can have lots of kids, and hope that they grow up and stay conservative (and that there’s still something left to fight for by then). You can go into teaching or movie making or journalism and try to infiltrate those ranks. You can try buying media or entertainment companies.
Or you can save your ammunition for the real enemy – the Institutional Left – and do your best to turn their soft supporters into conservative converts. I know which strategy will show the fastest results.
If you want to get started on identifying and targeting the real enemy, check out Arthur Brooks HERE, HERE, and HERE. Then spend some time reading in our FRN Resource List for more perspectives and ideas.
Part The First – How We Choose Candidates
Part The Second – Electoral Math
Part The Third – The Trump Campaign
Part The Fourth – Trends in the Electorate
Part The Fifth – Media Bias and Other Interference