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June 2, 2009

A Bishop, Rush Limbaugh, and Mr. Howell walk into a bar...

The Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “There are not a hundred people in the world who hate the Catholic Church, but there are thousands who hate what they mistakenly believe the Catholic Church to be”. Naturally, as a ‘statue worshiping, Mary-loving, papist’ myself, I agree with Bishop Sheen’s statements directed at anti-Catholics, but the general idea about ignorance can also be applied to the political realm.

If we substitute Conservatism for the Catholic Church we arrive at one of the larger hurdles we face today: There are thousands who hate what they mistakenly believe Conservatism (and conservatives) to be.

An example of mistaken perceptions is a typical episode from my not-so distant past…

The Image of an "open-minded" liberal
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Setting: a beat-up hatchback with the obsequious "Fight Racism" and "Mean People Suck" bumper stickers across the back window. A conversation between the driver and passenger is turning political while the Smiths "Louder than Bombs" jangles in the background...It is here we find our hero sitting in the back seat, slightly buzzed, when some words catch his attention...

Driver (twenty-something female, vegetarian, dressed in black skirt, with black eyeliner): "...(inaudible)...closed-minded bigots like Rush Limbaugh."

Passenger (twenty-something female, very short and dyed hair, nose ring): “ oh Gawd…he’s terrible!”

Me (twenty-something male, cigarette ash-stained jeans, scraggly hair): “Did you say Rush Limbaugh?”

Passenger: “…ya…you know…loudmouth, racist or something…”

Me: “so you guys listened to his talk show?”

Passenger offended: “Are you serious?”

Driver laughing: “I wouldn’t listen to assholes like that!”

Me: “So neither of you have ever actually listened to him, but you are calling him terrible and a racist? Ok…that seems kind of prejudiced if you ask me…”

Both women look at each other as the track “William, It Was Really Nothing” ends.

Driver slightly annoyed: “Everyone knows what he’s about!”

Me smiling: “ Everyone but you two…you said yourself you wouldn’t listen to someone like that…but you’ll take someone else’s word for it…hm…sounds…”

Driver: “sounds what?”

Me sarcastically: “…really open-minded to me…”

I light a cigarette and slump back in my seat.

Me quietly: “My work here is done.”

Obviously, the question is how does this happen? How is the Left able to so effectively control people’s perceptions about conservatives and Conservatism? Certainly, there are the long and complex answers…the root historical causes like the Soviet infiltration of and influence on: the American labor movements, the Roosevelt administration, and the various ‘60’s peace and liberation movements – all of which we know to be true thanks to the recent access of Soviet archives.

Soviet Archive Logo
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Combine all of this with the entrenchment of liberalism in university faculties, multi-culturalism, historical revisionists…and the election of Obama starts to makes sense – not to mention who the culprits are in skewering perceptions of Conservatism. Unfortunately, a Republican party drifting away from Conservatism has been ill-suited to counter this cradle to grave indoctrination.

But there is also a simple answer to the negative perceptions about Conservatism. The liberal viewpoint is readily accessible. There is an effective liberal activist element which, evolving with the news and entertainment industries, created a ‘Leftist Orthodoxy’ for popular culture (called counter-culture when convenient). Considering that the news media is predominately left of center, one can be assured that the proper liberal viewpoint will always accompany any news event. One can also be assured that a conservative viewpoint will either be misrepresented or silenced all together.

The liberal viewpoint continues to bombard people from the entertainment side of the media – sometimes in creative ways, sometimes subtly, but most of the time not. Fiction and comedy-news shows all work well to reinforce the party line. Often characters we are supposed to identify with are liberals and it is the ‘Default Viewpoint’ of America as reflected by Hollywood (but most often not by reality).

Hold on... Mr.Howell never drove a pick-up with a gun rack!
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Not content to preaching their own message, the Left has always made shaping perceptions about Conservatism a priority. They go back and forth between portraying us as bitter rednecks, clinging to our ‘bibles and guns”, or country club trust-fund babies, like Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island, and my favorite, the fat-cat industrialists polluting their way to profits while running over baby seals in their SUV. Naturally, the stereotype changes to fit whatever issue or circumstance may arise.

Marching off to work at a State-run Auto Factory
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Indeed, our liberal friends learn about us from other liberals. Sound bites, stereotypes, and top-down directives from the Democrat Party HQ - such is the ‘ideologically incestuous’ nature of the Left. I am not making any novel revelations when I say most die-hard liberals have a political viewpoint based on misconception, emotion, and intention – it is a tough nut to crack. Luckily, most conservatives I know are bright enough to discern the inherent liberal bias in the barrage of information we all see and hear.

What should concern us, however, are the average people - the mass of folks caught in the middle - who might be apolitical most of the time, who consider themselves moderate, who love their family and country and (this is the scary part) are getting their perception of Conservatism from the Left!

It is certainly true that these people helped Obama become president. They also happen to be the best hope Conservatism has to take back the Republican Party and the country. Disillusion with Obama is already growing, but as long as people continue to learn about Conservatism from Liberals it will amount to nada in the worst case and cynicism in the best. (*Cynicism is not much better. The older I get the more I see cynicism as creative cowardice).

Hope-nosis is beginning to wear off
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So the Obama gang simply harvested a crop of votes that they have been cultivating for decades and fertilized with a slick multi-media campaign controlling both sides of the debate. In a sense, the actions of average folks trying to survive tough times are understandable. But now the war for hearts and minds is critical. Taking control of our message and shaping perceptions should be our central priority. After all, it is one thing to have the Left lie to the average citizen about who they are…but when will we stop letting the liberals tell the folks who we as conservatives are?


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