by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As I have reflected on the battles of the past year, I have discerned six principles for fighting against the ideologies of the Left, which might prove useful to other writers, activists, and political leaders:
Fight ideologies, not individuals.
Much of the national political media is structured like a tabloid: reporters follow personalities, scandals, and horse-race politics. There is a place for this, to be sure, but more sophisticated writers and activists should seek a deeper understanding of the ideologies and power structures that shape the modern world. Luckily, the ideology of the woke is hiding in plain sight: they have left a 60-year paper trail of books, articles, and speeches. Conservatives must do the homework to understand the ideology, rather than simply continue tilting at the tabloids.
Don’t win the debate, win the fight.
Many political writers and activists spend an immense amount of time “debating the issues,” imagining that politics functions like a college debating society. While debate is certainly stimulating, it is only one component of politics — and, arguably, a small one. …
… Tell stories to move people.
In practical politics, narratives are superior to arguments. For example, one could argue that “critical race theory is a neo-Marxist ideology that divides the world into oppressor and oppressed.” Certainly, this would engage some readers. But imagine another approach: “In Cupertino, California, teachers forced 8-year-olds to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, then rank themselves according to a hierarchy of oppression.” This formulation connects emotionally, which is the essential precondition for action.
Don’t complain about hypocrisy, change incentives.
Hypocrisy in politics should surprise no one — and yet, conservatives often celebrate its exposure as a victory. In reality, hypocrisy reveals an existing power asymmetry: political and intellectual leaders who can engage in hypocrisy without consequence are in a position of greater power. The solution, therefore, is not to merely expose the hypocrisy, but to devise a strategy to undermine that deeper power and change the incentives.