By Morton C. Blackwell
Conservatives can and must break the still-strong power of hard-line leftists over certain categories of Americans.
Segregated political parties and segregated political activity are bad for our country and for those people who are segregated, even if they segregate themselves.
Marxists have used this clever technique for generations, with considerable success. Others on the left have imitated their use of it.
They set up a tightly-controlled organization purporting to represent an entire "group" or category of people. They then decry those in the defined category who don't kowtow to the organization and who do not share the organization's leftist policy agenda. The message is: If you don't submit yourself to our organization's entrenched leaders, you are a traitor to your personal identity.
Leftists use identity politics on ethnic groups, women, students, salaried workers and any other category of people where they think it might work. Sometimes it works very well.
Never mind that much or even all of that organization's policy agenda would actually hurt the people in the defined category. The underlying purpose of such organizational activity is to obtain and keep power for the organization's leaders.
One reason for the effectiveness of this technique is the human dislike of criticism. Peer pressure works. No one likes to be thought of as "disloyal." Few people enjoy the prospect of being ostracized.
Sometimes the persuasion involves more than social pressure. The Soviet and Chinese communists executed people for being traitors to their "class," and the African National Congress orchestrated widely-publicized murders, the "necklacing" of insufficiently revolutionary blacks in South Africa.
Fortunately, in the United States we have a prevailing national system of treating people as individuals, not as members of any group or category. Americans' strongest and best response to group politics, which becomes "group rights," is to stand foursquare for individual rights.
If we insist on treating people as individuals, rather than as members of this or that often poorly-defined category, we can take the offensive against leftist dividers who use the admittedly powerful, divide-and-rule technique.
Of course, merely proclaiming that everyone should treat everyone else as individuals is not sufficient. Wise conservative and pro-liberty activists and leaders must actually treat every individual fairly and stoutly insist that all Americans' rights spring from our common American identity, not from ethnic, socio-economic or any other type of category.
Conservatives cannot help themselves or our country by having leftist leaders in for tea, much less by pouring private or tax money into their organizations to fund more leftist political activity.
Instead, conservatives must reach out and identify philosophically compatible individuals among the types of people among whom leftist organizers have had some success. In every category that the left attempts to segregate, one can find folks committed more-or-less to the principles of limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense and traditional moral values.
Seek out the reasonably conservative people, the younger the better, who happen to be in categories long-targeted for organization by the left, people who share our American view of individual rights rather than group rights. Help them deepen their understanding of public policy issues. Then undertake systematic, persistent actions to recruit them into the public policy process, teach them political skills, and place them where they can be effective.
Do all you can to advance and to protect them. Their success breaks down the leftist organizers' power monopolies.
Expect fierce reactions from those whose dominance they threaten, as when Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court. Leftist groups' leaders will undermine, denounce, and smear any conservative in any category they claim as their own. The left knows they must prevent the rise of such individuals if they can. Prepare for such vicious attacks and counter them with all the legitimate means available.
Treating people as individuals works in America. The descendants of Irish and Italian immigrants and whole Protestant denominations which once were almost entirely Democrat in party affiliation are now largely Republican.
In this long and arduous struggle, the truth helps conservatives -- the truth about the real nature of rights in America -- the truth that the leaders of the leftist group-identity organizations are obviously self-seeking -- and the truth that such leftist leaders often advocate public policies which, in fact, harm many people, sometimes almost all the people, in the defined categories their organizations purport to encompass.
Conservatives can win this long contest between the idea of individual rights and that of group rights. Group rights is a chimera concealing a road to ever bigger government and the loss of all rights. That road is a dead end.
Work hard and wisely to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in all categories of people. That road leads to increasing success.