By: R.J. Moeller
“Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead [progressives] are always changing the vision.” ― G.K. Chesterton
I was born during the Reagan administration, and came of political age during the George W. Bush one. For my entire life, all I have ever heard from the media when it comes to the Republican party is that they are the "party of no." They're obstructionists. They're close-minded.
But the media wasn't the only source of this incessant drum-beat. I also heard this frequently while growing up in the public school system of suburban Chicago.
For example, my 6th grade Social Studies teacher - Mr. Schwarz - had this to say when someone asked him to explain the differences between a Democrat and Republican:
"Well, you see...Democrats are for progress and helping people and tolerance. They care about change and making things better. On the other hand, Republicans like things to stay the way they are. They usually favor the rich and older ways of doing things. They are the party that likes to say 'no'."
Sounds fair-and-balanced to me, right?
Listen, I didn't resent the guy (even though I already knew at that age he was dead-wrong). This old lovable, well-intentioned wind-bag couldn't help himself: he had been raised and educated in the same public school system. And then, becoming a union teacher in the Peoples' Republic of Illinois, what hope did he really have in hearing thoughtful arguments from the other side? Who was going to hand him a copy of Free to Choose or The Road to Serfdom or Modern Times?
But of course his teachers and professors couldn't be bothered with teaching him from works like those. There were injustices against women in the workplace to learn about! And atomic bomb droppings to mis-characterize! And tyrannical 18th century Puritans to libel!
This whole "party of no" nonsense presupposes that politics should be as simple, selfish, and and mind-numbingly sophomoric as the plot-line of a failed Jim Carrey vehicle. It assumes that things like personal responsibility, fiscal restraint and family values are the antiquated emotional remnants from some fundamentalist-dominated Great Depression era and therefore have no place in a progressive and compassionate world with TOMS shoes, iPads and pizza vending machines.
And it insinuates that conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians get their jollies from withholding welfare state goodies from people with more melanin in their skin.
It's time to take back the intellectual (and moral) high-ground, folks.
We're not the "party of no." We're the Party of Know.
As in, "I actually know why I vote the way I do." Or, "I actually know the impact higher taxes have on small businesses." Or how about, "I actually know what the Constitution says and know some of the history of our blessed nation (which is why I actually like the place)"?
Jesus said on the cross, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." Well, when it comes to turning the country around, we advocates of freer markets, limited government, Judeo-Christian values and republican democracy DO know. We know what the Left is trying to do, and we know how to stem the tide and fight back. We are the side with the innovative, creative ideas in terms of turning the economy around. We have the great minds of our time on our side - people like Arthur Brooks, Thomas Sowell, Charles Krauthammer, and Dennis Prager.
And while we can (and must) combat our ideological opponents with a healthy dose of grace and class, the truth of the matter is that we can have patience with the progressives for only so long. Whether they "know not what they do" is no longer the point. Not this year. The clock is ticking. The car is hurdling toward the cliff.
We on the Right do know what to do, and therefore must act accordingly.
So I'm asking you, my friends and comrades, to join me this summer and fall in an online campaign to establish our side as the #PartyOfKnow. On Twitter, I will be using the hash-tag for stories I come across that display just how serious our side is about actually changing things. I will be using it to hammer home borrowed or original thoughts and quotes that help flesh-out our positive, responsible, and necessary vision for the country. Along with my other original hash-tag #SavingPrivateSector (meant for advocacy of free enterprise and promotion of those defending it in the public square), we can possibly spark a new dialogue and debate leading up to the election.
We need to elevate the discussion up to the high and sophisticated level our ideas, ideals, and values already are.
If you're on Twitter, follow me at @rjmoeller and feel free to use #PartyOfKnow. Maybe nothing comes of it. My name alone isn't big enough to drive an idea like this the way the late, great Andrew Breitbart could. But the conservative/Republican image in the culture needs some re-branding, and to sit around waiting for anyone else to do it is madness.
The more we allow the Left to paint us all as banjo-playing hayseeds, the harder it will be to convince moderate or disengaged Americans to join our cause.
We know what to do. Get to it!