1991 Freedom Activists Directory of anti-communists in the Soviet Empire
Morton C. Blackwell
January 1, 1991
1991 Freedom Activists Directory of anti-communists in the Soviet Empire
It's so like a fairy tale. The evil rulers are overthrown. The people rejoice and pick new rulers of their choice. Prosperity and good feeling then mark a new era of freedom. Unfortunately, actual events seldom end as do so many happy fairy tales. The people of Central and Eastern Europe are unlikely to live happily ever after. Unhappily, I foresee economic and political disaster in these areas, and soon, whether or not the Red Army soldiers all pack up and go home. Download the whole FREEDOM ACTIYISTS DIRECTORY
Ideas, Actions, and Consequences
Morton C. Blackwell
September 22, 2015
Ideas, Actions, and Consequences
By Morton Blackwell As a conservative activist since 1960, I have read or heard reverently repeated innumerable times a short sentence, "Ideas Have Consequences." Conservative intellectuals and would-be intellectuals are so enamored of the words "Ideas Have Consequences" that by now probably each day someone at the Heritage Foundation receives correspondence in which these words are written. The theme "Ideas Have Consequences" so often crops up in conservative books, speeches and scholarly articles that I have for several years catalogued each usage I see or hear under the heading IHC. No meeting of the Philadelphia Society or of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute is complete unless someone solemnly intones the words, "Ideas Have Consequences." The words appear often in the pages of National Review and in virtually every other conservative journal, including many with little pretense of intellectuality. There are now scores of independent conservative campus publications in the United States. Because I conduct Student Publications Schools, I see many of these campus efforts. Virtually every one explicitly affirms that "Ideas Have Consequences," often stressing the point in the premier issue. The proposition, "Ideas Have Consequences," has attained talismanic status with young conservatives. I would not be surprised to learn that some budding conservative, having adopted it as his mantra, now sits quietly several minutes each day, contemplating those three words. From time to time I venture to question young conservatives who have used, in writing or in speech, the refrain ideas have consequences. Alas, even if they know it is the title of a book by Richard M. Weaver, the great majority of those who use the refrain have never held in their hands any book by Weaver. What then accounts for the frequency of the references? It is, I believe, a manifestation of hubris. The young person of conservative inclination, possessed of a growing vocabulary and having gained some familiarity with conservative writings, readily concludes he is now capable of elevated thoughts beyond the reach of all but a tiny elite. Perhaps he finds, as I first did twenty-five years ago, the praise of Richard Weaver in The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk. But more likely he reads the magical title in a conservative journal. If the fascination with those three words merely increased the sense of self-worth among young conservatives, it would do little harm to the conservative cause. Unfortunately, the temptation is often overpowering to take the words literally. If ideas, in and of themselves, really do have consequences, then being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient. If you know you are right, particularly if you believe you can prove you are right, then your ideas inevitably will prevail. For a young person with intellectual aspirations, this is heady stuff. He concludes he need no longer work with mere mortals in their ordinary plane of existence. He feels elevated above them; he knows that they will eventually conform to his ideas. Thousands of young conservatives, caught up in the delight of thinking deep thoughts, fancy themselves young Platos. In a way they are, as shall be explained below. But the world does not treat them as they expect and as they believe they deserve. Public policy battles, for example, do not often turn on the question of who is probably right. Confronted with the failure of his ideas to have their merited consequences, many a young conservative becomes embittered. Some, in the words of the late Dr. Warren Nutter, "retreat to the citadel to save the books." Others become opportunists and quiet cynics. With great inner agony, some resign themselves to impotence in a world that does not function as it "should." Too few discover how to make their ideas effective. For a number of reasons, it would not be fair to blame Richard Weaver for the problems associated with his magically titled book. He was a professor of rhetoric, which can be defined as ideas artfully presented. A master rhetorician, Weaver knew full well that ideas do not necessarily have consequences. Although it is dangerous to suggest how deceased persons would respond to current questions, I am confident Weaver would affirm that "Ideas Have Consequences" is a rhetorically contracted enthymeme, an enthymeme being a syllogism with one of the elements missing but understood. Expanding Weaver's enthymeme, we can get the following syllogism: Ideas can motivate people to act Actions have consequences Therefore ideas can have consequences Without understanding Weaver's true meaning, some conservatives often give his three words a dangerously misplaced, almost religious devotion. A noble confidence in the truth of their ideas can lure them into the voluntary paralysis of a life of contemplation. For anyone who makes the effort to read the difficult but highly rewarding Richard Weaver, his meaning is brilliantly clear. In Ideas Have Consequences, he actually wrote: "The youth is an intellectual only, a believer in ideas, who thinks that ideas can overwhelm the world. The mature man passes beyond intellectuality to wisdom..." Does this sound like a man who believes that ideas are efficacious without something more? Elsewhere in Ideas Have Consequences, he wrote: "Organization always makes imperative counterorganization. A force in being is a threat to the unorganized, who must answer by becoming organized themselves." Weaver warned powerfully against rootless, mechanistic manipulation, against knowledge "of techniques rather than of ends." His deserving target was the destructive tendency of modern man to lose his sense of purpose as he rapidly accumulates knowledge of how to do things. But it is a gross misreading to suggest he argued against action. It would be fair to say he held that actions based on the right ideas will have desirable consequences. He quite correctly gave absolute priority to ideals, but recognized the duty of philosophically sound people to take actions. In 1958 Weaver wrote an essay entitled "Up from Liberalism," a title he graciously later authorized William F. Buckley, Jr., to use also for his delightful book. Russell Kirk calls that 1958 essay Weaver's intellectual autobiography. In it Weaver wrote, "Somehow our education will have to recover the lost vision of the person as a creature of both intellect and will. It will have to bring together into one through its training the thinker and the doer, the dialectician and the rhetorician." This statement should enlighten those who take the words ideas have consequence only at their simplistic, literal value. The intellectual's dismay at the untidy nature of political life is by no means new. Very late in life Plato wrote in his Seventh Epistle: For both the written laws and the unwritten laws of good conduct were gradually destroyed, and the state of things became worse and worse at an astonishing pace, so that I, who at first had been very eager to go into politics, finally felt dizzy when I looked at it and when I saw things carried in all directions in utter confusion. I did still not give up watching for a possible improvement of these conditions and of the whole government; but, waiting all the time for an opportunity to do something, I finally had to realize that all the states of our time without exception are badly administered. If Plato was dizzied by politics and withdrew almost entirely from personal participation, we should not be surprised that so many conservative intellectuals and aspiring intellectuals now find comfort in the proposition that Ideas Have Consequences. They can believe themselves thereby absolved of the awkward responsibility for personal actions. The world of politics is invariably imperfect and replete with compromises. How tempting it is to shield our principles from degenerating contact with such untidiness. Never mind that we simultaneously insulate the real world from the ennobling effect of practical contact with our principles. Now, however, we should know better. Edmund Burke did not tell us: "All that is necessary to triumph over evil is for men to have enough good ideas." Quite the contrary, Burke's most famous words are: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Leonardo da Vinci had marvelous ideas, many of which had no consequences. For 130 years after his death his famous notebooks were hidden. Only when made available through wide publication did his speculative drawings of worm gears, lens grinders, submarines and airplanes cause men to act, to try to build working models based on his ideas. By the 20th century we had actually built successful machines Leonardo only imagined. For Leonardo, though, the classic case is the bicycle. Late in the 19th century, just after the modern bicycle had been invented, someone in the Spanish National Library in Madrid peeled from its backing paper (to which it had been glued for hundreds of years) one of the pages of Leonardo's original notebook. On the reverse of the sheet was Leonardo's drawing of a pedal-and-chain driven bicycle almost identical to recently "invented" models then in use all over the world. In one of his too few surviving letters, Whittaker Chambers told how he had just burned several hundred pages of a book manuscript he had been working on. For those of us who consider Chambers one of the great masters of our English language, the loss is tragic and irreparable. Those ideas are lost and will not have consequences. Intellectual giant Ludwig von Mises, in the chapter on "The Role of Ideas" in Human Action, said "Thinking is to deliberate beforehand over future action and to reflect afterwards upon past action. Thinking and acting are inseparable." Particularly in our day we cannot afford to concentrate on either ideas or actions to the neglect of the other. The conservative intellectual who avoids association with less elegant men of action may doom his cause. Chambers understood this and wrote: I do not ask of the man who lets me slip into his foxhole whether he believes in the ontological proof of God, whether he likes me personally, or even whether, in another part of the forest, at another time, he lobbed a grenade at me. I am interested only that, for the duration of the war, he keep his rifle clean and his trigger finger nerveless against a common enemy. I understand that that is all he wants of me. The reason for the increasing success of conservative ideas in recent years is not that our ideals are much more correct now than those we held, say, in the Goldwater era. We prosper in many ways because we have begun to study the political process and to work together to implement our new knowledge. In our day we need still more conservatives who are first philosophically sound and then technologically proficient and movement-oriented. We must teach young intellectuals that a flattering and seductive talisman which they do not fully understand will not guarantee them success. They must not rely on victory falling into their deserving hands like ripe fruit off a tree. They have to earn it. Good ideas have desirable consequences only if we act intelligently for them. We owe it to our philosophy to study how to win.
One Step Backward Isn't the End of Communism
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
One Step Backward Isn't the End of Communism
Irresponsible. That's what it is. Many conservatives I thought were smart are not. Being used to fighting only on the defensive against communism, they don't know how to go on the offensive. After generations of retreats and rear guard actions, some activists for freedom mistakenly see the first major enemy reverse as total victory for our side. Euphoria now is extremely dangerous and irresponsible. The Cold War won't be over until there are irreversible steps taken which end the threat of communism. That won't happen until the communists are disarmed both militarily and ideologically. What's been happening in the Soviet empire has fascinated all of us. But not much is irreversible. Is the Soviet Union significantly cutting its nuclear or non-nuclear munitions production? No. Does the Soviet Union still have the largest munitions production in the world? Yes. Do the Soviet leaders have the power to crush dissent as the communist Chinese did? I believe so. Do we see an end to Soviet-funded, Marxist-Leninist subversion and guerrilla activity all across the world? No. Do the anti-Communists in or out of government in any part of the old Soviet empire have sufficient weapons to contest seriously with Soviet armed forces in or adjacent to their countries? No. Is it likely the U.S. and other Western countries will disarm much more rapidly now than will the communist countries? Yes. After an "era of good feeling," including withdrawal of the U.S. from Europe and imbalance disarmament of the West, if the Soviets reversed their course and became obviously threatening again, would it be possible to stir Western democracies into rearming rapidly and adequately? I doubt it. Did Lenin say, "Two steps forward, one step back"? Yes, he did. We expect U.S. liberals to be giddy about any sign of communist mellowing. But conservatives must remember how the communists have achieved all their successes. It is surely not because they bring about happiness or prosperity. Far from it. They depend on systematic terror and institute permanent misery and grinding poverty. They harness hate and ride on envy. Lenin said, "Worse is better." To the masses under their control they bring equality only in hopeless, fearful penury. To their own elite they do bring a life of privilege. But the powerful are void of dignity and the mellowing unbought grace of life. Their power is the power of corrupt prison wardens. Their pleasures are those only a sadist could enjoy. They exist by destroying freedom. They pervert language and rise by lies and deceit. The nomenclature in Marxist countries feed on the masses and on each other. They practices cannibalism as a new art form, where each bureaucrat knows his associates may devour him if he does not cleverly consume them first and each new clique survives in power by roasting its Marxist predecessors. Will all communists who rose to power through this process meekly submit to humiliating retirement? It is wishful thinking to believe so. In areas they control, communists have repeatedly been willing to use every power of the modern state to crush any possible internal opposition. Their apparent self-restraint now is from uncertainty of result, not from principled renunciation of force. It is not reasonable to expect all the dissidents in the old Soviet bloc to be clever enough to dismantle the totalitarian apparatus without ever exciting the communist elite to bloody repression against them. Power dies hard and absolute power dies hardly at all. This warped system has always had its apologists and supporters in non-Marxist countries. Why so? Why has such a cauldron of misery still attracted supporters in free countries and bewitched there so many well-meaning people who would certainly lose their precious freedoms or their lives if communism were to take over their countries? Only the communists' surpassing skill in areas of political technology makes them able to pass themselves off as civilized. Scientific socialism is nothing more than a generations-long empirical study of how to accumulate and keep power. They have no cause but the accumulation of power. All political techniques are put in service to that end. Like a giant, cancerous tumor, the Marxist world is corrupt on the inside but still growing at its edges. Rot on the inside may be bad news for the cancer, but it is not necessarily good news for its victim. Ask the Salvadorans or the Afghans. And the party cadres undoubtedly intend to resume internal repression if the passage of time and their milking the West of sufficient credits, technology, aid and political and military concessions can ease their current internal difficulties. They are highly skilled in using their limited ability to affect public policy in free countries. Unable to compete successfully in free elections, communists and their allies focus in the West on shaping public policy in those policy areas most important to them. As is so often the case with totalitarians, Mr. Georgi Arbatov, to this day a self-proclaimed Communist who nonetheless supported Boris Yeltsin in yesterday's Russian presidential election, telegraphed their strategy very early in this reform period. Arbatov said, approximately, "We are going to do the worst possible thing to you, deprive you of an enemy threat." The Cold War over? Not by a long shot. Should the Allies have declared victory as soon as we invaded Normandy? It's not over 'till it's over. Proclaiming it's over, acting as if it were over, makes no more sense than it would have for General Patton, after Normandy, to have started generously making things easier for Hitler. Here's how to tell when it's over. When they surrender. When they are without weapons. When they are without allies. When economic, political and religious freedom supplant communist ideology in all their former empire. When the Communist butchers of Katyn and the Gulag are brought to trial and sentenced after being hunted down in remote areas of the world, as are the Nazi butchers of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. When these things have happened, it's over, not before. The worst disaster for Communists in current events is the collapse of their once-persuasive myth that communist victory is inevitable. That's a serious but not necessarily fatal loss. Surely they have problems in the Soviet bloc. Those problems are largely of our making. Does anyone believe for a minute there would be all this unrest in the East if the West were not seen now to be very strong and prosperous? Absolutely not. But don't we know from experience the communists are expert in taking lemons and making lemonade? Recall the Tet offensive. In the midst of all their problems, there are the makings of lemonade for the communists in the dramatic drop in threat perception in the West. It is a safe bet that Gorbachev uses this possibility to justify his apparently weak policies to communists who would eliminate him tomorrow if they thought doing so would keep them in power. Surely many smart, determined, unrepentant communists believe Gorbachev is doing all he can to bring them eventual victory. Yes, I know there is some chance the situation will get out of hand for the masters of the Kremlin. Revolutions of rising expectation engulfed King Louis XVI, Czar Nicholas II, and Shah Reza Pahlavi. But each of them had a conscience and none of them had an ideology or an efficient counterpart to the KGB. Here's what I think should be done now: Do everything we can to encourage anti-Communists in communist countries. This includes public statements critical of the slow pace and inadequate nature of current reforms. It also includes political education and training of real dissidents. In sum, encourage their dominoes to keep falling. Do absolutely nothing to help the governments in countries still controlled militarily by the communists. No money no concessions. Keep our powder dry. If we start celebrating now, we will weaken our ability to react to opportunities and dangers the future is sure to bring. If we are to win now in the Cold War, we must understand it's not over. Right now our nation needs conservatives with the spirit Gen. Patton had after Normandy in the last big, hot war. The communists will recoup and more if we let them. A self-avowed Marxist-Leninist still has control of immense armed forces and his finger on the most potent nuclear button of all time. And some say it's over, that we've won. Don't bet your life. It's so like a fairy tale. The evil rulers are overthrown. The people rejoice and pick new rulers of their choice. Prosperity and good feeling then mark a new era of freedom. Unfortunately, actual events seldom end as do so many happy fairy tales. The people of Central and Eastern Europe are unlikely to live happily ever after. Unhappily, I foresee economic and political disaster in these areas, and soon, whether or not the Red Army soldiers all pack up and go home. Let's look at the political dynamics. Generations of communist oppression have done more damage to the subject peoples than is generally understood. The decades of Soviet looting are well documented. The daily, deadly terror and the GULAG are well know to all friends of freedom. These evils have at least moderated. Many people now feel free to criticize communism for the first time in their lives. But the ghosts of the dictators may have a last laugh, even though in many places the communist looting and killing have stopped and the statues of Lenin, Stalin and their equally bloodthirsty local thuglets are literally falling. Partly by design and partly by accident, the generations of totalitarian Marxism stamped out much of the basis of free society. Few in the affected countries, much less in the West, understand the full nature and extent of that damage. The now-prominent anti-Communist leaders in "liberated" areas almost totally lack governing experience. But that is not the biggest obstacle blocking their creation of stable, free governments. Far worse is their almost universal and deeply ingrained prejudice against the processes by which economic prosperity can be achieved. Free governments will not survive unmitigated economic disasters in these countries. In July of 1990, I led a group of twenty four Western conservative activists, mostly Americans, on a week long International Policy Forum visit to Czechoslovakia and Hungary. We weren't sight seeing. We had a heavy schedule of meetings with a wide variety of anti-Communist leaders and activists: newly elected legislators, newly appointed government officials, political party officers, youth leaders and politically active professors. We really liked them. These Czech, Slovak and Hungarian activists all hate communism. Only one person whom we met admitted any sympathy for democratic socialism. All agreed their countries must rapidly create wealth. Yet, time and again, our hosts would say, often in so many words, "We have to prevent people from making quick profits by taking advantage of the situation here." In vain did we point out that "quick profits " is another way of saying "rapid wealth creation." Generations of communist propagandists have taught that profit is the evil goal of greed, that property is theft, that wealth is unfair and that private economic transactions always imply exploitation of someone. Even the leading anti-Communist activists have not yet freed themselves from these inculcated beliefs. And there's another, accidental factor. During the communist domination, only the communist oppressors had money, property and power, all of it ill-gotten. Thus the example of their own abusive behavior worked with their unrelenting attacks on capitalism to drive home the belief that personal prosperity is a sure sign of corruption and looting. This deep-seated mind-set may prevent development of a free market system soon enough to save the fragile democracies now in formation. Simply holding open elections won't establish stable, free governments in eastern Europe. If open elections are followed by economic disaster, the nascent democracies will collapse. If the people suffer great economic hardship and feel no personal economic benefits, they will before long accept a persuasive demagogue. He would be a general or a union leader or a politician, of the left or of the right, who promises to solve all problems when he assumes supreme power. And good-bye democracy, good-bye all chance of the prosperity a free market alone can bring. Accustomed only to a command economy and deeply distrustful of the profit motive, the leaders of the new political infrastructures in these countries nevertheless say they want to install free enterprise. Yet they fear to make changes which might result in some people getting rich. Many even confess they are seeking a "third way" between communism and capitalism, no doubt foolishly hoping some egalitarian scheme can be devised for prosperity through free enterprise without permitting anyone to amass private capital. Meanwhile serious inflation is beginning and unemployment is about to skyrocket. In Prague last summer, I took my wife and a friend out to eat one evening. Total food bill for the three of us was $0.90 U.S. Our rides on the fine Prague subway cost us about $0.02 U.S. apiece. Depriving their people of almost everything else, the communist governments did subsidize staple food and transportation. The new governments allow consumption of many other kinds of goods and services. These countries simply cannot now afford the old subsidies. And much of the government-owned industry is shutting down, unable to compete with more efficient Western producers. The destabilizing political effects of steep price rises and high unemployment are easy to predict and will soon become more obvious than they are today. In our dozens of private meetings with activists in the new political structure of Czechoslovakia and Hungary, our group stressed, time and again, the urgency of some basic steps toward economic freedom and prosperity: Give ownership of all government-owned housing to the present occupants or, where the buildings predated the communist takeover, to the owners whose property was confiscated by the communists. Restore clear title to farm property to the original, private owners or, where they can be identified, to their heirs. Make fair financial restitution to former owners or their heirs where it's not realistic to return land titles, as in cases where a dam has flooded the land or an apartment house has been built on it. For individuals who want to farm but lack historic claim to farm land, divide into economically viable tracts the historically government-owned farm land and farm land without any known, legitimate private claimants. A fair drawing could be devised to make sure everyone gets a chance at the best of such land in the region of his choice. Some government-owned concerns which produce goods and services are economically viable. And many of these do not have historic owners to claim them. In these cases, ownership should be privatized through stock distribution, perhaps directly to the current employees or, by lot, to the public. Mrs. Thatcher used several creative methods to distribute ownership fairly and widely. These steps, and others like them, would immediately create large numbers of people with a personal, financial stake in the survival of the new, free political institutions and in a free market system based on private property. The resulting political stability would enable the market to work and prosperity to develop. Care must be taken to make sure real ownership transfers to the beneficiaries. Dean Henry Manne of the George Mason University Law School in Virginia recently participated in a meeting of Soviet economists on the topic of privatization. After two hours it became clear to him that at most they were discussing giving people "ownership" in some obscure, metaphysical sense. Apparently the society which for so long defined "peace" as "the absence of opposition to communism" still is tempted to employ George Orwell's Newspeak, particularly where to do otherwise would allow people to earn and to own real personal wealth. Real ownership includes the right to buy and the right to sell property. Without these rights, expect no prosperity. Without some such changes, political freedoms will not last. Too many people will feel economic pain; too few people will feel they have benefited. Enter then a man on horseback, a Juan Peron, a Benito Mussolini or even a Leon Trotsky. When our visiting group made the above suggestions, virtually everyone now in power with whom we spoke in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest would jump in with (often contradictory) reasons why these changes couldn't be made. Here are some of the reasons they gave: No one in our country has any money, so foreigners would come in and buy up everything. No one in our country has money except the old communist officials. They would buy everything and again own the whole country. No one in our country has money, but, said one person furtively, all the Jews have rich relatives abroad who will give them money to buy up everything here. Some people in our country would be more skilled at adapting to the new systems and take advantage of the rest of the people, who would be left with nothing. We could never agree as to which of the former property confiscations to restore; we had confiscations in 1948, 1945, 1939, and 1918. We must plan carefully and proceed slowly because a sudden change would be too much of a shock to our people. The command economy is collapsing. There is not time in these countries for a slow change to a market system. Better to make an immediate, good transition to economic liberty than to delay while seeking an unattainable unanimity. Both former Reagan Ambassador to the European Common Market Bill Middendorf and current Bush Secretary of Housing Jack Kemp have in the past year urged Lech Walesa and other pro-freedom leaders in the old Soviet empire to go "cold turkey" to full economic liberty in their countries. During my July, 1990, visit to Budapest, one of our group warned of a crashing economy during a slow transition to a free market. It would be, he said, as if Great Britain decided to make a gradual change from driving on the left to driving on the right hand side of the road: "For the first weeks of the transition, most traffic will still drive on the left; only the large trucks will switch and drive on the right." Please do not think I believe the situation hopeless and disaster inevitable in Central and Eastern Europe. Circumstances differ, country to country. There may eventually be a more complete break with socialism in Russia than elsewhere. In the old captive nations, it is possible for some to believe their problems were mainly caused by the Soviet occupation, not by socialism. In Russia, people increasingly understand they have communism itself to blame. All these countries contain many intelligent people of good will. Many of the current leaders and activists suffered great personal persecution. They want political freedom and prosperity. They just haven't had the opportunity to learn how to achieve what they want. Their best chance now is for pro-freedom activists in the West to help them make the right decisions. And they must find out what are the most important questions before they can focus on finding the right answers. How can we best undo generations of propaganda and conditioning? How can these people, more than 300,000,000 of them suppressed for so long, develop a healthy work ethic? How can they be taught the economic principles which make possible wealth creation when they have absorbed the false notion that the main purpose of economics is the centralized and thus "fair" distribution of goods and services? Western governments are ill-suited to help. The U.S. government's Small Business Administration, for example, is supposed to help establish profitable private enterprises. Yet its history is filled with waste, fraud, favoritism, abuse and public scandals. Our government's foreign aid bureaucrats don't have a record of success in promoting free market systems abroad. The former East Germany has West Germany, four times as populous and many times as rich to fund the transition from a command economy to economic liberty. None of the other countries has such a benefactor. The solution, if there is a solution, is to educate individually a new infrastructure of public policy activists in Central and Eastern Europe. And the problem is so vast that it cannot be solved in a systematic process. Somehow many different pro-freedom organizations and citizen activists in the West will have to take an interest in forming events in the East. Every government in the old Soviet empire is talking about privatization and taking a few, hesitant steps in the needed direction. Information about successes and failures in this process must be widely communicated in the old East bloc. Freedom activists need to see successful role models in their own or neighboring countries. Many in the new leadership, despite their life-long conditioning, are educable in economic realities. They surely do not want to fail. But they will not be taught what they need to learn about wealth creation by the United Nations or by programs financed by the United States government. Nor by the World Council of Churches or by official representatives of most "main line" religious denominations. Nor by U.S. organized labor or by Western economists such as John Kenneth Galbraith. All of the above interests are now active in Central and Eastern Europe. And, by and large, they are giving rotten advice, focusing primarily on centralized planning and doing everything in their power to retard the process of privatization, the creation of real property rights and the legitimation of the profit motive. The West, particularly the United States, is endowed with countervailing influences deeply rooted in our cultural values and in our politics. There are many versions of the "American Dream." Forty acres and a mule. A vine-covered cottage and a white picket fence. Opening a small business and being one's own boss. Earning and saving for one's children's higher education. All the bureaucrats and all the trendy leftist journalists have weakened but failed to discredit copybook maxims such as: "A penny saved is a penny earned" and "A man's home is his castle." Experience in the West has proved these ideas to be better suited to human nature than are the ideas of collectivism. The wide range of pro-freedom ideas must be planted and nurtured in the old Soviet empire if political freedom is to grow and to survive there for long. This educational process will not be easy. Law school Dean Henry Manne, recently in the Soviet Union, stopped to talk with a street vendor selling painted wooden dolls. His young government-provided guide grimaced and otherwise showed her great distaste as he bargained with the private vendor. It seemed to Dean Manne to be the reaction one might expect from a respectable Western lady if, while walking along a street with the lady, one might stop to negotiate prices with a prostitute. Typical of communist cadres, whose organizational principles are hate, fear and envy, Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov of Bulgaria had a low opinion of his countrymen. He recently told conservative activist Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, that the typical Bulgarian believes, "It's not that I want to be rich myself but that I want my neighbor to be poor." In late November, 1990, though, Bulgarian Prime Minister Lukanov announced his resignation. He was forced out by pro-freedom activists, many of whom don't share his contempt for the spirit of free enterprise. In December, 1990, I met in Washington, D.C., a top official of the Lithuanian pro-freedom group Sajudis. He and I talked about the thirst for pro-freedom books in Lithuania and throughout the old Soviet empire. On December 26, 1989, this young Lithuanian "opposition" leader left the U.S., returning home with seventy pounds of pro-freedom books I'd given him. What a pleasure I got as I handed over a suitcase full of books by Bastiat, Burke, Chambers, Hayek, Kirk, Orwell, Sowell and others. And what gratitude the Lithuanian showed. In November, 1990, the same Lithuanian activist visited D.C. again. Now he's an important government official in the Republic of Lithuania. During his recent trip, we agreed that he would send and I would host in my office two Lithuanian activists for three months educational internships at the Leadership Institute, the educational foundation I head. They proved to be excellent people. For three months in the autumn of 1990 I hosted and trained in the U.S. a pro-freedom Hungarian law student whom I met in Budapest. He returned to Budapest November 14, 1990, filled with enthusiasm and new skills for his fight for free enterprise, traditional values and a stable democratic government in Hungary. Similarly, I arranged for internships in the D.C. area in early 1991 for two young activists each from Estonia and Romania. Also very fine people. Many more should follow. In every country where people are freeing themselves from communism, one could easily find many fine people with keen interest in learning about government, politics and economics from U.S. conservative activists. Their hero isn't Gorbachev; it is Ronald Reagan. They want religious, economic and political freedom. They want to learn how to succeed in a free public policy process. By no means is my Leadership Institute the only U.S. organization working to increase their numbers and effectiveness. Among the others are the Free Congress Foundation, The National Council to Support the Democracy Movements, the American Foreign Policy Council, The Conservative Caucus, the Foundation for Economic Education, the Cato Institute and Laissez Faire Books. Dr. Richard Rahn, vice president and Chief economist of the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S, has made several successful trips to teach supply side economics to academics and new government officials in Central and Eastern Europe. For a time Dr. Rahn enjoyed the irony of lecturing at Karl Marx University in Budapest, but they changed the school's name to Economics University. Among the best of the British groups is the Adam Smith Institute, with an active program of infrastructure education for Eastern Europe. In Vienna, Austria, a fine group of young activists organized a group called Europa Democratica, which already has had a big effect in the first sets of free elections in nearby countries. Some Western-based emigre groups from Central and Eastern Europe are doing very good work. But many, many other Western leaders and pro-freedom organizations must take actions, and soon. Surely it's worth some time, talent and private sector money for us to try to create and stabilize freedom in Eastern Europe. I believe conservatives have a moral obligation to do what we can to help. Even if we fail, we should throw what sand we can into the gears of socialism. Remember how many billions of Soviet rubles have been spent over the years to destabilize the West. For several months I worked on a project to make it possible for anyone to get involved. Four young Europeans helped me assemble a listing of current leaders of pro-freedom activity in the old Soviet empire. The result is the first edition of the Freedom Activists Directory, published in January, 1991. This directory contains the names, addresses, phone numbers and other available facts about more than three hundred fifty worthwhile contacts in the public policy process from the Baltic to the Black Sea and from the Danube River to, yes, Siberia, including: New government officials, elected and appointed Political party and youth group leaders. Activists who want to make contacts with their counterparts in the U.S. and other Western countries. This new Freedom Activists Directory will be sent, free of charge, upon request while the supply lasts. For your free copy, write to The Leadership Institute, Steven P.J. Wood Building, 1101 N. Highland Street, Arlington, VA 22201. Whether through this directory or from other sources, many courageous freedom activists are now accessible to U.S. conservatives. Contact from any helpful person or any responsible U.S. group interested in making contacts will be welcomed by those in the old captive nations who for so long suffered deprivation, terror, imprisonment and sometimes worse. These activists now outspokenly condemn communism. Their activity is open, their beliefs no secret to the KGB. In fact, anti-Communist activists with strong contacts in the West usually have been safer than those who could be persecuted without causing an international uproar. In any case, freedom activists in these countries will have much better chances of success if they get good advice, personal encouragement and help from citizen activists in the West. A clear majority of the freedom activists have fairly good English, often courtesy of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, the BBC and other broadcasts. Some made a special study of English while in communist jails. Those who can't speak English usually can read it fairly well. Western books, passed rapidly from hand to hand, have been a popular item on the black market for may years. So language problems are no great barrier. My resources aren't great, so I'm focusing on two projects, an intern program and the Directory. But look at some of the wide range of useful, possible activities for individuals and organizations which c
The Philosopher in Action
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
The Philosopher in Action
A conservative intellectual in St. Louis recently wrote to tell me, in effect, that he long ago gave up hope of achieving anything worthwhile through the political process. He eloquently damns politics, politicians and all their works. For a fellow in my line of work, which is preparing conservatives to participate successfully in the public policy process, this man is a great challenge. We have mutual friends and acquaintances, this man and I. And these friends have described him to me. They tell me he is a determined collector of books on liberty, tough, smart, opinionated, strong-willed, highly educated, and, my personal favorite, crusty. Since I am in my early fifties, I know that before long some young whippersnapper may describe me as "crusty." I can hardly wait. My correspondent is a great challenge because his letters tell me he's convinced that political action, like the prayer of the wicked, availeth nothing. His settled view seems to be that education regarding issues and philosophy is valuable. But that education in practical politics, at best, wastes our time and, at worst, leads us into temptation. These views are not unique to this conservative intellectual. They can claim an ancient lineage. Plato wrote of all those who take part in any kind of government, "They are not statesmen. They are party leaders, leaders of bogus governments and themselves as bogus as their systems." Plato, of course, was an idealist best known throughout history for his construction of a theoretical model for an all-pervasive government. But Plato's personal efforts to have influence over certain rulers of his time failed so miserably that he entirely gave up political activity. On the other hand, the more practical Aristotle had little interest in theoretical utopias. He published a systematic study of the actual governments of all the Greek city states, of which only his Constitution of Athens has survived. And Aristotle reputedly had a significant, practical impact on the mind of his Macedonian student prince, whom history calls Alexander the Great. More than two thousand years later, a prominent member of the British parliament, Edmund Burke, upheld Aristotle's principles and his prudent view of politics. In fact, as a university freshman in 1744, Burke attacked authors who disdained on theoretical grounds Aristotle's analysis of the dynamics of practical governmental affairs. "The blackguard stuff," Burke said, "the hoard of exploded nonsense, the scum of pedantry and the refuse of the Boghouse school-philosophy." In 1775, the mature Burke wrote, "Man acts from adequate motives relative to his interests; and not on metaphysical speculations. Aristotle ... cautions us against this species of delusive geometrical accuracy in moral arguments, as the most fallacious of all sophistry." In our day, Professor F.A. Hayek's final book, The Fatal Conceit, warns us not to presume that the extended order of our society was designed consciously by any person or even by a collective decision-making process. Professor Hayek* was a great admirer of Edmund Burke. Like Burke, Hayek stresses the almost certainly disastrous, unintended consequences if we succumb to the temptation to use the powers of government to re-design long-established relationships in society in order to produce results, for example, to fit someone's theoretical model of "fairness." But I may appear to be going a bit far afield. Bear with me. Surely I don't for a minute believe that my crusty correspondent has any but the highest regard for Professor Hayek. And I'm betting he admires Edmund Burke as well. Burke's contemporary, Adam Smith, surely did. Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, said that Edmund Burke was the only man he had ever known who had independently reached the same conclusions about economics which he had reached. More than any other man, Burke is credited with providing and brilliantly communicating the intellectual arguments which activated Britain and much of Europe against the French Revolution and for "the cause of social order." I have brought Edmund Burke, fully credentialed, into this discussion because conservatives cannot help but admire Burke's towering intellectual achievements for liberty and order. Moreover, Burke was a practicing, professional politician virtually all of his adult life. In Burke we see a principled man who, during all his long career, took vigorous actions to promote his principles, a man who understood the proper relationship between ideas and actions, a man who stood by good causes even when it appeared those causes were losing. In 1770 Burke wrote, "It is the business of the speculative philosopher to mark the proper ends of government. It is the business of the politician, who is the philosopher in action, to find out proper means to those ends, and to employ them with effect." Burke could not take seriously people who failed to act and act skillfully on their principles. He wrote, "For my part, I find it impossible to conceive that anyone who believes in his own politics, or thinks them to be of any weight, who refuses to adopt the means of having them reduced into practice." In other words, you owe it your philosophy, first, to study how to win and second, to take appropriate actions to win if you can. Burke explicitly held that education as to issues and philosophy was insufficient. He argued: What is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent, that which is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect, it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always acted right; but has taken special care, to act in such a manner that his endeavors could not possibly be productive of any consequence. As a conservative activist for more than thirty years now, I have fought for conservative public-policy victories. I am among the many conservatives whom experience has taught that being right, in the sense of being correct, is not sufficient to win. Victory in protracted political conflicts most often goes to the side which creates the greatest number of effective activists. In the United States, where the word conservative in politics is understood to imply a love of both liberty and order, it is in my interest and, I believe, in my intellectual correspondent's interest for there to be more conservatives who are both philosophically sound and proficient in practical political technology. Now I know that my correspondent generously supports a number of activities designed to educate people properly on issues and philosophy. I've no objection. The work is worthwhile. More people should support such efforts. I benefit from such efforts. I even do some such education myself. Each year I give away to bright students hundreds of copies of excellent books by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Edmund Burke, Frederic Bastiat, Thomas Sowell, Russell Kirk, Paul Johnson, Whittaker Chambers and others of like mind. But virtually all the conservative educational efforts other than mine focus exclusively on teaching about issues and philosophy. That is not, in the main, what I do. For me it is easier to find people already philosophically sound and make them also proficient activists than it is to take competent opportunists and convert them to conservative values. Each year my many different kinds of seminars train record numbers of people, mostly college students. Among the topics I teach conservatives are how to organize students, to pass the U.S. Foreign Service examination, to produce independent conservative campus newspapers, to pass or to defeat legislation, to gain entrance to the U.S. Civil Service and to prepare themselves to run successfully for public office. I have launched a Broadcast Journalism School and a program to train students to organize successful, campus-speaking engagements for conservative, off-campus speakers. Many years ago a friend called me a Johnny Appleseed who planted young conservatives all across America. At first I was charmed by the comparison. But upon reflection, I drew this distinction: Johnny Appleseed planted seeds and moved on; I do my best to tend the seedlings. My Leadership Institute has a free placement service at the intersection of supply and demand in the young conservative job market. I've placed literally hundreds of young conservatives in full-time jobs fighting against the liberals. In May of last year, my correspondent bluntly wrote a young graduate of my programs that "The political approach of Morton Blackwell is not high on my priority list." Very well. But there are two reasons to hope that, crusty though he may be, he might actually re-order his priorities a bit regarding political education. First, he went out of his way to invite me repeatedly to speak here to the Discussion Club, which is some evidence that his mind is open to what I have to say. Second, over the years he has made several small donations to my Leadership Institute. Clearly he has some interest in what I'm doing. He doesn't seem to be the type of man who spends his money without a good reason. He wouldn't want to send soldiers out to defend him with no training or with weapons greatly inferior to those of the enemy. Someone has to defend freedom at the level of practical politics. We, and those who share our principles, must build one another's strength and skills. My principal life's work has been to identify, recruit, train and place conservatives in the public policy process. Fortunately, I'm not the only conservative activist who sees this need. There may be some flaw in how I find and recruit young conservatives. Someone may disapprove of something I teach. Someone may find fault with my methods of instruction or placement of conservatives in public-policy activity. What I hope and, yes, pray is that my correspondent and others like him who share my policy agenda will reconsider the conclusion that the study of how to win is an unworthy endeavor. If you dislike the way I work, find someone else who does what I do, but better. Please don't concede to our common foes a monopoly of political effectiveness. * Professor Hayek passed away on March 24, 1992 at the age of 92.
Political Management of the Bureaucracy - A Guide to Reform and Control
Donald J. Devine
July 14, 2017
Political Management of the Bureaucracy - A Guide to Reform and Control
<< Download the full PDF here >> Dear Fellow Conservative, I have arranged to have published for you a particularly timely book, chocked full of interesting and valuable information for anyone who wants reform in the federal government's personnel process and wants to learn how to shrink the bloated federal bureaucracy. The book is free for you. All you have to do is click on this link. Or buy it on Amazon by clicking here. Yes, I know that many of us (including me) prefer to read physical books, but I knew that more people would read it online right now if I could distribute it for free. Those who wish to have a hard copy will soon be able to buy the book on Amazon. Here's what my friend and colleague, Joe Morris, an Assistant Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, says about the book I'm giving you for free: "Donald Devine's Political Management of the Bureaucracy: A Guide to Reform and Control will be an evergreen book. It will be a classic in the library of conservative public administration and should be in the orientation packet given to each of the planners, transition team members, and political appointees of every future new conservative administration." -- Joseph A. Morris, former Assistant Attorney General of the United States under President Reagan Please see the Introduction I wrote at the beginning of this edition of Don Devine's book. Most conservatives know that government hiring, whether of political appointees or Civil Service employees, has long been a tragic mess. Dr. Donald J. Devine, who served as Director of the Office of Personnel Management in Ronald Reagans' first term, grappled with these problems at the highest level. He accomplished a lot where others have failed miserably. In this book he shares his experiences and points out how conservatives can achieve real reforms. You probably know other conservatives who share an interest in reforming and shrinking the federal bureaucracy. If so, please forward to them my free offer of this unique and powerful book. Cordially, Morton Blackwell President The Leadership Institute
Power and Influence
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Power and Influence
The rascals who invited me to speak here did not tell me this luncheon was to be done in the nature of a testimonial. But they did not plan well enough. One of those gracious letters assembled here was delivered, by mistake, to me at this hotel yesterday. The honor you have done to me today is certainly gratifying, particularly because my wife here is with me. But praise will have lasting, beneficial effect if it gives greater weight to what I am about to say. Surely I was not invited to give another campaign speech. You and I have heard this weekend speeches by some of the best orators in our party. Speeches which we have applauded after every paragraph, in some cases after every line. No, you don't expect that kind of speech from me today. Nor should you expect a nostalgic discourse, peppered with war stories about national College Republican battles I fought before many of you were born. Time enough for that around future campfires, late at night. You are activists. You are leaders. It is time for you to think about governing. This is my topic. Right now, today, you have influence. That is why so many Republican presidential candidates are courting you. To a degree, you have power. Your efforts may be crucial to the nomination and election of the next president of the United States. Wise politicians understand this. But you influence and your power will extend beyond the upcoming 1988 presidential election. Many of you, I hope a great many of you, will be governing our country a generation from now. Some will have great influence; some will have great power. The concepts are different. Power means you can make things happen. Influence means that those with power will return your telephone calls and seriously consider what you suggest. Only those with power govern. The dramatic election of Ronald Reagan and so many other conservatives in 1980 was a great change for the better in our country. But it would be outrageously false to say that conservative Republicans now govern or have recently governed America. And, with the great dispersion of conservative Republicans among the campaigns of the several presidential aspirants of our party, it would be preposterous to suggest we have consolidated conservative power in our country. That achievement may be reserved for your generation. In fact, many of the key leaders of the movement which nominated President Reagan are frankly despondent today. They see the victorious team which nominated Ronald Reagan now split among half a dozen presidential candidates. And they are sick at heart because so many non-conservatives were appointed to positions of power in the current presidency. "We lost our chance to govern," they say. "If we could not come to power with Reagan, how can we now unite? How can we ever hope to govern?" they ask. In my judgment, this despondency is not warranted. Just attending this convention, by far the largest College Republican National Committee history, would have given renewed hope to many of those who fear our conservative movement has peaked. But, more fundamentally, there are reasons to believe our greatest days are yet to come. Changes are not easy and they take much time in our system of government. That is how the Founding Fathers intended it as they designed our Constitution here in Philadelphia two hundred years ago. Two generations of overwhelming, liberal Democratic control of our nation were not sufficient to destroy the limited government and economic freedoms set into motion by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Under the liberal Democrats, government became worse by increments. In our era, conservative strength has grown by increments. The dawn of the modern, conservative Republican Party came in the efforts to nominate Sen. Robert Taft for president. The last, great effort to nominate Taft came in 1952. Conservatives failed to nominate Bob Taft. And some dropped out of politics. But others kept active. Twelve years later, conservatives nominated Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964. I was there in San Francisco's Cow Palace as the youngest Goldwater delegate. It was wonderful. But Goldwater lost. Again many conservatives dropped out of politics and many others of us fought on, building for the future. Sixteen years later, after our attempts in 1968 and 1976, conservatives nominated Ronald Reagan in 1980. He won. But from the outset his administration contained many in high places who were, to put it gently, unenthusiastic about the principles of limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense and traditional moral values which underlay his campaign. So this year, when you, the participants in this great gathering of the future leaders of the Republican Party, encounter and older conservative unhappy with imperfections in the Reagan Administration, recount these facts: Conservatives could not nominate Taft. Conservatives could not elect Goldwater. And we can't fairly be said to have governed with Reagan. But we have grown in influence and power each step of the way. And the next time, the next time we nominate and elect a conservative president we will be prepared to assemble a much more solidly conservative administration. Here's why. The great, long term achievement of the Reagan Administration is the credentialling of hundreds of solid conservatives for future government service. When we won the 1980 elections, hardly any of us on his nominating team, except some Californians, had previous executive branch experience. It was not realistic to expect to fill all the top slots in the Reagan Administration with men and women who had never supervised big bureaucracies or managed huge budgets. But some good conservatives have now served in virtually every Federal department and agency. In the next conservative administration there will be credible, experienced, conservative candidates available for every position of importance. Then these newly appointed conservatives, some just a few years older than you, will assuredly fill the slots under them with many of you now in this room. I believe conservative unity may be achieved after what I expect to be a multi-ballot convention in New Orleans next summer. If we do unite then, the following, inevitable disasters will force us together in future election cycles. Unity is always more difficult in prosperity than in adversity, when survival is at risk. And when will we elect the next conservative Republican president? You and I surely hope it will be next year. But despite our best efforts it may not be until later. It is ironic that the young, who have most of the time, are often the most impatient. Please remember how the persistence of the liberal Democrats paid off for them for two generations. I believe you can be as patient and as hard working as the liberals of that past era. As we move into the contest for the 1988 GOP presidential nomination, each of us has many options. I am not yet committed to any candidate, but I'm favorably disposed to most of them. Let me suggest to you a requirement, a prerequisite to support for any candidate. If a candidate's record indicates he will determinedly appoint conservatives, he is eligible for your consideration. If not, pick someone else. Personnel is policy. It does not matter much what a candidate says now about public issues, if the people he would appoint to govern power have other views. A candidate's people reveal more about him than his words. If the staff he has appointed in the past, if many of his current campaign leadership do not share your philosophy, you would not be pleased with the policies of his administration. With all the current excitement about presidential politics, it may be hard to focus on other aspects of political power. But the truth is that the executive branch does not really govern. Give me the choice between a conservative Republican administration and a conservative Republican Congress. I'll pick the Congress every time. It is true that a president usually can get any one thing he wants through the Congress. But to do so he may have to give up fifty different things key members of the Congress demand. Despite the prestige of the White House, the presidency is clearly the junior partner to the Congress under our system. Therefore, if you are serious about governing, you must have power in the Congress. Career opportunities abound there. Staff as well as elected members have real power. Career bureaucrats have power as well. Conservative Republicans are rare as diamonds in the Foreign Service and the Civil Service. Yet there is no reason why we should grant the liberals any monopoly in these areas. The pay is good, and the job security is about perfect. The judicial branch of our Federal government offers its own range of opportunities for you. It is in this area that the Reagan administration has most consistently used its power for conservatives. At the state and local government levels as well, there are many satisfying opportunities open to you. These are often the best places to launch yourself in the process. At all levels and in all branches, power is divided and shared, as it should be. But only those inside government have power. All others can have, at most, influence. Parties are vehicles to power. Grassroots political groups can propel people to power. But only people in government wield legal power and make public policy. It is not enough for conservative Republicans to have influence. If you or others like you do not devote all or at least some of your lives to service in government, the power of government will be in other hands. People who do not share your principles will rule. You will be governed by their policies. Not enough good people are willing to work in government. Many seek power for unworthy reasons. Some seek power for prestige. Some seek power for the pleasure of ordering others around. Some seek power because they are socialists at heart. Some seek power so they can get rich on graft. Government power is too dangerous to be given to those who most relish its use. Our system needs now and will continue to need an influx of people to government who are firmly committed to the domestic and foreign policy views of the great majority coalition which twice gave Ronald Reagan landslide national victories. You qualify. You and the scores of thousands you represent here today. You and the hundreds of thousands of your fellow students whom you have the ability to recruit, train and activate. Despite the ongoing effort of liberals to restrict, through so-called "campaign reform" the rights of all citizens to organize and participate in political activity, Americans still enjoy the freest political system in the world. Most Americans, however, are not politically active. Almost half don't vote. Relatively few exercise our rights of all citizens to contribute or work in politics. So the ones of us who are active determine who is given the right to govern. In your lifetime the once dominant liberal infrastructure has been greatly weakened, largely through the failures of its policies. And a mighty new coalition has gained strength through the vehicle of our Republican Party. It is not necessary for us to invent a new coalition for 1988. The materials are at hand for a new, normal governing majority. Our infrastructure is already in place and ready to grow. The old policies of our opponents are discredited. Americans have seen for themselves what works for our country. Unless we fail to remind voters of the chaos of the Carter Administration, unless we abandon the principles which have given us our recent political success, unless we fail to stress the differences which separate us from liberal opposition, unless we settle for influence rather than power, our greatest days are still ahead. Philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." Let us all be students, students of politics and of governing. Let us learn and remember how we got to where we are today. Let us not forget where it is we want to go.
Read to Lead
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Read to Lead
Download the PDF version here. Some people bluntly say they don't read. They say they would read if only they had the time. I will also be blunt: You have time to do what you choose to do. The more you read, the better you read -- and the more you enjoy it. People who don't read cheat themselves. By not reading, you limit what you can achieve, make mistakes you could avoid, and miss opportunities that could improve your life. Soon, as the gaps in your knowledge become apparent to others, you must reconcile yourself to not being taken seriously. Before going any further, I must make clear that I do not urge you to spend the rest of your days nestled in a cozy spot at the local library. Far from it. Actively involved in politics since the early 1960s at the local, state, and national levels, I understand the importance of action. Nothing moves unless it is pushed. Political activists elect candidates, pass or repeal laws, and determine public policy. But while boundless energy and enthusiasm are essential in activists, something else is necessary. To be successful leaders, activists must also be well - informed. How To Learn You can learn in three different ways: 1. By personal experience. You can learn by trial and error. Known also as the school of hard knocks, trial and error is the most painful way to learn anything. I can't deny that this school teaches its lessons well. Its drawback, however, is that by the time you graduate -- if, indeed, you ever graduate -- you're too old to go to work. Students who study only at this school learn things only the hard way. No matter how diligent a student you are of the school of hard knocks, you cannot learn by first - hand experience everything you should know. 2. By observation. By paying attention to what goes on around you, you can learn from the experience of others. Careful observation is invaluab le to anyone in any field, from sports to science to politics. But again, you cannot be everywhere. Everyone's individual power of observation is necessarily limited. 3. By studying the experience of others. You can't experience or observe everything, but you can, by reading, learn from the experiences of your contemporaries, the previous generation, and those who lived ages ago. You can learn from them all by reading their works and books about them. After you have accumulated a lot of knowledge about how the world really works, you can become highly effective and achieve many things important to you. In politics, it is not enough to know what's right. To succeed, your command of a subject must be so secure that you can persuade people you are right. And then you must activate them. You should have such a mastery of the issues that you can frame your arguments to anticipate and render ineffective your opponent's arguments. You should know all you can learn about what works and what doesn't work. How do you accomplish this? Schooling alone will not suffice. All knowledgeable people are largely self - taught. To read the rest Please view the PDF here
Social Change and Friends of Liberty
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Social Change and Friends of Liberty
In the October, 1948, Partisan Review, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wrote, "I see no obstacle to the gradual advance of socialism in the United States through a series of New Deals." On June 14, 2001, columnist George Will wrote in The Washington Post that we have now experienced "the intellectual collapse of socialism." Both of these claims could be true. Socialism may continue to advance even if it is intellectually dead. In the United States, as in eastern Europe, the song may be over, but the malady lingers on. Socialists win most elections in Europe and elsewhere now. Despite the remarkable advances for liberty in Chile some years ago, the current president of Chile is a socialist. In the United States, proponents of more liberty certainly now have the intellectual initiative. The promoters of big government have no proposals as intellectually stimulating as: Education vouchers and other means of choice in education Personalization of Social Security Medical savings accounts Economically stimulating tax cuts of many types Deregulation of private enterprise Privatization of many services long provided by government and many other creative and valuable ideas These ideas for social change all make good sense and have been described and advocated by innumerable scholarly studies. But those who hold government power in the U.S. are closely divided on these and other questions of liberty. The future of public policy regarding these and other matters which involve liberty is very much up for grabs. Although the friends of liberty have the new-idea initiative, the left's old policy agenda (more government) still resonates sufficiently to win many public policy battles when promoted by skilled leaders and covered uncritically by the major communications media. Socialism's Appeal to the Darker Side of Human Nature The evidence is overwhelming that liberty works, but liberty runs counter to some powerful instincts -- the propensity for groups of a species to band together and to accept individual leaders (often described by biologists as alpha males or matriarchs) and hierarchical arrangements (sometimes referred to as a pecking order within the group). Certainly human nature includes a desire to tell others what to do, to give orders, as well as a seemingly contradictory tendency to look for and to accept strong leaders who may achieve desirable things. Opponents of liberty freely exploit both traits. "Something for nothing" is always alluring, and those seeking status as its beneficiaries are easily led to believe something for nothing is their right. Among the other human characteristics useful to those who want to accumulate and keep power is envy. In a 1992 trip to Bulgaria, two widely separated Bulgarians told me this story as characteristic of their problem in restoring liberty to their country: Two poor Bulgarian peasants lived side-by-side. One had a cow. The other found an old lamp on a beach. When he rubbed it, a genie appeared and said, "I will grant you one wish, anything in the world you want." The peasant replied, "I wish that my neighbor's cow would die." Human nature includes such desires, a fact well-understood and shamelessly exploited by the opponents of liberty. Lenin learned ways to achieve social change. He wrote repeatedly that scientific socialism was the key. I do not believe he ever actually defined it, certainly not in his essay, "Scientific Socialism," other than to attack other socialists as "non-scientific." But judging from his writings and his actions, it's fair to define Lenin's "scientific socialism" as the empirical study of how to accumulate and keep power. Lenin was aptly described by author Eugene Methvin as "the man who harnessed hate." In his newspaper, Iskra, Lenin wrote, "Our task is to utilize every manifestation of discontent, and to gather and turn to the best account every protest, however small... Concentrate all droplets of popular resentment. Combine all these streamlets into a single gigantic torrent." The Communist Party promised they could eventually deliver freedom, prosperity and high-quality services to everyone. Quite attractive, but all false. Nevertheless, through skilled use of political technology, communists systematically recruited large numbers of disciplined members, as well as many enthusiastic and dedicated fellow travelers. Communist ideology, and the ideas of many non-communist intellectuals, provided and still provides an attractive rationale and justification for anyone who wishes to increase and centralize government power. If socialism has collapsed intellectually, then why do so many intellectuals in the prominent communications media have an obvious bias toward big government? Former Russian Prime Minister Igor Gaidar told Paul Weyrich, "The Soviets spent millions infiltrating your media. Just because the Soviet Union collapsed doesn't mean these people all went away." Not that all or even most proponents of larger, more centralized government were communist agents, but the enormous attractiveness of socialism still gives it dangerous intellectual momentum. A poisonous snake whose back is broken remains deadly for a long time. It still knows how to bite, and it's especially angry. One reason why journalists are so often hostile to the market is that their pay is generally far lower than they feel is their due. Close to ten times as many people graduate with degrees in print or broadcast journalism each year than the number of journalism jobs available. Most journalism graduates never get paying jobs in that profession. Those who do succeed in journalism must endure many lean years as they build their reputations. No wonder so many journalists consider the market basically unfair. Journalism students surely believe they deserve rewards from the outset greater than, say, the lunkhead engineering students, who couldn't even spell well, who sat next to them in freshman English. And yet graduate engineers have corporate recruiters standing in line to hire them at good salaries. Supply and demand work regarding journalism graduates, but many of them remain bitter about the effect of the market in their chosen career. Never mind that any engineering curriculum is much more demanding than journalism courses. A similar analysis would apply to academics, except that, unlike journalists, employed professors can force their audience to study their ideas. Lessons for Friends of Liberty Those who are friends of liberty can defend and expand freedom through understanding and action. Here I will discuss briefly the following topics: The real nature of politics; preference and intensity; public opinion and public policy; movement and organization; power and influence; the design of government; education and activism; and what is to be done. The Real Nature of Politics Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. The winner in a political contest is determined over time by the number and effectiveness of the activists on the respective sides. The number and effectiveness of the activists on a given side is determined by its use of political technology, which includes organizational technology and communications technology. Most political technology is philosophically neutral, which makes it inherently unattractive to people who are motivated by their philosophy. Nevertheless, you owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to study how to win. Most scholars who value liberty highly do not fully understand these political realities and are not particularly helpful when it comes to designing successful action to change society. Academics are as unlikely to come up with a non-academic solution as a stockbroker is to advise a client to purchase real estate as an investment. Most don't understand the subject, and they realize they can't profit when clients invest in it. Only a rare, superb stockbroker would carefully study the real estate market and other available investments in order to give his client truly complete investment advice. Preference and Intensity Despite all the media coverage of public opinion preferences, preferences mean little or nothing. Intensity, not preference, motivates action. In my political education and training lectures I frequently demonstrate this by asking a class to indicate a preference by show of hands. I say, "If each of you had to choose and eat right now either a good apple or a good orange, how many of you would prefer an apple? Now, how many of you would prefer an orange?" Having established the class's preference, I ask, "Now if Jimmy, who preferred an orange, were a candidate for public office, how many of you who preferred an apple would vote against Jimmy for that reason?" The class may include a big majority who prefer apples, but none of them say they'd use Jimmy's preference for oranges as a reason to vote against him. Many politicians whose polls indicate a wide margin of public preference for more restrictions on private ownership of guns have destroyed their chances of election by advocating increased gun control. It happens that the opponents of gun control are much more intense in their preferences. They say, "You will take my gun only from my cold, dead fingers. God made man, but Winchester made men equal!" Intensity motivates action. Strongly motivated people tend to take political action. The direction of social change depends on the vector sum of the forces brought to bear on society. Public Opinion and Public Policy Public opinion doesn't control public policy, even in a democratic government of limited power. Those inside the different branches of government make public policy. If public opinion ruled in the United States, there would be more gun control and no compulsory unionism. And thousands of wasteful and damaging government agencies and spending programs would be easy to abolish. Persuading people to change their opinion, therefore, has little or no effect on public policy, which changes only after the development of intensity and the application of skilled activity to the public policy process. Movement and Organization Those who desire to promote liberty effectively often show a longing for a single organizational solution. "There are so many good groups out there looking for my support. Why can't they get together into one organization?" Without going deeply into the matter, suffice it to say that a movement composed of many organizations which often work together in the public policy process is much more effective for those causes than those groups would be if formally united in one organization. Public policy groups are often led by one person who serves as an organizational entrepreneur. In a movement, different leaders have different strengths and appeal most effectively to different people, thus involving more people in concerted actions. A healthy movement is much stronger than any single organization would be, because people can be led to make the same political choice through different paths. The more, different, controversial issues a group undertakes, the smaller its base of voluntary supporters will be. That's counter-intuitive, but certainly true. Friends of liberty should rejoice that there is, in fact, no vast, right-wing conspiracy. If all good groups were united in one, tightly-led, disciplined organization, that organization would have all the efficiency of the old Soviet economy. Adam's Smith's invisible hand works in changing public policy as well as in creating wealth. Power and Influence Power is the ability to make things happen. Influence is the ability to have one's views at least taken into account by those who have power. Friends of liberty must not settle for influence. They must strive for and achieve power. That requires political action. No matter how bright an intellectual may be and no matter how rigorous and conclusive his logic, his ideas will not change society until he or leaders he has persuaded and intensely motivated actually achieve government power through the public policy process. The Design of Government Matters In Western civilization, history shows a remarkable correlation between limited government, free markets and protection of private property on the one hand and prosperity on the other. And geographical expansion often accompanies prosperity. Surely the original, tiny city-state of Rome could not have grown to dominate so much of the known world had its political structure not incorporated so many peculiar impediments to government action: Two chief magistrates, consuls, elected annually, each with the right to veto the decisions of the other Many elected tribunes, each with the right to veto proposed government actions Elected religious leaders with the right to delay and sometimes to prevent government actions Other elected magistrates with tenure and powers independent of the consuls A senate of former magistrates, men of substance and experience who often controlled the resources available to the magistrates. No wonder the concept of private rights against government power took root in the Roman Republic. No wonder citizenship came to convey valuable rights. No wonder that Romans developed remarkable patriotism for the system which protected those rights. Adam Smith could have explained why the liberties built into their republican system of government resulted in prosperity for Rome. F.A. Hayek could have explained why the peculiar government structure of the Roman Republic enabled Rome to expand so greatly in competition with the hundreds of other, less limited, governmental systems which surrounded it. The origins of the Roman Republic's system are largely lost to history, but it's almost as if their founders intended to make it as difficult as possible for the government to do anything. And we know for certain that the Founding Fathers of the United States did their best to structure a government of guaranteed rights, separation of powers and checks and balances to make it very difficult for the American government to act. In any case, like the United States, the Roman Republic succeeded spectacularly while so many other contemporary systems stagnated or fell. Similarly, the earlier success of Athens and the subsequent success of the British Empire can, I believe, be traced to the development in Athens and in England of free markets, private property and individual rights against government power. The Roman Republic lapsed into despotism when the democratic aspects of its constitution, requiring mass assemblies at a single location of those who voted, proved inadequate to govern a rich empire stretching over much of three continents. The inherited republican virtues could not be sustained when there was so much wealth to be looted and those who actually could vote at Roman assemblies were largely poor, easy to buy and small in number relative to the population of the republic's empire. Athenians lost their empire, their liberties and their prosperity more quickly, largely because the constitution of Athens lacked effective checks and balances and therefore ambitious demagogues frequently set the whole force of the state behind ill-considered, disastrous policies. Neither Athens nor the Roman Republic ever developed the concept of representative democracy, which appears to be necessary to the preservation of liberty in a democratic republic larger than a small city-state. Britain, of course, built its tradition of liberty, its prosperity and its empire during the period when it enjoyed its fullest checks and balances among the branches of its government. Education and Activism Many years ago, my Leadership Institute accepted a fine intern at the recommendation of someone I didn't know, a friend of liberty in Argentina who happened to be a provincial bureaucrat there. Some years later, I conducted a political training seminar in the bureaucrat's home town. While there for my seminar, I met the man who had suggested the fine intern to me, and I learned from his insights. "I have carefully studied what you and your friends are doing," he told me. "I'm doing in Argentina what you do in the United States, creating leaders who will be effective for liberty. But you have it so much easier in the United States than I do here. "In the United States, your culture contains so many good influences. You have many good books widely available. You have many magazines and newsletters which promote liberty. Many of your religious leaders support economic liberty and the right to property. You have radio and television programs and active organizations which oppose socialism. "Many parents in your country clearly understand the philosophy of freedom and teach it to their children. You even have some university professors who understand economics. "In my country, we have almost none of that. Very few good books available, no good periodicals, few if any good professors, no broadcasters who understand liberty and no active groups which support it. The Church in my country is totally dominated now by 'liberation theology,' which at root is Marxism. "You already have millions of people who think right. I do not. When I find bright young people, I have to do myself the hard work of forming them philosophically. That takes years. Only then can I proceed to teach them how to be effective in promoting liberty here." He understood clearly what must be done. He worked systematically with the limited resources available to him. And he had the order of leadership training right: first make sure their heads are screwed on right; then teach them how to be effective. Neither education alone nor activism alone will do. Education alone is feeble. Activism alone is dangerous. What is to Be Done: How to Achieve Social Change What's a friend of liberty to do? We must efficiently apply our time, talent and money to bring about social change. What's a friend of liberty to do? Friends of liberty must fight to roll back many aspects of government and against expansions and new concentrations of government power. Absorbing the lessons of history, we must cherish and, where possible, nourish individual rights, separation of powers, and checks and balances in government. What's a friend of liberty to do? We must learn to understand human nature, how to persuade others and how public policy is made. And then we must take effective actions to change society. What To Do Regarding Education When one considers how to change society, education comes first to mind, especially forming minds to appreciate ordered liberty properly. Without the immense educational investment made already in America by friends of liberty and described by my Argentine friend as "good influences," the cause of liberty would be virtually hopeless here. Unique in the world, those huge investments have been made voluntarily here for many years and are still being made. They appear even to be growing. I would never suggest that anyone reduce contributions of time, talent and money to teaching about the philosophy of liberty and how it applies to public policy. But the question arises as to how to direct those investments to have the maximum effect on the country. Each individual's contributions, even large contributions, constitute only a tiny portion of the total spent for this purpose. Which investments are most productive? Without leaders there are no followers and no chance of desirable changes in society. Support educational activities most likely to create leaders. And start with the brightest available young adults who can be directed into the most productive activity and potentially lead others for decades. Youth require heroes. Heroic, successful examples inspire imitators, whose lives can change when they suddenly decide, "That's right!" Few students can best their professors. Give them solid faith that they know leaders who in debate would make mincemeat of any socialist. Systematically identify students already receptive to ideas on liberty. This can be achieved in many ways, some more cost-effective than others. Identify the brightest, most charismatic scholars and leaders for liberty. Consider not only "Are they right?" but also "Are they effective in doing what you want done?" Are they brilliant? Are they persuasive? Are they intellectually attractive? Are they good enough not only to persuade but to motivate others intensely? Disseminate their most dramatic, inspiring and easily read writings and speeches, primarily among youth already inclined to accept their ideas. One Milton Friedman is worth more than a hundred other free market professors and more than thousands of academic articles read mainly by people who already support liberty. Youth respond best to personal contact. Arrange for the best advocates and leaders for liberty to appear before student audiences. Sometimes have them debate and devastate proponents of big government. In connection with their public appearances and in special meetings with selected participants, arrange for them to meet personally and at some length with the brightest and most receptive students. Johnny Appleseed, a real man in Virginia named John Chapman, planted apple seeds and then moved on to plant seeds in other areas. His efforts achieved folklore status but would have had little result had no one bothered to tend the seedlings. Potential leaders for liberty, once they sprout, should be nurtured. The late Frank Meyer, senior editor of National Review, was earlier a Communist Party intellectual. He once described for me how Communists used their network of academicians to place their people on college faculties. "When a young Communist got a graduate degree," Meyer said, "we could place him in a faculty position somewhere else within a week." In academia and elsewhere, friends of liberty should support efforts which nurture and empower the very best of the rising generation. My Leadership Institute, an educational foundation, focuses primarily on teaching philosophically sound people how to be effective in politics, government and the media. In 2000 we trained 3,556 students in 155 training schools of 27 types, with a revenue of over $7 million. We deliberately leave to others the admittedly harder and longer task of forming people's minds to favor liberty. Numerous good groups do fine work of that type. In many ways, my Institute serves as the human resources department for many educational groups committed to liberty. But I do give to our brightest students each year hundreds of the most powerful books by Friedman, Hayek, Bastiat and other intellectually captivating friends of liberty. Each of my graduates gets a booklet, "Read to Lead," which encourages them to dig into 25 educational books I recommend and many useful periodicals. I also take special care to link the Institute's graduates to many good educational organizations. I urge students to contact specific groups. I provide lists of my graduates to good groups which agree to offer them opportunities to enhance their intellectual development, deepen their convictions and inspire them to act. What to Do Regarding Activism The proposition that ideas govern is a conceit of many intellectuals. Ideas don't govern. Skills govern. Ideas, at best, have influence. Education is necessary but, I maintain, not sufficient to bring about social change. That is, education about issues and philosophy, about economics and morality, is not sufficient. Nothing moves unless it's pushed. How to do it is no less important than what to do. While more of them must constantly be developed, I see no great shortage of people who think right. Too few of them are now leaders determined to take effective action. Here lies a spectacular opportunity for friends of liberty to change society by inspiring and teaching larger numbers of the people who think right to act effectively. Knowing something doesn't necessarily cause one to act on it. Political-technology training empowers people. Techniques are tools, as a knife is a tool, with no inherent moral or political content. A knife can serve opposite purposes, depending on the motivation and skill of the person who uses it -- to save a life or commit a murder, to create wealth or destroy property. Proper training can make talented people powerful and greatly augment the effectiveness of those with even a little inherent talent. That is why I focus my life on efforts to identify, recruit, train and place good people in the public policy process. More than 300 of my Leadership Institute graduates now work in congressional offices. My Broadcast Journalism School now has 178 graduates known to be working full time in the media, 68 of them in TV news. My field staff has helped local students organize 220 independent campus groups active now in 37 states. Because I've trained good people for decades, I've seen many students I taught grow in effectiveness and make the winning difference in public policy battles. Because those who hold government power are currently so closely divided, I see greater opportunities than ever before. Most good ideas are easier to think up than to implement. Creative friends of liberty often bubble over with good ideas. When they offer public policy advice to those who have actual power, they often discover why it is said that advice is the one free thing nobody takes. Too rarely do they decide to study how to make things happen and set out to gather the resources of time, talent and money necessary to do the job themselves. Society changes for the better when committed friends of liberty learn the real nature of politics and how to organize, how to communicate, how to raise money, and how to lead in the public policy process. Successful efforts inspire imitators who suddenly see: "It works!" Thousands, tens of thousands of proven techniques are available for study and use by those friends of liberty who conclude, however reluctantly, that being right, in the sense of being correct, isn't sufficient to win. Proven techniques include many simple but valuable lessons such as which type faces are easiest to read, principles of layout for printed material, how to recruit good candidates, how to handle negative information, meeting dynamics, even techniques regarding name tags used at meetings. Individually, effective techniques often have only small, incremental effects. But combined they can produce great advantages over the proponents of socialism in battles over who shall hold government power, which bills pass and which are defeated, and which legal principles prevail. Lose enough such battles, and we would suffer massive social changes fatal to liberty. The recent book, Reagan in His Own Hand, prints photographic reproductions of Ronald Reagan's handwritten copy for many of his radio broadcasts. Reagan edited his own drafts carefully. Every one of his handwritten edits enhanced the effectiveness of his message. Reagan was a great communicator. As Mark Twain once advised, "The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." How many friends of liberty haven't learned that? How many friends of liberty have learned how to create and direct emotion as well as our opponents do? How many friends of liberty know how to work effectively for common purposes with others who disagree on some issues? How does this compare with the skills demonstrated by socialists? How many friends of liberty make the perfect the enemy of the good by always rejecting incremental gains, insisting on all or nothing? How much would proponents of socialized medicine have achieved if they had rejected all incremental gains? Teaching skills and tactics is far easier than forming minds. And faster. And cheaper. If I am right that the winners in public policy contests over time are determined by the number and effectiveness of the activists on the respective sides, then teaching skills to like-minded people should be a high priority for every friend of liberty -- an essential investment which will affect our society for the better in the short term and in the long run. Friends of liberty already invest heavily in education on issues and philosophy. That's necessary but not sufficient. What if they spent as much of their resources of time, talent and money (or even 25% as much of their resources) teaching the right people how to take effective action? Society would then move rapidly and decisively in the right direction. Compared to the amounts spent on teaching good ideas, very little is invested in teaching sound people how to change society. Large contributions for these purposes would dramatically increase the number of skilled activists and leaders. Although my Leadership Institute is the only educational foundation focussed on finding philosophically sound people and teaching them how to be effective, the task is far greater than any single organization can accomplish. Friends of liberty should demand that pro-liberty groups they support put new emphasis on teaching practical skills as well as the right ideas -- a request not easily accepted by otherwise brilliant intellectuals who still believe, in their heart of hearts, that victory should fall into their deserving hands like ripe fruit off a tree because their hearts are pure. I stress that there are already more than sufficient people who hold the right views to defend and expand liberty if they were identified, activated and properly led.erty The temptation to accumulate and keep power will never be eradicated as was smallpox. This malady is inextricable from human nature. The battle for liberty will never end in total victory. But it could be lost. All that friends of liberty have achieved could be lost as completely as all the ideas, history and literature lost in the destruction of the Ptolemys' library in Alexandria. Whether the friends of liberty like it or not, the battle rages, the forces are closely matched and the result is uncertain. Those who strive to move society in the right direction by increasing the number of effective activists on the right side ask their fellow friends of liberty, as Winston Churchill asked the United States in February, 1941: "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."
Survival Values
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Survival Values
A speech delivered at the 1989 College Republican National Convention Orlando, Florida July 7, 1989 I will focus today on a topic none of you have ever heard me address before: sex. Right now, Washington, D.C. is experiencing two sex scandals which affect the party you have joined. The first involves Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens of Ohio. A few days ago, Buz Lukens was sentenced to jail on misdemeanor charges for having sex with a 16 year old girl. Unresolved are possible felony charges that he also had sex with her when she was 13. Buz Lukens is 58. His unsuccessful defense in court was that he couldn't have contributed to this girl's delinquency because she was already immoral. The second scandal is still unfolding. It involves the expose of a largely homosexual prostitution ring in the Washington, D.C. area. Already there have been banner headlines about some Reagan and Bush administration officials' involvement. In the news about this second scandal are reports of bugged rooms, two-way mirrors, blackmail, and midnight tours of the White House by teams of homosexual prostitutes. Five hundred credit card receipts for sexual services rendered are in the possession of The Washington Times, which broke the story. Reportedly, a lobbyist who spent as much as $20,000 per month on male prostitutes for himself and friends gave an $8,000 Rolex watch to a White House Secret Service officer who gave him access to the White House West Wing, which contains the President's Oval Office. The White House liaison for the U.S. Labor Department was implicated and has already resigned. The FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and other Federal, State, and local authorities are scrambling to do their jobs as the facts unfold. This story is far from over. As Republican youth activists, you should know who Congressman Lukens is. He is politically destroyed now. But you should know, I want to be sure you know, that Buz Lukens played a unique role in the development of the conservative movement. And he was a key player at a critical time in Republican youth politics. My first College Republican National Convention was in 1963, while I was state College Republican chairman of Louisiana. In those days the College Republican and Young Republican national conventions were held together. In 1963 in San Francisco, Goldwater Republicans won control of both organizations. An exciting book could be written about how Buz Lukens became the new Young Republican national chairman. It was a new era. After Goldwater's defeat, Buz was elected in 1966 to the Congress from Ohio. He immediately started supporting Ronald Reagan for President. Through the Reagan efforts of 1968, 1976, and 1980, Buz was a key leader. For 27 years, despite political defeats, a divorce, financial difficulties, a close call with disabling throat cancer, and other troubles, Buz Lukens remained a state and national conservative leader, effective and admired by grassroots activists. Since 1962 he has been a good friend to me. I don't mind telling you my eyes have filled with tears more than once in recent months as a sex scandal of his own making has brought him down. He made the wrong choices. I pray he can personally recover from this self-inflicted disaster, but his political situation is hopeless. In the unfolding, so-called "call-boy" scandal in D.C., two of the alleged patrons have had ties to conservatives for many years. They are the only ones yet named whom I have known. They made the wrong choices. But what can one say about the judgment of someone who pays for a prostitute with a credit card? Memories may fade, but not credit card records. You who are in your late teens and early twenties live in a world very different from the one I grew up in. A skirt above the knees raised eyebrows then. Movies were self-censored very effectively. Books, magazines, radio, music, and even conversation were much more restrained by traditional morality than they are today. What is commonplace now in the media was rare or non-existent then. There has been a massive assault on moral values. Everywhere there are voices urging young people: "Do it. Do it if it feels good. Do it now. The church is wrong. Your parents are old fogies. Everyone is doing it. Don't be left out. You're entitled to something for nothing. There are no bad consequences. And besides, you won't get caught." In many ways our society has failed you, ignoring the hard-won lessons of history, the accumulated wisdom of the ages, the maxims of morality. Truths revealed, experienced, and long respected are not well taught to most in your generation. And the decline began before your generation. My grandparents and, probably, your great-grandparents were given copybooks in school. These copybooks served two purposes. At the top of each page was written a heading, a maxim or saying, which gave moral guidance, such as, "Honesty is the best policy" and "Honor thy father and thy mother." Students learned handwriting by copying each heading many times, filling each page with the most useful, sensible advice, gleaned from the long experience of civilization. I have one of my grandfather's copybooks from the 1870s. The great English poet and writer Rudyard Kipling is probably best known to most of you, if at all, through Walt Disney's version of Kipling's Jungle Book. But Rudyard Kipling was highly perceptive. As early as 1919 he warned in a marvelous poem, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," that our very survival depends on our not forgetting the lessons of history. Kipling contrasted the eternal verities, which he called the Gods of the Copybook Headings, with the tempting siren songs of Social Progress, "The Gods of the Market-Place, " which falsely claimed that times have so changed that the old truths no longer apply. THE GODS OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS "As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. "We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn “That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. "We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor windborne like the Gods of the Market-Place; But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come. That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome. "With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch. They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch. They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings. So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things." What Kipling is describing here is a cyclical process, which each few generations must experience anew. Yes, the times are always changing, but not always changing in the same direction. In ancient Rome, Marcus Cicero's thundering denunciations of the sexual behavior of Marc Anthony were followed in the next century by the open depravity of Nero and Caligula. And in England, the licentiousness of the Stuart restoration period was followed two centuries later by the Victorian era. The pendulum swings back and forth over time. At a time when our society is newly outraged over the burning of our country's flag and when increasing restrictions on abortion are now certain, and when deadly AIDS is killing thousands, it is not a good bet that society will acquiesce in the loss of all standards of sexual propriety. Torturing each other for fun and profit, public sex acts, drinking urine, eating feces, and even itinerant bed hopping will, I believe, become less acceptable, not more licit in years to come. "When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace, They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease." But when we disarmed They sold us, and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." "On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbor and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: 'The Wages of Sin is Death.'" Notwithstanding waves of propaganda to the contrary, the old truth has emerged: There is no safe sex, except in a monogamous, faithful marriage. There are ways of lessening the risk of promiscuity, but value-free, sexual fun and games, none of them safe, are multiplying the number of victims of incurable, sexually transmitted diseases, one of them absolutely fatal. As yet we have increasingly shrill voices who advocate going beyond today's high level of toleration and say we should create new legal privileges for each increasingly bizarre form of sexual relationship. We are even told AIDS is a civil rights issue, not a public health issue. It was British philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke who wrote in 1772 that "Dissent, not satisfied with toleration, is not conscience, but ambition." "In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul, But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: 'If you don't work you die.'" Perhaps the most fraudulent of the false gods today is the argument that, somehow, a high proportion of us are inevitably, genetically, uniquely foreordained to homosexual activity. One does not have to be a clinical psychologist or any type of scientist to see through that preposterous lie. Young man, your father, your grandfathers, all four of your great grandfathers, all eight of your great grandfathers and on back beyond the reach of recorded time, all their fathers performed successfully and heterosexually. You are the product of eons of heterosexual activity. Young lady, your mother and your grandmothers were not the product of parthenogenesis. They and all your maternal ancestors performed heterosexually and successfully. You are living proof they did. To say that ten or twenty percent of humanity is doomed to heterosexual disfunction is nonsense. Dangerous and arrant nonsense. Authorities agree that sexual behavior is learned behavior. Researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson wrote, "We're born man, woman and sexual beings. We learn our sexual preferences and orientations." No reputable scientist has found any hereditary tie to homosexuality. Even Dr. Alfred Kinsey wrote, "I have myself come to the conclusion that homosexuality is largely a matter of conditioning." The problem is that for many years our society has been conditioning more and more people for this kind of behavior. Sympathetic portrayal is the rule now in movies and dramatic television. I believe it could be demonstrated statistically that in the last ten years major network television productions have portrayed sympathetically fewer clergy than homosexuals. And in so doing they have killed a lot of people. Literally killed them by leading them into temptation. Humans are so constituted as to enjoy sex. If sex were not a pleasure, there would be a lot less procreation. That which is pleasurable tends to be habit forming. And habits include many things, good, bad, and indifferent. Among them are gambling, alcohol, illegal drugs, poetry, music, and various forms of sexual arousal. Just because something feels good does not mean it is good. Bad habits can be broken, particularly if people understand that they are not inevitably, hereditarily forced into those bad habits. The problem I am discussing here is not bad genes but bad choices. Most of us have sense enough not to try heroin or other highly addictive drugs. We recognize there are things, once started, that cannot easily be stopped. Such wisdom could and should be applied to sexual activity. And those whose counterproductive behavior has become addictive, it is still possible to change. Many take control of their own lives every day: smokers, gamblers, alcoholics, and illegal drug users. Studies indicate that about one third of former homosexuals have reformed themselves. Of course there are those who decide at some point to flaunt their homosexual behavior, taking up the cause of gay rights and saying how much better they feel to be out of the closet. Unfortunately for them, feeling better doesn't really make it better. I am reminded in these cases of Winston Smith, the central figure in George Orwell's powerful novel, 1984. Beaten by remorseless conditioning at last, Winston Smith finally thinks he loves Big Brother. But his loving Big Brother only makes the tragedy complete. No reader of 1984 closes that book with feelings of hate or fear of Winston Smith. What one feels is sadness, pity, a wish that someone could help. Our modern era will one day be a bygone era. The people of the future will be descendants of those of us who made the right choices in our own lives. It is a dangerous, imperfect world. But those who came before us have left us valid lessons, not always written as copybook headings, which we would be wise to follow. A person does not profit from his own fatal mistake. But the fatal mistakes of others should be highly instructive. Kipling ended his poem: "Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew, And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true. That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four--And the Gods of Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. "As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man-- There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: -- That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!" My young friends, please spread the word. Traditional values are survival values.
The United States and Russia -- An Odd Couple of Friends
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
The United States and Russia -- An Odd Couple of Friends
On the face of it, Russia and the United States of America appear to have little in common. For almost all of its history, Russia has been an autocracy, a long series of systems in which political, economic and religious power have flowed from the top down. And the very name Russia carries with it an ethnic meaning. From its beginning, the United States was deliberately decentralized, with each citizen enjoying fundamental and enforceable rights of political, economic and religious liberty. And rather than having an inherent ethnic content, American nationality encompasses a system of ideas consciously and rather successfully designed to be shared by all, regardless of ethnicity. If these two giant countries are to be friends and allies, there must be some changes in one or both countries leading to a convergence. As an American, I might be accused of partiality for saying that Russia must undertake most of the changes if our two countries are to have a lasting alliance. But I believe that most Russians would prefer to change to a system that brought them more health, wealth and happiness than they have previously enjoyed. And the evidence is strong that a decentralized, democratic system delivers those benefits. Not that I suggest Russia should adopt everything American. Far from it. Political, economic and religious liberty, yes. MTV and professional wrestling, no. That old, unrepentant Soviet propagandist Georgi Arbatov wrote in the U.S. publication Foreign Policy in June of 1994, "Americans and Russians need not love one another and they are unlikely to become allies anytime soon." I hope Arbatov is wrong in this estimate, as he has been wrong on so many other occasions. This paper will discuss why change in Russia will be resisted, why it will be difficult, why change in Russia is possible and what should be done in Russia, the United States and other countries to create a long-lasting friendship between the former foes, a friendship which would benefit all nations of the world. I see five main reasons why healthy changes in Russia will be resisted and difficult: The deeply-rooted Russian sense of ethnicity remains a powerful force. Ethnic hubris throughout history has led nations to act in uncivilized ways. Human nature includes an element of tribal loyalty in us all. But as travel and communications break the relative isolation of most nations, people with widely different heritages get to know each other personally. Understanding and friendships follow, which make ethnic and racial differences less troublesome to civilization. Communism, which systematically limited travel and communication, retarded this civilizing process in the Soviet Empire. I have a brilliant young friend, a student leader in the fight against the Ceausescu regime in Romania; he is outstanding in almost every way. But he burns with resentment at wrongs done Romanians by Hungarians five centuries ago. In the West, ethnic and cultural self-centeredness sometimes takes more amusing forms, such as the current French law which tries to require that conferences held in France be conducted in French and the French law which lists all the first names which French parents may give to their children. And while anyone may be a British subject, only people of the proper ethnicity are considered to be truly English. Because the United States is a nation peopled almost entirely by immigration from many countries, ethnic heritage, when thought of in America, tends now to manifest itself more and more in harmless activity such as St. Patrick's Day parades and Sons of Italy social events. In this respect I may be typical of Americans: It's difficult for me to become emotionally involved in wrongs my English, Scottish, Irish, French, German and Cherokee Indian ancestors may have done to each other centuries ago. The second major impediment to productive change in Russia is that generations of Communists have given wealth itself a bad reputation there. By their incessant, powerful propaganda, the Communists equated private wealth with evil. Once ingrained, such beliefs are hard to change. And by their example, the Communists further discredited the idea of wealth. The average Russian grew to resent his Communist masters as corrupt exploiters; he saw that those with the wealth in Russia, those who possessed significant personal property and who enjoyed all the luxuries in sight, were his oppressors. No wonder that the newly-rich, however they obtained their wealth, are targets of resentment for many Russians rather than objects of admiration whom they try vigorously to imitate. Russia gets and takes a lot of bad advice from the United States and other countries. In common with political and religious liberty, the productive market system developed as what the late Austrian economist F.A. Hayek called a spontaneous order. Governments in the West did not create these admirable, productive decentralized systems. At the cost of generations of sweat and blood, liberty was gradually wrested from governments. When Russians accept and implement advice about economics from Western governments, their reforms are often counter-productive. Russians who want an economic system which rapidly creates wealth should take great care to learn which Western political and intellectual leaders actually fostered prosperity. The Washington Post recently quoted Alexander Rutskoi as saying, "For me, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal is a great example, and John Maynard Keynes is a real economist." In fact, President Franklin Roosevelt's policies of unprecedented government intervention in the U.S. economy were utterly unsuccessful in ending the Great Depression in the United States in the long years before the Second World War came along. Roosevelt systematically attacked those who produced wealth, so they produced less wealth, which perpetuated the misery which kept him in power. And Russia's recent experience with terrible inflation of the ruble should make Lord Keynes the last economist Russians would admire. Keynes advocated inflation as a means to achieve economic growth; his greatest failing was that he never understood that the temporary economic gains caused by a little inflation could be sustained only by accelerating the rate of inflation, which inevitably leads to economic disaster. In periods of economic crisis, demagogues find a ready audience for promises of simple but false solutions through the use of government power. Writing in England in 1944, F.A. Hayek wrote, "It is the great merit of democracy that the demand for the cure of a widely felt evil can find expression in an organized movement. That popular pressure might become canalized in support of particular theories that sound plausible to the ordinary man is one of its dangers. But it was almost inevitable that some gifted man should see the opportunity and try to ride into political power on the wave of support that could be created for some such scheme." In 1996, even some Americans are proving quite susceptible to nostrums, the bad economics of populist opportunists. In the midst of awful economic conditions in Russia, with almost no experience in how to create the wealth a free market makes possible and with little experience as participants in democratic politics, Russians will inevitably make many mistakes of this nature. The organized political forces in Russia are splintered, which caused the communist and nationalist parties to be over-represented in the new duma. The Wall Street Journal March 20, 1996 quoted retired Gen. Alexander as saying that, after the election of an extremist president, "there would be full nationalization in the afternoon and civil war by evening." Lebed himself was a loser in the recent duma elections precisely because of that splintering. But there will not be 42 parties contesting the upcoming presidential election; the democratic reformers will be more united and almost certainly do better then than they did in the duma elections. Despite these and other dangers and impediments, I believe change for the better is possible now in Russia. Will the new and fragile liberties of the Russian people be preserved and strengthened? It depends on whether or not enough Russians have sufficient wisdom, courage and patience. Will they have the wisdom to study both the massive evidence of the processes which have worked and those which haven't worked to create wealth elsewhere and their own rapidly accumulating experience in post-Communist Russia? Will they have the courage to act on the results of careful study by participating vigorously in politics and the market to bring about the needed changes? Will they have the patience to accept gradual changes for the better and setbacks from time to time? It seems to me that a people who were patient enough to wait in vain for generations for the creation of a "workers paradise" have already demonstrated remarkable patience. And courage has long been amply demonstrated as a characteristic of the Russian people. But sufficient wisdom? That's a question only time can answer. If they consider the matter, they should conclude that time is likely to improve conditions in Russia. It takes time to learn new ways. Over time, those who succeed economically as entrepreneurs or as employees in a free market will serve as role models for others. In time, even those who have gained wealth through less than legitimate means may see it in their interest to promote the process by which the economic freedom of everyone is protected. A generation can produce very dramatic change. One of the worst demagogues in American history was Huey Long, Governor of the State of Louisiana and then a U. S. Senator. He was a major political rival of Franklin Roosevelt. Before he was assassinated in 1935, Huey Long used his political power to amass an illegitimate fortune. His son, Russell Long, inherited much of that wealth and was elected a U.S. Senator himself in 1948. For decades, Sen. Russell Long was a major, effective defender of the free market and property rights for all against the encroachments of big government. In this regard, Russians should beware of people who favor private enterprise but not free enterprise. Another positive factor in Russia is the rapid spread of religious faith. When I made lecture tour there in March of 1993, I noticed that every plane I flew on carried a number of Christian missionaries. In Saratov, on the Volga River, I had several conversations with a local college professor who was an avowed atheist. To my surprise, the professor told me he was delighted by the revival of religion in Russia, both of the Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations. The professor said, "Without religion, there is no morality. Without morality, nothing works." That reminded me of something by the second president of the United States, John Adams. In 1798, President Adams said, "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other." Political, economic and religious liberty fit well together. History demonstrates repeatedly that each liberty supports the others. And to the extent that a nation protects all three, that nation shines out among its neighbors. I promised at the outset to answer Lenin's question: What is to be done? To the suggestions covered above, I would add that more general travel and communications between Russia and the United States would be helpful. Since 1988, my Leadership Institute has hosted in Virginia 39 student interns from former Communist countries, including four young Russians, for three to four months each. In addition, I have led groups of pro-freedom Americans and like-minded leaders from other Western countries on extended tours to meet with pro-freedom activists in Russia and most of the other former Communist countries. Exchanges of this nature should be greatly expanded by people in any country who have sufficient resources and an interest in lasting peace and prosperity for all. Student exchanges with Russia are relatively rare; they should be multiplied. One far-sighted American industrialist, Dr. Robert Krieble organized the Krieble Institute, an educational project of Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C. He has brought over and trained in the United States dozens of bright young activists from the former Soviet Empire, especially Russians. Dr. Krieble's institute now funds a spectacular program of forty fieldmen who conduct seminars, largely in Russia, on practical politics and the principles of entrepreneurship. Others should go and do likewise. The people of the United States have no desire to be a threat to Russia. Right now, the Russian people constitute no immediate threat to the United States. Our opportunity to consolidate the gains for freedom in the world is too great to neglect.
What’s the Real Nature of Conservative Politics?
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
What’s the Real Nature of Conservative Politics?
Political terms mean different things in different countries, and they mean different things in the same countries at different times. In the United States and across the world in the 19th Century, the word “liberal” described someone primarily concerned about liberty. Over the years, the word “liberal,” deliberately adopted by the left in the United States, has come to mean here someone committed to, among other priorities, greater concentration of power in government, more government spending, and active opposition to traditional values. In modern American politics, liberal means left. Leftists have so sullied the word “liberal” that they often prefer now to call themselves “progressive.” Despite this changed but now familiar meaning of the word “liberal,” many American free-market economists persist in calling themselves liberals. Those economists have every right to try to label themselves any way they please, even though that makes their communications more difficult for the American general public to understand. Public opinion polls for many years have shown that approximately twice as many Americans describe themselves as conservatives than those who are self-identified liberals, about 40% to 20%. Americans who call themselves conservatives would almost all agree that liberals, in today's political use of the word, are those who want bigger government. In Tehran, Iran, people who hang on their walls honored photos of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni may be called conservative. In Madrid, Spain, people who hang on their walls honored photos of the late Caudillo Francisco Franco may be called conservative. In Beijing, China, people who hang on their walls honored photos of the late Chairman Mao Zedong may be called conservative. The same word means different things in different contexts. In the United States today, someone who hangs on his wall an honored photo of Ronald Reagan can be called a conservative. Most people now understand immediately. That person is probably committed to limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values. For political purposes, these four principles are generally accepted in America as pillars of American conservatism. About 1960, during my college days, Professor Waldo W. Braden asked each of us in his class at Louisiana State University to describe ourselves in as few words as possible. When my turn came, I answered, “I am a conservative activist.” Professor Braden, who enjoyed quibbles over words, said, “Mr. Blackwell, that is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. A conservative cannot be an activist.” Having already read much by William F. Buckley, Jr., I knew what “oxymoron” meant. I replied to my professor, “We'll see.” Four years later, I was presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater's youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. By then, even liberal college professors had begun to admit that there are such things as conservative activists. I base this lecture about the real nature of conservative politics on my more than 50 years of personal political participation and observation. I earn my living working for conservative employers: five and a half years, on and off, as executive director of the national College Republicans; campaign director (manager) of a Republican congressional candidate's campaign in Louisiana in 1966; a year and a half on the senior staff of the American Enterprise Institute; seven years working for Richard Viguerie, the “Funding Father” of the American conservative movement; a year and a half as a top staffer for conservative U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire; three years as a Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan on his White House Staff, where my duties included serving as President Reagan's liaison to all American conservative organizations; nine and a half years (1990 to 2000) working part time as executive director of the Council for National Policy, the major conservative movement umbrella organization; and since early 1984, employed as president of the Leadership Institute, the conservative political training educational foundation I created in 1979. My Republican Party activities include: in College Republicans, local club co-founder, state chairman, and national executive director; in Young Republicans, local club founder, state chairman, and elected national officer; in senior party Republicans, county committee member, state central committee member first in Louisiana and currently in Virginia; participation in every Republican National Convention starting in 1964, serving as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate at all those conventions except in 1972. I'm now in my seventh consecutive four-year term as Virginia's Republican National Committeeman and thus as one of the 168 members of the Republican National Committee. As a volunteer, I planned and oversaw the 1980 national Youth for Reagan effort, and I currently serve on the governing boards of many different conservative movement organizations (large and small) and Republican Party committees, local, state, and national. That long experience qualifies me to explain what I believe is the real nature of conservative politics. As much as almost anyone, I have walked that walk. The engine of conservative politics in America is the conservative movement, which began largely as a serious intellectual movement in the 1950s. Its principles were already limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values, but it focused primarily on developing its ideas and on the important job of attracting others to those ideas. Typically, conservative intellectuals considered the nitty-gritty of political action beneath their dignity. They identified the errors and dangers of the left. They persuasively promoted an inspiring set of conservative ideas. They did grow the movement. They formed some national conservative organizations which modestly prospered, without raising much money or identifying, much less activating, really large numbers of people. When they did try political action, those early movement conservatives chose to work almost entirely within the Republican Party. But that party was dominated by Eastern Establishment Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller who seemed to have all the money and, as far as internal Republican matters were concerned, the support of all the major print and broadcast media. The nascent conservative intellectual movement managed to attract and recruit sufficient numbers of inexperienced but earnest grassroots conservative activists like me to nominate Barry Goldwater for President in 1964, but Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory that year produced confident and loud predictions that conservatism in politics was dead for good. History didn't work out that way. Starting in 1965, a number of former Goldwater supporters gravitated to the center of American politics, the D.C. area. Hardly any of us had known each other earlier, much less had prominent roles in the Goldwater campaign. But our past personal support of Goldwater credentialed us to each other as we eventually met, sometimes by working together in election contests, legislative battles, or Republican organizations, but often only by chance. This process took several years. While I was executive director of the national College Republicans in the mid-1960s, I met Lee Edwards. He had served high up in the Goldwater campaign, as its director of information. Then he came to Washington, D.C., and opened a conservative public relations firm. As far as I knew, his was the area's only conservative public relations firm. The New York Times once called him “The Voice of the Silent Majority.” Lee generously mentored me, and I supplied College Republican volunteers for conservative events he organized. In early May 1972, while I worked at the American Enterprise Institute, Lee Edwards introduced me to his friend Richard Viguerie, who had served as executive director of Young Americans for Freedom, the youth group organized around the groundswell for Barry Goldwater. Richard Viguerie had moved to the D.C. area in 1965 to form what turned out to be a spectacularly successful direct mail consulting firm. For most conservatives, he was famous but a man of mystery. I had never met him. He worked very long hours building his business, and he did not circulate socially in what was then the very small circle of D.C.-area conservatives. A story spread that Richard had on the wall behind his desk a huge faucet which he could turn on to pour vast sums of money into the coffers of any organization he would take on as a client. A couple of weeks after our first meeting, Richard offered me a job with his company. “Morton,” he said, “I want you to come help me build the conservative movement.” I accepted enthusiastically because building the conservative movement was exactly what I wanted to do. The story of Richard Viguerie's movement-building in the 1970s has been told many times. No longer almost a recluse, he sought out philosophically sound conservatives who had proved themselves as activists in various areas of the public policy process. Most of them already knew and trusted each other. He invited them often and hosted them at mostly small but innumerable meetings and meals to discuss, to figure out, and to implement what had to be done for conservatives to start beating the liberals in politics. As his political assistant, I helped organize Richard's movement-building meetings and participated actively in them. The discussions often proved highly productive. Leaders of some previously existing, good groups did not agree with some of the conclusions reached in the Viguerie meetings, particularly the decisions to encourage the creation of a wide variety of new conservative organizations and to persuade existing conservative groups to develop the skills required to grow dramatically in membership and political effectiveness. Some felt creating new and larger organizations would only drain resources from existing organizations. Our response was that, if conservatives couldn't increase our resources and members, we would never win. Jump-starting the conservative movement worked, and before long new conservative groups of all types sprang up, doing good work in many conservative-issue areas – first dozens, then hundreds, and now thousands of new groups. As a guide for conservatives wanting to start new public policy organizations or expand existing ones, many years ago I wrote a booklet “The Conservative Organizational Entrepreneur.” Periodically updated, that booklet is now easily accessible for free online. A number of long-established organizations also grew prodigiously in the 1970s. For example, the well-respected National Right to Work Committee increased from 25,000 members in 1972 to more than 1.7 million members in 1979. What had been largely a conservative intellectual movement grew into a formidable, workable coalition of better-skilled, self-identified conservative activists and leaders able to defeat the left in many political contests (elections and legislative battles) and thereby to affect public policy. During those years of Viguerie meetings, I summarized what participants had discovered. I described what made the big difference which enabled the exciting and effective growth of conservative activity, the creation of what the news media began in the middle 1970s to describe as “The New Right.” I called my summary “The Real Nature of Politics,” and I have taught it to conservative activists and leaders ever since. Here it is: THE REAL NATURE OF POLITICS Being right, in the sense of being correct, is not sufficient to win. The winner in a political contest is determined over time by the number and effectiveness of the activists on the respective sides. The number and effectiveness of the activists on a given side is determined by its use of political technology, which includes organizational technology and communications technology. Most political technology is philosophically neutral, which makes it inherently unattractive to people who are motivated by their philosophy. Nevertheless, you owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to study how to win. To the extent possible, movement-oriented conservatives should develop activists and leaders who are philosophically sound, technologically proficient, and movement-oriented. It's a lot easier to teach someone already solidly conservative the skills necessary to win than it is to make a committed conservative out of someone who is already a skilled opportunist. But committed conservatives often resist the study of philosophically neutral techniques. Many of them think disdainfully, “That's mere technology. I'm focused on the really important things.” Young, unskilled conservatives who are nevertheless intellectuals and read ardently are greatly affected by what they read. Often their reading gives them an incomplete understanding of political reality, but they often can learn the real nature of politics through exposure to certain writings of famed conservative intellectuals whom they already deeply admire. As a conservative activist since 1960, I have read or heard reverently repeated innumerable times a short sentence, "Ideas Have Consequences." Conservative intellectuals and would-be intellectuals are so enamored of the words "Ideas Have Consequences" that probably each day someone at the Heritage Foundation receives correspondence in which these words are written. The theme "Ideas Have Consequences" so often crops up in conservative books, speeches and scholarly articles that for several years I catalogued each usage I saw or heard. No meeting of the Philadelphia Society or of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute is complete unless someone solemnly intones the words, "Ideas Have Consequences." The words appear often in the pages of National Review and in virtually every other conservative journal, including many with little pretense of intellectuality. There are now close to a hundred independent conservative campus publications in the United States. Because I conduct Student Publications Workshops, I see many of these campus efforts. Many of these publications explicitly affirm that "Ideas Have Consequences," often stressing the point in their first issue. The proposition, "Ideas Have Consequences," has attained talismanic status with young conservatives. I would not be surprised to learn that some budding conservative, having adopted it as his mantra, now sits quietly several minutes each day, contemplating those three words. From time to time I venture to question young conservatives who have used, in writing or in speech, the refrain “Ideas Have Consequences.” Alas, even if they know it is the title of a book by Richard M. Weaver, the great majority of those who use the refrain have never held in their hands any book by Richard Weaver. What then accounts for the frequency of the references? It is, I believe, a manifestation of hubris. The young person of conservative inclination, possessed of a growing vocabulary and having gained some familiarity with conservative writings, readily concludes he is now capable of elevated thoughts beyond the reach of all but a tiny elite. Perhaps he finds, as I first did in 1960, the praise of Richard Weaver in The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk. But more likely he reads the magical title in a conservative journal. If the fascination with those three words merely increased the sense of self-worth among young conservatives, it would do little harm to the conservative cause. Unfortunately, the temptation is often overpowering to take the words literally. If ideas, in and of themselves, really do have consequences, then being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient. If you know you are right, particularly if you believe you can prove you are right, then your ideas inevitably will prevail. For a young person with intellectual aspirations, this is heady stuff. He concludes he need no longer work with mere mortals in their ordinary plane of existence. He feels elevated above them; he knows that they will eventually conform to his ideas. Thousands of young conservatives, caught up in the delight of thinking deep thoughts, find that the world does not treat them as they expect and as they believe they deserve. Public policy battles, for example, do not often turn on the question of who is provably right. Confronted with the failure of his ideas to have their merited consequences, many a young conservative becomes embittered. Some, in the words of the late Dr. Warren Nutter of the University of Virginia, "retreat to the citadel to save the books." Others become opportunists and quiet cynics. With great inner agony, some resign themselves to impotence in a world that does not function as it "should." Too few discover how to make their ideas effective. For a number of reasons, it would not be fair to blame Richard Weaver for the problems associated with his magically titled book. He was a professor of rhetoric, which can be defined as ideas artfully presented. A master rhetorician, Weaver knew full well that ideas do not necessarily have consequences. Although it is dangerous to suggest how deceased persons would respond to current questions, I am confident Weaver would affirm that "Ideas Have Consequences" is a rhetorically contracted enthymeme, an enthymeme being a syllogism with one of the elements missing but understood. Expanding Weaver's enthymeme, we can get the following syllogism: Ideas can motivate people to act Actions have consequences Therefore ideas can have consequences Without understanding Weaver's true meaning, some conservatives often give his three words a dangerously misplaced, almost religious devotion. A noble confidence in the truth of their ideas can lure them into the voluntary paralysis of a life of contemplation. For anyone who makes the effort to read the difficult but highly rewarding Richard Weaver, his meaning is brilliantly clear. In Ideas Have Consequences, he actually wrote: "The youth is an intellectual only, a believer in ideas, who thinks that ideas can overwhelm the world. The mature man passes beyond intellectuality to wisdom..." Does this sound like a man who believes that ideas are efficacious without something more? Elsewhere in Ideas Have Consequences, he wrote: "Organization always makes imperative counterorganization. A force in being is a threat to the unorganized, who must answer by becoming organized themselves." Weaver warned powerfully against rootless, mechanistic manipulation, against knowledge "of techniques rather than of ends." His deserving target was the destructive tendency of modern man to lose his sense of purpose as he rapidly accumulates knowledge of how to do things. But it is a gross misreading to suggest he argued against action. It would be fair to say he held that actions based on the right ideas will have desirable consequences. He quite correctly gave absolute priority to ideals, but recognized the duty of philosophically sound people to take actions. In 1958 Weaver wrote an essay entitled "Up from Liberalism," a title he graciously later authorized William F. Buckley, Jr., to use also for his delightful book of that same name. Russell Kirk called that 1958 essay Weaver's intellectual autobiography. In it Weaver wrote, "Somehow our education will have to recover the lost vision of the person as a creature of both intellect and will. It will have to bring together into one through its training the thinker and the doer, the dialectician and the rhetorician." This statement should enlighten those who take the words “Ideas Have Consequences” only at their simplistic, literal value. Many conservative intellectuals and aspiring intellectuals still find comfort in the proposition that Ideas Have Consequences. They can believe themselves thereby absolved of the awkward responsibility for personal actions. The world of politics is invariably imperfect and replete with compromises. How tempting it is to shield our principles from degenerating contact with such untidiness. Never mind that we simultaneously insulate the real world from the ennobling effect of practical contact with our principles. More than any other thinker, 18th Century British statesman Edmund Burke is credited with laying the intellectual foundations of modern conservatism. He also provided and brilliantly communicated the arguments which activated Britain and much of Europe against the horrors inherent in the French Revolution. We cannot help but admire Burke's towering intellectual achievements for liberty and order. Burke was a practicing, professional politician virtually all of his adult life. In him we see a principled man who, during all his long career, took vigorous actions to promote his principles, a man who understood the proper relationship between ideas and actions, a man who stood by good causes even when it appeared those causes were losing. In 1770 Burke wrote, "It is the business of the speculative philosopher to mark the proper ends of government. It is the business of the politician, who is the philosopher in action, to find out proper means to those ends, and to employ them with effect." Burke could not take seriously people who failed to act and act skillfully on their principles. He wrote, "For my part, I find it impossible to conceive that anyone who believes in his own politics, or thinks them to be of any weight, who refuses to adopt the means of having them reduced into practice." In other words, you owe it to your philosophy, first, to study how to win and second, to take appropriate actions to win if you can. Burke explicitly held that education as to issues and philosophy was insufficient. He argued: What is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent, that which is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect, it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always acted right; but has taken special care, to act in such a manner that his endeavors could not possibly be productive of any consequence. Now, however, we should know better. Edmund Burke did not tell us: "All that is necessary to triumph over evil is for men to have enough good ideas." Quite the contrary, Burke's most famous words are: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In one of his too few surviving letters, Whittaker Chambers, author of the seminal anti-communist book Witness, told how he had just burned several hundred pages of a book manuscript he had been working on. For those of us who consider Chambers one of the great masters of our English language, the loss is tragic and irreparable. Those ideas are lost and will not have consequences. Austrian economist and intellectual giant Ludwig von Mises, in the chapter on "The Role of Ideas" in his book Human Action, said "Thinking is to deliberate beforehand over future action and to reflect afterwards upon past action. Thinking and acting are inseparable." Particularly in our day, we cannot afford to concentrate on either ideas or actions to the neglect of the other. The conservative intellectual who avoids association with less elegant men of action may doom his cause. Chambers understood this and wrote: I do not ask of the man who lets me slip into his foxhole whether he believes in the ontological proof of God, whether he likes me personally, or even whether, in another part of the forest, at another time, he lobbed a grenade at me. I am interested only that, for the duration of the war, he keep his rifle clean and his trigger finger nerveless against a common enemy. I understand that that is all he wants of me. The reason for the increasing success of conservative ideas in recent years is not that our ideals are much more correct now than those we held, say, in the Goldwater era. We prosper in many ways because we have begun to study the political process and to work together to implement our new knowledge. We must teach young intellectuals that a flattering and seductive talisman which they do not fully understand will not guarantee them success. They must not rely on victory falling into their deserving hands like ripe fruit off a tree. They have to earn it. Good ideas have desirable consequences only if we act intelligently for them. My Leadership Institute offers 40 different types of training schools to teach conservatives how to be successful in government, politics, and the news media. In 2013, more than 19,000 people took my training courses in person. Others study courses the Institute offers online. For many years, mine was the only conservative organization focused on political training. All the others concentrated on the important task of teaching about conservative principles and public policy issues. However, I am pleased to report that in recent years at least a dozen other national conservative and libertarian organizations have begun to offer useful training programs for successful political participation. I commend their efforts. I do not entirely neglect to provide philosophical education to my students. About 5,000 Leadership Institute students per year receive copies of my booklet, “Read to Lead,” which lists and briefly discusses 26 books I believe to be especially valuable as a foundation for movement conservatives. The booklet “Read to Lead” is accessible for free online. Each year I give away to bright students hundreds of copies of excellent books by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Edmund Burke, Frederic Bastiat, Thomas Sowell, Russell Kirk, Paul Johnson, Whittaker Chambers and others of like mind. But traditionally, conservative educational efforts focused exclusively on teaching about issues and philosophy. That is not, in the main, what I do. Conservatives used not to be able to identify and communicate widely with each other except through the filter of media determinedly hostile to conservative principles. Now conservatives have direct mail, talk radio, a cable news network, many new types of online communication, and literally thousands of conservative organizations capable of very quickly communicating facts, conservative opinion, and focused calls to action to thousands or millions of fellow conservatives. The Obama campaigns' celebrated, high-tech ground game in 2008 and 2012 didn't mean the left had a monopoly on those techniques. The Tea Party movement had a massive impact on the 2010 elections. It was organized largely through the spontaneous activity of conservative grassroots activists who could become leaders because they, too, had learned how to communicate and organize online. CONSERVATIVE POLITICS TODAY Having defined American conservatives and described how conservatives became effective in politics, I shall devote the rest of this presentation to brief discussions of four areas of current concern to politically active conservatives. Those four areas are: Problems and opportunities caused by the left Problems and opportunities caused by political consultants Problems and opportunities within the Republican Party Problems and opportunities among conservatives themselves THE LEFT VS. CONSERVATIVES The left is using the power of government not only to grab more power. The left now uses their power inside government to target and persecute conservatives. Used ruthlessly, the I.R.S. and other government agencies can crush many political opponents and terrorize a great many others. This is a very serious abuse, and what's worse, they have thus far completely gotten away with it. The Obama Administration breaks laws written to prevent abuses. Everyone knows it, but even the most abusive leftist bureaucrats thus far have reason to be confident that they will not be fired, fined, or jailed. The left acts as if people on the government payroll are some kind of entitled elite who can act with impunity because they are above the laws and regulations binding on everyone else. Even after exposure for great abuses or disastrous incompetence, the worst that happens to most senior bureaucrats is retirement on a full pension. Historically, Americans have always tolerated some elected politicians and government officials found to have deliberately misled or blatantly lied to the public for their personal political advantage. Sometimes politicians get away with using their power in government to persecute their enemies or with breaking some laws and unconstitutionally ignoring other laws. Many politicians keep secrets from the public which would otherwise damage them politically, or they grant major and unethical favors to enrich their political allies or to give those allies unwarranted advantages over other Americans. The public has come to expect and to suffer a certain amount of such abuses from people inside government. Often most people simply shrug their shoulders and think, “Well, that's just politics.” But when an official's failings became obvious enough and aggravating enough, an outraged public would rise up and hold that official accountable. As scandal after scandal piled up, conservatives recently began to wonder if there were anything the Democrats and the nation's major news media wouldn't help President Barack Obama get away with. But not now. Everyone except those who are willfully blind now understands that the President and his allies shamelessly lied and misled the public in order to ram Obamacare through the Congress, that its attempted implementation is a disaster for millions of people, and that other and insurmountable problems almost certainly loom for it soon. Grassroots conservatives and their leaders are delighted to learn at last that there are things Barack Obama and his leftist allies cannot get away with. That development encourages conservatives to explore other ways to hold leftists accountable in the public policy process for their abuses. To coin a phrase, perhaps conservatives now can send more of Obama's chickens home to roost. CONSULTANTS AND CONSERVATIVES Most political consultants limit themselves to working either entirely for Republicans or entirely for Democrats. Nevertheless, very few consultants who work only for Republicans can be relied upon to work only in the best interest of conservative principles in the public policy process. Most of them chase after the money, wherever they can get it. I discussed this matter in an opinion piece entitled “The GOP's Consultant Problem,” published in “The Daily Caller” in 2012. It is still available online. Consultants usually cannot resist the temptation to recruit as clients as many candidates as they can, as long as their clients have or can raise large sums of money for their campaigns. In Republican nomination contests, this frequently results in many conservative candidates splitting the conservative vote and in the nomination of the only well-funded “moderate” Republican in the race. In recent decades, consultants have often wormed their way into domination of state or national party committees. Uncounted numbers of candidates have been told by those who control party committees that they must hire designated consultants in order to receive money from those party committees. Conservative candidates and shut-out conservative consultants have achieved limited exposures of these practices, and some party leaders have taken steps to prevent such abuses. Although consultants can legitimately earn money in all aspects of a modern election campaign, the ground war as well as the air war, the big bucks for consultants come from commissionable political advertising. Karl Rove understands well that advertising alone is not the way to win elections. In fact, when winning elections was the most important thing to him, Rove was a successful innovator in improving Republican candidates' ground game. In the 2002 mid-term elections, when he was running the political operation in President George W. Bush's White House, Rove oversaw the development and testing of “micro-targeting” to identify previously unidentified potential Republican voters, target them for individual attention, motivate them to vote, and put together an effective ground game to make sure they voted. His micro-targeting tests worked so well in 2002 that the 2004 Bush re-election campaign used micro-targeting all across the country, to good effect. And Rove made sure then that Republican leaders knew in detail the measurable success his micro-targeting program had produced. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. Skillfully applied, techniques work for either side. It is fair to say that Barack Obama's systematic and now-famously-successful ground games in 2008 and 2012 were logical extensions of Karl Rove's micro-targeting innovations during the George W. Bush Administration. To the best of my knowledge, none of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by Rove's 2012 operations was spent on ground-game activities. As far as I have learned, whatever he spent to affect election results was spent on commissionable advertising. Advertising typically includes paying to consultants a commission of 15% of all sums paid to broadcasters or print media to run that advertising. Compared to the labor of creating and running an effective ground game in an election campaign, running an expensive paid-advertising campaign is easy and highly profitable for political consultants. Paid advertising is a gold mine for consultants. They customarily receive fat monthly retainers. They bill campaigns for the creative work required to produce each ad. Then they receive big commissions from the public-media outlets for all the advertisements they place. In 2012, Karl Rove obviously decided that commissionable advertising is now where the money is for his associates. He knew exactly what he was doing, but probably few of his major donors did. No one has yet “followed the money” raised and spent by Rove's operations in 2012. That should be done for the information of the major donors who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Karl Rove's independent expenditure efforts. By name, who were the consultants who received money from those hundreds of millions of dollars? How much in retainers was each of them paid? How much was each paid for creating ads? How much income did each of them receive in commissions paid on advertising funded by that huge pot of money? When they see such an accounting and an accurate report on the win/loss record of candidates Rove chose to spend their money on, his large donors will be better able to decide for themselves whether or not he looted them. Many unprincipled operatives who are professional lobbyists or political consultants and cultivate access to people in power make all or part of their income consulting with special interests actively at odds with conservative principles such as those proclaimed, for example, in platforms crafted and adopted by delegates to Republican national conventions. With some admirable exceptions, political consultants and lobbyists have been thorns in the flesh of conservatives for many years. Some of them are complete opportunists from the start. Others prove their competence initially by achievements for conservative principles through work for conservative employers, but too many in this latter category lose their principles when their reputations enable them to increase their income greatly by selling their services on the open market to any employers, regardless of their agendas, who have fat wallets. For many reasons, wise conservatives have learned to trust and hire only consultants who have demonstrated clearly a commitment to work exclusively for conservative candidates and causes. CONSERVATIVES AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY It's not easy to change a major political party, but changing a major political party today is much, much easier than creating a new major party. The last time a new major party was created, in the 1850s, the two existing major parties were the Whigs and the Democrats. The Whigs split and disintegrated largely over the slavery issue, but the Democrats were not a monolithic party at that time, either. In fact, by and large, the Democrats were the party which then opposed political centralization and the rise of big government. Today the Democratic Party is totally controlled nationally and in almost every state and locality by forces determined to grow and centralize government any way possible. Whether incumbents or candidates, Democrats who reveal signs of impermissible disagreement or even moderation on any major issue are now promptly crushed and eliminated from the Democratic Party. Conservative Democrats these days are like ivory billed woodpeckers: Everyone has heard of them, but no one has actually seen one in years. The left runs the Democratic Party and feeds on growing government spending, increasing government regulations, maximizing the number of people who are totally or largely dependent on government payments, and grabbing power by any means. Internal disagreements within today's Democratic Party are not about political principles but about who among them shall run everything. If many dissident conservatives were to split off now from the Republican Party, the very large conservative vote would be split. The now-monolithically-leftist Democrats would win almost all important elections, consolidate their control of the country, and use their power ruthlessly to persecute and destroy all politically significant opposition to their power. That's what history shows real leftists always do when they consolidate political power. Until they win monopoly control of government, they might describe their ultimate aims vaguely, as “fundamental changes.” No, a new major conservative political party is not the way to advance conservative principles in the United States under current circumstances. By the 1970s, the left had begun using government in wide-ranging attacks on what are now called “social issues.” Until then, those issues had long been considered as settled in America and outside of the public policy process. As a result of liberal attacks through the public policy process, millions of social conservatives who had previously been inactive in politics became political participants to defend themselves, much to the benefit and political success of the Republican Party. Current calls for a “truce” in the Republican Party on social issues are not new. Starting in the 1970s, some widely publicized, nominal Republicans who claimed to be fiscal conservatives began to urge loudly that conservatives committed to traditional moral values should stop supporting their principles through political advocacy and participation. But the liberals have no intention of stopping their use of government power systematically against traditional values. Content-free Republicans today know that full well, but they act as if they expect millions of traditional-values conservatives to support Republican candidates who are silent about or even liberal on social issues. Fat chance. There are some current signals that big-business interests will intervene financially in Republican nomination contests against candidates who refuse to abandon their public advocacy of conservative social issues. That appears to be Karl Rove's hope. Does anyone doubt that he'd love to spend more big bucks on commissionable advertising? Perhaps Rove can explain to such big-business interests how they can expect Republican nominees to win many elections if the grassroots conservatives most committed on social issues decide that the Republican Party is useless to them. In different ways, I have taken an active part in five large waves of newly active conservatives and libertarians entering politics through the Republican Party. The first wave: I became politically active during the conservative awakening around Barry Goldwater in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I was one of the original eight members of the Steering Committee of National Youth for Goldwater in 1963 and Goldwater's youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. The second wave: In the 1970s, helping Richard Viguerie and others achieve our declared intention to build a politically effective conservative movement, I helped create many new and useful conservative groups of many types. We built what was soon called the New Right. The third wave: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I worked with conservative religious leaders who recruited millions of theologically conservative Americans into politics for the first time. On the White House staff, I served as President Reagan's liaison to all conservative groups, including the emerging “Religious Right.” The fourth wave: When the Tea Party movement arose in 2009, my educational foundation, the Leadership Institute, began immediately to arrange co-sponsored political grassroots training schools with every one of the several national Tea Party and Tea Party-like groups and many state and local Tea Party groups. Thousands have already been trained, and that training program continues. The fifth wave, and counting: The Liberty movement, generated largely around the Ron Paul presidential campaign, has sent thousands of their supporters, largely young people, to my training schools. Most newly active libertarians understand that, to advance their principles most effectively, they must work within the Republican Party. There's a pattern to these five waves. In each case, the left and the mainstream media (not much different) charged that the newly active conservatives and libertarians were ignorant extremists who could not possibly succeed in politics, were incompatible with Republicans and previously active conservatives, and even were racists -- almost exactly the same attacks from the left and content-free Republicans every time for 50 years. And each time the charges were wrong, wrong, and wrong. New waves of active conservatives nominated Goldwater and nominated and elected Reagan. They were undoubtedly decisive in the 2010 national elections and in victories of many other conservative Republican candidates over the last 50 years. Moreover, the new activists don't drop out of politics. Many like me from the Goldwater era are still active. Social-issue conservatives who changed the direction of America in 1980 still work effectively in the public policy process. Waves of new participants continue this process. For example, in Virginia in 2012, long-time movement conservatives worked closely with Tea Party activists and Ron Paul supporters to overturn Republican establishment control of the state party committee. Similarly united coalitions recently won important, internal Republican state party elections in many states, including states as diverse as Maryland, Delaware, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, and even Massachusetts. The process is cumulative. Huge numbers of new activists who get their first taste of politics in grassroots activity in one election cycle keep fighting for their principles for decades to come. Always some of them become a new generation of conservative leaders in elections for public office, legislative battles, and intra-party contests. Few Americans and almost no one elsewhere understand the fundamental structural difference between political parties in the United States and political parties elsewhere. In almost every country, political parties are completely centralized and are run almost entirely from the top down. In some countries, political parties are created as vehicles entirely for the benefit of one politician, and those parties often fade away when that politician drops from prominence. Our American political parties are constructed on a Madisonian model. That is, they include internal separations of power and what amount to checks and balances. Our major political parties, especially the Republican Party, are not centralized or unitary. The Republican Party of each state and territory, regardless of its population size, selects three members of the Republican National Committee (RNC): its State Party Chairman, a National Committeeman, and a National Committeewoman. I'm currently the Virginia Republican National Committeeman, and I rank fifth in tenure on the RNC. The RNC raises hundreds of millions of dollars and sometimes provides staff and substantial financial help to state parties and to candidates below the presidential level, but its main legal functions are to arrange for the quadrennial presidential nominating conventions and to support the election of the Republican nominees for President and Vice President. Most people assume that the RNC controls the entire Republican Party. Not so. There are the National Republican Congressional Committee, which exists primarily to elect Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which focuses on the election of U.S. Senators. The NRCC and the NRSC are organizationally completely independent of the RNC. Their leadership is elected by Republican Members of the House and Senate, respectively. Like the RNC, but separately, they raise hundreds of millions of dollars over time for their activities. The RNC has no power to tell them what to do. Cooperation does occur among these big committees, but it is entirely voluntary. Similarly, the Republican Governors Association operates separately from the RNC, the NRCC, and the NRSC. Its function is to help elect Republican governors. It raises a lot of money independently of the above-named committees. Another large, nationally active committee, the Republican State Leadership Committee, operates independently to help elect Republican candidates to state offices below the rank of governor. Nationally, a myriad of independent Republican auxiliary groups thrive, such as the National Federation of Republican Women, the Young Republican National Federation, the College Republican National Committee, the National Teen Age Republicans, the Hispanic Republican Assembly, etc. Dozens of them. None of the party committees and party auxiliary groups I have mentioned has legal power, individually or in combination, to tell each other what to do. There are legally established Republican Parties in each of the states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. These parties are almost entirely independent. Only the RNC has any authority over them, and the RNC has that legal authority only with respect to credentials of their RNC members and their participation in the presidential nomination process, including such matters as the allocation and election of national convention delegates. The Republican National Committee did not create and does not control the operation of state parties. State parties are correctly understood to have created the RNC. Any attempt by the RNC to control the state parties (other than as it relates to RNC members' credentials or to the national convention) would be fiercely and successfully resisted. The state parties do have legal authority over local parties at the city and county levels and over special party committees which operate at the congressional district level, state legislative district level, etc. However, state parties rarely dare to meddle in local party matters. Local party committees are correctly understood to have been created by the state parties and to be subordinate to their state parties. But as at the national level, in most states there are committees of Republican state legislators, independent of the official state party organization, focused on electing Republican state legislators. Each elected official has his or her own campaign committee which can raise and spend money without control by a party committee. Many elected officials also create separate political action committees which raise and spend money in campaigns other than their own. Freedom of association in political activity is a treasured and exercised right throughout the United States. People can and do join together for almost any reason, at least formally independent of any party affiliation, to form political action committees to raise money and support the election or defeat of political candidates. As far as I know, in every other country, parties may require their members to pay dues and may revoke anyone's party membership. Not in the U.S. Here one has a legal right to participate, at least at the lowest level, in the party of one's choice. A fact of central importance for conservatives makes U.S. political parties different from those in any other country I know of: the existence of so many independent Republican Party committees and organizations at every level. That Madisonian model makes it virtually impossible for anyone who has any power in a party to purge from participation anyone who might be targeted for expulsion. So a conservative who has cultivated or recruited many conservative allies in the Republican Party can continue to participate effectively in it despite the disapproval of the current “powers that be.” Wise conservatives know that the way to win in politics is to increase the number and effectiveness of principled conservative activists and leaders who are philosophically sound, technologically proficient, and movement-oriented. Conservatives with no practical political experience at all can participate, at least at the entry level, in the political party of their choice. Certainly in the Republican Party, they have many opportunities over time to become effective for their principles – even to become party leaders. Here is a course of action which many conservatives take successfully: Volunteer to work in the election campaigns of your party's nominees. Under-promise and over-perform. Donate to your party's good candidates. Financial contributions put you on the political map. Attend party fundraising events. Give to your state and local party committees. Then attend party committee meetings. There you will get to know the existing party activists and leaders. And they will get to know you. If your local party committee has a vacancy, accept it if offered. But modestly keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut as you learn the ropes. Most such meetings are not very exciting. Always take with you something to read or write during the less interesting parts of party meetings. If you are not familiar with the organizational structure and rules of your party, get copies of the state and local party committee rules. Study them and the applicable rules of procedure, usually Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised. At every level, party rules determine how difficult or easy it is for power to flow from the bottom up. Those who currently hold power in party committees often much prefer for power to flow from the top down, so those who welcome full participation by grassroots conservatives must frequently engage in battles over party rules. Participate in some party auxiliary group activities: youth groups, women's groups, etc. If there is none in your area, volunteer to start one. In most areas there is a fairly rapid turnover of party officers. Don't push yourself for party office. If you do good work in the local party, others probably will ask you to take on some responsibilities. Accept these tasks. Perform them well. Soon you may be drafted into local party committee office. But you don't have to hold a party office to play a leading role from time to time in a party committee. In some areas, local party committees are moribund or dead. The party officers may be unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. They may be lazy. They may be incompetent. They may be fine people burned out from years of good work. They may be hanging on to power for its own sake. They may be actively hostile to your conservative principles. If party leaders are unsatisfactory, you should work to see that they are reformed or replaced. Build strong working ties with any other conservatives you meet in party activities. Build strong working ties with leaders of conservative non-party activity in your community, such as: taxpayer associations, veterans groups, ethnic organizations, right to work groups, right to keep and bear arms groups, civic associations, church groups, traditional values groups concerned about such issues as abortion, traditional marriage, education, government infringement of religious liberty to practice and promote Christianity, etc. Make contacts with national conservative groups to locate and involve their local activists in your party. Learn the principles of effective direct marketing and start to assemble lists of contact information for local conservative activists and donors. Party committees often have influence in the election of candidates for public office, but in some cases they also have decisive power over the rules and therefore the outcomes of the nomination contests. Find out the role of your state and local party committees in the nomination process and the schedule of their required activities before upcoming elections. Party committees must renew themselves periodically, usually in two-year or four-year cycles. New party committees may be elected by primaries, conventions, or mass meetings. Newly elected committees usually elect their new party officers. Local party units usually send delegates to state party conventions. Sometimes, membership on party committees and delegate slots to party conventions are available just by filing properly for openings. Find out how these processes work in your party. Among the things you'll need to know: When are the next party primaries or conventions? What party offices are to be filled and for what public offices are party nominees to be chosen? What are the deadlines for filing, dates of conventions and dates of primaries? And how does one file? How are the dates set, by law or party decision? What are the requirements for party committee membership? For eligibility to be a convention delegate? If your party has an executive committee, who serves on it? How are its members chosen? Because all local party committee elections and party primaries are open at the bottom,whoever gets the most people to participate wins. To succeed, you must organize a sufficient number of conservatives to win primaries, conventions, and party committee elections. It is simple but not easy. Much more information about how to participate effectively in the party of your choice can be found online in my 1993 piece, “The Life of the Party.” The way to grow a party is to treat newcomers fairly, politely, and even cordially and to show them that power in the party frequently flows from the bottom up, rather than only from the top down. CONSERVATIVES AMONG THEMSELVES The late Frank Meyer, for many years a senior editor of National Review magazine, persuaded movement-oriented conservatives like me in the 1960s that there is a natural alliance between people who love liberty and those who deeply believe in traditional values. He argued that, at root, the two interests are philosophically compatible and that they ought to be and are compatible for practical political purposes. Meyer's analysis of this matter can be found in his writings in National Review and in his book, In Defense of Freedom. Nevertheless, the left and content-free Republicans cling to their fond hope that their conservative opponents can't possibly work together. We'll see. Centrifugal forces try to pull apart the elements in any coalition. Different elements have different priorities, and some of those priorities sometimes conflict. However, there are centripetal forces which pull people together in politics. When the same organizations and the same leaders work side by side against the same enemies in a long series of election contests and legislative battles, they tend to become comfortable together. They frequently confer, make plans around the same tables, and get to know each other on a first-name basis. They fight against the same enemy, the left, and they know that the left would destroy all of them, without a single scruple. They learn which of their allies are trustworthy and come to like them. Before long the leader of one group goes to dinner at the home of the leader of another group. And when he arrives at the front door, the dog there wags its tail rather than barks. Through such processes, movements and normal governing majorities are born. Unity is easier in an embattled minority where survival is at risk. Centrifugal forces grow in strength after a principled minority defeats its opposition. Foolish elements of the new majority, heady with success, may take actions grossly offensive to other groups in their coalition. That is always a big mistake. Power does tend to corrupt, and success stimulates hubris—as Republicans sometimes find out to their sorrow. Conservatives and libertarians now have it in their power to cooperate in using the Republican Party to build a stable, governing majority. Leftist Democrats and content-free Republicans will not be persuaded by sweet reason to change their ways. Nor will many of them change for fear of future defeats by conservatives and libertarians. Some content-free Republican elected public officials and party leaders will have to be replaced before the party can be reliable for conservative principles. Only a critical mass of principled conservatives and libertarians can preserve and advance their principles and only if they work together and do not compromise in ways which accept the left's power grabs as permanent. Conservative principles may be defeated in some elections and legislative battles, but they can triumph in the long run if those principles are faithfully upheld as the alternative to the left's agenda. Using a major party as its principal vehicle, resurgent libertarians and conservatives will break the statist consensus in America only if they nominate and elect people who could not have been elected in recent times. That can be achieved through a more widespread understanding of the real nature of politics, which will lead to greater grassroots political participation and the development and emergence of many new leaders.