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
Advice to a Just-Elected Conservative Friend
Morton C. Blackwell
November 13, 1998
Advice to a Just-Elected Conservative Friend
You should be getting a lot smarter now. That's not because almost everyone will now tell you how smart you are. They will, of course, like never before. Even your old friends will laugh much harder at your jokes. But saying you're smart doesn't make it so. The reason you're likely to be smarter is that you're no longer a candidate. Every candidate promptly loses about 30 I.Q points. Most people recover some of that loss if they win. Losers sometimes make an even more rapid recovery of good judgment. As a winner, you face a new set of problems and opportunities. And as an old friend and close ally, I hope to catch you now, while the possibilities are all open, with the best advice I can give. The most important decisions you will make right now are personnel decisions. Personnel is policy. If you pick staff who genuinely share your policy priorities, you're likely to achieve much of your agenda in office. If not, you probably won't be able to do very many of the important things you now hope to do. The people you hire necessarily must make decisions. If you could make all decisions for them, you would not need to hire them. As my grandmother often said, "Why keep a dog if you're going to bark yourself?" Instructing people who don't share your beliefs to make decisions based on your beliefs doesn't work very well. Sometimes it causes disasters. In a subordinate, principles without competence can be dangerous and certainly is ineffective for you. But competence without principles can be deadly. Hire people whose loyalty to you is based on your principles, not on your ability to advance their careers. Conservatives make a great mistake if they think: I'm as conservative as one can be and still be responsible. Anyone to the right of me is to that extent irresponsible. So I'll hire only people who exactly share my philosophy and those who are to the left of me. If you base your hiring on that thinking, you'll inevitably be dragged to the left by your staff. You'll undermine your political base. And you'll fail to do most of what you now hope to do. You can't hire only people who share your exact beliefs. No two people truly agree on everything. You should hire as many people to the right of you as to the left of you. Governing is campaigning by different means. You should always keep a secure home base. Those you hire in government should be broadly representative of the coalition which elected you. Nothing reassures elements of the coalition which elected you more than to know they have good representation among your staff. If significant political forces which supported your election decide you can no longer be the object of their affection, they will make you the object of their pressure. And when you run into a few troubles, as every elected official does, they won't instinctively jump to support you. They will ask themselves, "Why bother?" Keep the faith. You can't make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends. Learn to live with the reality that some people won't like you if you do what you were elected to do. No matter what you do, some people will be your enemies. They will never love you, so don't worry about trying to make them love you. You can make most of them respect you, though. If you work at it, you can learn better the art of how to say unpleasant things pleasantly. If you keep your word, you can keep your friends and win at least respect from most of your enemies. For most people in your coalition, you are not the center of the universe. You were a cause they thought worth fighting for, but most of them have fought for other good causes before and fully intend to fight for other good causes while you're in office and long after that. They know they are in a long ball game. You may have the ball right now, but their long-term interest is to win the game. So you have to show them by your actions that your main interest also is to win the game for them, not just to be the star who gets his picture in the newspapers. The media are not your constituency, even if they think they are. Your constituency is the voters, especially the coalition which elected you. You can't count on the news media to communicate your message to your constituency. You must develop ways to communicate with your coalition which avoid the filters of the media. Focus on your base. Write to them. Meet with them. Honor them. Show yourself to be proud of them. Support their activities. Show up at their events. Help other politicians and activists who share their priorities. People expect politicians to be selfish, so they specially love politicians whose actions show them to be unselfish. Liberals in the media failed to defeat you. Now they will use carrots and sticks to tempt and to intimidate you. They will define any betrayal of your coalition as a sign of "growth." Don't fall for that nonsense. The only way you can get the liberal media on your side is always to betray your supporters, which you know would be political suicide. Media people on the left operate on a double standard. They can forgive a liberal politician almost anything. They hold conservatives to an absolute standard. You could occasionally please them by breaking with conservative principles, but they would make sure to rub it in so your supporters would never forget how you disappointed them. And when you get into any political difficulty, you can never expect any mercy from the liberal media. The local, state and national political landscapes are littered with the moldering wrecks of the careers of politicians who won conservative support by giving their word on conservative principles and then broke their pledges. Every issue that is a key priority of an important element of your coalition should always be a priority for you. In a system of separation of powers and checks and balances, most people realize you can't accomplish everything you'd like to. But you must say and do things which prove you are doing the best you can to live up to your supporters' reasonable expectations. Complete victories are delightful but rare. You should prove yourself willing sometimes to win only incremental victories and sometimes to fight losing battles for good causes. Curious as it may seem, a politician rarely hurts himself when he fights in a principled way for a cause which loses or against a cause which wins. Be cautious about making promises, but once committed, keep your word no matter what. You have two things, your word and your friends. Go back on either and you're dead in politics. Let me know whenever I can be of help. All the best.
Another Large Influx of Grassroots Conservatives
Morton C. Blackwell
July 7, 2010
Another Large Influx of Grassroots Conservatives
Among the millions of newly-active grassroots conservatives in politics, thousands of the best are coming to the Leadership Institute to study how to win. Institute staff and volunteer experts are teaching at dozens of Institute political training programs across America, co-sponsored with LI separately by Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, FreedomFest, and many other grassroots-based organizations. In early July, LI launched an online, on-demand, and free offering of twelve activist training lectures for members of Tea Party Patriots, our first major project of this type. See TeaPartyTraining.org. Many people have asked me if I think the remarkable new conservative grassroots activism will continue all the way to the November election. My answer is simple. Yes. Why has this activism developed? Because of citizen rage at the unprecedented number and variety of power grabs by the Obama Administration and the Pelosi/Reid Congress. Our nation has seen nothing like this before, not even during the expansions of government in Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal or Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Political activism now caused by citizen outrage might decline if the leftist power grabs ceased. But Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are ideologues. Their power grabs will continue through the November elections, so I fully expect the level of conservative outrage and activism to continue and even to grow in intensity. In fact, I expect a lame-duck session of this Congress after the election to continue until the new Congress convenes next January. Nancy Pelosi could probably pass the Communist Manifesto on the floor of the House, so the leftists won't want to waste a minute as long as their congressional majorities last. Another matter I see and hear often these days is the suggestion that all these new town hall and Tea Party folks are so far out of the mainstream of politics that they are somehow incompatible with previously-active conservatives. That's baloney. In different ways, I have taken part in three waves of newly-activated conservatives entering politics. I became politically active during the conservative awakening around Barry Goldwater in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I was a member of the original Steering Committee of National Youth for Goldwater in 1963 and his youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I spent a lot of time helping 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 the emerging "religious right." Now in 2010, my Leadership Institute staff, faculty, and I are training thousands of newly-activated conservatives who watch horrified as those now in charge of our government try to shred the Constitution, grab all power, permanently destroy all their opponents, and spend our country into bankruptcy. There's a pattern to these three waves. In each case, the left and the mainstream media (not much difference) claimed that the newly active conservatives were ignorant extremists who could not possibly succeed in politics, were incompatible with previously active conservatives, and even were racists. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. New waves of active conservatives nominated Goldwater, nominated and elected Reagan, and appear likely to be decisive in the 2010 elections. 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. The process is cumulative. Huge numbers of new activists who get their first taste of politics in conservative grassroots activity in this election cycle will keep fighting for their principles for decades to come. Some will become a new generation of leaders. Then there's the fond hope of the left that their enemies 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 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. Power does tend to corrupt, and success stimulates hubris—as Republicans found to their sorrow in the past decade. Conservatives now have it in their power to use the Republican Party to build a stable, governing majority. 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. Many of the content-free Republican elected public officials and party officials will have to be replaced before that party can be reliable for conservative principles. Republicans made big mistakes in the last decade, particularly regarding big spending and government growth. They'd better not look like Obama-lite after the 2010 elections. If they do, grassroots conservatives will promptly turn against them, producing devastating effects in the 2012 elections. Using the Republican Party as its principal vehicle, resurgent conservatives in 2010 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 only by conservative Republican participation.
Anti-PAC Agitation is a Liberal Power Grab
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Anti-PAC Agitation is a Liberal Power Grab
Before there was a Federal Election Commission, way back in 1943, the militantly liberal Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) formed the very first political action committee (PAC). For the next thirty years, the labor union PACs enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the PAC field. Liberals in that area knew how wholesome PACs were: What a marvelous vehicle by which union members might pool their resources to support the candidates of their choice. Of course, more than 90% of the union PAC money has always gone to the Democratic Party candidates, but liberals for thirty years could see the civic value of this outpouring of citizen participation. But curiously, for the past fifteen years, liberals have gradually changed their minds about PACs. Now hardly a week goes by without some thundering liberal media attack on PAC money in politics. Liberal print and broadcast journalists pour forth editorials and stories, supplemented by enough graphs and statistics to frighten almost anyone with a sociology Ph.D. or a press card. "Stop this cancer on the body politic," they scream. Our political system, they allege, is being taken over by big PACs, sinister forces with big money. Central now to the liberal case against the 4,157 PACs of all types is the charge that PAC money is, in effect, a lobby strong enough to buy any politician. And liberals most often claim that the dangerous PAC powers today are the corporate and trade association PACs. That is nonsense. The biggest, most powerful special interest in American politics is organized labor. The union bosses have an effective veto power over Democratic candidates in almost every region of the country. Virtually anywhere, a Democratic candidate is wasting his time running for Congress (or for dogcatcher) if the barons of organized labor are against him. He probably can't get nominated. But if he beats the odds and wins a Democratic nomination, he's almost surely doomed in the general election if the unions don't support him. No single interest group has such a stranglehold on the Republican Party, surely not business corporations or trade associations. Unions are virtually a monolith; business is split up all over the lot. The adjacent chart, compiled from the latest Federal Election Commission data, shows PAC giving over the last four election cycles. At first glance, union oriented, Democratic Party liberals might be expected to be happy with the PAC system as it is. After all, Democrats consistently get more than half of all PAC contributions. Well then, why the hue and cry against PACs from liberal Democrats? The answer is they don't like real competition. The closer they could get to a monopoly of political action, the better they would like it. They know they can't go back to the good old days when unions had a virtual monopoly on PACs. But, if they can cripple or destroy all PAC participation in elections, the unions' literally secret political weapon would give them close to a monopoly once more. Happy days would be here again. Elections would revert to being contests of the Republican Party vs. the Democratic Party plus their union masters. Here's why: PACs are now only the tip of the iceberg of union political power. The unions' greatest influence on elections is through "in-kind" goods and services for union supported candidates. These activities are not disclosed to the public. They are entirely outside the Federal reporting requirements, which apply to PACs but not to union-funded political activity such as voter registration drives, booming propaganda efforts, telephone phone banks, and most important, union staff time. Expert labor columnist Victor Riesel estimated that in 1976 these "in-kind" union campaign activities cost more than $100 million. Today the secret total is surely several times larger, far, far more than all the candidate support by all types of PACs put together. Right now, about half a million (500,000) staff are working for local, regional, state and national union organizations. That's more than 1,000 paid employees of unions per congressional district. Each year these union staffers, mostly paid with compulsory union dues, flood into the campaigns of the unions' hand-picked candidates, almost all liberal Democratic candidates. It is no coincidence that virtually all the politicians agitating against PACs are liberals cozy with Big Labor. Limiting or abolishing PACs will have no effect on this massive "in-kind" campaign activity by labor unions. That, in my judgment, is why unions and the liberal politicians they have elected are willing to sacrifice their PACs. They want to regain their monopoly of private political activity. PACs should be defended on free speech grounds, as the Federal courts have done repeatedly. The liberal news media are free to print and broadcast unlimited endorsements and condemnations of candidates as they choose. It's downright unseemly for them to urge clamping down on political speech for anyone who doesn't own a media outlet. By law, every contribution to a PAC of any kind must be entirely voluntary. And all PAC gifts to candidates must be promptly disclosed on the public record. If Americans want to join together politically for any shared electoral purpose, to pool resources for or against any political cause, they should have the right to do so. The amount of money contributed to PACs is growing but not excessive in a country of 240,000,000 people. We spend much more money each year on car washes or even on dog food. In truth, PACs have broadened, not limited, public access to politics. They have greatly expanded the number of people who voluntarily contribute to election campaigns. That is surely healthy.
Conservative Inclusion of
Morton C. Blackwell
September 1, 2017
Conservative Inclusion of "Minorities"
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.
The Conservative Organizational Entrepreneur
Morton C. Blackwell
May 10, 1995
The Conservative Organizational Entrepreneur
In 1965, experienced conservative friends much older than I advised me there was no way to earn a living doing what I wanted to do, work full time for conservative principles. Though filled with good intentions, they were wrong. This presentation explains how you can do what I eventually did: create an effective organization for your public policy activities. It describes your options: what kind of activity; what type of group; when to start it; how to structure it; how to staff it; how to fund it; how to help it grow. I also point out mistakes to avoid. Business entrepreneurs make things happen. They create most of the innovations, growth and jobs in the economy. Who makes things happen in public policy? Some people are self-starters who occasionally act independently in politics. They write letters to the editor without being asked. They create homemade signs for candidates of their choice. They call in to talk radio programs to persuade others to support or oppose specific candidates or bills before the Congress or a state legislature. They try hard to teach their children to be good citizens. They spontaneously ask their family and their friends to vote a certain way in a coming election. If enough people acted independently in public policy battles, they could have decisive impact. But few people are self-starters. In politics, nothing moves unless it's pushed. Given time, the outcome of political contests is determined by the number and effectiveness of the activists on the respective sides. Political parties, candidates for election, legislators pushing their policy agendas and journalists with axes to grind are not the only brigades in battles over public policy. Other sources of political communications and political organization are often called "special interests," a pejorative term. So-called "special interests" apply their resources to the public policy process and often make things happen. They come in many categories. Organized labor gets much of its strength from compulsory union dues. Many politically active non-profit groups on the left get their money largely from government bureaucrats in the form of grants from taxes collected from taxpayers under compulsion. Organized crime buys some of its undoubted political clout with money derived from types of extortion like protection rackets and activities such as the fencing of stolen goods. Almost all other politically active groups depend on voluntary contributions, the way things ought to be. While most of us would object to compulsory funding of any political activity, no one should question the legitimacy of public policy activities funded by voluntary contributions. The right of association is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Despite some government-imposed restrictions, Americans are and ought to be free to join together for political purposes and to contribute their time and resources to candidates and causes of their choice. Far more than citizens of any other country, Americans act politically through voluntary, non-partisan private associations. Politically influential private organizations can be liberal or conservative. They can be political action committees, lobby groups, tax-exempt educational groups, professional or trade associations or other types of groups. Some are large; most are small. Many are old; some new ones are created each year. The Organizational Entrepreneur Some well-established, broadly-based membership organizations change leadership frequently through periodic elections. But most politically effective groups in America today are headed by the single individuals who created them or who built them to their current levels of effectiveness. I decided some years ago to call such people organizational entrepreneurs, a useful description of an important category of activists. Organizational entrepreneurs, unlike commercial business entrepreneurs, do not "own" the organizations they head. Most organizations active in politics are incorporated as non-profit groups. By law, ultimate management authority must reside in each group's board of directors. But even though such non-profit groups elect officers through periodic elections by the membership or by a stable board of directors, it's obvious that each is run by a single individual who calls the shots. Reed Larson is the organizational entrepreneur of the National Right to Work Committee. Ed Feulner has that role at the Heritage Foundation, Paul Weyrich at the Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly at Eagle Forum, etc. In each case, their organizations are a major part of their lives' work. The groups they head succeed or fail based on their leadership and, for most practical purposes, are their organizations. In many ways, a new organizational entrepreneur is analogous to a business entrepreneur who starts a small business. Like a small business, an organization can sometimes develop into quite a big and powerful institution. Most conservative organizations which gained real clout in the last thirty years are still operating under the same leadership. Phyllis Schlafly is the founder of the Eagle Forum. It is her organization. Reed Larson didn't found the National Right to Work Committee. But he got involved when it was relatively small and built it into a powerhouse. It became his organization. Young conservatives should consider the option of some day becoming organizational entrepreneurs themselves. There are possibilities now; there will be possibilities in the years to come for creating successful public policy groups. Since I moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1965 to be executive director of the College Republicans, I've known many of the people who have set up and built public policy-related, non-profit organizations. I've observed them and worked closely with many of them. Some fell flat on their faces. Others grew to be enormously effective. As for myself, the principal group of which I am the organizational entrepreneur is the Leadership Institute, which I founded in 1979. I supervise it under the general management of its board of directors. In that sense, and only in that sense, it is my organization. The Institute each year now (2002) trains over 3,000 students and raises over $7 million. Growth is not inevitable, nor is it unlimited. Any organization, no matter how well it is run, tends over time to reach a plateau. In its early years, it might achieve a considerable annual percentage of increase, growth at a rate that cannot be sustained forever. The proliferation of successful conservative organizations is responsible for the growing strength of the conservative movement in the public policy process since the early 1970s. Heads of existing groups often aren't happy when another group is formed to do somewhat similar work. But the creation of multiple groups under different leadership, all active for similar causes, is generally helpful for those causes. Some donors will like the approach of one group better than that of another group which is working for almost exactly the same issues. Some people will like and trust the head of one group better than they will the head of a similar group. Multiple groups with the same or similar messages reinforce each other and make each others' activities more credible in the public policy process. Very rarely are existing groups doing all that can be done for their causes. Often a new group brings novel, useful ideas to the policy battle; competition usually makes everyone more efficient. Creation of more groups active for a cause increases the number of donors and volunteers activated for that cause. Issue Focus Helps Organizational Growth Some of the most important lessons of political activity are counter-intuitive. For example, an organizational entrepreneur should know, although most people would guess otherwise, that a new issue group narrowly focused on a cluster of related issues has more potential for growth than a group concerned about a wide variety of issues. By the way, "single issue group" is usually not a true description. "Focused issue group" is almost always more accurate, as well as being less pejorative. Why does an organization focused on a cluster of related issues have a greater potential for growth in number of members, number of donors and revenue than one with a wide range of policy interests? Think about how you personally react to direct mail you receive from a politically active organization you've never contributed to before. Perhaps you've never heard of the group. You quickly screen the envelope and its contents. If you disagree with almost anything you see, you probably throw away the invitation to join the group or to contribute to it. If I received a letter from a new group which had as its advisory committee Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Charles Schumer, the chances are I'd suspect that group wasn't likely to do much for any conservative cause. As much as I love those two conservatives, Senator Schumer's involvement would raise a big question. The three might have joined to raise funds for some disaster relief effort, but it's unlikely they'd have any common political agenda. If my interest that day was to affect public policy, I'd toss the letter. But a group endorsed only by Sen. Paul and Rep. Jordan, without Sen. Schumer, would surely be attractive to a greater number of conservative activists. As with multiple politicians on a list, so with multiple political issues in an organization. Many people are vigorously in favor of the right to work. Many keenly support the right to keep and bear arms. The National Right to Work Committee (NRTW) has 2.2 million members; the National Rifle Association (NRA) has over 4 million members. But if you created an organization that had, as its two issues, the right to work and the right to keep and bear arms, your new group wouldn't have the potential to grow as large as either NRTW or NRA. Anyone who disagreed with your new group on either one of these issues probably would not be interested in joining. Focus a policy group narrowly if you want to maximize its potential for growth. There are groups which are conservative across the board, on almost every issue. Such groups can serve good purposes and can be useful in forming and coordinating coalitions and movements. But smart people have tried for many years to build mass-based groups which trumpet conservative views in every area of public policy. That doesn't work. The American Conservative Union (ACU) was founded more than 35 years ago. I've been an ACU director for many years. It has done good work. It was intended to be a mass-based group which is conservative on everything. But it never has had a mass-based membership which is conservative on every issue. Through most of its existence, it has been small in terms of budget and in terms of number of members, as compared to some other groups which focus on a cluster of related issues. Your Organization's Mission If you plan one day to become an organizational entrepreneur, try to think like an inventor. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will beat a path to his door." Emerson suffered from a misunderstanding which frequently misleads intellectuals. Being right, in the sense of being correct, doesn't mean you necessarily win. The success of a book, an organization or a mousetrap depends in large part on skillful marketing. But intrinsic merit certainly makes any new project more likely to succeed. Think of an important kind of activity which should be done but is not now being done. Or a kind of activity already being done which you could do better. When I founded the Leadership Institute in 1979, almost every other conservative educational foundation focused on issues and philosophy. That's wonderful work. I wish more of it were done. I benefit greatly from education from such foundations. The Leadership Institute does a little of such work, but education on issues and philosophy is not its primary role. The mission of my foundation is very clear: to locate, recruit, train and place people in the public policy process. Conservatives are more successful as the number and the effectiveness of conservative activists increases across America. Donors understand what I'm doing. They may support several foundations which specialize in issue and policy education, but they clearly see the uniqueness and the importance of the Leadership Institute. I often give my students good books which cover issues and philosophy. I recommend many books and periodicals to them. But I focus on identifying, recruiting, training and placing people. Nobody else was doing just that. There was a market for the product of my new organization. Think of an area of activity where more or better work should be done. Be able to express your group's mission in a short, clear statement. In marketing, this is called finding your niche. It doesn't make much sense for you to try to start a group if there already is a nationwide organization doing a first-class job performing the same mission. It would probably make no sense at all for you to decide, "I'm going to create a rival to the National Right to Work Committee." The National Right to Work Committee does a great job of grassroots lobbying. But there are not many such examples. You might consider a type of activity in which existing groups do things but the demand for that kind of work exceeds the supply. If existing non-profit groups aren't even close to doing all that needs to be done, you might be able to bring extra resources to the policy battle by starting a new group. If your prospective new group's work is to be one of the main projects of your life, and it should be, make sure you have a strong and abiding interest in what it will be doing. Consider also whether or not the problem you plan to address will remain important. When I was a child, even grammar school students went door to door with great enthusiasm to raise money for the March of Dimes. Stopping infantile paralysis, the dreaded polio, was a hot issue because most people knew victims of that disease who died or were crippled. When Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin discovered vaccines which could prevent polio, the March of Dimes had a problem. A nice problem, but a problem nonetheless. They had completed their well-known mission. Their officers decided to adopt a new mission, fighting birth defects, another good cause but one which has never captured the public imagination as did the fight against polio. However, birth defects will probably never be entirely eliminated, so they'll never have to start from scratch again with a new mission. At a Leadership Institute school many years ago, some students working on an exercise came up with the idea of creating a new, national organization to fight the then-federally-mandated, nationwide traffic speed limit of 55 miles per hour. I commented at the time that such a new group would attract a lot of support because millions of people, especially in the West, were outraged at the mandatory 55 miles per hour national speed limit. But I predicted that such a group wouldn't last long, because, new group or not, public outrage would force a change in the law. Not long later, the law was changed, without the help of the proposed new group. You shouldn't create a group which won't last long if it probably can't make any difference in the course of public policy. Should you create a local, state or national organization? While there are exceptions, such as the growing number of effective, state-based think tanks, most successful groups built by organizational entrepreneurs are national organizations. In a big state, it can be done. Gun Owners of California was a power in California before its head, H. L. "Bill" Richardson, founded Gun Owners of America. His national group quickly grew much larger than his state organization. For most public policy purposes, it's easier to raise money nationally than within a single state. Local and state activity is essential, but a national group can draw resources from all across America, employ competent, full-time staff and focus its major efforts in those locations where it can do the most good. Many national groups establish state groups based largely on volunteer activists. Two merits of such state organizations: It costs less to make things happen at the state level than at the national level; a national group's staff can gain expertise in the dynamics of the political process more quickly in many state efforts than it could by working the same length of time in the relatively fewer and less varied opportunities at the federal level. If you form a group limited to your state, be prepared for your new organization to remain a useful and cherished hobby. Seldom do state groups have enough revenue to provide a living for those who found them; they tend to remain always labors of love which can't afford efficient offices and paid officers or staff. There's nothing wrong with strictly volunteer conservative organizations. They do much good. God bless them; may they multiply. If you have a major donor willing and able to underwrite the major cost of a state organization, that's a different matter. That can work. Categories of Organizations If you decide to become an organizational entrepreneur, you have several different categories of organizations to consider, each with different functions and a different legal status. Among the principal categories are: a political action committee; a lobby, which is described in the Internal Revenue Code as a social welfare organization, a 501(c)(4) group; or a foundation, which is described as a public charity, a 501(c)(3) group. Among foundations, there are various kinds, including: • research foundations, which do research and publish the results • legal defense foundations, which raise public policy issues in the courts • political education groups, which teach people about issues and political philosophy or how to participate successfully in the public policy process Some foundations combine two or more of these activities. Foundations, lobbies and PACs all have their uses. Each can do things the others can't. Foundations can take unlimited contributions, can make unlimited expenditures, can take contributions from individuals, corporations and other foundations and can provide individual and corporate donors tax deductions for their contributions. But foundations may not legally advocate for or against candidates or contribute to election campaigns, must disclose their major contributors and, except for a special category of foundation, may not carry on a substantial part of their activities attempting to influence legislation. Lobbies can take unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations, can make unlimited expenditures to influence legislation and sometimes can keep confidential the identities of their donors. But a lobby may not contribute to candidates for public office at the federal level or in many states. A lobby cannot provide donors with federal income tax deductions for their contributions. A political action committee, at the federal level, may take personal contributions but not corporate contributions. The amount one PAC can accept per year per person is limited by law. And the amount one person can contribute to all federal PACs, all federal candidates and all political parties combined is limited by law. Such a PAC can contribute to federal candidates, but only in amounts limited by law. It can make unlimited independent expenditures for or against a candidate. It can spend money to influence legislation except that it may be required to pay a tax; few PACs lobby. Its donors get no tax deductions, and those who give more than $200 per year must be disclosed in periodic reports to the Federal Election Commission. State laws regarding PACs vary greatly. An organizational entrepreneur needs a good lawyer to sort these matters out and to avoid legal problems. You may have a friend in another group with a legal status analogous to the one you're forming, perhaps focused in another policy area. As a first step, you could go to your friend and ask for copies of that other group's organizational documents. You must create and file articles of incorporation and file an application with the Internal Revenue Service for your chosen tax status. You may wish to apply to the U.S. Postal Service for a reduced-rate, non-profit organization mailing rate. And you may want to have these legal matters handled very quickly. It's easier to do these things if some other group will let you review its organizational documents and the applications it filed with government agencies. Then you can edit them to suit your new organization. In any case, you should consult a good attorney. Don't call some fine friend of yours who has just graduated from law school and say, "I want you to draw up our articles of incorporation, application for IRS tax status, etc." Get an attorney experienced in these matters. Your legal work will probably cost you less in the long run and almost certainly will be done better and more quickly. Three attorneys whom I use frequently and who have wide experience working for conservative, non-profit groups are: Alan Dye, Esq. Webster, Chamberlain and Bean 1747 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20006 phone: 202-785-9500 Cleta Mitchell, Esq. Foley & Lardner, LLP 3000 K Street, NW #500 Washington, D.C. 20007 phone: 202-295-4081 William J. Olson, Esq. 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1070 McLean, VA 22102 phone: 703-356-5070 As you describe your planned activity in your organizing documents and your applications to the I.R.S., word your intended functions broadly enough to avoid future limitations. Several years ago I wanted to raise money through my Leadership Institute for a legal defense for a fellow who had been more than 20 years in Fidel Castro's prisons. Legal defense is a legitimate function of a 501(c)(3) group. My lawyer reviewed our 1979 I.R.S. application. He said I'd better use some other vehicle for that legal defense effort, because our initial I.R.S. application didn't list legal defense as one of the Leadership Institute's intended functions. It hadn't occurred to me back in 1979 that I might want to do that one day. Going beyond what you describe in your group's I.R.S. application risks your tax-exempt status. A good attorney will make sure you don't forget to pay your annual corporate registration fee to the proper state agency and otherwise help keep you out of trouble. When in doubt, get good legal advice. You should get professional help filling out your required I.R.S. returns and state-required reports each year. Even though yours may be a non-profit group and therefore pay no federal taxes, Uncle Sam is watching you. Before they contribute, major donors often will require you to submit to them copies of your tax-status letter from the I.R.S. and your most recent tax return and annual audit. Major donors will feel more comfortable with an audit conducted by a major accounting firm than with an audit conducted by your brother-in-law on whose C.P.A. certification the ink is not yet dry. Many organizational entrepreneurs started successfully with one category of organization, say, a lobby, and over the years created other, related groups such as foundations, a federal PAC and a state PAC. It isn't necessary or necessarily wise to start groups in different categories all at the same time, but it's prudent to think from the start about the possibility of eventually doing so. Paul Weyrich, for example, runs a foundation, a lobby and a political action committee: the Free Congress Foundation; Coalitions for America; and the Free Congress PAC. In Which Category Can You Be Most Effective? Certainly there is room for new groups in all categories. But some types of new groups could have much more impact on the public policy process than others. For day-to-day sheer clout, no category of group is superior to a grassroots lobby. Any lobby can influence legislation. A grassroots lobby can systematically identify and recruit people who agree with it on policy questions, educate those people on their hot-button issues and activate them so they can be most effective. It can survey candidates on its issues, report the survey results to its mass-based membership, and lead its members to thank candidates who are right on its issues and to communicate vigorously with candidates who are not right on its issues. Certainly it's easier to persuade candidates to adopt your position before an election than afterward. A well-run grassroots lobby can force a politician to give them his vote or his seat. Thus, it can help make democracy work. Educated and activated voters can persuade an elected official that there's a close relationship between his legislative votes and his political survival. Politicians pay attention when their personal futures are at stake. Aroused voters can cleanse a legislature in subsequent elections. Running an effective grassroots lobby is the supreme test of skills for an organizational entrepreneur. Few can do it well. But there's more opportunity for major new groups of this type than any other. Conservatives in recent years have neglected political action committees. Some PACs which served conservatives well in the 1970s and early 1980s have disappeared or declined badly. PACs can help recruit candidates and can have disproportionate impact on nomination contests. Political party committees can encourage candidates to run, but their rules usually prevent them from having much impact on who is nominated. You can't elect good candidates unless they are recruited and nominated. It's harder to raise money for PACs than for any other category of group. But a few new, heavyweight conservative PACs could work wonders in the nomination and election process. Mike Farris of Virginia started a conservative PAC, The Madison Project, which uses the same "bundling" process as the liberal PAC, EMILY's List. He gets many donors to agree in advance to write checks to candidates he recommends. Steve Moore's Club for Growth is another good conservative example. Other organizational entrepreneurs could follow this model. Over the past 25 years, foundations have grown in numbers and in resources more than any other category of conservative organization. There are now conservative foundations active in almost every conceivable area of public policy. One of the best known and most effective research foundations, the Heritage Foundation, was created because existing conservative think tanks were not timely in their work. Some were so cautious that they deliberately withheld publication of their research until after the Congress had voted on related legislation. Quick response was the key to Heritage's success. Frankly, many public policy foundations produce more smoke than fire. That is, their achievements can be more apparent than real. If all a foundation does is identify donors who agree with it and distribute to those donors materials which reinforce how right they are, it accomplishes little in the public policy process. Such a foundation might survive and even prosper financially. It might provide a living for its staff. But it doesn't have an effect on public policy proportional to its revenue. It's not a wise investment, although some donors may be persuaded otherwise. To be effective, the organizational entrepreneur of a conservative educational foundation must make sure his organization does well one or both of the following: • communicates a persuasive policy message to people who aren't already committed to its cause • prepares those already committed to its cause to be more effective in the public policy process. And there's an opportunity for a kind of activity in which liberals have been effective but conservative groups have much to learn. Various liberal groups employ thousands of people to go door to door, signing up new members and soliciting donations for a variety of causes. In recent years, dozens of solicitors for liberal foundations, lobbies and PACs have rung doorbells in my neighborhood. This technique works, or it wouldn't be so frequently used by many different liberal groups. The first conservative organizational entrepreneur who studies this door-to-door technology, masters it and employs it will surely be successful. Your Board of Directors For the legal governing board of your new organization, you should have a small, odd number of directors. Each of those directors should be as close as possible to you, the organizational entrepreneur, and as far as possible from each other. Your old college roommate, a successful small businessman who gave you summer jobs in your youth, a conservative pastor in your old hometown, some friend halfway across the country and two or four others similarly chosen could join you on your group's board. All obviously respectable people who share your views, fine people with good ethical standards. But none of them public stars. None of them likely to give you grief as your group becomes active and successful. You don't want to have on your board of directors people who are themselves up to their necks in public policy battles or high-profile people such as elected public officials or heads of other policy organizations. Usually, when you do effective things, you become at least somewhat controversial. Most policy groups have to do some controversial things to generate recognition and donor support. If you have stars on your board, people who don't like what you're doing will put heat on them. If you have a prominent politician on your board, for example, other people may pressure or attack him. He may be prepared to suffer for you. Or he may confront you with two options: "Either stop doing these controversial things, or I'll have to resign." Or a politician may later be involved in a scandal or a new controversy which could result in bad publicity for your group. Surely you don't want problems like these. You don't want your prominent friends to suffer unnecessarily for you. Nor do you want them later to threaten to resign. Just as important, if you work your fingers to the bone for several years and build up a million dollars in revenue and a healthy bank account, you don't want members of your board suddenly to develop a phony "sense of responsibility" and try to divert the group's resources, which they didn't raise, to their own pet projects. I know a number of organizational entrepreneurs who didn't have properly-composed boards. Down the road some of them even had to fight takeover attempts. So I suggest: no public stars or potential rivals on your board. After your group is successful, you might consider expanding your board to include a very few of your long-time, major donors who are closest to you personally. They may then give you useful counsel and perhaps even get other major donors to support your group. What About an Advisory Committee? If you're sure your group is that rare sort which is not going to do things which will become very controversial, then there may be good reason to have some prominent, admired people affiliated in some way with it. The Leadership Institute doesn't issue news releases attacking anybody. In fact, it issues very few news releases at all. It never supports or opposes pending legislation. It is prohibited by law from supporting or opposing candidates in any election. News media cover what's hot today but are much less interested in what may be important in the future. My foundation gets relatively little news coverage because most of the good it does is in the life-long careers of its graduates and those whom it helps place in policy jobs. My Institute has a bi-partisan Congressional Advisory Committee of about 100 conservative Members of Congress, all stars by definition. If your new group is not going to do much that is controversial, you might create an advisory committee of stars, people whose names on your literature would be of assistance to you. But even under these circumstances, an advisory committee is a little dangerous. There may be people on your advisory committee whom a potential donor strongly dislikes. I've had a few look at our advisory committee list and tell me, "Ah, I know Congressman Jones. He's voted wrong on something very important to me, so you can't expect me to contribute to you." When you put a person on your advisory committee, you inherit his enemies as well as his friends. I use our Congressional Advisory Committee list well in recruiting students for my programs but never in my fundraising letters. If you decide you would benefit from having a star-studded advisory committee, here's the easy way to recruit its members: • Make a list of a hundred or so people you'd like to have on your advisory committee, people whom you believe should be supportive of what you're setting out to do. • Write a nice letter and send it, personalized, to all hundred of them. Explain what you're up to and invite them to join your advisory committee. Enclose a reply form and a stamped, addressed return envelope. Those who say "yes" are your new advisory committee. You may get ten or twenty. It just takes that one mailing, and, boom, you've got it. If everyone on your hundred-piece mailing is someone you'd be happy to have on your advisory committee, the ten or twenty who respond favorably will make a fine list for your literature. I know people starting new groups who have targeted just a handful of stars they wanted on their advisory committees. They've spent many weeks, even months meeting and calling and trying to convince a few specific people to lend their names to new advisory committees. What a waste of time. Prominent Endorsers As I said, if you're going to do controversial things which might give trouble to stars who are working with you and cooperating with you, you shouldn't have a public advisory committee. But there's another good way to get people who are friendly to you to lend their names to your organization. Make a list of many stars whose endorsements would help you in various ways, especially those whom know you personally. Write them nice letters and ask them to write you back letters of endorsement. Some will surely respond as you wish. You can use these letters, or excerpts from them, in your fundraising and promotional literature. They will give you increased credibility. Some may be willing to sign fundraising letters for you. But these endorsers will not have a place on your letterhead. They will have no formal and permanent arrangement with your organization. If for any reason they become uncomfortable with your group, there's nothing for them to resign from. If any one of them gets upset at what you do, all you have to say is, "O.K. I promise I won't use your letter or your quote anymore." When to Start Your Organization For an organizational entrepreneur, a successful start-up is the most difficult thing to do. You might do as I did. Start your group early, perhaps several years before you'll have to pay your salary and maybe even your group's rent with the donations you raise. Operate your group out of your hip pocket, so to speak, while you're employed elsewhere. You don't have to launch your group when you personally must sink or swim depending upon whether or not this month you receive sufficient donations. And surely staff I hire benefit from my long experience as an employee myself in the private sector and in government. I began to hold national leadership schools in 1968, when I worked for the College Republican National Committee. Later I ran training programs through a new political action committee I formed on the side while at the American Enterprise Institute. I founded the Leadership Institute on the side while with conservative direct mail giant Richard Viguerie. Then I went to work for Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH). Then for Ronald Reagan at the White House. I suggest you build up your organization to the point where there's sufficient revenue to avoid taking too big a risk as you leap to independence. It was not until 1984, at age 44, after three years on the White House Staff, that I resigned to take my chances as a full time organizational entrepreneur. The Leadership Institute had been in existence for five years. It grew as I operated it on the side while I held other jobs. While building your non-profit group, if you have marketable skills, you might work as a consultant or start a for-profit company selling goods or services. On the other hand, don't start a group until you're ready to do things with it. It costs you money, probably does you no good and could harm your new group's future prospects if it lies dormant for years. One exception might be to create a group, get all your legal documents filed, etc., in anticipation that a particular issue would become hot later. Plan Growth Carefully Here are two common mistakes of people who found organizations: • overestimating what you can do in the first year • underestimating what you can do in the tenth year If you found a new organization, focus narrowly on one thing and do it well. Don't plan in your first year to have lots of conferences, publish two kinds of periodic newsletters, write three books, defeat two bad bills, pass three good bills, beat seventeen bad candidates with seventeen good ones, host five gala dinners, hire a big staff and recruit a dozen fine interns. Focus narrowly on the one thing you've decided is the best project you can do to fulfill the mission you've picked for your organization. Concentrate on that. Become a success. Become known as the source of expertise in that area. That's what the Leadership Institute did. Although my Institute was founded in 1979, I'd been teaching students political leadership skills at the national level since 1968. My new organization did Youth Leadership Schools, and little else, until 1983. I focused on that. Any conservative interested in organizing students soon learned, "If you want to learn how to organize students, you must go to The Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School." I created the best source of this training. Nobody else taught a school analogous to mine. Its reputation grew. Not until 1983 did I create our Student Publications School. By 1984, when I could devote more time to new projects, I was recognized as an expert in political education and training. Then I began to hold our Capitol Hill Staff Training School. Gradually I expanded my training programs, adding about one new type of program each year. Now my Institute offers 27 different kinds of schools. I slowly but steadily expanded the Institute's staff and services. Our Employment Placement Service, for example, now finds public policy jobs for over 100 people each year, many of them graduates of my training. An organizational entrepreneur should become an expert at something. If possible, the pre-eminent expert. Once you are an expert, you have credentials. People will take you seriously when you undertake something new. But if you try to do too many things at once, you're in trouble. Big trouble. You can't do it all. You simply cannot do well all of the things you might want to do. Focus first on one thing, and do it right. Once you have even a little fame in one area, people will accept you as an authority on other things. O. J. Simpson made his fame as a football player. Then a rental car company paid good money to him to make commercials for it. The car-renting public didn't know about his personal life, just his fame. You can do a lot once you have developed a reputation. But focus first on one thing, and do it well. Add new projects one at a time. Be very cautious about it. This takes a lot of brainwork. Think about what your new project is going to be, how much of your time it will take, who is going to be involved in it, who is your target audience, how you will recruit people for it, how it fits in with your other programs and how you can pay for it. If you carefully think out and implement each step of your growth, you may be pleasantly surprised in your tenth year that the amount and types of good you are doing exceed your most optimistic expectations. Qualifications and Pitfalls A really first-class organizational entrepreneur is: • solid philosophically • technique-oriented • courageous • persistent • free of crippling eccentricities • able to build lasting bonds with donors • prudent about making commitments • scrupulous about keeping commitments • skilled in the use of the English language • good with numbers and in handling money • managerially competent and able to cope gracefully with those less competent • focused on, credentialed in and ambitious to succeed in the organization's area of policy or activity. Some organization heads compensate for weaknesses in some of these characteristics with extra strength in others. By no means does every effective conservative activist have to become an organizational entrepreneur. Every successful group includes deeply committed people of solid competence who can maximize their effectiveness by working for others. There's nothing wrong with that. It's a high calling. Ralph Reed became famous as the omnicompetent executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition. His subordinate role enhanced his personal power to make things happen. Now he's a successful political consultant. If you specially enjoy the details of an area of policy, don't assume that you must go out and form a new group in order to be effective in that area. You might be happier and more influential as a policy analyst, a journalist or a legislative assistant than as a fundraiser and a manager. You may not enjoy spending your time on the many business-related aspects of an organizational entrepreneur's job. Hiring staff can be fun, but letting someone go can be agony. Consider your own strengths and weaknesses. Do you really want to do what a chief executive officer does? Not every organizational entrepreneur is a noble creature. Lord Acton was right about power tending to corrupt. Sometimes power goes to a leader's head, and he becomes insufferable or loses many of the above-listed characteristics which made him successful. Sometimes money is too tempting. It is bad practice, dangerous and wrong for the head of a non-profit group to purchase, for his group, goods and services from for-profit enterprises he owns. But this sometimes happens. I've noticed that non-profit groups managed in this self-dealing fashion either stop doing much good or die as the head of the group gets greedy to put his group's resources into his personal pocket. Your salary level should be set by your board of directors, not by you. It's good practice for your board to form a salary review committee for you from among its members to make periodic suggestions for consideration by the entire board. Your pay should not be toward the high end of the range of salaries paid to heads of non-profit groups of similar size. If you have what it takes to be an organizational entrepreneur, you probably could be successful, and perhaps make more money, as a business entrepreneur. Consider carefully what is important to you. Which activity, business or public policy, will give you the greatest job satisfaction? Either way, you might make a decent living and provide for your family. Either way, your success depends on your efforts. Either way, you could fail. To decide what's right for you, ask yourself in which role you'd be happier as you go to work each day ten or twenty years from now. Be a Good Steward Keep your overhead low, otherwise it can kill you. Pour every cent you can into your program and into recruiting new members and donors so you can become more effective and powerful. Start off with the least expensive things you can function with. Get used furniture. Scrounge furniture from friends and family. If some organization or business closes down or is downsizing, it has old furniture and equipment you might get for little or nothing. Be very cautious when you buy machinery and office equipment. My former employer, Richard Viguerie, says, "If I'm ever reincarnated, I want to come back as a salesman of business equipment to small organizations." I know one national conservative group which purchased an expensive, unnecessary mainframe computer years ago and almost collapsed when it soon couldn't pay its bills. Do first class work, but settle for less than top-of-the-line, new equipment. Beg, borrow, do anything but steal what you need to function. For years I repaired an old impact printer at my Institute with pieces of paper clips and epoxy glue. Ask friends in other organizations if they have any old equipment they no longer use. If you buy any new equipment, don't try to get one piece of machinery which will do everything: type all your letters at record speed, hold all of your data, make copies, send and receive faxes, take messages, make coffee, stuff envelopes, lick stamps and put them on envelopes. Buy separate pieces of equipment. If one piece of equipment breaks down, you don't want to be stopped in every category of activity. That just doesn't make sense. And you'd almost certainly be paying for capabilities you can't fully use. Get individual machines which perform different functions. When you have to upgrade your capability in one area of activity, you won't have to pay as much. Recruit office volunteers if you can. You can keep your overhead down with volunteers or an inexpensive intern program. My Institute still recruits valuable office volunteers. And our intern program is one of the best. As you start hiring staff, I suggest you employ very highly competent, entry-level people, people whom you think have great futures before them. You may not be able to pay them raises big enough to hold them for many years. But, well supervised, they will make your initial program a success. Beware of mistakes which can be made when your well-meaning but inexperienced organization grows faster than do its internal controls, when informal ways of handling money no longer suffice but are still employed. You should develop for your group the right sort of formal procedures to ensure that there can never be any questions about how money is handled, and that employees will not be unnecessarily tempted to do the wrong thing. If you build a successful organization, good stewardship requires that you make provision for succession. Life is uncertain. You may not live long enough to turn your organization over to a person of your choice. You can't run a group from the grave, but you can leave suggestions. Prepare for your directors a letter with your advice regarding the future of the organization. Specifically designate an appropriate successor whom you believe has the right qualities to carry on your work. Ask your directors to give that person the same cooperation and support they gave you. Leave sealed copies of your letter with two or more of your directors. Funding Your Organization There are many different ways you might fund your activities. Among them: • direct mail • grant applications to donor foundations • personal solicitation of major donors • fees charged for products or services • planned giving (wills, trusts and the like) • telemarketing (dialing for dollars) • radio and television appeals • door-to-door solicitation (used often and well by liberal groups) None of these techniques is horribly difficult to learn, but most people have more native ability in some types than in others. Each type of fundraising is a different area of expertise. As in every other area of organization and communication technology, you can learn by personal experience, by observation and by going to occasional training programs. Any group which neglects to train its staff and to prepare its members and donors to be more effective doesn't deserve to succeed. Most groups use direct mail. Some groups go broke using direct mail. The Leadership Institute uses the first five listed types of fundraising. School registration fees amount to less than 2% of our revenues. About 97% of our revenue, including contributions from personal solicitations, planned giving and grant applications, comes from donors who first contributed to my group through direct mail. Most groups raise most of their funds through the mail. Most groups start off by hiring a direct mail consultant. That is not a bad thing, but it can be dangerous. My group has no direct mail consultant because I learned that technology while working for Richard Viguerie for seven years in the 1970s. Have any direct mail contract proposed to your group reviewed by an experienced organizational entrepreneur who has dealt with more than one direct mail consultant. You want a contract which gives you unrestricted use of the list of people who donate to your activities. Some contracts don't. You want a contract which would enable you some day to be independent of the fundraising consultant. Some contracts could have the effect of tying you forever to one consultant, to your disadvantage. You don't want a fundraising contract in which the fundraising consultant gets a fixed percentage of your net money from direct mail. Some contracts specify this. Most people don't understand that even successful "prospect" mailings, mailings which go to people who have never given to your group before, can lose some money. If prospect mailings lose only a little, you can quickly make up that loss with profitable mailings to the new donors on your "house file," the list of your donors. I suggest you plan from the outset for your group to develop over time the capability to take charge of its own fundraising. Conservative groups rarely get grants from the government. Avoid accepting government funds for your operations, even if they are available to you. They create a dangerous dependency and limit your freedom of action. They can depress voluntary donations because donors and potential donors may question your independence and your commitment to conservative principles. I head another foundation, the International Policy Forum, which is now largely dormant. It specialized in international political training. I obtained government money for it for foreign training programs on three occasions through the National Endowment for Democracy. Each time, government regulations and harassment got in the way of doing a good job. Almost all the good that small foundation did was with privately contributed money. You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. But having the money isn't as important as doing the right job. Your Donors Are Your Constituency Take good care of your donors, and they'll take good care of you. Most privately supported organizations do not do a first-class job of working with their donors. Do all you can to create ways and means to involve them in your program. Thank them and make them feel good about their participation with you. I receive mailed newsletters every day from conservative organizations which have dedicated staff doing good work. Too many of those newsletters brag about all the good things their organizations are doing and are filled with photos of their organizations' heads and top staff. Your newsletter goes to your donors. Don't brag about your activities. You can present the same topics in such a way as to thank your donors for what they have made possible. Be grateful to your donors. Give them credit for what you're doing. They do make it possible. Groups led by organizational entrepreneurs can bond more strongly with their donors than can groups which frequently change leadership. People tend to give to people rather than to organizations. The relationship of a donor to a group may break when the group elects a new leader not familiar to the donor. If you achieve great things in the public policy process, you may be scrutinized by the news media and those who don't like what you are doing. You may be attacked viciously. Don't worry much about criticism. The news media and your opponents are not your constituency. Your primary constituency is your donor base. Being attacked unfairly by liberal media, liberal politicians and liberal organizations can sometimes even help you with your donors. You're fighting their fight with and for them. You can contact them directly and avoid the filters of the liberal media. They may support you more generously because of your enemies' attacks. Operating in a Movement How would your organization fit into the conservative movement? A movement is not an organization. A group run by an organizational entrepreneur is like an army or a private business. In a line organization, the person at the top gives orders to the people down below. The general gives orders to the colonels, who give orders to the lieutenant colonels, and so forth down to the buck privates. If he's wise, an organizational entrepreneur gets much good information and advice from those below him in the structure. And he delegates much authority. But he has the ultimate responsibility. So he gives direction to his group. A movement is a collection of people and organization heads moving in the same direction, each one guided by his own internal compass. You can work closely together with others in a movement. You can cooperate with other people and heads of other groups, even persuade them to adopt your suggested courses of action. But no organizational entrepreneur can give orders to any other. When working in a movement as an organizational entrepreneur, think of ways to help other groups and cooperate with them. But keep the faith with your members and donors; don't divert their resources to activities not related to your group's mission. Would you think that the National Right to Work Committee would have an institutional interest in stopping the Clintons' government health care scheme? On the face of it, no. But it turned out that Hillary's plan had a little plum hidden inside it for organized labor. Her plan specified that any worker's private health plan which provided benefits more generous than the standards set by the government would be taxed, except if that plan had been negotiated through a union contract. This exception, of course, would give an enormous advantage to the labor unions. Your benefits could be taxed if you did not join a union. Coercion to force workers to join unions was precisely what Reed Larson's National Right to Work Committee was organized to fight. So his large, effective organization joined the conservative groups battling against the Clintons' health care power grab. That's a classic example of conservative movement cooperation and success. Don't ask or expect other groups to help your group fight your battles unless you can show how their institutional interests are served. Composition of a Movement Coalitions (or movements) are composed of independent activists and organizations. A coalition which works well and cordially together for a long time may come to consider itself a movement. For a coalition or movement aspiring to be a governing political majority, the greater the number of causes represented by activists in the coalition and the greater the number of well-led organizations working comfortably together, the more effective the coalition will be. But that does not mean that all the activists in each group will agree on the issues important to all other allied groups. Ideally, heads of groups in a coalition will be personally solid on the issues important to the other groups in the coalition. But to be successful, they must focus their separate groups' efforts on activities clearly within their respective missions. It would make no sense, for example, for the National Right to Work Committee to make public pronouncements about child pornography or gun control. Nor should any group in a coalition be out front supporting and building up politicians who are militantly wrong on issues of vital importance to other groups in the coalition. Long-lasting coalitions can include widely disparate groups. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal coalition included liberal intellectuals, corrupt big city political machines, Southern segregationists, black political groups, Jewish organizations, most American Catholics, almost all Southern Baptists, etc. In any public election, not all the people who vote the same way agree with each other on all major issues. The legislative process and other types of public policy contests work the same way. In her successful battle in opposition to the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, Phyllis Schlafly said something brilliant: "We must be broad-minded enough to allow people to oppose the ERA for the reason of their choice." Here are a very few of the reasons different people worked with Mrs. Schlafly in the fight she led against the Equal Rights Amendment: • Some didn't like the destruction of the state laws with respect to inheritance. • Others didn't like the idea of women in combat, or drafting women. • Others didn't like the idea of giving homosexual marriages the same legal status as marriages between men and women. • Others didn't like the proposed amendment because they saw it as pro-abortion. There are many reasons for people to support or oppose a legislative measure or to vote for or against a candidate. Different organizations can activate, on the same side in a contest, different groups of people, each with a different motivation. Organizations, Movements and Political Parties Most public policy organizations are non-partisan. To be true to the causes for which they are organized, they must be free to help their friends and harass their foes, regardless of party. By law, foundations must be non-partisan. Nevertheless, coalitions and movements often find political parties useful as vehicles for candidates and causes important to them. The receptivity of a political party to new, cause-oriented groups of activists can determine whether that party grows or shrinks. Cause-oriented activists should never forget, however, that a political party includes many people who are involved for reasons that relate little or not at all to policy questions. A political party is not sufficient for a movement. Nor is a movement sufficient for a political party. Some people are in a political party for geographical reasons, others because of family tradition. Some people join a party because they see it as their quickest route to power, prestige or money. You Can Make Things Happen As an organizational entrepreneur, you could become a highly effective activist. Your organization could develop large cadres of effective activists. Then, when opportunities arose in a legislative battle, an election contest, or a public policy battle of any kind, the people whom you have identified and activated would be ready and able to focus their actions intelligently. Over the years, I've given briefings on these topics more than 100 times to people who have come to me hoping to create or improve public policy organizations. Some have had considerable success. I hope this advice, now written down, will be useful to many good people in the future. I conclude by saying I firmly believe that being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win public policy battles. In the long term, the winners in any public policy contest are those who have the greatest number of effective activists on their side. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. Then you can make things happen.
Conspiracy Theories
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Conspiracy Theories
No activist can work in the public policy process for long without running across one or more conspiracy theories. Since at least 1960, conspiracy theories which relate to politics have circulated widely. Such theories trap many otherwise smart people into years of inactivity, pessimism, and despair. The phenomenon is so common that it should be understood because it affects so many people who have leadership potential. A conspiracy theory often is presented with a chart or diagram listing many different people and different organizations. Then lines are drawn which link the people and organizations. Common organizational affiliations link different people. Common people link different organizations. The linking lines drawn on a page appear as a sinister and frightening web of organized evil. The late Don Lipsett, secretary of the Philadelphia Society, amassed a collection of such drawings from different sources and called them "termite charts." Small pamphlets, detailed reports, and fat books frequently present conspiracy theories. Sometimes enormous amounts of documentation describe the many different links. In the 1960s, conservatives spent enormous amounts of time documenting the links among different leftists and leftist organizations -- who shared membership in which groups, who signed public statements with whom, who frequently attended the same events. These studies reached the conclusion that there was out there a vast, super-secret, well-placed, fabulously well-funded, centrally organized, enormously powerful, left-wing conspiracy, with tentacles everywhere, capable of defeating the lowliest conservative who dared run for the school board in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. These presentations usually blamed everything bad in the world, from bad weather to bad breath, on the oh-so-clever, secret manipulations of those who run a described conspiracy. The conspiracy is commonly presented as so powerful as to be virtually irresistible and to be engaged primarily in a mopping-up operation to eliminate the last vestiges of conservative resistance. The major variation among the many such conspiracy theories was the identity of the central structure which ran all the left wing organizations. In one theory, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ran the whole deadly network. In another it was the Council on Foreign Relations. In another it was a group called the Bilderbergers. Other conspiracy theories, and I'm not kidding, spotlighted as the sinister master of the left-wing conspiracy the Pope, the Jews, the Masonic Order, the Rockefeller family, the AFL-CIO, the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Bavarian Illuminati, or others. Some of these conspiracy theories were so poorly presented and illiterate as to be obviously ludicrous. Others included staggering amounts of careful documentation of the links among the supposed conspirators. Thousands of people who were fully committed to solid conservative principles spent much of their time studying, even memorizing, conspiracy theories. Rather than working to win political battles, they devoted themselves to "proving" conspiracy theories. It's almost impossible to argue successfully with a deep-dyed conspiracy theorist. Those fully convinced of a conspiracy theory take any contradictory information as proof positive of just how clever the masters of the conspiracy are. Many conservatives became so convinced of the overwhelming power and cleverness of one or more of these conspiracies that they sank into despair and virtually ceased political activity. After all, if one is faced with opposition so powerful and so clever that defeat is inevitable, why bother to do anything about it except to complain? On the other hand, many other conservatives increased their activism. Starting about 1972, conservative activists dramatically increased their study of how to win. They created a galaxy of new organizations. They also multiplied many times the members, financial resources, and effectiveness of previously existing organizations. The National Right to Work Committee, for example, grew from 25,000 members in 1972 to 1.7 million members in 1979. As the number and effectiveness of conservative activists grew, it became possible to spin a new sort of conspiracy theory, which is best known today as Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy." Perhaps the first such manifestation was a story in The Washington Post in 1978, which featured a number of conservative leaders and organizations by then described in the media as the New Right. The Post ran the names and photos of Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan, Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips, Morton Blackwell, and others, and devoted much space to all the "links" between prominent conservative activists and their organizations. In recent decades, a cottage industry has arisen which spins a variety of conspiracy theories about a vast, super-secret, fabulously well-funded, centrally directed, hugely powerful conservative conspiracy, with tentacles everywhere, capable of defeating the lowliest liberal school board candidate in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. A shelf of books has been published about alleged right-wing conspiracies, including massive documentation of all the links, down to details of who has lunch with whom. Most authors of these studies present their (different) conclusions as to who is really giving the orders to everyone in the right-wing conspiracy. These books are credible only to those completely ignorant about the conservative movement -- for example, a 1980 book, Thunder on the Right, by conservative turncoat Alan Crawford. The best thing that can be said about Crawford's book is that some pages are without factual errors. Even the most bizarre conspiracy theories convince some people, probably because an organization, where somebody is the boss, is much easier to describe and to understand than is a movement, which includes many independent leaders. Finally, computer technology has enabled anyone to create a unique conspiracy theory, complete with documented links. Anyone can get on the internet and call up www.namebase.org/nbindex.htmll, click on "Proximity Search," and type in the name of any conservative leader or prominent organization. This website, based on immense but unreliable documentation of "links" among conservatives, will create a termite chart in color, with any prominent conservative leader or conservative organization at the very center of the page, complete with dozens or hundreds of lines showing published links to other people and organizations and their links to each other. Wow! Of course, for anyone experienced in or knowledgeable about the modern conservative movement, the idea that a centrally directed, secret conspiracy exists among conservative leaders and organizations is absolutely preposterous. Most conservative organizations are led by fiercely independent organizational entrepreneurs, the men or women who created these groups or built them into effectiveness. Reed Larson of the National Right to Work Committee, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Ed Feulner of Heritage Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and dozens of other prominent and admired conservative leaders would laugh out loud at the suggestion that any of them could give orders to the others. None of them would submit themselves to any political structure which might subject their activities to the direction of any or even all of the others. In sum, there's a conservative movement, not a formal national decision-making structure -- a movement, not an organization. Principled conservatives often move in the same direction, but not because they are under orders to move together. Each principled conservative operates with his or her own compass. Because their principles lead them in the same direction, they often cooperate on a project-by-project basis. In fact, several attempts to put together umbrella groups to control the actions of many conservative groups have failed. And conservatives should be glad those efforts all failed. If all conservative groups were controlled by some central leader or by votes of some board of directors, conservative principles would be much less effective in the public policy process. A movement composed of many different leaders and organizations accomplishes more than any leader could if he controlled them all. Competitors working for the same general purposes innovate. Some groups grow faster than others. Some are better at certain things than others. Some can gain support from donors who wouldn't contribute to some others. And some can decline or even collapse without harming others. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" works as well in the public policy process as it does in a commercial market system. Hillary Clinton would have much less to worry about if conservatives were directed by a vast right-wing conspiracy. Similarly, conservatives should wish that the left were in fact a vast, centralized conspiracy. As a whole, the left is also a movement. If one person or one group gave orders to all left-wing groups, the left would have all the effectiveness of the old Soviet economy. Like the right, the left is stronger because it's de-centralized. When you see detailed articles and elaborately documented books which describe a vast, right-wing conspiracy -- theories which speculate about the powerful, sinister people who supposedly control all conservatives -- rejoice! All that research and study about how often Paul Weyrich has lunch with Ed Feulner wastes liberals' time. Every hour a socialist carefully studies voluminous books which document the conservatives' "links" is an hour squandered by the left. And what is more, to the extent the left believes conservatives are a vast, super-secret, centrally directed, fabulously well-funded conspiracy with tentacles everywhere -- a virtually omnipotent, omniscient, irresistible force -- those liberals, leftists, and socialists will despair and give up the fight. Make no mistake about it, there are some real conspiracies. Terrorists do conspire, but their murderous violence is evidence of their weakness, not of overwhelming strength. And terrorists themselves almost always come to a bad end. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union ran a large, centralized, deadly, and effective conspiracy. But they proved to be not as smart, powerful, or irresistible as some despondent conspiracy theorists claimed. Most conspiracy theories make no more sense than those of crackpot cultist Lyndon LaRouche, who has argued loudly for years that the world trade in illegal drugs is managed by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Deep Blue Campuses
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Deep Blue Campuses
John Kerry v. George W. Bush: Giving to 2004 Presidential Campaigns from Employees at U.S. News & World Report's Top-Ranked National Universities USN&WR's 2004 School Rankings Kerry/Bush Dollar Ratio Kerry/Bush Dollar % Number of Donations Harvard 31 to 1 98% to 2% 406 to 13 Princeton 114 to 1 99% to 1% 114 to 1 Yale 50 to 1 98% to 2% 150 to 3 Penn 19 to 1 95% to 5% 93 to 5 Duke 14 to 1 93% to 7% 98 to 7 MIT 61 to 1 98% to 2% 121 to 2 Stanford 9 to 1 90% to 10% 257 to 28 CIT 11 to 1 92% to 8% 22 to 2 Columbia 14 to 1 93% to 7% 197 to 14 Dartmouth Infinity 100% to 0% 39 to 0 Northwestern 17 to 1 94% to 6% 100 to 6 Washington U. 4 to 1 80% to 20% 56 to 14 Brown 11 to 1 92% to 8% 43 to 4 Cornell 20 to 1 95% to 5% 142 to 7 Johns Hopkins 7 to 1 87% to 13% 125 to 19 Chicago 5 to 1 84% to 16% 77 to 15 Rice 4 to 1 78% to 22% 21 to 6 Notre Dame 2 to 1 69% to 31% 18 to 8 Vanderbilt 3 to 1 75% to 25% 76 to 26 Emory 16 to 1 94% to 6% 80 to 5 Univ. of California 25 to 1 96% to 4% 694 to 28 Carnegie Mellon 18 to 1 95% to 5% 55 to 3 Michigan 23 to 1 96% to 4% 159 to 7 UVA 7 to 1 88% to 12% 72 to 10 Georgetown 22 to 1 96% to 4% 132 to 6 American colleges and universities are very different from the nation that surrounds them. The differences are especially profound when it comes to politics. The United States is closely divided between the two major parties, but no such division exists on any major college campus. Federal Election Commission records from 2004 show a wide disparity in donations to the two major presidential candidates from college and university employees. Employees at Harvard University gave John Kerry $31 for every $1 they gave George W. Bush. At Duke University, the ratio stood at $14 to $1. At Princeton University, a $114 to $1 ratio prevails. The Kerry/Bush split in the number of donations is even more extreme. John Kerry received 257 donations of $200 or more from Stanford, while his opponent got just 28. At Northwestern, Kerry received 100 such contributions and Bush six. Georgetown University donations swung 132 to six in Kerry's favor. Deep Blue Campuses examines the political donations of employees at the top twenty-five national universities listed in U.S. News and World Report's 2004 college issue. Specifically, this booklet compares donations in the 2004 election cycle to the two major presidential candidates, George W. Bush and John Kerry. Although George Bush claimed a bare majority of votes in the actual election, John Kerry trounced him in donations received from colleges and universities. In fact, John Kerry received the lion's share of donations from workers at all twenty-five schools featured in U.S. News and World Report's annual survey. At one school (Dartmouth), Kerry posted an infinite advantage: FEC records show 39 donations to Kerry but not a single Dartmouth employee donating to George W. Bush's campaign. According to Federal Election Commission records, five of the top twenty institutions of all types from which donors made contributions to John Kerry's campaign – the University of California, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and Columbia – were universities.[1] The UC system and Harvard actually gave more than Viacom, JP Morgan, CitiGroup, and other corporate behemoths. In contrast, no university ranked in George W. Bush's top twenty contributors. The buzzword on campus is diversity. The reality on campus is conformity. Ward Churchill: Case Study In the spring of 2005, Ward Churchill, a heretofore obscure professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, became the subject of op-eds, cable news debates, blog posts, and angry talk-radio calls. Several schools, including Hamilton College, ignited controversy by inviting Churchill to speak. Churchill had penned a response to 9/11 entitled “Some People Push Back,” which characterized Osama bin Laden's followers as acting with “patience and restraint” and compared the victims of 9/11 to Nazis.[2] America considers Ward Churchill a mental case. Academia considers Ward Churchill a scholar. Churchill holds a masters degree in communications from Sangamon State University yet somehow managed to get tenure at one of the nation's more prestigious state universities. A committee of his peers even made him the chairman of an academic department. Outside the University of Colorado, universities officially invite him to address their students. Standing ovations interrupted Churchill's post-controversy speeches at the Universities of Hawaii and Colorado, for instance, and overflow audiences packed the rooms.[3] The Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College even inducted Churchill into its group. The Churchill scandal illustrates the perils of campus conformity. The University of Colorado hires extremists such as Ward Churchill, but excludes mainstream conservatives. When the Rocky Mountain News surveyed thirteen departments on the Boulder campus in 1997, they found a 31-1 Democrat/Republican party-registration imbalance among the faculty.[4] If a conservative relied on as underwhelming a resume as Ward Churchill and similarly exposed himself as a sloppy thinker in the way Churchill has, would he have received tenure, a department chair, and the support of the University of Colorado faculty? No. Churchill's radicalism, rather than his resume, landed him the job. Just as his politics were his qualifications, the politics of conservatives often disqualify them from academic positions. Consequences of Groupthink American college campuses are tiny blue islands engulfed in a giant red sea. The political alienation of the professoriate results in a tendency among academics to lash out at the surrounding society, to react immaturely to views contrary to their own, and to cultivate extremism among students. A more politically diverse faculty would alleviate these problems. The controversy over Ward Churchill's words coincided with a controversy over the words of a more famous academic.[5] Harvard President Larry Summers's speech exploring possible genetic differences in the cognitive abilities of the sexes sparked controversy on campus, whereas Churchill's words sparked controversy off campus. In response to the uproar over Churchill, hundreds of CU faculty purchased an ad in a Boulder newspaper expressing their support for their embattled colleague.[6] In Summers's case, the Harvard faculty of arts and sciences voted to call on Summers to resign.[7] Campus conformity makes freedom of speech a relative concept, subject to the political outlook of the speaker. If your words offend liberals, like Summers's words did, it is deemed a firing offense. If your words offend everybody else, like Churchill's words did, academics will defend you and label criticism “censorship.” On campus, what unfortunately matters is whose ox is being gored. This overwhelming political bias characterizes the faculties of all top colleges. The campus is the place where speech should be the most free. The campus is the place where speech is the most restricted. Offended by a politically incorrect campus newspaper, students in a women's studies class at Rutgers fulfilled a required assignment to “construct a feminist action project” by collecting signatures demanding the university ban the publication. When the censorship campaign went nowhere, students took action into their own hands by confiscating and destroying an entire press-run of the paper in the fall of 2004.[8] Ball State University student Amanda Carpenter penned exposés on BSU faculty and its summer reading program in her campus publication, www.bsyou.net. In response, a BSU teaching assistant doctored images of her – superimposing her face over pornographic pictures – and posted them on a local message board.[9] Left-wing activists assaulted Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, and Pat Buchanan as they spoke on campuses during the 2004-2005 school year. Over 2004's Thanksgiving weekend, Yale University thieves confiscated an entire press run of the Yale Free Press, a conservative student publication. The school's Dean of Student Affairs refused to look into the matter, brushing off the student journalists. To have their complaint investigated, they had to individually contact each of the school's eleven residential colleges, the Dean told them.[10] Why does a healthy exchange of ideas matter in an academic setting? The search for truth is the longstanding mission of higher education. When one side of the debate is silenced, finding the truth becomes more difficult. If institutions embraced intellectual diversity in the way they have embraced racial diversity they would be much more likely to foster debate and thus aid the search for truth. Consequences of Groupthink, Part II Ward Churchill merely defends terrorists. Other professors once were terrorists. Bill Ayers bombed the Pentagon in 1972. Now he's the Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Bernadine Dohrn, a terrorist who romanticized the Manson Family, reacted to the 1969 Helter Skelter slayings by remarking: “Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!”[11] Dohrn is now a professor at Northwestern University and gave the 2004 commencement address at Pitzer College. Like Ayers and Dohrn, Mark Rudd helped lead the Weather Underground, which bombed banks, police stations, and university buildings in the 1970s. Today he teaches at a college in New Mexico. However, what is taught is more important than who is teaching. While their lecture halls host scores of politicized courses such as “Women, Race, Gender, Sexuality” (Yale) and “Feminist Biblical Interpretation” (Harvard), Yale and Harvard prohibit the Reserve Officers Training Corps from using their classroom space. A sample of ideologically-loaded courses elsewhere include the University of Michigan's “How to Be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation,” Amherst College's “Taking Marx Seriously,” and the University of North Carolina's “Environmental Advocacy.” Grading on an ideological curve, assigning activism for credit, and transforming lecterns into soap-boxes are among the pitfalls of a hyper-politicized faculty. Campus Bias For years, the left dismissed such anecdotes as cherry-picked examples that distort the reality of the campuses as repositories of debate, intellectual diversity, and free speech. In response, conservatives began to undertake empirical surveys demonstrating the political imbalance on college campuses. Numerous studies have demonstrated just how politically slanted the campuses are. The findings of Deep Blue Campuses are consistent with the existing body of data that shows that those entrusted with imparting knowledge to the rising generation are outside of the mainstream.
Do You Want to be a National Convention Delegate?
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Do You Want to be a National Convention Delegate?
Download the PDF Version Here In early 1961 I decided to try to be a Goldwater delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. When Barry Goldwater beat the party establishment and won the G.O.P. Presidential nomination, I was his youngest delegate at San Francisco's Cow Palace. And I've been deeply involved in politics ever since. In 1975 I wrote an article for the Young Americans for Freedom magazine New Guard entitled, "So You Want to Go To A Convention?" Oklahoman Steve Antosh read the article and followed my advice. The next year, at age nineteen, Steve was elected a Reagan delegate to the G.O.P. National Convention. Four years later, in 1980, Steve, who was then chairman of Oklahoma State YAF, was the National Director of Youth for Reagan. For you, as for Steve Antosh and for me, conservative activism could be the route to the Big Convention and, perhaps, a career in the public-policy process. Hard Work Pays Off For Conservatives If you're a liberal Democrat, and you're a black lesbian militant with a Spanish surname, the Democrats' convention rules are written for you. If you are a conservative -- Democrat or Republican -- chances are you'll have to work hard to win a seat on your state's national convention delegation. Each state has its own rules for national convention delegate selection. States may and often do change their state laws and party rules between national conventions. Under their national rules and U. S. Supreme Court decisions, state Democratic parties may adopt rules for national convention delegate selection which are inconsistent with state laws. The national Rules of the Republican Party now also provide that state Republican Party rules for national delegate selection prevail over state law on this subject. Most delegates are elected in states with primaries, but primary and convention rules vary greatly from state to state. Learning your state's applicable laws and party rules is a key, first step toward becoming a delegate. If your state is one of the many which have no presidential primary, you may have to mount a major operation to attract people to a caucus or win support from local delegates to a district or state convention. If you already know how to draw a crowd, work a convention, use parliamentary procedure, form alliances, and count votes, you have a head start on the road to the Big Convention. If your state elects delegates in a presidential primary, your problems will be somewhat different. A primary can involve precinct organization, TV, radio, mailings, other advertising, social media, a great deal of money, and many, many more people than a convention. It helps to be an expert at convention politics and primary election politics, but your personal reputation and your candidate preference are likely to prove much more important. Some states have "winner take all" presidential primaries. Other states use proportional representation. Under this system, presidential candidates who get a majority of the primary votes may get only a majority of the state's delegate votes, and candidates who received a sizable minority of the primary votes may get some delegate votes from the state. Rules for delegate apportionment in proportional primary states vary widely. In all states with primaries, delegate votes are bound for one or more ballots to specific candidates at the national convention by state rules, depending on the results of the state primaries. Candidates may “release” delegate votes that were bound to them. In some primary states, delegates are elected by the party separately from the presidential primary. Neither state conventions nor primaries can oblige the delegates to vote a certain way on other issues which may come before the national convention, such as credentials contests, the party platform, or proposed changes in the party's national rules. You can see how important it is to work hard to familiarize yourself with the rules which govern the delegate selection process in your state. In every state, whether delegates are selected by primaries or by conventions, the system is wide open at the bottom. Anyone can be a member of any party and participate in its delegate-selection process. You win if you get the most people to turn out for a primary, a caucus, or a convention. Building Your Base I began in early 1961 to consider the available routes in Louisiana to become a delegate to the 1964 G.O.P. nominating convention. There seemed to be only two sorts of people elected delegates to national conventions: those who had worked long and hard for the party over many years, and those who had contributed substantial sums of money to the party and its candidates. Neither avenue was open to me. I had neither the time nor the funds to qualify. To develop a third route, I settled on youth politics. I helped organize Louisiana State University's YAF chapter in 1961. In 1962 I helped organized L.S.U.'s first College Republican club and was the first elected College Republican state chairman for Louisiana. In 1963 and early 1964, I ran the youth campaign for Charlton Lyons, the G.O.P. candidate for governor of Louisiana. Mr. Lyons won eight, smashing, upset victories in college student mock elections, which raised my credit in the party. Later in the spring of 1964, I was elected state chairman of the Young Republicans. I wore out my old Rambler organizing youth activities across the state. Having worked closely with party leaders in all eight congressional districts, I became one of the handful of Republicans known to virtually every local leader who would be at the state convention. Senior party leaders were comfortable with me. I ran for national delegate with the simple slogan: "Elect one young person." The 1964 Louisiana Republican state convention elected four at-large delegates to the 1964 G.O.P. convention: three well-off, veteran party activists and me. The Team Of course I would never have been a delegate if my presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, had not been popular in the state party. I ran openly as a Goldwater supporter. This brings me to the central fact for aspirants to delegate slots: In a national presidential nomination contest, each candidate's district and state organizations may run slates of delegate candidates. If you are not slated by a candidate's organization, you are very unlikely to be elected a national delegate at a district or state convention or in a state primary. While occasionally, particularly in a convention state, a party senior statesman can be elected as an uncommitted delegate, newcomer mugwumps (those who sit on the fence with their mug on one side and their "wump" on the other) go nowhere. Why might a candidate's state organization want you on their team? Here are some questions your candidate's organization will consider when you ask to be slated as a delegate or alternate delegate: 1. Are you committed to our candidate? 2. Are your commitments ever shaken by pressure, threats or bribes? 3. Do you have personal supporters whose help would strengthen our candidate's entire slate of delegates? 4. Will you be a hard-working campaigner for our slate? 5. Are you sure to attend the national convention? 6. Will you be useful to our candidate in winning more delegates to our side at the national convention? 7. Do you have support and contacts in our candidate's national organization? 8. Is there any likelihood you will say or do something foolish to damage our candidate? 9. Is there anything in your background which would embarrass our candidate? 10. Do we like you? If you are philosophically sound, technologically proficient, and movement oriented, you should pass muster on all these questions. Being a well-known volunteer leader would increase your chances of being slated by your candidate's organization. Alternatives May Work For You You don't have to be a delegate to go to a presidential nominating convention, of course. An alternate delegate has all the rights and privileges of a delegate except voting. An alternate delegate may have a better time, because at contested conventions delegates are encouraged not to leave the convention floor even during dull speeches. In fact, you do not have to be either a delegate or an alternate delegate to have an impact on the events at a convention. When I was a Goldwater delegate in 1964, my major accomplishment at the national convention in San Francisco was minor, as a volunteer stuffing campaign envelopes for other delegates in the Goldwater mailroom. In 1968, as a Reagan alternate delegate, I was able to help convince a couple of uncommitted delegates to vote for Reagan. At the 1972 G.O.P. convention, I was neither delegate nor alternate. But I worked successfully with the conservative forces fighting the well-organized, well-funded liberal attempt to change the national party rules governing delegate allocation and bonus delegates. A plan I drafted, which came to be known as the California Compromise (or the Briar Patch Plan), was adopted by the 1972 convention after a major, nationally televised, conservative vs. liberal fight. The principal speaker for my plan was California Governor Ronald Reagan. Since 1972, that delegate allocation plan has withstood liberal challenges in court and at all subsequent G.O.P. national conventions. It still governs the allocation of delegates to the convention. The circumstances back in 1972, when I was not even an alternate delegate, permitted me to have my biggest impact to date on what went on at a presidential nominating convention. Since 1964, I've participated actively in each of the GOP national conventions, usually as a delegate or alternate delegate and, since 1988, as a member of my party's national committee. So don't miss a national convention just because you can't be a delegate. Start Now In politics you can start late, but you can never start too early. Maximize your effectiveness by joining your candidate's campaign organization as soon as you can. Call your candidate's office. Sign on early as an activist. The election laws put a premium on volunteer efforts. You should be welcomed with open arms. Your work for your candidate, not whether or not you are a delegate, will determine your position in your candidate's convention organization. The Big Convention comes only once every four years. It's too good an opportunity to miss. If you are serious about becoming a delegate or alternate, you should get a copy of your state party's rules from local or state party officials, or from your candidate's state or national organization. Conservatism is now politically fashionable. But few people will beg you to assume leadership. As author Paul Johnson wrote, leadership, in its essence, is a combination of courage and judgment. If you plan carefully, work hard, and keep alert for good breaks, you may make a difference at a national convention. And you'll learn a lot.
Excellence Questions
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Excellence Questions
The Leadership Institute's Questions Which Can Accumulate Evidence of Excellence in Employees Character Do they tell the truth and neither exaggerate the good news nor conceal the bad news? Do they avoid using our organization's resources for their personal benefit? Do they behave personally in ways which will not bring scandal to our organization? Judgment Do they show good judgment in their routine activities? Do they react quickly and with good judgment when faced with unexpected problems? Do they distinguish well among bad ideas, good ideas, and the best ideas? Do they understand that unexpected problems frequently arise and therefore set and keep realistic deadlines for completion of their projects? Do they clearly understand the difference between a prudent test of a new idea and betting the ranch? Are they careful in their expenditures of our organization's funds, spending no more of donors' gifts than is appropriate to achieve good results? Do they keep in mind, in all they do, their responsibility to our donors? Do they wisely decide what constitutes good value for funds expended? Do they achieve worthwhile reductions in spending without hurting effectiveness? Do they clearly understand how very expensive staff time is? Do they intelligently, promptly, and faithfully follow instructions from supervisors? Do they keep their supervisors out of trouble by respectfully calling their attention to potential mistakes? Do they accept constructive criticism well and gracefully accept supervisors' decisions not to implement some of their ideas? Do they have good judgement in knowing when to make decisions themselves and when to refer to supervisors for decisions? Do they treat their subordinates respectfully? Do they avoid ever being officious or petty? At work and away from work, do they communicate only positive information about our organization and neither spread malicious gossip nor generate intra-office resentment and strife? Do they understand what would endanger the tax status of our organization and make sure that their actions and the actions of their co-workers would not trigger such problems? Both at work and away from work, are they solidly committed to the conservative position on all the public policy issues important to movement conservatives? If they are not enthusiastically conservative on every significant issue, do they cheerfully help conservatives with whom they disagree on some issues? Diligence and Work Habits Do they show initiative and do valuable things for our organization beyond what they are specifically directed to do and beyond the minimum required by their job descriptions, rather than do only what they have to do? Do they keep track of their work assignments and seldom let anything "slip through the cracks"? Do they set priorities well in doing their work? Are they personally well-organized as they do their work? Do they take no longer than they should to do specific tasks? Are they always well-dressed and well-groomed? Do they keep their work space clean and organized? Do they arrive to work punctually and cheerfully stay longer hours when necessary to get projects completed on time? Do they use their time well and not spend too much time on personal phone calls, sending out personal emails, or imposing on co-workers' valuable time with chit-chat? Have they "documented" in writing how they do their work so someone else could benefit from their experience and so our organization would suffer the least possible loss of their portion of our institutional memory if they get run over by a cement truck tomorrow or leave for any reason? Interpersonal Cooperation Do they demonstrate a positive attitude and contribute to good morale in our organization? Do they recognize and praise excellence in others? Do they work pleasantly with others in their department and facilitate teamwork which helps them do their jobs better? Do they work pleasantly with those in other departments and facilitate teamwork which helps our organization and helps them do their jobs better? Do they promptly and accurately report financial and/or programmatic data and other information useful to their supervisors and to development staff and programs staff? Do they go out of their way to treat well our donors, students, faculty, grads and co-workers? Are they polite even to those who are not polite? Do they acquire working knowledge of the other departments, communicate to other departments what they are working to accomplish, and coordinate their activities well with people in those departments? Do they accept and act in accord with our policy that other conservative organizations are our allies, not our rivals, and help us build ever-better relations with those organizations? Mission Achievement Do they fully understand and support the mission of our organization? Do they have a passion for helping conservatives become more effective activists and leaders in government, politics, and the media? Do they achieve things for conservative principles outside of the work they do for our organization? Do they fully understand their own duties and responsibilities at our organization? Do they understand the duties and responsibilities of others at our organization sufficiently to go to the right person to get specific things done? Do they handle well the most challenging aspects of their current responsibilities? Do their actions enhance the reputation of our organization? Do they achieve short-term goals and do all that is necessary to achieve long-term goals. Are they good mentors to newer, younger, or less-experienced co-workers? Do they help and teach interns, enable their interns to work at their full capacity, treat them with respect, and give them neither too much nor to little to do? Do they avoid letting any personal problems they have negatively affect their effectiveness at work? Do they identify and follow up with our outstanding students to advance our graduates' public policy activities? If their work requires writing, have they proved capable of regularly producing text which doesn't require heavy re-writing by others? Good, Better, Best Do they learn from their mistakes rather than repeating them? Do they recognize their weaknesses and work as best they can to correct them? Do they continue to improve their skills and increase their value to our organization through observation of others, formal training, and personal study? When they don't know how to complete a task for which they are responsible, do they seek out help and learn how to do it rather than burdening a co-worker with that work? Do they work constantly to upgrade the quality of the materials and procedures used here, rather than stolidly recycling old things which might be improved? Do they avoid making changes only for the sake of change and accept the proven value of old things which work well? Do they "think outside the box" and, regarding their own work and our organization as a whole, generate well-thought-out, creative, clear, and useful ideas which can be implemented with few or no amendments?
How to Present a Public Program
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
How to Present a Public Program
Download the PDF version here. Introduction This manual is written especially for leaders of independent conservative student organizations or student divisions of campaigns who use public programs as a part of an overall strategy to advance a cause or a candidate of their choice. However, most techniques are equally applicable by anyone organizing public programs such as student government, speakers committees, professional clubs, educational groups, and entertainment programs, to name a few. Purposes and Types of Public Programs A campus political organization should schedule about one program a month and two or three major public program presentations a year in addition to your regular meetings. 1. Simple open programs These smaller, monthly programs educate and keep group members involved and interested in the group. Such programs may help to recruit new members. No special effort has to be made to bring in non-students, although each program should be announced in the campus paper, on bulletin boards, in a Facebook group or page, as well as emailed out to members. Ideas for smaller programs include: A school official A local newspaper editor or wire service reporter A panel of club members from an affiliate club on another campus A movie or documentary A local business or professional leader A local political party leader speaking on party matters An author A debate watch party Many groups have considerable success with informal discussion meetings. The group might meet in the student union building or at a local restaurant and invite a speaker with some special knowledge about a topic of current interest. The speaker gives a fifteen- or twenty-minute presentation and then leads an open-ended question-and-answer period with club members. The club should welcome speakers on different topics to expose the club members to a useful and interesting array of opinions. 2. Major public programs Major public programs should draw an audience well beyond a group's membership. They can convince undecided students and build enthusiasm among your group's members. Many major political leaders first got involved in politics after personal contact with a policy expert, candidate, or an important government official during a public program on campus. An important function of these public programs is their use as media events. This allows you to affect those who didn't attend the event itself as well as raise your group's profile on campus. You probably won't change many minds among the people who come. Most people who take the time to go to a political rally or publicized speech already have their minds made up. Therefore, pay particular attention to attracting media coverage with this event. Some examples of events where you want to maximize attendance and publicity are: A nationally-known conservative speaker A governor, senator, congressman, or other major office holder Candidates or potential candidates State or national party leaders National leaders of political organizations Visiting columnists Visiting economists or stock market experts Foreign policy experts Foreign diplomats Debates between Republican and Democratic officials Political rallies Films shown for educational purposes, for public relations, or for profit. Be sure to choose your major public program speakers carefully. Select those who will effectively promote your club's philosophy. You're not in business to provide audiences for your opposition. Your major event can feature a single speaker, or several who engage in a panel discussion. Seminars of half- a-day or full-day duration, while requiring greater effort and organization, can also draw a crowd. Major events require considerable time for planning and preparation. So you will probably not want to host more than two or three such major events per year. Planning the Event 1. Location and facilities Before any event takes place, your club should inventory the potential meeting locations. Most colleges have a list of locations available and will give it to you upon request. You can eliminate a lot of last minute headaches and be prepared to make quick decisions if you already have a sheet which lists the capacity, audio/visual capabilities, the cost, and scheduling authority's contact information for every potential site. Always underestimate crowds for a public program. It is far better to have an audience of 175 packed into a room which seats only 150 than to have an audience of 200 in a 300 seat auditorium. In one case, the newspaper headline would read, “Conservative speaks to overflow crowd,” and in the other case, even with greater turnout, the story might read: “Sparse turnout for conservative speaker at the university.” If you have to apologize, you'd rather apologize to an overflow crowd about a room a little too small than to your speaker for all the empty seats in a larger hall. The ideal situation is to have an expandable room. Many rooms have dividers which can easily be slid back. If you can reserve such a room, do so. When Ronald Reagan was scheduled to speak in the Assembly Center (which seats 7,000 when set up for a speaker) at Louisiana State University during his 1980 presidential campaign, his youth coordinator set up curtains to shrink the auditorium to seat only 2,000. On three occasions, the curtains had to be moved and more chairs brought in. If you have to apologize, you'd rather apologize to an overflow crowd about a room a little too small than to your speaker for all the empty seats in a larger hall. The ideal situation is to have an expandable room. Many rooms have dividers which can easily be slid back. If you can reserve such a room, do so. When Ronald Reagan was scheduled to speak in the Assembly Center (which seats 7,000 when set up for a speaker) at Louisiana State University during his 1980 presidential campaign, his youth coordinator set up curtains to shrink the auditorium to seat only 2,000. On three occasions, the curtains had to be moved and more chairs brought in. The event started nearly half an hour late. The constant increases in the seating area and requests for people to make more room because far more people had arrived than were expected created enormous expectation and excitement. Ronald Reagan himself dubbed it the “most successful event in my campaign to date.” Other options include providing a large screen TV and loudspeakers in another room for those who are not able to fit in the main hall. Since some reporters may arrive late, make sure you reserve enough good space for them. Place them near the back of the room to ensure they are capturing the crowd in their photos. Mark it off as the “media section.” Television cameras may require a raised platform in the middle of the room. Other considerations in choosing a meeting room include central location, easy walking distance from parking and dormitories, a well-known location, good acoustics, and availability of a good sound system. For major events, have a portable emergency sound system available just in case the built-in system suffers an attack of the gremlins. If your speaker is particularly effective in a question and answer period, another type of public program presentation which can be successful is an open-air speech at mid-day in a campus area with much foot traffic. A good portable public address system and a slightly raised platform can draw a good crowd. 2. Invitations When trying to obtain a “big name” speaker for a major public program, the three most important factors are advance notice, flexibility in dates, and solid guarantees of a well-organized, well-attended event. Invite speakers well ahead of time. Advance planning gives you time to draw a big crowd and fire up your troops for the event. Major speakers often require booking months in advance. Be clear about what dates and times are not good. Avoid weekends, especially on commuter campuses. Events the week before mid-terms and final exams could also be problematic. Check the calendar of campus activities and give an invitee as many alternative dates as you can. Avoid scheduling your event on dates that conflict with: Large sporting events Finals or midterms (or surrounding) School breaks Major campus events Local campus evets Holidays Your speaker will want to know this is a serious invitation which, if accepted, will result in a successful event. You should carefully type on club letterhead (if you don't have it, make it) all the details, including: The name of the sponsoring organization The appromimate size of the expected crowd Nature of the meeting (rally, dinner, debate, panel, or featured speaker) The suggested topics of the event (You can leave the speaker some freedom to choose topics if you wish, but it's still a good idea to suggest a few.) Wheather there will be a question and answer period following the speech Your intention to pay travel expenses and accommodations The payment you can offer, if any Opportunities for news media coverage Possible auxiliary activities, if your speaker has time If your group and the speaker share the same cause, and your program will advance this cause, let the speaker know that, too. Prominent people who know you and are known to the speaker might serve as references for your group. Ask these people to endorse your invitation with letters, emails, or phone calls to your invitee. A short history of other successful major programs your group has sponsored will help persuade a speaker to accept your invitation. If you don't know how to get in touch with the speaker you desire, the Leadership Institute may be able to help. The Leadership Institute (LI) helps independent conservative groups bring speakers to campus. If you have a specific person in mind, LI may be able to help you get in touch with the speaker to arrange the details of the visit. After you invite the speaker, it is a good idea to phone his or her office a week after mailing the invitation to be sure it was received and to ask if the speaker's staff have any questions you can answer. Once the speaker accepts, ask him to send you photos, biographical information, and useful information about the topic he will cover. After the event is set, maintain regular contact with the scheduler. Phone the speaker's office a week in advance and again a day in advance of the event to be sure everything is still scheduled. 3. Filling the Speaker's Schedule After a speaker has accepted your invitation, find out how much of his time will be available for other activities. Then try to schedule his time in order to get the maximum benefit from his visit. If the invited speaker has the time, you can expand his visit into a full day of events. Do not commit the speaker to any additional activities until he or his staff has approved them. Typical extra activities can include:?? An exclusive interview with the campus radio station or newspaper A lecture to a class Informal talks with students in the Student Union or wherever students congregate Meetings and interviews with student government and campus leaders to learn of their concerns Discussions, receptions, or meals with club members (very important to build enthusiasm) Interviews with local newspapers and appearances on local TV programs or talk radio shows. Operation Hometown – Arrange to have photographs taken of the speaker with club activists. Separate club members by hometown. When the speaker has a free moment, take casual photos of each group with the speaker and mail or email them, with appropriate identifying captions, to each group's hometown papers. Photos of local people with important public officials are almost irresistible to many local newspaper editors. Many opportunities for creative activity surround public appearances. Advance men for the late President John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign regularly set up flimsy barricades at airports, ostensibly to hold back the crowds. Crowds assembled behind the barricades. Aides posing as members of the crowd would push over the flimsy barriers at the moment the candidate arrived, allowing the crowd in a “spontaneous demonstration of enthusiasm” to surge forward and greet the candidate. All the while, TV cameras were recording the dramatic scene for the evening news. These ideas may be applied to other campus programs and not just your major events. Give every event you host an air of excitement. 4. Physical arrangements Even though you may wisely have reserved an undersized room, it is a good idea to set up fewer chairs than there is space for. Store extra chairs in an adjacent room or in the back of the meeting room. As the room begins to fill, set up additional chairs as necessary. This assures that every seat will be filled, starting with the front rows. When appropriate, decorate the room brightly with crepe paper, balloons, and posters. Ask your speaker if they have any Audio/ Visual requirements. Common AV requirements include: Projector Screen Laptop for flashdrive plug-in Internet access for videos or emails Microphones Audio speakers Extra microphone for Q & A Find out if he prefers to speak at a lectern and if he wants a lectern microphone (if a sound system is necessary). Wireless microphones are nice for speakers who like more freedom to walk around. Reserve a section in the back for the media, and make sure someone responsible gets the names of the reporters who do come. Live or recorded music helps to build spirit and enthusiasm, particularly as the crowd files in. Make arrangements for an American flag on stage. You should also provide a pitcher of ice water and a glass for the speaker. For a major event, or even a smaller, formal event, have someone offer an invocation and someone else lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Drawing a Crowd You can do many specific things to attract a crowd, but remember the most important fundamentals: Select an interesting program and spread the information regarding the event. 1. Advertising 1. Write and print up a flyer and send a campus-wide email inviting all students to attend, with bullet points explaining why they will benefit from attending. Place this flyer under every dormitory door the night before the meeting. Distribute this flyer by hand in student parking areas as commuter students arrive on campus. 2. Write a “Dear Faculty Member” letter announcing the meeting and explaining why it is important and why students ought to attend. Ask the faculty member to announce the time and place of the meeting in class. Place these letters, signed by a faculty member or student leader, in every faculty member's campus mailbox. 3. Avoid paid advertising. Take advantage of every possibility of public service announcements and earned publicity. Usually paid advertising is not cost effective and should be used only by campus speakers committees which are not on tight budgets. 4. Handmade posters are much more effective on campus than printed posters. Once a person reads one printed poster, he may ignore all the others. Handmade posters or memes, if clever, will each be read. 2. Personal Outreach 1. Many students will come if asked by a fellow student as a personal favor. If your club has developed a canvass system to identify and mobilize supportive students, every floor leader should invite every supporter and uncommitted student on his floor. 2. Make personal visits to professors in departments such as speech, economics, and government, and ask them to announce your program in class. Tailor your presentation to the particular interest of the professor. Sometimes teachers give extra credit to students who write analyses of the content or style of the speech. You should suggest this. 3. Certainly the supportive local party organizations should be invited. This would include party committees and their affiliated groups such as auxiliaries for high school students, women, and ethnic groups. 3. Media Outreach 1. Notify local journalists on and off campus, including broadcast and print media, about the event. Be sure your story is submitted well in advance of any press deadline. Personally follow-up your press releases with a phone call. 2. Personally invite local print and broadcast media with a phone call a few days before your program. Similarly, invite any non-hostile, local political bloggers. This is a helpful way to remind them of the event. Even if they are unable to send personnel to cover the event, if made aware of the program, they will be more receptive to subsequent news releases. 3. A show of interest among the public may also spark media interest if citizens call them asking for details of the event. To help show this interest, have friends call media outlets and ask for information. 4. Many media outlets will not report on the event, but they may print an announcement of the event in their paper if it is open to the public. Many universities and colleges now cater to local residents and non-students and encourage them to attend public forums or seminars featuring guest speakers on campus. 4. Coalition Outreach 1. Many other clubs may be interested in the topic. For instance, if the program will include a discussion of agricultural policy, the Future Farmers of America would be interested. If the commercialization of space will be addressed, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and other engineering groups should be contacted, etc. Make sure other clubs know early enough to put notices in their newsletters and on their bulletin boards. 2. Co-sponsoring a program with one or more organizations can sometimes help swell a crowd. But this should be done only if having co-sponsors will actually increase the crowd or media coverage. Be wary of having a bunch of do-nothings share your credit while providing nothing in return. Don't forget to invite allied groups from other campuses. 5. Social Media Outreach 1. Create a Facebook event page and ask everyone involved to invite their online network to attend. You can share the link to the event page on other student group Facebook pages and local conservative pages inviting them to attend and spread the word. 2. Share the link to the event page on Twitter using hashtags that will reach your local target demographic. 3. Consider sharing your event on Snapchat. Although this won't get you national attention, Snapchat may share it locally. 6. Concluding thoughts on outreach 1. Controversy draws a crowd. Don't worry if your opponents chalk up the sidewalks denouncing your speaker; open opposition creates student interest. 2. Some who disagree with your speaker can be specially invited too, unless they are likely to be truly disruptive. Managing the Public Program 1. Before the program begins Lighting is often a big problem at public programs. Your speaker should stand in the best-lit place in the room. Sometimes you will have to rent a spotlight which will beam at him over the heads of the audience. Always hang a group banner behind speaker to maximize group exposure and to get good photos. Never place a speaker in front of a window through which light is shining behind him. ?Never place a speaker in front of a mirror which will reflect back lights from elsewhere in the room. Never place a speaker in front of a turned-on light affixed to the wall behind him. Designate some people as ushers to oversee seating, answer questions, and distribute program or campaign flyers (if any). The ushers should also be on the lookout for hostile elements which might try to disrupt your public program. Where hecklers are likely, have many of your own group members arrive early, slip in, and seat themselves among the hecklers. This is not to confront or argue with them. Your people's presence prevents the formation of solid blocks of hecklers and dampens their group spirit. Regardless of your ultimate hopes for the event, don't call it a “rally” in your publicity materials. The word “rally” creates the expectation of a highly charged, packed event which is difficult to create. If a speech turns into a rally, so much the better, but raising expectations beforehand is not a good idea. Under-promise and over-perform. An old audience organization technique which is universally successful and not widely known is the diamond seating pattern. Four sharp people should be briefed beforehand to seat themselves in a diamond pattern in the audience. That is, one in the middle of the front row, one half way back on the extreme right, one halfway back on the extreme left, and one in the middle of the back row. In most speeches, there are pauses where applause is appropriate. The job of these four people is to look for these places and to applaud vigorously at the appropriate times. People seated in the audience are thus caught up in the obvious enthusiasm of the people around them. This technique can make even an average presentation into an outstanding success. The red dots indicate the placement of people in the audience for the diamond seating pattern. Another person should be designated to photograph the event. The photos may be useful for your publicity. And the frequent flashing of a camera strobe lends an air of drama and importance to the arrival, departure, and presentation of the speaker. Bright video camera lights turned on the moment the speaker enters heightens this effect. Another person should be appointed to manage the social media for the event. This person should tweet important lines from the speech and post pictures of the event. This will help create a buzz about the event. 2. Introducing the Speaker Do not be casual with your choice of who is to introduce your speaker. Have some competent person prepare a formal, lively introduction. The introducer must understand the audience has come to hear the speaker and not the introducer. Therefore the introduction itself should almost never be more than three minutes long. A good formula to use for a lively short introduction is the T.I.P.: Topic – what is the theme of this program? Importance – why should you be interested in this theme? Person – who is our speaker and why should you care what he has to say on this topic? The master of ceremonies should start the program only a little late. If you wait for late arrivals, those people who arrived on time will lose their enthusiasm. Usually, when programs are delayed in hope of drawing a larger crowd, no one else shows up. This devastating occurrence can be prevented by starting not more than 10 minutes later than the advertised time. Be sure the master of ceremonies encourages the audience to interact with the event via social media. Remind them of the event's hashtag. 3. The Program Have one or two group leaders brief your speaker on local “hot topics” among the students. A brief comment in the speaker's opening remarks about “your exciting victory in last Saturday's football game” will go a long way toward creating a bond with the student audience. For the convenience of the speaker, you should reserve a nearby room with a bathroom and give him 15-20 minutes before the presentation to freshen up and work on his notes. For a student audience, 20 to 40 minutes is a good length for the principal presentation. 4. Questions At most public programs, students expect to be able to ask questions. If the speaker is really good, this will be his chance to shine and to win many converts. You'll probably want to allocate another 30 minutes or so for questions. This should be announced at the beginning of the question period. There is no one best way to handle questions. It depends on many factors: the topic, the student interest, and the local circumstances. If the questioning is likely to be very lively, a firm, tough moderator should be named to keep the program orderly and save the invited speaker or candidate from having to be the “heavy” with any rude people in the audience. Possible ways to handle questions are: Audience asks questions by standing where they are (moderator should repeat questions so everyone can hear) Audience goes to fixed location(s) to ask their questions at a microphone(s) Roving moderator(s) with wireless microphones select questioners from the audience (Phil Donahue style) Audience submits written questions to moderator (less spontaneity) A panel of experts or reporters asks the questions (Better on technical topics. Can be mixed with audience questions also.) Be sure to be respectful of the opposition, especially while holding the microphone. Always prepare for the potential of a hostile crowd during the Q & A. Prepare in advance to have audience members with predetermined questions. To identify these friendly audience members to the moderator, provide them with, say, a red pen. Some thought should be given before the program as to which questions may or should be asked of the speaker. You should never try to limit the discussion to only planted questions, but there are a few reasons why you would want to at least have some planted questions: It helps direct the discussion to areas of importance, especially when the questions have strayed down irrelevant paths. It prevents the speaker from coincidentally taking only hostile questions and thereby appearing to have no support in the audience. In the opposite extreme, if the audience is largely favorable, it gives him a chance to show his stuff by giving good answers to tough questions, especially if you already know he has a good answer to a question. 5. The Recruitment Opportunity One of the world's most common and most serious political blunders is to spend hundreds of hours preparing a huge political rally only to let it come and go without ever getting the names and contact information (phone number, email address, and mailing address) of those in attendance. You may not be able to do extensive recruiting at all public programs, but you should almost always make some attempt to do so. You should also have a membership table clearly visible before and after the program so that students who want more information may talk with your club members. You'll find this a great way to recruit new members. The table should be located just outside or next to the door. Pass around sign-up sheets or ask people to sign in at the front door. If the event is a political rally, it can be expected that most of those present are supporters. The list from such a rally will be an extremely valuable source of new members or volunteers for future activities. Of course, if the speaker is willing to endorse your group and its activities at some point in the program, that will encourage interest. Even programs which are not yours can be a source of new members. Note the questions asked, and speak with the sympathetic questioners after the program. As soon as the event has ended, wrap up by informing the audience they have the option to take a photo with the speaker on stage, in front of your strategically placed banner. If possible, be sure to use a professional camera. Ask the audience not to use their phone cameras to save time. After the Event - Capitalizing Through Publicity During the event, note which reporters came and which media outlets are represented so you can get publicity to the others after the event. For the newspapers, post-event releases summarizing the event and the speaker's points can be helpful. Have people write letters-to-the-editor about the event to increase the exposure. An especially good writer could author an opinion piece on some aspect of the event and ask that it be printed in either the school or a local newspaper. Radio stations are actually the easiest to interest. Use a simple, cheap digital recorder to capture the speech and extract a 15-30 second segment of a forceful statement by the speaker (preferably followed by vigorous applause). You may also interview the speaker after the event and take a clip from there. Then call the radio station and offer them a “radio actuality.” Most radio station news rooms have the ability to record audio segments directly off the phone and replay them in their hourly news summaries. By using a segment you give them over the phone or by email, they can appear to have covered the event without ever sending a reporter. If the speaker has a few extra moments, many stations will record a short interview over the phone. A group member can screen stations in advance to find out who is interested in one of the above options. Be sure to keep all clippings and a record of whatever broadcast publicity you do receive from the media. Many printed articles can be useful as reprints. Send copies of good clippings to your donors. Send the speaker a hand-written Thank You note from your group. Conclusion You'll want to do your best, but realize that no public program is perfect. Very few public programs will be able to utilize all the techniques outlined in this manual. Do not attempt to do more than your available manpower and resources can accomplish. Although there is some risk from the bad publicity if a public program flops, the enormous benefits in building enthusiasm, recruiting, educating, and carrying your message to the public make the effort well worthwhile.
How to Stop Them From Stomping Out the Grassroots
Morton C. Blackwell
September 9, 2015
How to Stop Them From Stomping Out the Grassroots
Knowledgeable conservatives, in moments of candor, will admit our grassroots activity is far less today than a dozen years ago. Several causes come initially to mind: We do not have a Ronald Reagan, persuasively reliable on all our issues, around whom to rally. The success of conservative economic policies has brought an unprecedented period of economic prosperity, lessening our fears for the survival of the free enterprise system. The success of conservative policies of peace through strength has helped engender the utter extinction of the Brezhnev Doctrine and hastened the collapse of much of the Soviet empire. Our ancient liberal enemies have ceased to trumpet much of their old ideology and seem to be doing all they can to sound as if they are conservatives on many issues. Most of these causes are the natural results of successful policies of a newly formed, governing majority coalition, signs of the cyclical process familiar in a healthy, two party system. When the threat perception declines, activists tend to lose much of their old enthusiasm. Coalition members tend to start bickering. But these reasons are not sufficient to explain the extent of the current decline in grassroots activism. New governing coalitions in the United States tend to last for a generation or two. Other factors are at work. Today I intend to discuss two other factors, the increasing domination of political consultants and growing failure of conservatives to run candidates. These are factors which affect our opponents as well. But the extent of the damage done to us by these two factors is largely in our power to correct. First let us consider the career path of a successful political consultant. Here is what happens: A smart campaign staffer helps win a high visibility election and decides to become a consultant. The new consultant is soon involved in another win or two and is suddenly able to sell his services to many campaigns. While able to give his few, early clients a great deal of personal time, working through many levels of their campaign organizations, the consultant quickly finds it impossible to give the same type of service to half a dozen candidates simultaneously. Unable now to supervise detailed operations involving many layers of people in many campaigns at once, the consultant directs his client campaigns toward media-intensive, rather than people-intensive activity. Media decisions are few in number. They require skill but little time. The consultant also realizes it is very much in his own financial interest to have as much as possible of his clients' budgets spent on media. Most consultants take a 15% commission (over and above client-paid production costs and his retainer) from media vendors for all placements. The consultant knows he gets no commission for campaign funds spent on people-intensive activity, such as: Precinct organization Voter ID phone banks Voter registration drives Youth effort The election day process to get out the vote With their budgets warped towards media spending, candidates and their in-state organizations are led to measure the progress of their campaigns only in terms of dollars raised and tracking polls. (When I ask a candidate in a close race how he is doing and he answers by first describing his fundraising progress, I know he is in trouble.) In defense of his practices, the consultant develops an outspoken contempt for any proposal, significant campaign expenditures except for paid media. Many of his clients lose due to their failure to organize large numbers of people in their campaigns. But some of his clients do win. These winners are the ones the consultant talks about as he recruits clients in the next election cycle. Having helped several candidates, the consultant is likely to be hired again to run their reelection campaigns. The incumbents have the ability to amass huge campaign funds, often from local donors. Even in the closing days of a reelection campaign where an incumbent is virtually unopposed, the consultant has a strong incentive to urge their incumbent on to raise more and more money. Never mind that conservative candidates in other contests in the area might actually win close contests but for the incumbent's having vacuumed up so much money from available donors. After all, for every additional $100,000 spent on broadcast media, the consultant will pocket a cool $15,000 plus his fees for creating any new commercials. The consultant, now prosperous and enjoying a changed lifestyle, has ready access to and influence with some incumbent officeholders. He decided to branch out into lobbying, where his influence enables him to pull down some really fat fees from major corporations, trade associations and even foreign governments which have major financial interests in the decision of elected and appointed government officials. By now, most of the consultant's income does not come from election campaigns. But he continues to take some candidates as clients, partly to keep his valuable ties with incumbents and partly because there are in each election cycle some rich candidates and others able to raise big war chests, which will be spent largely on campaign media, still a fine source of income for the consultant. Every experienced conservative campaign activist has seen outrageous examples of this behavior. My luncheon for conservative campaign activists has met bi-weekly, without exception, since 1974. I keep close touch with the election process. I'm not raising this as a theoretical problem. Not all successful consultants behave this way. A great many do. But others, particularly those who specialize in one or more aspects of campaign technology such as direct mail, telephone canvassing, coalition building and youth efforts, do not. This growing problem with consultants has many bad effects: The unnecessary losses of many conservative candidates each year The looting of millions of dollars misspent on media The suckering of many right candidates who are falsely led by consultants to believe they can win The increasing perception that campaigning is mostly mudslinging TV commercials Worst of all, the general decline of citizen participation as activists and, often, even as voters in the political process Historically, volunteer participation in elections is the greatest preparation for competent campaign management and good candidates in future elections. That source of new activists and candidates is drying up. Can grassroots activists do anything to limit the damage done by the increasing dominance of campaign consultants? Certainly. One big reason for reliance on campaign consultants is the increasing complexity of modern election technology. But in the years leading up to the election of 1980 conservative organizations ran massive political education and training efforts. Activists were prepared by the thousands. That grassroots infrastructure building should be vigorously resumed. If you are a donor to a conservative organization you should demand that a substantial portion of its budget should be spent on increasing the number and the effectiveness of its activists. If a group fails to do this, give to other groups instead. If you are a donor to a party organization, demand that it spends your money, in part, on a serious program of political education and training. There is hardly any area of political technology which cannot be mastered by a willing local activist. The Republican party was spending a much higher percentage of its revenue on political education and training twenty years ago than it is today. The GOP is giving only peanuts to its volunteer base. Be careful that the training programs actually teach useful skills. Many seminars which purport to teach local activists are taught by consultants not interested in preparing volunteer competitors. Such programs serve only to teach the participants that the consultant knows his topic and is worthy of hire. If you contribute to a candidate, you have the right to demand that his campaign give a healthy budget to people-oriented programs: precinct organizations, women's activities, youth efforts, etc. These activities build grassroots infrastructure like no others. Let us now turn to the problem of the growing failure of conservatives to run candidates. More and more it is proving impossible to recruit conservative candidates against incumbents or even for open seats. Challengers for even local incumbents often cannot be found. The next Congress will have only four Republicans among the ten congressman from my home state of Virginia. But ten years ago we elected nine of the ten. And the lone Democratic congressman was more was more conservative than some of the Republicans. And all six of the Virginia Democratic congressmen are quite liberal by Virginia standards. And, what is worse, far worse, is the dreadful fact that we did not run Republican challengers against any of the five incumbent Democrats. They got off scot free. But don't for a moment think the Democrats gave our five incumbent Republicans a free ride. No, there were Democratic challengers to all five of our congressmen. And the challenger who beat Congressman Stan Parris reportedly raised more money than any other challenger against a Republican incumbent in the United States this year. This problem in my state is typical of the situation in many parts of the country. In fact, there is a fundamental misconception which is shared by many conservatives and many Republican leaders. This political error is not unique to Virginia. It is, I believe, a misunderstanding of how best to build grassroots strength through running candidates. Too many of us think we should run a candidate only when we think there is a good chance we can win the election. And, since nobody believed we could beat any of the five incumbent Virginia Democratic congressmen, nobody ran against any of them. I submit that, in the case of these ten congressional races, the Democrats acted smarter than the Republicans. But not running a candidate often sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? Why spend the time and money it takes to run and almost surely losing race? Why ask a candidate to take on an almost surely losing candidacy? Why embarrass the party or the conservative cause by losing badly? Why take the chance of diverting resources from our candidates elsewhere who have a chance to win? Why anger a safe incumbent opponent? All these sound like pretty good reasons not to challenge apparently safe liberal incumbents, don't they? Many Republican incumbents, in particular, don't want to rile many of their Democratic colleagues by challenging them. And most of those arguments sound just as good as reasons not to run a candidate in an open district where the liberals seem virtually certain to win. Yet those are arguments which ultimately lead to slow growth, no growth and eventual decline of a movement or a political party. If conservatives in Virginia had operated in this fashion for the past 25 years, Republicans would not have won our first U.S. Senate race, the party would not today hold even four congressional districts and the party would not have the record strength it enjoys today in Virginia's General Assembly and in local offices. Take for example my own congressional district, the Tenth. Conservative Republican Frank Wolf was an unknown in 1976 when he first announced against the incumbent liberal Democratic Congressman Joe Fisher. Frank Wolf campaigned hard but lost the nomination to a state legislator, who was then beaten by Congressman Fisher in November. Frank Wolf again took on this seemingly hopeless task in 1978. He was nominated and did better than the state legislator had two years earlier. But Wolf lost again in 1978. Finally, in 1980, frank Wolf won both the nomination and, narrowly, the general election defeating the incumbent who very few people thought was vulnerable four years earlier. The two earlier races had so weakened the liberal Democratic congressman and so strengthened our organization that we were able to take the district. We have been winning it by convincing margins ever since. Think about this seriously. Everyone who knows much about politics knows of many cases where races against supposedly entrenched incumbents weakened the incumbents so they could be defeated in subsequent elections. Isn't that a fair situation? Isn't that a strong, solid reason to run candidates, almost an obligation to run candidates, even when there is thought to be no chance to win in the current election year? The best known political consultants, by the way, usually advise against running candidates who are very unlikely to win. But such candidates provide the big consultants with no revenue, except in case of rich, hopeless candidates. In this latter case, consultants are often willing to take them as clients. Often to "take" them in both senses of the word. Conservatives who know how important it is to build for the future also know how a losing race can soften up an opponent for future defeat, build credibility for our challengers and build strength of our own organizations. These are powerful reasons not to leave vacant places on the ballot. While we know of losing races which made possible later victories, there is another situation which often occurs. Some conservative activists can remember our Virginia United States Senate race in 1972. An unusual congressman from the Eighth District, Bill Scott, made what most so-called "experts" thought was a hopeless race against the supposedly invulnerable incumbent, U.S. Senator Bill Spong. Now not everyone thought the Scott for Senate cause was hopeless. A conservative Republican leader, Richard Obenshain, thought this so-called "impossible" race was actually winnable. So he set out to win with Scott, certainly one of the most difficult candidates our party has fielded in our lifetimes. But Dick Obenshain was a political genius who saw opportunities where others saw only problems. Bill Scott won. Six years later he turned his U.S. Senate seat over to another Republican whom many of us hoped would have been Dick Obenshain. Senator John Warner won very narrowly in 1978, winning again in 1984 by a big margin. This year Democrats did not challenge Sen. Warner, which is great for Republicans and, in my opinion, bad news or Democrats. But we should remember that almost everyone at first thought Bill Scott could not win this seat when he ran for it 13 years ago. Please think about it. How many times have you, yourself, been pleasantly surprised when a race supposedly hopeless for us has resulted in a thrilling conservative victory? Most of our best conservative members of both houses of the Congress first won in just such circumstances. Sometimes the liberal nominee self-destructs unexpectedly. Sometimes our candidate and his campaigns turn out to be much better than we expected. Surely all of us can think of predicted losers who instead became glorious winners. It that not therefore another good reason to run candidates whom we really don't expect to win? Frankly, looking at the ten congressional districts in Virginia today, how the Democrats treated us and how we treated them, it's a scandal that we have left all their incumbents unchallenged. At the congressional level, Virginia has only a one and a half party system in 1990. How about your state? This situation I call a scandal is not to be blamed on any particular party leaders at the local or state levels. The general idea of not challenging supposedly invulnerable incumbents is common almost everywhere in our country. In my home county of Arlington, our party has very often in recent years failed to run candidates against many of the worst liberals in Virginia. There is plenty of blame to go around. And I'll accept my share. What I am proposing today is not recriminations but a badly needed change of policy, a change of our behavior. Let me put it clearly. Not running candidates is almost worse than putting up losing candidates. Sometimes we produce upset victories. Sometimes we build up candidates for future victories. Always we involve new people who can later help us win future victories. Always we force the opposition incumbents to gather and spend for themselves some resources which might otherwise be spent against our conservative candidates elsewhere. Not running candidates is no way to build a movement or party. If one chooses to be active in a party structure, one necessarily must support that party's incumbents except in extraordinary circumstances. But conservatives primarily active outside a party structure are free of most such constraints. In sum, conservatives should run candidates against liberal incumbents and for open seats regardless of whether or not the potential candidates appear to be possible winners. The only two tests should be these: 1. Will the person act responsibility in the campaign? 2. If elected, would the person be a credit to our cause? If a potential candidate passes these two tests, then encourage him or her to run. Do this regardless of whether or not there appears to be a real chance to win the election. You may not happen to find or be able to recruit to run any independently wealthy, thirty-five year old conservative business leaders with degrees in both economics and political science. If not, you might recruit a politically savvy housewife; we have a lot of them across America who would make good candidates. Or run a distinguished retiree. Or even a dedicated and intelligent young person. Each new candidate brings to your cause not only his own time and effort but also the resources and enthusiasm of his own circle of family, friends and supporters. And many people who don't like the liberals are happy we have given them a choice. Of course I don't advocate misleading a potential candidate to think you can provide money or manpower which aren't actually available. Already this happens too often. Give a realistic estimate of this chances of winning. Say what the limits of likely movement resources and party support. The national and state party resources will be and should be focused in the main on candidates with some prospect of election. Curiously, you will find that some people don't mind being run as sacrificial lambs in a good cause. To fill out a Republican ballot, I ran for the state legislature in Louisiana 22 years ago. I was duly sacrificed, but with no lasting ill effects. You will find that some potential candidates will respond to your less than optimistic assessment of their chances by declaring candidacy despite the long odds. Many will convince themselves that they do have a chance. And some may surprise you by actually winning. Look at this from your own experience. Aren't most of the conservative winners you know and almost all of the key workers for conservative winners you know, aren't these people experienced in prior, but losing campaigns? We are trying to build a stable governing majority. Winning today isn't everything. Losing today may open doors to victories tomorrow. Let's fill the ballot where we can.
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.
The Laws Of The Public Policy Process
Morton C. Blackwell
March 19, 2015
The Laws Of The Public Policy Process
Available in other languages here. 1. Never give a bureaucrat a chance to say no. 2. Don't fire all your ammunition at once. 3. Don't get mad except on purpose. 4. Effort is admirable. Achievement is valuable. 5. Make the steal more expensive than it's worth. 6. Give 'em a title, and get 'em involved. 7. Expand the leadership. 8. You can't beat a plan with no plan. 9. Political technology determines political success. 10. Sound doctrine is sound politics. 11. In politics, you have your word and your friends; go back on either and you're dead. 12. Keep your eye on the main chance, and don't stop to kick every barking dog. 13. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. 14. Remember the other side has troubles too. 15. Don't treat good guys like you treat bad guys. 16. A well-run movement takes care of its own. 17. Hire at least as many to the right of you as to the left of you. 18. You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. 19. All gains are incremental; some increments aren't gains. 20. A stable movement requires a healthy, reciprocal I.O.U. flow among its participants. Don't keep a careful tally. 21. An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. 22. Never miss a political meeting if you think there's the slightest chance you'll wish you'd been there. 23. In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy. 24. Actions have consequences. 25. The mind can absorb no more than the seat can endure. 26. Personnel is policy. 27. Remember it's a long ball game. 28. The test of moral ideas is moral results. 29. You can't beat somebody with nobody. 30. Better a snake in the grass than a viper in your bosom. 31. Don't fully trust anyone until he has stuck with a good cause which he saw was losing. 32. A prompt, generous letter of thanks can seal a commitment which otherwise might disappear when the going gets rough. 33. Governing is campaigning by different means. 34. You cannot make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends. 35. Choose your enemies as carefully as you choose your friends. 36. Keep a secure home base. 37. Don't rely on being given anything you don't ask for. 38. In politics, nothing moves unless pushed. 39. Winners aren't perfect. They made fewer mistakes than their rivals. 40. One big reason is better than many little reasons. 41. In moments of crisis, the initiative passes to those who are best prepared. 42. Politics is of the heart as well as of the mind. Many people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. 43. Promptly report your action to the one who requested it. 44. Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics. 45. Pray as if it all depended on God; work as if it all depended on you. Download a PDF version Also available in: French Danish Greek German Hungarian Japanese Korean Latin Polish Romanian Russian Spanish Swedish Turkish
Lecture to the August 2007 Field Representative Class
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Lecture to the August 2007 Field Representative Class
Breaking Leftist Monopolies on America's Campuses (A speech to the fall 2007 Leadership Institute field representatives.) by Morton C. Blackwell August 17, 2007 I'm Morton Blackwell, president of The Leadership Institute. I deeply regret that I cannot be here in person with you, but our Leadership Institute Studios enable me to record these remarks for you. Congratulations, you are by far the largest group of field staff the Leadership Institute has ever recruited. In 2006 my staff and I engendered inquiries from 300 potential field staff. We hired and trained 20% of them, 60 people. Experience is the best teacher. This year, spending on recruitment less than a third of what we spent last year, we received more than 1,100 inquiries and offered fewer than 10% of the applicants positions as field representatives this fall. So you can see that this year we have been able to be more selective. I am quite confident that, on average, you are the best-qualified set of field reps LI has ever hired. Your primary task this fall will be to identify, recruit, and organize conservative students on campuses which do not now have active conservative groups. And we expect you to enable the new groups you organize to grow stronger after you leave them. Prepare them to continue in operation for a long time. Your training will be the best we have ever given LI field reps, and the useful materials you will give to students will be the best the Institute has ever produced. Secondarily, but still very important, you will be expected to do all you can to strengthen existing clubs and to help already-organized students to create multiple conservative groups on their own campuses. From its outset in 1997, our Campus Leadership Program has shown net growth. Some groups inevitably become inactive, but our organizing activities consistently create more new groups than the number of existing groups which fall by the wayside. You are now important parts of a project which will have significant impact on our country. You will change many lives, and some of your recruits may become your lifelong friends. From years of observation and personal experience, I know that many students you recruit will build on the leadership skills they learn from campus activities and join the next generation of conservative leaders. The Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program already has a powerful effect on many college campuses. In June of 2006, our number of active, conservative, independent campus groups reached 738. I promised our Leadership Institute donors that we would have at least 1,000 active campus groups by the end of 2006. We achieved that goal. I'm counting on you to achieve another major increase in the number of active groups this fall. In January of this year, we published a directory of 1,004 active groups on 411 American college campuses. This fall we are targeting primarily campuses which now have no existing, independent student groups, I expect you to double the number of American college campuses with organized, conservative groups. That will mean well over 1,000 active groups on well over 800 campuses. Your efforts are an essential element of conservatives' long-term struggle against the campus left across America. In many cases, CLP groups are the only manifestations of any conservative presence on their campuses. The left does not take kindly to any expression of conservative principles on their campus strongholds. Over the years, the left has wiped out and excluded from many colleges and universities anything supportive of limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, or traditional values. Nevertheless, our Campus Leadership Program is over the moat and cracking their walls. You should not expect a cordial welcome from the "powers that be" when you visit such schools, particularly when they learn that you intend to break their monopolies. Two years ago I began a list of the problems faced by conservative students on so many college campuses. What's wrong on campus is so massive and complex that the problem almost staggers the mind. I entitled this list "How Low Can Higher Education Go?" At this point, I ask my staff to give each of you copies of that list. (Pause for two minutes for copies to be distributed. Note to staff from MCB: At this point, please distribute copies of the new, organized list of How Low...) You shall have with you copies of this list, printed on genuine, simulated parchment paper, for sharing with the conservative students you recruit. Not every school experiences all these abuses, but any conservative college student you know who is now enrolled at any but the tiny handful of explicitly conservative colleges could curl your hair with stories of these abuses on his or her own campus. And the professors, the college officials, and the national leftist groups which pour resources into student organizations know very well what they're doing: undermining the political, cultural, and moral foundations of America under the cover of "academic freedom." Of course, in some cases, college administrators are not intentionally promoting such abuses. They have so many other things to do. And fighting such abuses or questioning leftist dogma would create problems for them with leftist faculty. Even the liberal head of Harvard University recently found this to be true. He merely questioned a leftist belief, and he lost his job. The people we are fighting truly hate Western civilization and are determined to destroy it. They hate virtually everything you and I love about America, and they will never forgive the United States for winning the Cold War. It has often and probably correctly been said that there are today more convinced Marxists on American college faculties than there are in the former Soviet empire. You may find the following background interesting. After years of thinking and planning, I began the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program in 1997 as a pilot program with only one staffer responsible for organizing and working with conservative student groups at campuses in the D.C. area. With the generous help of Leadership Institute donors, I then gradually expanded the program to cover the nation. In 2006 we more than doubled our investment in this program. Because more funding is available, I shall invest even more in campus organizing in 2007. For a few years, LI had resident field staff in five regions of the country. They had the dual task of starting new CLP groups and personally working on site to advise existing CLP groups in their regions. Costs of the program kept increasing, but the number of active CLP groups did not change much. Acting on good advice, I made the decision in 2003 that most of our resources for campus activity would go toward hiring full-time field staff who would work for ten- or eleven-week periods principally to form new groups. At the same time, I added to the number of CLP staff officed in our building -- to increase the number and quality of services offered local groups by our headquarters staff. This summer we have greatly increased the number of staff resident here who will assist you and all our active campus groups. In an ideal world, we might have the resources to help every conservative campus group with frequent staff visits to their campus, or even install resident advisers on many campuses. Donations are increasing, but we don't have vast resources. And closely supervising all the CLP groups' activities would amount to running a large, nationwide, membership organization. I aim to build a movement, not an empire. While we're getting better at keeping existing groups from fading away, there is always some attrition. For whatever reason, some groups don't expand their leadership, don't grow their membership, don't train good successors, and don't survive for long. Nevertheless, LI's Campus Leadership Program, through your efforts this semester, will have a lot more active groups at the end of December than the thousand we had at the start of this year. What you personally do this semester will change many lives. And some of your recruits may become your lifelong friends. Many will develop into highly effective leaders in government, politics, and the media. In future public policy battles, that will shift, in favor of conservative principles, the balance of effective activists between conservatives and the left. I had thought about helping conservative students create their own campus groups for many years. Let me share with you my thinking as I designed LI's Campus Leadership Program. While College Republican clubs tend to be conservative, not all of them are. And partisan political clubs often focus on election-campaign activities to the exclusion of explicitly promoting their political principles. It happens that none of the other non-partisan conservative organizations which work largely with college students had then, or has now, any program to organize significant numbers of student groups on campus. Intercollegiate Studies Institute used to have a significant field program to organize ISI campus groups, but they virtually ended their field work many years ago and only recently have begun doing some field work again. In the main, they create and distribute high-quality, intellectual materials which promote conservative principles. They do a superb job of assisting many conservative campus publications but now devote very little attention to creating new ones. The vast majority of local campus publications ISI now generously supports were started by Leadership Institute graduates. Young America's Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, had no program to organize student groups, in large part because they were an offshoot of the once-very-widespread Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a 501(c)(4) organization. YAF was composed for a long time of hundreds of local groups. YAF virtually collapsed due to internal problems. For whatever reason, their offshoot, Young America's Foundation, chose not to take up the task of organizing conservative groups on college campuses. Their major on-campus program now provides many excellent conservative speakers to college audiences. Often our CLP groups serve as the local sponsors of speakers generously provided by Young America's Foundation. Other conservative groups (too few) do good work educating students in conservative principles, but none of them creates large numbers of local campus groups. By the way, I have never thought that the Leadership Institute had any conservative rivals. We do have a lot of allies. The field was wide open for some conservative educational organization to take up the important task of organizing local student groups. I saw the need, and I wanted to do this for years. To build a strong, national program, I needed to think out how to do it and how to raise sufficient funds to pay for a field staff to visit campuses to organize new student groups. Then the Institute could learn through experience how to organize such groups cost-effectively. Let me explain to you why I designed this program to create independent student groups, rather than a national membership group with affiliated chapters. Each independent group gives a different set of young conservatives personal experience in leadership of conservative activities. That's one major reason why I decided to create independent conservative student groups and not a national membership organization. National student membership organizations necessarily have conventions and elections, which mean internal power struggles and, inevitably, purges of many who lose those power struggles. That is not entirely a bad process, because experiences in such a system teach important lessons. But those lessons can be learned in, say, College Republicans and elsewhere. And a national membership organization would require immense resources to supervise local campus groups ultimately subordinate to the national organization. Without such supervision, any local group might do things (to which young people are prone) which would embarrass the national organization as well as all the other local groups which behaved entirely responsibly. There is a good reason why the words "young" and "foolish" are used often together in the same sentence. The matter of legal liability also concerned me. I would not want the Leadership Institute held financially liable for the debts or actions of any local groups. So under my plan the Leadership Institute began to identify and recruit conservative students to form their own, independent organizations. Once formed, these groups would make all their own decisions. LI has no control over them or any supervisory authority. We do, of course, want to assist these local campus groups in many ways through a correspondent relationship: phone, fax, email, occasional visits, booklets and other materials which can help them succeed, and, of course, Leadership Institute training. As they actively promote conservative principles and fight against leftist abuses on campus, I want student leaders to look to the Institute as a source of good advice and effective assistance. From the outset, I realized that these new student groups would enlarge the pool of potential recruits for LI's now-39 different types of educational programs -- a big and long-lasting advantage which the Institute's donors would happily support. I knew that success in organizing groups on a significant number of campuses would please and excite LI donors, and many donors would increase their donations. You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. Most LI donors get considerable satisfaction when liberal campuses near them have groups of organized and trained students fighting for their conservative principles. Sometimes our donors get to know the nearby conservative students and help them in various ways. I knew LI donors would be enthusiastic. I knew they would generously increase their support if and when I could show considerable progress in organizing conservative student groups on college campuses. The Institute continues to make a strong effort to get our graduates, our donors, and many other conservatives to give us the contact information of students they know who might be interested in our help to organize new, conservative campus groups. Field reps this semester will leave here with some pre-identified contacts who should make your job much easier as you visit campuses in your assigned areas. Most important, of course, is the value of having local student leaders promote conservative principles to fellow students on as many campuses as possible. Just knowing they are not alone on campus, that other people around them on campus openly espouse conservative principles, encourages conservative students to resist the indoctrination, propaganda, and actual oppression which the left so often systematically imposes on American college campuses. I intended the Campus Leadership Program as a "rescue mission" for conservative students subjected to leftist indoctrination and persecution. It's working. Absent that moral reinforcement, more students would be sucked into the flow and come to believe that what their families and the healthy aspects of American culture taught them is old-fashioned and perhaps evil -- that it is doomed and not worth fighting for. Surely the leftists who dominate most of our campuses savor the advantages they have over conservative students and delight in their power to indoctrinate students in socialist ideas. The last thing the leftists want is for conservatives to promote conservative principles effectively on college campuses. So you can see why, from the outset, my plan was to organize groups on as many campuses as possible. I knew that some campus groups we organized would not last long and that my staff and I would have to work hard with newly organized groups to get them to do those things which would result in success on campus, including long-term organizational survival. A dozen things such as: 1. Setting up a systematic, ongoing program to recruit large numbers of new members 2. Conducting programs which educate other students in conservative principles 3. Deepening their own education in conservative principles 4. Systematically studying how to win 5. Establishing working ties with conservative leaders and organizations at the local, state, and national levels 6. Creating realistic annual budgets for their groups 7. Starting their group's bank account 8. Raising sufficient funds for their own activities 9. Getting favorable publicity for themselves and their projects 10. Identifying and working with any local conservative faculty 11. Placing a high priority on preparing worthy successors to replace themselves after they graduate 12. Deciding they will remain involved in their groups as mentors and allies after they become alumni. Staff at our Arlington office can persuade local leaders to do these things pretty well, and do it much less expensively than resident mentors on each campus. You can help CLP groups last a long time by persuading students you meet to achieve these desirable things. You should know that the Leadership Institute provides other national conservative educational organizations with the contact information of all our CLP groups. I frequently urge other conservative educational groups to offer their materials and services to the members of our CLP groups. Many national conservative groups offer programs valuable to conservative students. These groups deepen students' understanding of conservative principles and of specific public policy issues. They assist the local activities of many campus groups our field staff organizes. The most cost-effective things LI's Campus Leadership Program can do this semester are to organize new campus groups and strengthen the existing ones. That produces a wide range of benefits. The next step, an opportunity made much greater by the existence of so many new groups: to help those conservative students in CLP groups develop skills, through training and their personal experiences. Then thousands of them will become more effective conservative leaders and activists and stay active politically all their lives. Organizing conservative student groups at essentially every campus in America must be the primary focus of LI's Campus Leadership Program. All those new groups constitute a growing pool of recruits for LI's training programs, accessible to us at minimal cost of recruitment. This makes efficient use of donors' contributions for the Institute's many training programs. Even if I had sufficient resources, I doubt I'd station resident field staff semi-permanently on individual campuses. In specific regions, to travel around and advise many different groups, maybe. Someone stationed on an individual campus would amount to a boss, a hands-on supervisor. That top-down authority would curtail the independence of the local student leaders and make them essentially subordinates. Bottom up is the best way to develop new leaders. Training potential leaders is highly useful, but leadership is like riding a bicycle: After instruction, you have to get up and actually do it yourself. For local students whom we want to develop into effective leaders, having a resident supervisor on campus would be like always riding a bike with training wheels. Truly independent local campus leaders gain valuable self-confidence and develop the ability to take the initiative themselves. To build a new generation of conservative leaders and activists who want to win, we must identify, recruit, organize, and train young conservatives. Then we must provide them with opportunities to manage controversial activities and thereby gain experience in independent leadership in the public policy process. Make no mistake about it: Some of the people you recruit, activate, and train will be fighting for conservative principles for the rest of your life. Some will outlast you and do good things for our country which you will never see, things which will make America better for your children and your grandchildren. You'll be able to see much of the good which will come from your activities this semester. But much more good will be done than you will ever be able to measure because when you launch people in the right direction they will do good things you may never see or hear about. In 2003, I had a chance meeting with then-Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado. He had just been described in National Review as "America's Greatest Governor." Gov. Owens gave me a hug -- not a little hug but a bear hug. I was completely nonplussed and gave him a modest hug in return. He smiled and told me, "There is no reason for you to remember this, Morton. But back when I was a high school student in Texas, you organized a Teen Age Republican camp in Lafayette, Louisiana. I was one of the few out-of-state students to attend. "For a week you trained me in political issues and political action, and that changed my life." "Governor," I replied with a smile, "that TAR camp in Lafayette was in 1970, 33 years ago." If I hadn't met Governor Owens by chance, I would probably never have learned that I had a formative role in his political activity. In the past three years, our Campus Leadership Program has had considerable success. We know a number of methods by which new groups have been formed. You may be able to discover additional ways, but here are the methods we have found to date: 1. Field Staff: Organization of new groups by our field staff who visit campuses, recruit students, and organize them into new groups -- by far the most successful technique thus far for us. 2. Publications Creating Sister Activist Groups: A number of existing conservative campus publications have organized new and separate activist groups on their own campuses. 3. Existing Groups Creating Separately Organized Publications: The reverse of the second method. Some existing campus conservative groups have decided later to create free-standing conservative campus newspapers or magazines. 4. Calving: This is the organization of additional, more specialized groups on their own campuses by members of existing CLP groups which promote a wider range of policy interests. Last January, we made a study of the 1,004 CLP groups. We had twelve groups at the University of Arizona, eleven groups each at three other campuses, Michigan State University, The College of William and Mary, and Marquette University. And twice in recent years, Leadership Institute graduates active in multiple CLP groups at the famously liberal University of Wisconsin at Madison took control of the student government there. Although not all such multiple groups survive, there's good reason to have more than one conservative group on an individual college campus. For a generation, the left has organized a galaxy of student organizations, multiple groups on each major campus. Why not match this with many different conservative groups on a given campus? 5. Colonizing: Some conservative student groups have successfully set out to organize additional groups (general groups, specialized-issue groups, or publications) on campuses other than their own. That's a fine project for a local campus group. 6. Student Ambassadors: The Institute has had some success motivating individual students to serve as "Student Ambassadors" who take on the personal task of setting up recruitment tables on campuses other than their own. Local students sometimes create new CLP groups on nearby campuses, much as each of you will do full time for the next ten or eleven weeks. We offer a variety of incentives for local students who succeed personally in forming new groups on new campuses. 7. Over the Transom: Sometimes, albeit rarely in the past, conservative students or someone who knows them contact LI for assistance in forming new organizations on their own campuses. That is changing this year as we have spread better through conservative channels the news of the Institute's availability to help any conservative student who asks for organizing assistance. New clubs in this category use materials provided by CLP staff from our offices and sometimes do not require a visit by our field representatives. That way LI saves the time, talent, and money it takes to send someone like you to these campuses. As the network of CLP groups grows, we will reach "critical mass," where what we are doing becomes so widely known that more and more interested students will contact our offices for help in organizing on their campuses. 8. This year the Leadership Institute has had success in getting some other national conservative issue-oriented groups to help LI form new CLP groups. Soon more such groups should decide to partner with LI in forming issue-related groups on many campuses. With materials LI would provide, such groups would undertake to help form student groups focused on their issues. These are the eight methods by which we have organized all the existing Campus Leadership Program groups. My staff and I would be delighted if any of you could think of methods other than the eight I have listed which we could use to create additional conservative campus groups. In any case, we are a long way from having so many campus groups that the effort to form the next hundred new groups will be significantly harder or more costly per group than the effort we expended to form the hundred most recent groups. From long experience in organizing new groups on unorganized campuses, I know that the vast majority of campuses are equally easy to organize. Adding new CLP clubs won't become significantly harder until we come close to organizing multiple groups on all the campuses it is possible to organize. There are rare campuses which pose serious impediments for organizing, such as cases where the school administration adamantly refuses permission to set up a recruitment table, or rare cases where leftists credibly threaten known conservatives with serious physical violence. For example, it took me literally 20 years of almost annual attempts (1960-1980) to form a College Republican club at predominantly black Southern University in my old hometown of Baton Rouge. Recently, the left has become aware of the growing presence of conservative activity on American college campuses. Students you recruit may have heard or read news media reports from meetings organized by billionaire George Soros. Soros and some rich allies are now funding groups intended to counter the efforts on college campuses of the Leadership Institute and other conservative educational organizations. Although Soros and his allies hope through their spending to increase the effectiveness of the left on campus, I tell you: "Not to worry." I do not fear that activities they bankroll will significantly increase the left's campus influence. Nor can Soros stop the growth of campus conservative activities. George Soros and his wealthy friends cannot write checks big enough to increase significantly the resources the left already spends on American college campuses. Not all college professors and administrators are leftists, but the great majority of the politically active ones are, as Dan Flynn's booklet "Deep Blue Campuses" proved. You can find that report at www.leadershipinstitute.org. Add up all the money which pays the salaries of leftist professors and administrators. Add the money spent on the leftist, official student newspapers. Add the college funds and the compulsory student fee money spent to bring off-campus leftists to speak during the school year and at graduation ceremonies. Then add in all the compulsory student activity fees money poured into leftist student organizations. And the money national left-wing organizations pour into support of the vast array of campus leftist groups. American college and university budgets total about $150 billion every year. The amount of money they devote to pushing leftist indoctrination must be many billions every year. George Soros, billionaire though he is, can't write checks of that magnitude. Neither can his wealthy allies. They can spend a lot, especially when compared to what LI and other conservative foundations spend on campus. But their spending won't have much more effect than pouring a bucket of water into Lake Michigan. If you study how Soros affected the political situation in other countries, you will see that in every case he supported political insurgents against repressive regimes. In all those cases, he found it easy to identify and fund dissidents morally indignant against the abuses of those in power. American college campuses certainly are now a fertile field for the kinds of activities which proved successful for Soros in the past. But now he's on the wrong side, and conservatives are on the right side. On U.S. campuses, those with the power are almost everywhere abusive leftists. Those who chafe under the bias and persecution on campus have a big moral edge, particularly when trained and organized conservative students shine spotlights on the leftist abuses. Students appreciate cleverness, but they react negatively to unfairness when it is skillfully called to their attention. Conservatives have moral indignation on our side regarding the leftist abuses on campus. Moral indignation is highly contagious and so powerful that it tends to sweep aside everything else. That is why, in almost every case, a three-pronged strategy of public relations, political heat, and legal responses wins against leftist abuses on campus. George Soros achieved spectacular results when he funded highly motivated political insurgents against all the massive resources of repressive, socialist regimes in Eastern Europe. American campuses today are dominated by repressive, socialist regimes. Leftists believe that any conservative presence on campus is too much, even though the resources of time, talent, and money available for campus conservative activity are still minuscule compared to those of the left. Yet conservatives are making great progress. Once again it's David versus Goliath. Soros funded David against the Soviet empire. That worked. Now he's funding Goliath on campus. That won't work. Conservatives have achieved a lot on campus but have barely begun to fight. We shall achieve a lot more as our resources continue to grow. Any group you create will only be as strong as its programs. Without programs, any group will fade away. For free, LI can provide, on DVDs, at least three such programs: our video, "Independence or World Government"; our documentary, "Roots of the Ultra-Left"; and LI's well-produced video recording of a superb speech at LI by Professor Alan Kors, "The Betrayal of Liberty and Intellectual Pluralism on American Campuses." Starting this September, for the first time, a Leadership Institute donor has provided funds which we can grant to local groups who want to present public speakers on their campuses. You will have applications which local clubs can use to ask for grants of up to $3,000 for this purpose. Active clubs should have membership meetings at least monthly, say, on the first Tuesday of every month. Better yet, clubs could meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. In addition to some public programs presented each semester, a local club should have a program of some sort at each of its meetings. Easiest of all, the club can invite a variety of interesting, local speakers. You will have copies to distribute of the new edition of my manual, "How to Present a Public Program." Students who use the techniques suggested there should be able to present successful programs. In your travels, you will probably encounter opportunities to help conservative students organize spontaneous activities or demonstrations. For example, last year in Chicago, an illegal alien woman from Mexico, with her American-born son, holed up in a United Methodist church. The liberal officials at the local church granted her so-called "sanctuary," a medieval concept which is not legally recognized in the United States. Although she is under a deportation order, Federal authorities have made the very questionable decision not to enter the church to arrest and deport her. She has received national publicity, of course. And the area around the church gets news media attention. One of you might encourage local conservative students to organize a protest demonstration. The student groups involved could fax or email a news release to all the Chicago news media six hours before your demonstration. Your news release could contain responsible quotes from local students. You could put in the news release the wording of signs the conservative student demonstrators would display. For example, you could position students along the street near the church to show the passing traffic a series of Burma-Shave signs, with a poem reading: Sign 1 Get the church to fund you. Sign 2 Take your boy and go. Sign 3 You'd be rich and legal Sign 4 Down in Mexico. You could also prepare some effective stand-alone signs reading: What part of illegal do you not understand? and Secure Our Borders! Ladies and gentlemen, you're going out with a proven, successful plan. The Leadership Institute and conservatives all across America stand ready to help you succeed. You will find our Institute staff here smart, experienced, and ready to help you. I expect you all to succeed. You're already smart. You're already committed to conservative principles. Your training here will teach you a lot. You will learn more through your experience in the coming months. In your travels, you will learn useful things which you weren't taught here. Please immediately share such information with your supervisors and with me, so we can share it with your fellow field staff. And we'll incorporate that knowledge in our future field-staff training. Finally, I ask you to carefully and completely report, verbally and in writing, all harassment, abuses, or persecution you and the conservative students you recruit encounter from the campus left, whether from professors, administrators, campus police, or leftist students. War stories are useful in many ways. Some get publicized and hurt the left a lot. Some teach useful lessons for conservative students across the country. Some inspire donors to contribute substantial gifts. Years from now you will look back on this period of your life as one of your most interesting and valuable experiences. Good luck. And God bless you.
Leftist Abuses and Bias on Campus
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Leftist Abuses and Bias on Campus
Download the PDF version here. Leftist Control on Campus Overwhelmingly leftist faculty. Overwhelmingly leftist administrators who actively suppress conservative activities and refuse to address grievances from students who suffer persecution for their conservative beliefs. Leftist domination of most student government associations. Leftist domination of "student courts" which decide issues regarding student government actions and persecute students for activities in behalf of conservative principles. Leftist Indoctrination on Campus Large numbers of courses presented that explicitly in their catalog descriptions push leftist ideology, but no balance of conservative principles offered in the curriculum. Indoctrination of students in class by faculty who promote socialist ideas and other leftist priorities. Leftist faculty using their class time to preach politics instead of teaching the topic at hand. Faculty who express in class blatant contempt of conservative ideas. Assignment by faculty of one-sided textbooks and readings which systematically push leftist ideas and denigrate or ignore conservative ideas. Leftist domination of almost all official campus newspapers, which are funded by taxpayers, compulsory student fees, or unwitting donors to the colleges and universities. Large numbers of leftist student organizations, supported by major, national leftist organizations. Leftist monopolies of most journalism faculties. Programs which present overwhelmingly leftist off-campus speakers to the students. Overwhelmingly leftist speakers provided to speak to graduates and their families at graduation ceremonies. College and university libraries packed with leftist books and magazines but few if any books or publications which promote conservative principles. Compulsory freshman orientation programs and "sensitivity training" designed by leftists to undermine traditional values. Mandatory seminars for students on how to have "safe sex" with little or no mention of the possibility or merits of abstinence or marriage. Enforced diversity in every area except for the adherence to or the teaching of conservative principles. Systematic Exclusion of Conservatives Student admission procedures which deliberately weed out applicants who appear to be conservative. Known conservatives excluded from positions as dormitory Resident Assistants (who get free rooms) and all RAs subjected to training programs biased against traditional values. Graduate school practices which make it difficult or impossible for conservative graduate students to get advanced degrees which would lead to college teaching positions. Faculty hiring procedures which make it difficult or impossible for conservatives who manage to get advanced degrees to get teaching positions. Denial of salary increases to conservative faculty. Exclusion of conservative faculty from teaching courses that are requirements for graduation. Denial of tenure to faculty members because they are discovered to be conservatives. Tenure rules which give lifetime salaries to even the most incompetent leftist professors. Persecution of Conservative Students and Organizations Faculty who discourage or prohibit the expression of conservative thought by students in class. Faculty who urge students in their classes to vote for specific leftist candidates. Exams that assume a leftist agenda to be correct. Faculty who penalize in their grades students who reveal themselves to be conservative, which sometimes delays or even prevents those students' graduation. Speech codes and campus rules which facilitate leftist indoctrination and clamp down on any expression of conservative opinions. Faculty who shout down speakers and even organize walkouts if conservatives speak at public programs on campus. Refusal or long delays in granting conservative student groups recognition as official campus groups, despite the presence of many officially recognized leftist student groups. Official student organization allotting student activity fee money overwhelmingly to leftist student groups. Refusal of administration to allow student groups to present conservative speakers on campus, on the basis of assumed security risk. Discrimination against conservative student groups which ask to reserve rooms or other campus facilities for meetings and public programs -- denying them rooms, unreasonably delaying the assignment of rooms, changing the room at the last moment, or giving them the worst locations. Destruction or theft of any conservative publications on campus. Vandalization of campus offices of conservative student groups. Proliferation of leftist signs, posters, and flyers posted on bulletin boards all over campus but the immediate defacement or tearing down of comparable conservative materials. Toleration of leftist slogans and advertising posted on dorm room doors but restriction and destruction of comparable conservative communications. Persecution of students and student organizations who are motivated by religious faith. Ridicule of students who appear on campus in their military uniforms. Political Correctness Gone Mad Prohibitions of U.S. military recruiters on campus. Prohibitions of ROTC programs on campus. Violation of freedom of association through persecution or prohibition of fraternities and sororities. Elimination of single-sex bathrooms in dormitories or establishment of special bathrooms for the "transgendered." College rules which authorize overnight guests in dorm rooms with people of either sex -- rules which force offended roommates either to witness these sexual couplings or to find somewhere else to spend the night. -Morton C. Blackwell
Life of the Party
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Life of the Party
What follows is advice for conservatives of whatever party. Here is how you can be a party leader, even if you're starting from scratch: 1. Volunteer to work in the election campaigns of your party's nominees. Under-promise and over-perform. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. 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. 5. Participate in some party auxiliary group activities: youth groups, women's groups, etc. If there is none in your area, volunteer to start one. 6. 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. 7. 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 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. 8. Build strong working ties with any other conservatives you meet in party activities. 9. 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, drugs, education, pornography, etc. 10. Make contacts with national conservative groups to locate and involve their local activists in your party. 11. Learn the principles of effective direct mail and start to assemble lists of addresses and phone numbers of local conservative activists and donors. 12. 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. 13. 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? 14. Because all local party committee elections and party primaries are open at the bottom, whoever gets the most people to participate wins. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to organize a sufficient number of conservatives to win primaries, conventions and party committee elections. It is simple but not easy. 15. Sometimes local party committees fail to run candidates for public offices. This is almost always a bad practice. A major party should run candidates for every available office, whether or not there seems to be a good chance to win. If there appears to be no strong candidate available, run someone who would act responsibly as a candidate and who, if elected, would do a good job. Those are the only requirements. Run a candidate even if the other party has an "invulnerable" incumbent, even if your candidate is unknown, even if your candidate can't raise enough money to make a serious race. That's how to build a strong and useful party over time. 16. A leader is someone who has a following, someone with influence over others. Review your list of conservative leaders you now know in your area, those active in your party and those who should become active. 17. Invite several of the key conservative leaders from your local area to a confidential meeting, perhaps one evening at your home, to discuss the future of your local party. Serve simple refreshments. Points to be discussed at this meeting should include: The effectiveness of the local party committee and its officers. The strength of conservatives compared with non-conservatives on the party committee and among the committee's officers. The schedule and process by which the party committee renews itself and elects new officers. The schedule and process by which delegates are chosen by the local party to any party conventions at the local, congressional district and state or national levels. Upcoming opportunities for the party to nominate candidates for public office. The feasibility of increasing conservative strength on the local party committee, among party officials, at party conventions and in the nomination process for public offices. 18. If there is general agreement at your meeting that conservatives should work together to increase their strength in party activities, ask those present for suggestions of other local conservative leaders who should be invited to a follow-up meeting, also confidential. The second meeting should be held in a different location, to make clear that this is a coalition, not just your personal project. But you or someone else reliable should do the inviting. 19. The second meeting should also be informal. Pass around a sign-in sheet to get names, addresses and phone numbers of all present. Later, get copies of the list to all present. Begin with a review of the discussion at the first meeting. The new people will probably have new information to share. Then discuss what should be the group's goals. Among the possibilities: Get more conservatives on the party committee. Elect conservatives to party offices. Elect conservative delegates to party conventions. Nominate conservatives for upcoming general elections. Assist conservative elected officials. 20. The number of subsequent meetings will depend on how long you have before the local party renews itself by selecting new party committee members or elects officers or when the next primary election or party convention is. At each meeting, ask for suggestions of other leaders who should be invited. Keep in mind, though, that all those invited should be trustworthy, principled people who have political or financial resources. Invite new participants by consensus of current participants. Focus on honorable people who, if they choose to do so, can make things happen. For these meetings, you want leaders. Regardless of their individual interests, all those you invite should be willing to work with economic conservatives and with social-issue conservatives. 21. At the third meeting or at a later meeting, discuss how the group will make its decisions. Then the group should select a person or a sub-committee to draft simple, written rules of procedure by which the coalition can decide whom to support for party committee membership, party committee office, party convention delegate or party nomination for public office. Your opportunities will vary with your local circumstances. For example, in some areas the party committee is huge and almost anyone wishing to serve on it can do so. In other areas, the party committee is small and elections to it usually well-contested. 22. At the fourth meeting or at a later meeting adopt the rules, by a majority vote, by which your coalition will make its decisions about whom to endorse and support. Generally, the rules will include a secret ballot, with a runoff if no one gets the majority required for endorsement by your coalition. To receive the coalition's support, anyone must agree in advance to be a candidate and to accept your support. Most important, the rules should require that all who participate in your coalition's balloting meeting must solemnly promise to work hard to elect to party position, or to nominate for public office, all those who win the majority vote in your endorsement meeting. At this time, set the date of your decision-making meeting and agree, unanimously if you can, on the exact list of those who will be invited. 23. Your coalition's decision-making meeting (balloting) should be a month or more before the filing deadline for the upcoming party convention or party primary. Start the meeting by having everyone present pledge to support vigorously everyone the coalition decides to back. If more than one kind of party office, delegate or party nomination are at stake, conduct votes on each kind of position. Brief "nominating" speeches are a good idea, because not all those present will know enough about your potential candidates to make informed decisions. At the close of this meeting, remind everyone that all have committed to work hard for the success of your coalition's candidates. 24. At the same, decision-making meeting, organize your effort to make sure your endorsed candidates win. Here are appropriate items to decide or plan for: Pick a descriptive, simple name for your ad hoc coalition, something like: Conservative Leadership Coalition, Conservative Unity Ticket or 201_ Action Team. Appoint a finance chairman and a finance committee. Take up a collection at the meeting to start your coalition's campaign fund. Everyone present should contribute. Raise additional funds as needed, by direct mail to likely donors, by phone and by personal visits. You might decide to schedule one or more fundraising events. Set up a temporary bank account to receive contributions to pay for mailings, literature production and other predictable costs such as convention activities. If party nominations for public office are at stake, make sure you comply with applicable financial reporting laws. By phone or mail, recruit a distinguished list of endorsers for your coalition. Consider those who participated in your meeting plus other party activists, party donors, public officials and well known leaders of community activities. People like to be asked. The endorsers can be listed on your coalition letterhead or on your printed literature. Generate a mailing to likely participants in your upcoming party primary, local party election caucus or party convention. Introduce your ticket. Explain why it's important your candidates win. Ask for support. People do like to be asked. Be specific in your letter about when and where to vote, etc. Include filing forms if applicable, and make sure they are filed on time. Enclose a return envelope and a reply card or a reply form by which people can pledge their political support and make a financial contribution. Some members of your coalition should have mailing lists and email lists. Leaders should send special, personal letters to their lists, urging participation in the convention, caucus, mass meeting or primary in which the party will pick its leaders or nominees. These letters and emails should ask for support for your whole ticket. Don't worry about duplication of effort. People respond best if asked in more than one way. Have lists of possible supporters called and asked to vote for your ticket in the election meeting, convention or party primary. As your mailings, phone calls, and emails create a list of those pledged to support your coalition, make careful plans to remind supporters by phone the day before the election meeting or primary. Arrange car pools and whatever else is necessary to make sure everyone gets to where you want them when you want them there. In a convention or a primary you must make sure all your identified supporters actually vote and that the vote counting is honest. Whether the voting will be by paper ballot or voting machine, make sure your side is represented in the set up of the voting, certification of voters' eligibility and the counting of the ballots. Unfortunately, no party is entirely free of people willing to cheat if you let them do so. If the voting will be done at a convention, your coalition must designate a floor leader. All delegates who support your coalition should follow this person's instructions during the convention. Positioned beside the floor leader should be your floor parliamentarian, someone who can give advice on procedural matters. For a big convention, make large, colored signs to let your supporters know whether to vote yes or no on complex procedural motions. Signs would include your coalition's name. They could read "Action Team -- YES" and "Action Team -- NO." In a big convention, you also will find that ward, area or county sub-leaders are necessary. Their job is to get their delegates to the convention, keep them posted about what's happening and lead them when it's time to vote. Designate someone to be your coalition's vote counter. From the beginning of the process of filing of delegates, this person will keep and constantly update a careful estimation of how many delegate votes your side has, how many are for your opposition and how many are unknown or genuinely undecided. The night before the convention and during it, your vote counter will be very busy. He will give you guidance on when and what you can win. No later than the night before a convention, gather the leaders of your floor organization to discuss what must be done during the convention. Efficient organizers write out in great detail an expected "script" for a coming convention. The script is a step-by-step description of the anticipated meeting or convention events, detailing who will do what and in what order, from the opening gavel to the final adjournment. It includes what the convention officers will do, what you expect your opposition to do and what your team plans to do. If the opposition tries any surprises, your floor leader must be ready to respond appropriately. Your supporters follow his lead. If you arrive at a convention with more support than your opposition, you should win. If your opponents try dirty tricks with credentials certification or the meeting's rules, be prepared to make a steal more expensive than it's worth to them. People without strongly held political philosophy often lack ethics as well. If they think you'll meekly accept their cheating, they'll cheat. If they know cheating would embarrass them within the party, in the news media and in the courts, they may decide not to cheat. Cheaters hesitate if they know you have perseverance, good lawyers, good news media contacts, communications skills and ties with high-ranking party officials and public officeholders. Most dirty tricks can't stand the light of public exposure. 25. Win or lose, be polite. That's not always easy. Never lose your temper if you lose or swagger if you win. 26. If you win, remember that winning politics involves addition and multiplication on your side, not subtraction and division. You may have the opportunity to organize a nominated candidate's general election campaign or to set up the executive committee and appoint officers of your party committee. In either case, involve some people who are part of, or friendly to, the side you just defeated. Don't turn over to them the power you just won. That would be foolish. But you should, by your appointments and in other ways, let everyone know you are willing to work with others, even former foes, who are willing to work with you for the party and its candidates. 27. When beaten by conservatives in party contests, liberals often try to shut off the finances to party committees and to conservative candidates. Therefore, it's a good idea for your new party leaders and your new party nominees to forestall this if possible by quickly announcing prestigious finance committees which include some unexpected names. These committees should also quickly develop a base of direct mail donors, which will sustain them if liberals get some big donors to stop giving. Sometimes those you defeat may stay active only to gripe and make life miserable for you. Keep building and ignore their antics as much as you can. In the long run they will be self-destructive. In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy. Win or lose, keep building. 28. If you lose, don't be discouraged. Winston Churchill started out as a soldier and became a politician. He noted much later that in his "former profession one could die but once, but that in politics one can die many times." And still come back to win. 29. If you win a party nomination contest, run the general election campaign in a way that increases the number and effectiveness of your party's activists. Run a people-oriented campaign. Campaign consultants often try to spend all the candidate's money on ads in print or broadcast media. Don't let them do it. 30. If you win control of a party committee, run it in such a way as to increase the number and effectiveness of your party's activists. Hold your own political education and training programs. And send local activists to training programs offered by party groups, non-party activist groups and educational foundations at the local, state and national levels. Have good social events. Winning gets easier with experience. But no political victory is permanent. Repeat the above 30-step process in each election cycle, from the beginning. Coalitions will vary over time. Some people drop out; others will sell out. Activate new people. Succession is a problem in any political system. If you are an elected officeholder or if you are one of those in a conservative majority of a party committee, you should nevertheless plan succession for fellow conservatives in the same open way. Expand the leadership. It's tempting to try to hand-pick your successors, but you'd lose the major benefits of coalition support and set yourself up for an accusation of machine politics. Organize your coalition anew before each potential major conflict. After you win, be prepared for more challenges. It is easier to win an election than to govern well. Some of your problems will come from within your own party. At the dawn of the era of political parties, Edmund Burke defined a political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavors the national interest upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed." But in practice, as Burke himself discovered, serious people often disagree about which principles should unite their party. Some partisans reject principles almost entirely. Nevertheless, British parties and most political parties around the world have unitary structure, party discipline and at least a superficial resemblance to Burke's description. A U.S. political party doesn't. What we call a party today in the United States is clearly a different thing. Our two major parties have no unitary structure. Each has a proliferation of official, independent committees. No national party committee can direct state parties or has authority over the operations of all national groups which bear the same party name. Similarly, the state party committees generally have no control over their candidates' campaign committees, state party legislative caucus campaign committees, local party committees or party auxiliary groups. A national or state party committee cannot even revoke a person's party membership. In those states without official party registration, it's difficult or impossible to say who is or isn't a party member. By law, you are what you say you are. What's a U.S. political party for? Here are some of the many different purposes I have heard mentioned: To recruit candidates To run candidates' campaigns To win elections To advance a specific political philosophy To serve elected public officials of the party To provide an organizational structure for citizens to participate in the political process To pass or defeat certain legislative proposals To get political jobs for party members To provide a social outlet for people who can't find any better way to meet new people To advance the financial interest of participants To conduct class warfare To assemble coalitions of interests for the purpose of governing Many of these are legitimate functions of a party. In practice, any of these purposes may conflict with other functions. Long affiliation with a party is usually necessary for successful American political leaders. The few major exceptions in our history are when military heroes have been elected to office after demonstrating their leadership skills in battle. Even so, among our military-hero presidents, only George Washington was elected without first affiliating with a party. Some leaders of non-partisan groups greatly influence elections and the legislative process. But they are forced to work through parties to get their favorites nominated. Often they must work with party leaders in legislative bodies to pass or defeat specific bills. Politicians neglect party ties at their peril. In 1976 President Gerald Ford picked Sen. Bob Dole as his running mate and dropped Vice President Nelson Rockefeller from the national party ticket. A reporter then asked Vice President Rockefeller, now that it was unlikely he would ever achieve his ambition to be President, if there were things he wished he had done differently. The Vice President answered to this effect: "Yes, I spent my adult life preparing myself to be President, but I neglected to prepare myself to be nominated." Most people do not participate in parties. They don't even vote in party primaries, much less serve as party convention delegates or as members of party committees. Yet most of the political power in America is channelled through political parties. Like it or not, parties are necessary. To pretend they don't exist or don't matter is to limit or destroy our political effectiveness. Because our major parties are composed of disparate elements and have few and weak mechanisms to enforce party unity on any topic, they seldom reach unanimity on anything. It's no more realistic to expect to find unanimity of opinion within a party than it is to find a winning majority of the voters who agree on every issue. Many people with strong preferences about specific issues and with firm beliefs about the proper role of government do work in parties. Such people, men and women with political convictions, often comprise a majority of the party activists. But they always encounter inside a party others with different policy preferences. They also find themselves working with different kinds of people who have no strong political convictions at all. These include: People who seek power for its own sake. People for whom the party is a social outlet. People for whom the party is merely a family tradition. People who are looking for a political job. People who are active as a favor to their friends. People whose only political principle is to seek consensus. People for whom party participation is merely fulfillment of a civic obligation. Parties, like coalitions of voters on election day, are uneasy alliances. Nevertheless, parties and winning coalitions of voters tend to be stable for extended periods of time. A new, normal winning majority in presidential elections is formed no more than a couple of times each century in America. The Presidential election majority which won consecutive landslide victories in 1980, 1984 and 1988 may reassemble in future presidential elections. I believe it will, as it did in congressional elections across America in 1994. But that's an open question. I wish more citizens were politically active. But since relatively few people choose to participate in party activity, those who do participate have a disproportionate share in our politics and government. In a practical sense, they are the political leaders of our country. If you're not one of them, you have to influence them to accomplish much in the area of public policy. Election laws and party rules vary from state to state and within each state. Veteran party activists understand the applicable procedures and use their knowledge to maximize their own power. Party leaders in the United States, in contrast to party leaders in other countries, have little direct contrl over party activists. Indeed, party leaders must depend on the voluntary cooperation of others. Our party structures are wide open at the bottom. Power in a party goes to those who recruit and lead others. Anyone can be a party activist. With a little effort and the resulting experience, almost anyone can be a party leader. Why not you?
The Media and Election 2004
Blanquita Cullum
October 6, 2015
The Media and Election 2004
By Blanquita Cullum First of all, I have to tell you that I would do anything for Morton and Helen Blackwell because they're probably the two greatest people in the conservative movement. They're not in the conservative movement to try and gain their own prestige and their own power. They're in it to empower. I have such great love and respect for them; they are what the conservative movement is all about. I've been in radio since 1973 — since I was 20 years old. One of the great things that happened to me during President George W. Bush's first term is that he asked me to be one of the members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. I'm one of the first radio talk-show hosts to ever hold a position that high in the history of our broadcasting industry. We sit as CEOs overlooking the U.S. government's international broadcasting which includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and other broadcasting entities around the world. It was such a heartening experience on Election Day to see the American people not be conned by the Michael Moores. I think talk radio played an important role in this by getting the truth out. We also saw bloggers take on the networks and fight CBS and Dan Rather. They got Dan; they caught him in a lie. The network anchors thought they were Father, Son, and Holy Ghost –- Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather. Oh, how they patted themselves on the back. They thought they were smarter than the rest of us, that knew more, and that they understood what the people really thought. They believed their own press reviews. You have seen them for the last time in the position they thought they were. They are dinosaurs. They are gone. You're going to see the networks get a grip on the fact that they are no longer in control of what people think. The people have a voice. The people have more alternatives to get information. Yesterday I was getting a lot of the exit polls just like a lot of the mainstream press, and I looked at them and said, “Wait a minute. These are the people who laughed in the face of those who said “The Passion of the Christ” wouldn't make it. These are the people who made it the number one movie. These are the people who gave Mel Gibson a number one movie.” The press and the polls didn't have a handle on the minorities. They didn't get it that the biggest minority group that did not support same-sex marriage was African Americans. They didn't have a handle on the Mexican-American community that has a significant number of Congressional Medal of Honor winners. They also forgot that Hispanic families — regardless of whether they're from Salvador, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico -- they believe in God and family and they don't like same-sex marriage. Sometimes people will ask why conservatives don't fight harder. We like to fight with a more gentlemanly type of rules because we still believe in the respect and dignity of human beings. Sometimes we get criticized for it, but, on the other hand, it's nice to know we have a gentleman in the White House. I also predict that this will be the last election where you see the American people have the stomach to suffer the Democrats saying “I was robbed.” There is a point where people are going to say, “Get over it. You're losers.” I believe that the president understands there is a divide in this country. And I believe he will try to bring up some sort of reconciliation of the parties. I believe, frankly, it's going to happen on its own anyway. It's interesting to see what's happening in the press. We have seen blatant and real corruption of the fourth estate. CBS attempted, on not only one occasion but on two occasions, to try to unseat a president. Then ABC sent out the memo about how they needed to be harder on President Bush than on Senator Kerry. This is the pollution of the fourth estate. That's why places like the Leadership Institute are so critical. I have a 501(c)(3) organization, the Young American Broadcasters, and when I was first starting it, Morton allowed me to come over here and train the kids here. Now one of those kids, Ben Ferguson, has gone on and spoke at the Republican Convention this summer. Ben Ferguson is one of our Young American Broadcasters. I couldn't have done that without Morton because he knew it's all about trying to get these young people involved. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if in the next 10 to 15 years we could look to any major media outlet -- whether its internet, radio, TV -- and know that someone trained by the Leadership Institute is working there? I was very concerned if the president had not been re-elected there would have been a real problem with Radio Marti', which is broadcasting into Cuba. It's something that [Broadcasting Board of Governors] Chairman Ken Tomlinson and I have fought hard to protect. The other side doesn't understand the importance of Radio Marti. Conservatives have been fighting tooth and nail to protect our broadcasts in the Middle East. One of the programs I've worked on is a television program that goes into Iran every single day. It's a 30-minute live television news show. And as much as they've tried to jam us, 13% of the population is watching that show. Think about that. Let's compare that to even Fox that has, maybe, a five-percent share. We're also striving to make sure programs on Radio Farda, which goes into that same area, and Al Jura, which is our new Middle Eastern network carry news like the president's State of the Union addresses. When I was in Bosnia, I met with a journalist who had his legs blown off while trying to cover stories for Voice of America. This makes you realize the importance of American broadcasts around the world. It's an important thing that we're doing. It is good to celebrate our conservative election victories. But I've got to tell you the vermin is still out there. The dissenters are still out there. They will still try to wreak havoc. They're going to try to mess with conservatives. They're going to try to work the media. They will try to discount the victory. They will try to discount the fight that the president is dealing with. For a long time, they've tried to make anyone who believes in the principles of conservatives seem crazy. And if you think they're going to stop even though we've had a victory, they won't. It will just be worse. Don't stop working for this movement -- not for one minute. Have a glass of champagne today, but tomorrow you've got to work again. You've got to protect the country. You've got to work hard and fight longer. It's a battle -- not just for our lifetime, but for our kids' lifetime and for their kids' lifetime. It's going to be a long war -- not just in Iraq with the terrorists who aimed and targeted this country, but the internal terrorists who hate everything that we stand for. The people who think it's a disgrace that we want to protect the flag, who think that it's disgusting that we want to have the Ten Commandments on the wall, who think it's a crime that we want to say marriage is between a man and a woman and who think that it's noble to kill a baby. I'm telling you the battle is not over. But congratulations today, we should celebrate our victory.
Mistakes of Losing Candidates
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Mistakes of Losing Candidates
Some candidates lose because they can't raise enough money, no matter how hard or skillfully they try. Others lose because their election districts are demographically wrong, because the trend is against their party or because their views are not close enough to those of the voters. But many losing candidates could have won, if they had avoided making one or more of the following common mistakes: Failure to develop in advance a comprehensive campaign plan, including a timetable and a realistic budget. In politics you can start late, but you can't start too early. Losing campaigns almost always misorder priorities, putting too much effort on things which can have little effect on the election outcome. Managing their own campaigns. Spending too much time at headquarters rather than going out personally to solicit votes or raise money. Hiring consultants who personally absorb too much of their campaign budgets. Spending too much of the campaign funds on paid media and polling and not enough on building an organization of large numbers of people in campaign activities. Adopting (and sometimes changing) positions on issues because of pressure from major contributors or the results of public opinion polls. Polls can be useful to determine which of their personal positions on issues should be stressed in their campaigns. Misreading public opinion polls, which usually measure preference but seldom measure intensity. Intensity, not preference, motivates people to act in politics. Failure to stress properly the issues which motivate the core elements of their supporters. Responding to every minor criticism rather than focussing on the carefully considered issue thrust of their own campaigns. Campaigns lose when too much on the defensive. Failure to respond properly to continuing negative information, whether from an opponent, the news media or both. Ignoring a continuing negative issue won't make it go away.
Mistakes of Winning Candidates
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Mistakes of Winning Candidates
Some candidates win but disappoint their supporters and even themselves. They achieve little or nothing of what they hoped to do. Here are incumbents' worst mistakes: Hiring staff who don't personally share their policy agendas. Personnel is policy. Staff who lack enthusiasm for their bosses' priorities prevent elected officials from doing what they intended to do in office. Not keeping campaign promises. These days voters have little tolerance for incumbents who break their word. Not paying attention to the interests of the coalition which elected them. Incumbents lose their allies when they don't vote right, sponsor key legislation or sign allies' fundraising letters and aren't there when their friends need them. Seeking approval of their enemies, particularly their media enemies. Many incumbents start craving to have everyone love them and no one hate them. But trying to make friends of their enemies makes enemies of their friends. Failure to handle constituent relations effectively. All politics is personal. Service can be as important to voters as policy. They appreciate prompt, personal service when they contact those elected to serve them. Succumbing to temptations newly present when one achieves some power. Election to office tests anyone's strength of character, family ties and personal morality. Getting greedy for money or higher office. Becoming arrogant. Many people, constituents who request help and especially the officials' staff, treat incumbents with deference bordering on obsequiousness. A consequent loss of humility can destroy a politician's base. Accommodating opposition incumbents who now are "distinguished colleagues." Excessive collegiality is a trap for incumbents who really want to accomplish things. Not helping to nominate and elect allies in their home states and elsewhere. A well-run team takes care of its own. Serious politicians work hard to elect others who share their public policy principles.
Morton Blackwell’s Famous Foolproof Fundraising Formula
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Morton Blackwell’s Famous Foolproof Fundraising Formula
Download the PDF version here. Introduction Of the many ways students raise funds for campus public policy activities and organizations, only the following method, personal solicitation, has proved to be universally successful. That's why it's known as foolproof. And why it is famous. I developed, practiced, and refined this technique in the early 1960s while a student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. If properly asked, many people will gladly give contributions to support conservative student activities. Such people can be found in every community and in every state, including yours. Having taught the formula to students since 1962, I am confident of its success. I maintain an open-door policy with my students. Each student is invited to contact me if the formula doesn't work. No one using it has ever reported anything but success. The First Stage -- Your Budget The first step in the Famous Foolproof Fundraising Formula is to make a complete annual budget for your program or organization. This system works for funding single projects, but you'll raise a lot more money if you don't have to repeat the process for each project. The budget should be reasonably detailed and easy to understand. Briefly and simply outline your budget so a person not affiliated with your organization can understand each entry. For example, don't put down an item as “LI SCHOOL.” Instead, write “Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School training” or “Leadership Institute's Student Publications School registration.” The budget should be organized by category with a final total at the bottom. The budget should not be more than one typed page. Brainstorm with others to list all the appropriate expenditures for the coming year. In the Appendix are sample budgets for an independent newspaper, a campus political club, and a speakers program. Your specific budget requirements will vary, but these provide a good base from which to start. The Second Stage -- Identifying the Most Likely Donors Next, make a list of people, both in and out of the local community, whom you believe are most likely to make substantial contributions to your cause. Convene a few students who will be working closely with you. Have another brainstorming session. Start by listing the best fundraising prospects already known to students in your group. Then think of other sources of potential donors who may be willing to contribute to conservative, campus-related activities. Some wealthy conservatives may already be members of your college or university board of trustees or board of supervisors. Others may already be well known as donors to the university or to the alumni association. Look around. Perhaps the recently built Picklesimer Hall is named for the Picklesimer family, generous donors to your university. Are members of this family strongly conservative? If so, make them a priority for your fundraising visits. Other potential donors would be those who have contributed to conservative candidates for public office. Note: It is contrary to federal law to use the names and addresses of donors to federal candidates or federal political action committees for any commercial purpose if those names and addresses are obtained from the Federal Election Commission. “Commercial” includes fundraising! You may not legally use FEC lists for fundraising purposes. You'd break federal law and be subject to fines and criminal penalties if you did. However, at the state level, the required funding reports for candidates, political action committees, and political party organizations are not under any such prohibition in most states. Find out which office in your state capital receives the reports filed by candidates, political action committees, and political parties. (Often it's the Secretary of State's office or the State Election Board). Then ascertain if it is legitimate in your state to use information from this source for fundraising purposes. If it's legal in your state, you may go to the appropriate state agency and copy the names and addresses of each donor who has given substantial amounts of money to conservative candidate, political action committees, and party committees. Even in the case of federal elections, the candidates and the campaign organizations have their own copies of lists they previously submitted to the Federal Election Commission in their periodic reporting records. A friendly former candidate, winner or not, may legally allow you to use his list and to select from it the names and addresses of likely donors. Another ready source of potential donors are conservative leaders in your local community. Ask them who likely donors are and how they can be contacted. Conservative professors at your school may suggest some local business contacts, whom you may add to your prospective donor base. Even if you don't have many of the above sources, you can probably find enough good prospective donors to launch this program. With just a handful of conservative students at your brainstorming session, you should be able to come up with many good prospects. Do not spend more than a day or so creating your initial list of prospects. You should pick out the top half dozen or so, those you think most likely to give substantial contributions to your organization. Next, designate teams of two, preferably a guy and a gal, to make an appointment with each person on the list. The Third Stage -- Meeting With Potential Donors Many of your potential donors will have secretaries. A secretary can be a strong ally if treated with respect. The secretary of a potential donor will probably ask, “Well, what is it you want to come talk about?” You should be reasonably frank with them. Respond with something to the effect of: “We are very concerned about outrageous left wing activity on our campus. We'd like to talk with you about the problems we are currently having with liberals at our school. We would like to show you some of the things we are trying to do to correct this imbalance. And we would very much appreciate having your thoughts on the matter.” The team of two should arrive slightly ahead of time for the appointment. Dress better than average for the students on your campus. This will vary from area to area and from campus to campus. At New College in Sarasota, Florida, a little better than average means that you wear shoes. On a few other campuses, a little better than average would mean that you would wear a suit and tie. However, don't go overdressed to meet a potential donor. A student who solicits funds in a three piece, heavy wool suit with a big gold-link watch chain looped across his vest may not be a credible student leader. Talented people are highly successful in personal solicitation. You should not send out utter klutzes who have not brushed their teeth since 1997. Donors respond best to intelligent students who have a pleasant demeanor and a solid plan of action. When you arrive, introduce yourselves. Take some time to discuss with him where you're coming from philosophically. Describe the problems you are fighting on campus. Ask him about his philosophy. Most people like to talk about their ideas. And, this will alert you to issues which motivate him to act. If the student government has recently paid $5,000 or $10,000 apiece to bring speakers, such as, say, communist activist Angela Davis or an environmental wacko to your campus, express your outrage about this. If your school newspaper has written some particularly outrageous left wing articles, cite them or, better still, take them along with you and show them at this time. Or mention any unfair, leftist professors or college administrators who persecute students who stand up for free enterprise or traditional values. You'll be surprised how many business people and conservative donors are knowledgeable about what's happening on your campus. Then take out your one page budget. Hand it to him. Let him examine it carefully. Prospects are usually people of substantial means. They quickly understand a clearly written budget. They'll be able to judge whether or not it's realistic. Be sure not to include items for all-expense-paid trips to the Bahamas for sun and fun. Present a realistic and sensible budget like the examples presented in the appendix. Ask him, “Does the budget contain any items which aren't clear? May we clarify any entries for you?” The prospect may well come up with one or two things which he doesn't understand. Be prepared to defend the various budget items, showing why each is a responsible use of money. If you're getting a cheap rate on something, point it out. Once you're sure he understands the budget, look him directly in the eye and, with a pleasant expression on your face, say this important sentence: “We were hoping you'd be able to help us financially to meet this budget.” After you've said this, keep your pleasant facial expression and wait. You wait. And you wait silently. If you have to wait thirty long seconds, wait. Silence is your ally. At some point, the prospect will eventually respond to what you've said. His reply will fall into one of these three categories: 1) He may remark, “Well, I think it's a good idea, here's a contribution.” And he'll make a contribution or pledge right there. 2) Or he may say some version of: “I'm sorry, I can't help you. I've got cancer, my wife is divorcing me, business is terrible, and my children are now being prosecuted for various crimes.” If a prospect says he just can't give you any money, thank him for his time and input, then leave. 3) However, by far the most frequent response you will receive is something like: “How much are you asking me to contribute?” or “What are we talking about in terms of money?” In other words, the person will ask you how much to give. Don't bother to solicit anyone for a student activity whom you couldn't ask for at least $100. Some people should be in the $500 to $1,000 range or even higher. Always have a figure in mind before you meet with a prospective donor. Most students have never asked a perfect stranger for $500 or $1,000. But you shouldn't feel reluctant or awkward about this. Well-known donors are often asked personally to make contributions. Major donors are not ashamed or embarrassed to be asked for $1,000. So you shouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed to ask them for $1,000. If you're in doubt as to whether to ask a person for $100 or $500, ask for $500. If in doubt between asking for $1,000 or $2,000, ask for $2,000. Always ask for the higher amount in the range you think reasonable. My experience has shown that rarely do donors give more than they are asked for; however, they often give less. You may happen to misjudge a person's ability to give. You may ask him for $2,000 although he's never given more than $100 to anybody in his life. This won't grossly offend him. In fact, he may even chuckle, saying, “I don't know where you got the idea I could give $2,000. I've never given more than $100.” Then ask for the $100. In the overwhelming majority of cases, when a donor prospect asks you, “What are we talking about in terms of money?” the dynamics of the Famous Foolproof Fundraising Formula make it inevitable that you will leave with some donation or a pledge. Sometimes a donor will say “I'm sorry. I'm happy to give you the money, but I can't give you anything until my stock dividend check comes in on the fifteenth of the month.” Offer to come back at his convenience to pick up his donation. In any case, whether donors give you a check, cash, or a pledge, you should thank them genuinely. “We really appreciate what you've done for us. Because of you, we'll make a great impact on campus.” The Fourth Stage -- Expanding Your Base of Good Prospects Now you have the check in hand or a good pledge. And you've expressed thanks. The next step is to say, “Sir, there is another thing you can do to help us. We'd greatly appreciate it if you would suggest others whom we might go see who might be willing to help us meet our goal.” The donor has already made an investment in your program, actually or with a pledge. He made that donation because he wants you to succeed. If you don't get enough money to succeed, his $100 or $500 or $2,000 may be wasted. When you ask new donors for additional names, the great majority will give some to you. They will know many potential donors whom you do not know. We all have different friends. Your new donor may know, among others, a conservative little old lady who lives at the edge of town in that ramshackle house with the broken down fence who happens to own 10,000 acres of Colorado timber on which they have just opened a big gold mine. Your new donor will provide you with names. He'll say, “Well there's Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Picklesimer.” Make sure you carefully write down everything about the new prospects. “This is Dr. Jack Johnson, the orthopedic surgeon. This is Mrs. Elvira Picklesimer, a widow, who lives out on Green Hollow Road near the corner of Hammond Highway.” Make sure you have each new donor identified very clearly. You don't want to go back to your new donor and ask, “Who is this person again? I can't find him.” A new donor will give you a few names, ordinarily a handful. When he has finished listing names, ask him, “Can you think of any more?” Very often that first extra name will be the best prospect of all. When the new donor finally runs out of names after you've prodded him a couple of times, you will have, on average, six or seven new names. Almost everyone who gives you a donation will come up with additional names. There is some other psychology involved in this. The donor thinks, “Well, these kids just hit me up; I'm going to send them down to hit up my old buddy Charlie, too.” Your new donor will have friends with whom he does business or plays bridge or golf. Perhaps the donor will smile and send you to a friend of his who has recently raised money from him. Once you have the names, look through the list and say, “Well, I know Dr. Johnson because he's the one I went to last winter when I had a broken leg. And we know Mr. Kelly because Susie's father buys a car every year from Mr. Kelly's Chevrolet dealership. But I don't know Mrs. Picklesimer and I don't know this one or that one.” Ask if your donor would be willing to call the ones you don't know and give you an introduction over the phone. Say, “That way, when we go to see them we won't be complete strangers.” Again, in the overwhelming majority of cases, because the donor already has an investment in your project, he will be willing to makes these calls for you. Sometimes a donor will tell you he'll write a letter to introduce you. However, writing a letter is a big effort for most people. They delay writing letters, and many times, despite good intentions, never send the letters. A telephone call is much easier than a letter. But, if your new donor says he's going to write letters, say, “Thank you very much. Would you please send me a copy of each letter so I'll know when to follow up?” You can then be sure when and if the letters are sent. You will probably walk away from that first successful meeting with a contribution or a pledge and a list of other prospects. Immediately after this meeting, take a moment to write down anything personal you observed about the contributor: his key interests, his wife's name, number of children, hobbies, secretary's name, award certificates on the wall, etc. Write and keep a short summary of what was said. Refer to these notes before any subsequent communications with the donor. Within 24 or no more than 48 hours, write a warm letter of thanks to your new donor. It's been my experience that any conservative student group which sets out on this kind of program soon has more good prospects for giving money than they have time to go out and ask. The three requirements for achieving any project are time, talent, and money. It doesn't cost much to raise funds by personal solicitation. Because you are volunteers, gasoline may be your only expenditure. You're limited only by the amount of time and talent you can put into this project. Within those limitations, the sky's the limit. You will find there's a lot of money out there. Conservatives are genuinely concerned about what's happening on campus. They're concerned about what's wrong in our country. They want to help you make changes. As you use this process, you will find that many people are delighted to see you. You may make friendships and political alliances with some which will last a lifetime. The Fifth Stage -- Re-prioritize Choose the next prospect from your list, the one you now think most likely to make a generous donation. Make an appointment and repeat the third and fourth stages. The Sixth Stage -- Building Strong Ties With Your Donors The majority of your subsequent communications with your donor should not be about money. Invite your donors to meetings and any functions you organize. Introduce them to prominent guests or visiting campus speakers. Send them your publications and news clippings about your activities. Help them feel linked to your organization. When you make a donor a part of what you do, you make it easy for him to contribute again. My very first personal solicitation of this kind was when I was a junior at rural Woodlawn High School near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We had a very small class of twenty-eight. Our school had never had a football team. We students decided to raise money to pay for equipment in order to field a football team our senior year. Some of us began to raise money through projects such as cake sales. I worked hard on a scrap metal drive, driving a truck to local farms, asking farmers if they had any scrap metal to donate for us to sell. The biggest contribution we received was a check for $500 from a very nice lady over 80 years old. We were astonished at the size of the contribution, since it was not a rich area. And $500 was worth a lot in 1955-56. Before long, we raised enough money to buy the uniforms and equipment necessary for the football team. We scheduled a fried chicken banquet to celebrate. We decided to honor the wonderful little old lady who had given us $500. One of the students created a neatly drawn lifetime pass to the Woodlawn High School football games. We gave the pass, framed, to this lady at the celebration banquet. She was tickled pink. We did not risk a great sum of money by awarding her a lifetime, free pass. But she loved it. Just a couple of years later, this lady gave the school five acres of land adjacent to the school, on which the stadium was built the Woodlawn High School Purple Panther football team played their home games. And the reason she gave that land? Very simple. She felt a strong personal tie with this football team. People will strongly identify with your project if you thank them, involve them, inform them, and credit them with the good results they make possible. On the other hand, if you ask them for money at every meeting, then soon they will dread to hear from you. They will not give you appointments. You will not raise any more money from them. But, if you operate on the basis I have outlined, you will almost surely be successful. When you get each contribution or pledge, you should immediately write a strong thank you letter. If you then give donors a great deal of attention and respect, they will give you, or your campus successors, more money and other help. Quite frankly, most organizations, whether conservative, liberal, charitable, or non-philosophical do a poor job of thanking their donors. Donors motivated by charitable impulses or by philosophical causes, seldom expect to get any personal return or benefit. They give money to improve society, to help their country, or just to assist nice young people. Donors feel put upon when people to whom they give money perpetually pester them for more money. Donors lose interest if an organization's entire communication with them is always the same: gimme, gimme, gimme. Some friends of mine who head conservative organizations claim it's harder to raise money now, which may be true. However, it's not true that there's less money being given for conservative causes. I probably have as wide a view of what's going on across the country in conservative organizations as anybody. I can assure you there isn't a decline in the amount of money being given. There are more people giving more money to conservative causes than ever. But they necessarily give to a smaller percentage of the growing number of organizations which solicit them. More groups mean more competition. Organizations fail financially if they do not persuade their donors they are doing a good job. Consider all the party organizations and the focused-issue organizations like right to work, right to life, or right to keep and bear arms. Add in the traditional values groups, including the religious ministries which focus on conservative, traditional values. Billions of dollars are given each year to conservative causes. There's money out there you can find. All you have to do is follow the systematic, step-by-step approach I've outlined for you. You'll discover the amount of money you can raise is limited only by the amount of time you have to go out and persuasively ask. There's an old saying in the insurance industry that the most successful insurance agent is not the one who sells to the highest percentage of people he asks, but the agent who persuasively asks the greatest number of good prospects to buy insurance. So don't be distressed if you go to 2 or 3 people who do not give you money. Not everybody will. But if you've developed a good list from the outset, by the time you've met with four or five potential donors, one of them will have given you both money and new names. If you ever meet with failure after having followed the steps outlined above, please call or write me at the Leadership Institute. As I wrote at the start of this guide, no one who has followed this formula has ever told me it did not work. Appendix 1 Independent Student Newspaper: Annual Budget REVENUE AMOUNT Grants $1,600.00 Contributions 3,200.00 Advertising 1,500.00 Direct Mail 2,000.00 Subscriptions 370.00 TOTAL $8,670.00 EXPENSES AMOUNT Leadership Institute's Student Publication School registration $350.00 Printing 3,760.00 Typesetting/Layout 550.00 Postage 150.00 Office Supplies 80.00 Travel 270.00 Photocopying 275.00 Photography 205.00 Telephone 280.00 Direct Mail 1,000.00 Rent/Utilities 1,750.00 TOTAL $8,670.00 Appendix 2 Campus Club: Annual Budget REVENUE AMOUNT Student Auction (servant for a day) $1,400.00 T-Shirt Sales 1,180.00 Dues at $1.00 per member 520.00 Contributions 6,600.00 TOTAL $9,700.00 EXPENDITURES AMOUNT State Convention Delegation Expenses $3,000.00 Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School training 350.00 Paper/Photo Copying 780.00 Postage 215.00 Telephone 1,050.00 Direct Mail 1,250.00 Facility/Audio Rental 595.00 Charter Fee 300.00 Refreshments 1,080.00 Transportation 220.00 Office Supplies 440.00 T-Shirts/Buttons 420.00 TOTAL $9,700.00 Appendix 3 Independent Club Speakers Program: Annual Budget REVENUE AMOUNT Allocation from Student Government Funds $11,000.00 Contributions at Events 970.00 Personal Solicitation 8,300.00 TOTAL $20,270.00 EXPENDITURES AMOUNT Speakers Honoraria $14,700.00 Newspaper 250.00 Posters 650.00 Fliers 280.00 Postage 540.00 Phone - Long Distance 160.00 Student Transportation 150.00 Speakers Lodging 860.00 Speakers Travel Expenses 2,190.00 Audio Equipment Rentals 250.00 Hall Rentals 240.00 TOTAL $20,270.00
Morton Blackwell's Writing Standards & Style Guide
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Morton Blackwell's Writing Standards & Style Guide
Introduction More than a decade ago, a generous, regular donor to the Leadership Institute in New Orleans wrote to me that LI stood out among all conservative groups she supported because, she said, "You treat me like an adult." Although we had not met, she wrote that she felt she knew me and considered me a friend. Later, when we met in person, she said other groups sent her computer letters, but my letters from LI were personal. Other groups, she said, wrote letters bordering on hysteria. LI didn't use gimmicks which would attract only the simple-minded. "You write long letters, but they're so interesting," she added. "You clearly explain the many good things you're doing. And I never see errors in your letters. I feel good about supporting your work." She felt many other groups showed incompetence through the poor quality of their mailings. For many years, I had her handwritten letter to me framed and on the wall in LI's production room -- for all LI staff to read and absorb. Somehow, her letter was lost in our 1996 move to our new building. I often hear similar compliments from generous LI donors. They see and feel what she saw and felt. When conservative leaders compliment me on how well LI retains and upgrades our donors, I think of that perceptive lady in New Orleans, Mrs. Rosemary Deutch. And I think about the immense value to the Leadership Institute of high standards in written communications. Our staff make this possible. I can set standards, but LI communicates effectively only because LI staff absorb and implement good writing skills. One final comment: A lack of consistency disorients donors. Remember that our donors like what we have written them. Don't make them uncomfortable by writing in a style they won't recognize as ours. Please note that I have printed in bold specific which most often require changes on materials submitted for my approval. Do me the favor of adhering to my standards these points. You'll save both of us time and aggravation. -- Morton C. Blackwell, September 2004 I. Page Layout A. Margins 1. Standard correspondence: 1.5” on the left and right. 2. LI letterhead: three lines or 1.4” top, 1” bottom. 3. MCB letterhead: 1.25” top, 1” bottom. 4. Second pages: 1” top and bottom. 5. Materials other than letters: 1” for all margins. B. Fonts 1. Courier/Courier New 12 pt. for all correspondence text. 2. Times New Roman for mass-produced booklets such as Read to Lead. 3. For advertisements and fliers, avoid using more than three different fonts. 4. Never use a font smaller than 8 pt., even for disclaimers. 5. Script fonts are appropriate only for invitations. 6. Don't use sans serif fonts for letter or body text; they are difficult to read. Why does Coca-Cola print their ingredients on their cans in all capital letters, in sans serif type, in small typeface, and in white letters printed on a dark background? The law requires printing of the ingredients. All these techniques make the text harder to read, and people don't buy colas because of their nutritional values or their preservatives. C. Tabs 1. Letter paragraphs should be indented 1 tab, equal to 5 spaces or ½ inch. 2. Block style (without initial indentations) paragraphs are appropriate only in memos. D. Pagination 1. The first page of a letter should usually not be numbered. 2. Page numbers for documents should appear at the bottom center of the page. 3. For correspondence, page numbers may be spelled out at the top left of the page, i.e., “page two.” Or you may place page numbers in the top right of the page or at the bottom center. E. Vertical Spacing 1. Single space between lines. 2. Double space between paragraphs. 3. Single space between bullet lists or numbered lists up to 5 items. 4. For more than 5 items, break list into equal groups of 2 to 5 items and double space between groups. F. Horizontal Spacing 1. Double space after period at the end of a sentence. 2. Single space after a semicolon. 3. Double space after a colon. G. Justification 1. As a general rule, all documents should have left justification. 2. Full or right justification makes text too hard to read. Only tables, books, and newspapers should use full justification. 3. Except on formal invitations, do not center each line of text even on cut lines (descriptions under photos and charts) or disclaimers; text with each line centered is harder to read. H. Headers and Footers Tables and graphs, on separate pages or not, should include headers and footers which include a title, print date and page numbers, if appropriate. II. Punctuation A. Comma 1. Use a comma between coordinate adjectives when not joined by “and.” It is my pleasure to recommend John Doe, a bright, independent, young man. 2. Use commas to set off dates, unless only the month and year are used. 3. Use commas to separate elements of an address. Morton Blackwell was born in La Jara, Colorado, in November 1939. 4. Use commas to set off direct quotations. President Reagan often said, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.” 5. Use commas to avoid confusion. To err is human; to forgive, divine. 6. Use serial commas. That usually will make the sentence easier to understand. Red, white, and blue 7. Except for formal business correspondence with someone he does not know, set off the salutation line for MCB correspondence with a comma, not a colon. Dear Mr. Jones, 8. Use a comma before a conjunction to separate what could otherwise be two separate sentences, as in: The dog ran off, and Joe couldn't find him. 9. Do not use a comma before a conjunction where it merely splits two verbs in a sentence. Don't write: The dog ran off, and chased a cat. B. Semicolon 1. Use a semicolon between items in a series which contain internal punctuation. LI staff come to us with many qualifications: philosophical commitment; reputations for achievement; inter-personal skills; writing abilities, which can be improved by study and practice. 2. Use them between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression. In the middle ‘60s, movement conservatives in the D. C. area were a small group; in fact, we could have fit in a single phone booth. C. Colon 1. After a colon: Capitalize the first word if it starts a complete sentence. If not: lowercase. 2. Use a colon after an independent clause to direct attention to a list. Many prominent conservatives wear Adam Smith ties: Congressman Dick Armey, Dr. Milton Friedman, and Reed Larson wear them regularly. D. Apostrophe 1.Use apostrophes for possessive nouns. To show joint possession, use an apostrophe with the last noun only. We went to Morton and Helen's “Briar Patch” for the weekend. 2.Use apostrophes for contractions and abbreviations. Avoid using the contraction who're. We couldn't do that back in the ‘60s. 3.Do not use an apostrophe before the “s” when referencing a decade. Back in the1960s . . . E. Hyphens and Dashes One hyphen (-) does not a dash (--) make. A dash is a space followed by two hyphens, followed by a space. You can use dashes for emphasis -- but sparingly. F. Quotation Marks 1.Always place periods and commas inside quotation marks. After he cried “uncle,” I let go. 2.Place question marks and exclamation points inside quotations unless they apply to a sentence as a whole. a) Dave cried, “You won the election!” b) Did your opponent cry “foul”? 3.When writing out a long quotation, it is appropriate to indent quoted material rather than use quotation marks. 4.Use quotation marks around titles of articles from periodicals, poems, short stories, radio and television programs and book chapters. 5.Use of quoted material adds spice to your writing -- and helps substantiate points. G. Question Marks Do not use question marks for indirect questions. The donor asked if we could send him another set of mugs. H. Exclamation Marks Use exclamation marks only rarely, and never to end a long sentence. Use with genuine exclamations. I. Periods Periods are often not necessary for common abbreviations of organization names. NATO, IRS, USA To repeat: Always skip two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. J. Parenthesis 1. Always use when introducing acronyms. The National Right to Work Committee (NRTW) . . . 2. Use sparingly to make asides or to reference supplemental material. K. Brackets Use brackets around wording you insert into a quotation. Mr. Smith said, “I think [Governor Jones] is doing a great job!” (“Governor Jones” replaces the pronoun “he,” which might be ambiguous.) L. Ellipsis Use an ellipsis (space, period, space, period, space, period, space) when you delete portions of quoted material. M. Slash Slashes may be used sparingly to separate paired terms. Pass/fail III. Spelling and Mechanics A. Spelling 1. Always Spell Check your documents, and personally read through after the spell check. You may have intended to write the word “public,” but Spell Check will approve the word without an “l.” 2. Discriminate between words that look or sound alike but have different meanings. a) Affect (to exert influence) vs. effect (to accomplish; result) b) Its (possessive pronoun) vs. it's (contraction of “it is”) c) Loose (free, not attached) vs. lose (fail to keep) d) Their (possessive pronoun) vs. they're (contraction of “they are”) vs. there (place or position) e) Who's (contraction of “who is”) vs. whose (possessive form of who) f) Your (possessive form of you) vs. you're (contraction of “you are”) g) Lightning (a thunderbolt) vs. lightening (making less heavy) h) In the lead (front), he led (guided) soldiers who carried lead (metal) batteries. B. Hyphens 1. Do not use a hyphen in the word fundraising. 2. Avoid using hyphens to divide words at the end of a line in a letter. 3. Use a hyphen to avoid ambiguity (re-creation) and to separate double or triple letter combinations (cross-stitch). 4. Always use a hyphen with prefixes such as all, ex, self. Self-starter 5. Use a hyphen with the suffix elect. President-elect C. Capitalization 1. Capitalize titles used as part of a proper name. Except for the U.S. President, use lowercase for titles used alone. a) Then, Congressman Armey announced his retirement. b) The congressman traveled home for the district work period. c) I sent the President a book of anti-Soviet jokes. 2. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence but not a quoted phrase. 3. After a colon: Capitalize the first word if it starts a complete sentence. If not: lowercase. 4. Capitalize abbreviations for government agencies and corporations. 5. Headlines can sometimes be all in CAPS. Avoid sentences or paragraphs of text all in CAPS because they are hard to read. 6. English and German have different capitalization rules. Do not capitalize words unnecessarily. Write about the left, not the Left. Write about movement conservatives, not Movement Conservatives. D. Abbreviations/Acronyms 1. Use only when you are sure the reader will understand them. In general, abbreviations should be used only after the word is spelled out, followed by the abbreviation enclosed in parenthesis. 2. Once you have introduced an acronym, don't use it too many times without spelling out the words occasionally. 3. Use abbreviations relating to time and currency only with specific numbers and amounts. 40 B.C., $150, 4:00 P.M. (or p.m.) 4. Avoid inappropriate abbreviations. Xmas E. Numbers 1. Spell out numbers which begin a sentence or change word order to put the number later in the sentence. 2. Maintain consistency when representing numbers in a document. F. Underline and Italics 1. Titles of books, plays, films, web sites and names of magazines or newspapers may be underlined or italicized. 2. Use underline to draw attention to important points in your materials. 3. Use italics or underline for foreign words in an English sentence. 4. Never use underline and italics in the same text. Underlining is only a substitute for italics. G. Bold Use bold to set off headings and, occasionally, to draw attention to stressed text. However, too much bold text is difficult to read. H. Foreign Language Characters If your computer can do it, always use proper foreign language characters, such as à, é, î, ñ, ö. If not, insert symbols by hand in personal letters. I. Bullets Use bullets to draw attention to important points or to items in a series. Never use a single bullet. J. Decimals When presenting a column of dollar values within a document, align vertically by decimal. $3,000.00 24.50 122.14 Total: $3,146.64 K. Number Agreement Plural and multiple subjects require plural forms of verbs. Singular subjects require singular forms of verbs. 1. Correct: If you happen to know of anyone who would benefit from our training, please send him or her our way. 2. Correct: If you happen to know of any people who would benefit from our training, please send them our way. 3. Incorrect: If you happen to know anyone who would benefit from our training, please send them our way. IV. Word Choice A. Construction Elements 1.Avoid redundancies (“true fact”) in your drafts. 2.Word repetition may be used for effect, but use only when necessary. Variety adds spice. 3.Make your sentences direct; avoid needlessly indirect and complex structures. 4.Most great lines use short words. 5.Avoid pretentious language. 6.Use jargon and figures of speech carefully. 7.Choose your words carefully -- avoid misuse. Sometimes a word is just plain wrong. Other times a word is OK, but another word would be much better. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” B. Active Voice, Not Passive Voice 1. In active voice, the subject of a sentence performs the action of the verb. The boy hit the ball. 2. In passive voice, the subject of a sentence does not perform the action of the verb. The ball was hit by the boy. 3. While both active and passive voices are grammatically correct in structure, a sentence in the active voice is strong writing while a sentence in the passive voice is weak writing. 4. A sentence in passive voice may make the reader work harder to understand the intended meaning. Passive voice can also hide responsibility for action, which is why passive voice is so often used in official documents or public statements. Mistakes were made. 5. A sentence in active voice is easier to understand than the same sentence in passive voice. Active voice creates vivid mental pictures of action for the reader. Passive voice creates confusion and a sense of distance from the truth. To write in the active voice, make sure the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb. C. Strong verb choices 1. Active verbs are the strongest verb choices for effective writing. Active verbs provide clarity and vigor in writing. 2. Verb phrases that use a form of to be as a helping verb are weaker than simply using the active verb by itself. “I fight liberal bias.” is stronger than “I am fighting liberal bias.” D. Variations on verb usage When verbs are used as objects in a sentence and not as the core subject-verb team, you have two choices: a gerund (-ing words) or an infinitive (to + verb). In this case, gerunds are weaker than infinitives. “I prefer to work in my office.” is stronger than “I prefer working in my office.” Use infinitives, not gerunds, as objects in sentences. E. Avoid like the Plague 1. “As you know” or “You know” Don't write “you know.” If they already know it, why should you write it? Better to say, “As you may know.” 2. Errors of Fact Check all facts carefully. One careless error can destroy your credibility. 3. Exaggerations and Exuberant Self-descriptions Use of self-congratulatory descriptions such as ‘incredible,” or “fantastic” or “phenomenal” appear boastful or sophomoric. Use the remarkable facts about our programs, which can speak for themselves. You earn credibility when you understate rather than overstate. Exaggeration of problems, proposed solutions or achievements turns off readers. 4. “Hopefully” This word is an adverb, which must modify a verb. a)Correct: She prayed hopefully for her child's recovery. b)Incorrect: Hopefully we will win the contest. 5.“I” Avoid excessive use of the word “I.” Don't use “I” to start many sentences, particularly the first sentences of many paragraphs. Keep a high ratio of the uses of “you” to the uses of “I.” “You” or “I” at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph counts more than “I” or “you” inside a sentence or paragraph. 6. “Ideology” Never use “ideology” to refer to conservative principles. To veteran fans of Dr. Russell Kirk and young fans of Dan Flynn, ideology is correctly understood as a negative term for bodies of impractical ideas which capture the minds of fanatics. “Ideologue” is unquestionably a term of derogation. “Philosophy” (love of knowledge) is a term we can use to describe conservative principles and core beliefs. 7. “Importantly” Generally avoid “importantly.” It is not correct to say “more importantly” if you mean “more important.” a) Correct but awkward: A President of the United States generally acts more importantly than does a pickpocket. b) Correct: More important, Packards were great automobiles. c) Incorrect: More importantly, Packards were great automobiles. 8. “Like” Avoid writing anything such as: “I would like to invite you to . . .” Write “I invite you to . . .” or “I cordially invite you to . . .” Formal, printed invitations may read: “You are cordially invited to . . .” If you decide to do something, do it. Don't say you'd like to do it. 9. “Need” Use of the word “need” is a turn-off. It's a “stopper.” It can stop people from reading. People resent the suggestion that a “need” entitles someone else to their possessions. Do not use “need” in LI materials, except in rare instances which refer to a need of the reader. 10. "-ness" Avoid the ugly practice of making nouns out of adjectives by adding "-ness" when there's a perfectly good root noun. Adding "-ly" to an adjective often makes a useful adverb (graceful/gracefully or grateful/gratefully), but adding "-ness" to that adjective often makes an awkward and ill-begotten noun. Go back to the root noun. a) Correct: Her manners showed grace. b) Incorrect: Her manners showed gracefulness. c) Correct: He failed to show gratitude. d) Incorrect: He failed to show gratefulness. 11. “That” Avoid this over-used word unless your sentence doesn't make sense without it. “Which” is often better. Never use “that” or “which” when you refer to people; use “who” or “whom.” 12. “To Be” Do not use any form of the verb “to be” if you can easily restructure the sentence to use an active verb. Review every draft to minimize use of “to be” throughout your document. Unnecessary uses of forms of “to be” constitute sure signs of a poor draft. a) Correct: He impresses her. b) Incorrect: She is impressed by him. 13. “Want” Never use “want” to refer to the writer's desires or to a third person's desires. That's a turn-off. Everyone senses, deep down, that “wants” of others are unlimited, and, like “needs,” far beyond our ability to satisfy them. It is sometimes acceptable to use “want” to refer to the reader's desires. In writing, “want” is a feeble crutch, as bad as “you know” in spoken conversation. If you are doing something, it's a safe bet you want to do it; so saying you want to do it when you are actually doing it is worse than redundant. 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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
People, Parties, and Power
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
People, Parties, and Power
In my years of political activity beginning in 1960, I have found no shortage of conservatives willing to tell the political parties what they should do. But I have noticed a great shortage of conservatives willing to take the time, spend the money and pay the political price necessary to achieve and hold power in a political party. Unless more conservatives accept the responsibility of political participation inside the parties, thirty years from now conservatives will still be complaining that the parties fail to do what they ought to do. Only a tiny fraction of Americans participate in party activities. There is a great turnover of participants and leadership. In the business world, corporate leadership tends to last for decades; labor union leadership tends to last for life. Some years ago I looked up the tenure of all the Republican Party state chairmen in the United States. The average state party chairman had held that post for about eighteen months! I believe it is the same among the Democrats. State law and party rules determine state and local party structure. And no two states are exactly alike in party organization. But in almost every city and county in America, there are many vacancies in official party committees. The same is true in unofficial party structures, including the party's auxiliary organizations. Many, if not most, of the un-glamorous jobs in party committees and organizations go begging. In states where local party committees include representatives from each precinct, there are invariably vacancies on the official city and county party committees. Most localities do not have Women's Republican clubs or Young Republican clubs. Most colleges do not have College Republican clubs. Most high schools do not have Teenage Republican clubs or adults willing to serve as advisors to Teenage Republican clubs. Most campaigns do not have precinct leaders in every precinct. The same holds true in the Democratic Party. And all party committees, campaign organizations and auxiliary organizations have jobs left undone because of a lack of volunteers. A newcomer who says "I am here to tell you what to do" is viewed with suspicion and even fear. But a newcomer who says "I am here to help you. Tell me how I can help" is greeted cordially and usually given things to do. After one election cycle of constructive volunteer activity, the newcomer becomes a veteran, respected by the old-timers. After two or three election cycles, the newcomer has become an old-timer. In this context, something President George H.W. Bush said is particularly valuable: "Eighty percent of success is just being there." Unfortunately, much of what is said and done at party committee meetings at every level, including even National Committee meetings, is uninteresting, even boring. To succeed inside a political party, one must cultivate the ability to sit still and remain polite when foolish people speak nonsense. An open structure gives access to the foolish as well as to the wise. Wise people inside a party must cultivate a high level of patience. They must allow for human frailty in others and strive to appear to suffer most fools gladly. Like many other conservatives, I have come to realize that the time spent sitting through dull parts of meetings is the price one pays to be there to take part when the really important decisions are made every now and then. A principled conservative who wishes to succeed within a party should heed the following ten points: 1. Make yourself useful to the party's candidates and the activities of party organizations. Choose carefully what you agree to do, and then do it well. 2. Rise slowly. Don't put yourself forward for every available position of leadership. If you display competence in your party or campaign activities, other people will soon enough be ready to ask you, even urge you, to seek higher posts. Remember, there is always a big turnover. People without persistence drop out. Many vacancies open up. Even those party activists who have no particular political philosophy still like to win. If you become valuable to the party and a reliable asset to its candidates, even political opportunists will come to tolerate you and your commitment to principles. 3. Build a secure home base. It is not necessary that you and your allies now control the local or state party for you to become effective in the long run. What is necessary is that you cultivate allies who will reliably work together for your conservative principles. The Lone Ranger was never a successful politician. 4. Don't try to solve all the problems you see in a party committee or in a campaign organization. People resent a know-it-all. Pick and choose the matters in which you become involved. Sometimes it is better to let others learn by their own experience than by your advice. 5. Politics is of the heart as well as of the mind. Many people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is possible often to say unpleasant things pleasantly. Too often our politically wounded are left to bleed to death. Be compassionate and show it. 6. Study how to win. Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. Political technology determines political success. Learn how to organize and how to communicate. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. 7. Expand the leadership. Do your best to locate, recruit, train, and place other conservatives in the political process. Attrition of leadership is more severe in party organizations than in almost any other activity. Phyllis Schlafly says, with some justice, that county party chairman is the worst job in politics. Many people burn out quickly. As you build the size of your base of effective activists, it is natural that your own position within the party will gradually improve. 8. Study the rules of procedure. Or find someone of like mind who is or will become expert on the rules. One of the reasons for conservative successes within the Republican Party is that many conservatives in that party have taken the time to master the rules of procedure. Beyond a mastery of the rules comes an understanding of meeting dynamics. Meeting dynamics are best learned by long experience at political meetings. 9. In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy. If you achieve anything in politics, you will have enemies, some of whom will delight in attacking your every flaw, real or imagined. Do not spend much time replying to such criticism. On the average, it takes less time for you to recruit a new activist than it does for your enemies to persuade one of your recruits that you are a bad person. Over time, you get stronger and your enemies do not. 10. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. No candidate is perfect. No party committee is perfect. If you can't cope with anything less than perfection, you will never achieve anything worthwhile. You would be like the pastor who was so concerned with heavenly things that he was no earthly good. Perfection is unattainable on this earth, but it is a useful guide to the direction we should go. One can use a good compass for a lifetime without expecting ever to get to the North Pole. In the United States, a political party is not easily defined. Power is more diffuse in American political parties than in government. After all, it is possible for government to make a decision binding on everyone. There is no mechanism for doing that in our political parties. Each party committee is a separate opportunity for conservative activists. The giant Senatorial and Congressional party committees of both major parties are entirely independent of the Republican and Democratic national committees, which themselves are the creations of the state parties and their national conventions. A party national committee has almost no supervisory role over the state parties, which, in turn, dare not interfere much in the local party organizations. Party committees exist independently. Taken together, they raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and each can have a major role in the selection of candidates at a specific level of government. Major party fundraising is much easier than other political fundraising. It's like having a limited license to print money. A party has meaning only to the extent that people's actions give it meaning. It is a vehicle for political action. As leaders of the conservative movement realize, parties alone are not sufficient to preserve our hard-won freedoms. Candidates, once nominated, run their own campaigns, sometimes with and sometimes without much help from party committees. And support of various types from many, many non-party organizations is required for victory. But while parties are not sufficient, they are necessary. If conservatives fail to engage in party activities, then party committees at every level will be run by people who do not share conservative views -- that is, by opportunists and liberals. Conservatives should never lose sight of the difference between 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. To people motivated by political philosophy, influence is not enough. Just as conservatives should work to get fellow conservatives into positions of governmental power, they have an obligation to be active themselves in the party structures. There is too much power there for it to be abandoned. Conservative organizations have many millions of members and supporters who, if led by their leadership, would be interested in participating in party activity. Finally, conservatives who absolutely, positively cannot sit through long, tedious political party meetings have an obligation to find and to support financially fellow conservatives with cast-iron behinds, people willing and able to do the partisan jobs which must be done. As few as fifty thousand conservatives, newly determined to become party activists could, in four years or less, make a national party as reliably conservative as the Democratic Party is today reliably liberal. With this influx of new participants, that party would elect a lot of its candidates.
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.
Problems of Success
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Problems of Success
Because education tends to lead to success in life, you are here at Liberty University to get an education -- or at least that's what your family and Dr. Falwell believe. What you really learn and how much you really learn are largely up to you, of course. It helps a lot if you already have a thirst for knowledge. Some people seem born to learn and happy to learn. Others want to learn no more than is absolutely necessary just to get by in the world. For them, all study is boring, and study is even aggravating, because to study amounts to an admission of ignorance. And how many people do you know who are naturally happy to admit their lack of knowledge? Even a poor teacher can do well with students who already have a thirst for knowledge. But the best teachers are those who somehow can inspire in students that thirst for knowledge which will lead their students to success for the rest of their lives. Education involves learning facts, of course. But it also includes learning how to study, how to think, and how to make things happen. Someone once said there are three types of people in the world: Those who make things happen; those who watch what happens; and those who never know what happened. I hope that you are among the many at this large and growing university who already have or soon will develop that thirst for knowledge which will enable you to become one of those people who will make things happen. Liberty University has right now, in this hall, a great many people who will be future leaders of our country. Graduates of Liberty are likely to be better leaders than students now at most other colleges because, in addition to academic learning, your college experience reinforces your moral foundation for a God-centered life. Let us presume for a moment that you, personally, have become well-educated, that your thirst for knowledge has enabled you to learn how to make things happen, that you have already achieved a number of remarkable successes, that many people recognize you as a rising leader. Are you home free? Are your problems over? Not hardly. You see, success brings its own, unique set of problems. The Bible often gives examples of how pride goeth before a fall. A run of success, like power, tends to corrupt. That is not to suggest that you shouldn't strive to be successful. Far from it. You have an obligation to put your God-given talents to their best use. In college, you should strive to be the type of student your professors find it a thrill to teach. In business, you should become someone with whom it is a pleasure to work. In politics, you should act effectively for your deeply held principles. Back in 1982, I asked Dr. Falwell to comment on a saying I was teaching to young conservatives. It goes like this: "Pray as if it all depended on God. Work as if it all depended on you." Dr. Falwell immediately replied that the saying is theologically sound. To that same question, several other prominent religious leaders gave me the same answer. So there's no question that intelligent, moral people should strive for success. And striving prudently for success quite often actually does bring success. But when you strive for success, as you should, you should always keep in your mind that success brings with it its own, new set of problems. Be prepared in advance to deal with the problems of success. Foremost among the problems of success is the temptation, once you're really successful, to believe that you are so special that the rules no longer apply to you, that you're so important you can do as you please, without regard to the standards, ethics, and morality which contributed to your success. For a year now, the news media have heavily covered the troubles of a prominent national lobbyist named Jack Abramoff. You've probably heard a lot about him, almost all of it bad, very bad. Jack Abramoff made tens of millions of dollars. On the other hand, he has pled guilty to numerous felonies and is almost certainly going to jail for a number of years. The scandals surrounding him may destroy the careers of a number of politicians and could have a major effect in next November's elections. You probably have heard nothing good at all about Jack Abramoff. But I'm here to tell you the whole story, which is not to be found in the headlines. His entire story should be highly educational to you and to any other young conservative who strives for success. Jack Abramoff had a sterling reputation. Yes, a sterling reputation. I met and trained Jack Abramoff during the 1980 Youth For Reagan effort, which I oversaw as a volunteer. My faculty and I trained young men and women in five Reagan Youth Staff Schools that year and hired 30 of the best for campus organizing in the 1980 fall campaign. Jack Abramoff, then a student at Brandeis University and College Republican state chairman of Massachusetts, was clearly one of the most outstanding of the 300 graduates of those two-day training schools. I personally offered Jack one of our 30 field staff jobs. Jack graciously declined and told me, "I'm going back to Massachusetts and organize enough students there to carry Massachusetts for Reagan." I laughed and replied, "Jack, if you carry Massachusetts for Reagan, we'll win in a national landslide." He did, and we did. Governor Reagan beat President Jimmy Carter in Massachusetts by 2,421 votes. Jack's campus effort garnered many more than that number of student absentee ballots for Reagan there. The next year, partly on the strength of his remarkable success in winning Massachusetts for Reagan, Jack was elected chairman of the College Republican National Committee. There again he succeeded spectacularly. In 1980, the number of College Republican (CR) clubs on the nation's campuses had grown from 250 to 1,002. In 1981, Jack's campus organizing efforts increased the number of CR clubs to 1,100 -- a new record which remained unsurpassed until very recent years. While a national CR officer, Jack widened his network of friends among conservative Republicans, impressing everyone. Jack was courageously conservative on all the issues: limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional moral values. Moreover, Jack obviously took his Orthodox Jewish faith seriously. He kept kosher. He would not travel on the sabbath. He deplored profanity and vulgarity. Jack dropped out of politics for some years to make movies, including at least one which had some worldwide success, an anti-Communist action drama titled "Red Scorpion." Then he returned to political activity and explained he had found that, without major financial resources, he couldn't control his movies' content because the industry inserted into them, against his will, gratuitous profanity and vulgarity. Back in the political arena, Jack benefited greatly from the magnificent reputation he had earned. He had proved himself highly intelligent, highly principled, and highly competent. Clearly he was a hard worker and a talented leader. He joined one of the best known and most successful legal and lobbying firms in the Washington, D.C., area. Because Jack had built a very wide circle of friends in the political process, those of us who had known him since the early 1980s expected him to be successful as a lobbyist. He started up an Orthodox Jewish school and spent a lot of his own time and money on it. His reputation continued as clean as a hound's tooth. Fast forward to today. His reputation lies in tatters. The wealth he reportedly gained as a lobbyist may be eaten up entirely as a result of his legal problems. He'll soon be broke -- and in jail. Many who relied on the sterling reputation Jack built from his youth stand now accused as guilty of consorting with this sleazy character, Jack Abramoff. That's a bum rap against some conservatives who relied on his good reputation. He may have betrayed and damaged them, but they should not be dragged down by the guilt-by-association method. Fortunately for me, I never had any business relations with him or any contact with his lobbying activities. But before allegations regarding his business and lobbying activities arose, I and everyone I know who knew Jack since he was a college student 26 years ago would have given him a highly favorable recommendation. Those who knowingly consort with sleazy people are culpable. Those who associate with people whom they know have good reputations are not. That does not, however, prevent the unfair use of the guilt-by-association technique by the opponents of even the most scrupulous people. Political activists and leaders have no secure defense against the possibility that some associate who has a fine reputation will somehow succumb to disgraceful temptations. Politicians and news media usually hostile to everything conservative revel in the disasters which now surround Jack Abramoff. Clearly, the left intends to use Abramoff to damage or destroy as many effective conservatives as they can, most notably former House Majority Leader Tom Delay. No surprise in that. Piranhas reveal themselves through their feeding frenzies. When the newspapers began to publish and re-publish excerpts from Jack's emails regarding his lobbying business, I could not believe he had written them. Surely, I thought, someone has made up those emails to smear Jack. Sadly, over time it has become clear that he has behaved in ways highly disappointing to those, like me, who knew and admired him from his youth. A principled person does not discuss his clients with contempt. A careful person does not send out personally damning emails into the immortal cyberworld. A moral person does not support opposing sides in order to profit from each. An ethical person does not defraud his associates in business. A loyal person does not set up his friends for embarrassment. Jack Abramoff's fall from grace is not unique. Sadly, I know too many examples of people who built good reputations and extensive political networks who changed dramatically and for the worse when they decided to earn their livings through lobbying or political consulting. A great many people can't resist temptations to increase their income. They hire themselves out to people or causes they would have spurned in the days when they built their reputations by consistent adherence to well-defined political and moral principles. Some sink mighty low. Jack has proven again the wisdom often taught me by my mother and my grandmother, "A good reputation is the hardest thing to build and the easiest thing to destroy." In political activity, when one abandons long-held principles and starts measuring success only by revenue, one should have the decency not to drag down one's formerly trusting friends. Those whose trust is betrayed are the victims. The victims deserve our sympathy and understanding, not condemnation. In his statement after pleading guilty, Jack Abramoff said that his greatest regret was the damage he had done to those who trusted him. Right. But when he was raking in those millions of dollars, while privately showering his clients with contempt, he didn't give much thought to the consequences. Blinded by his own success, Jack succumbed to some very human and very common temptations -- temptations which should be fought and resisted by any highly successful person. Think about this. What if Jack Abramoff had resisted all the temptations spread before him? What if he had decided to work only for clients and causes in accord with his previously long-held conservative principles? Would he have made as much money as rapidly? Probably not. On the other hand, had Jack stuck to his principles, he would certainly have achieved some financial success. He would have kept his sterling reputation. He would not now be headed to jail. And he would not have brought scandal to his friends or disaster to his family. I know of only three ways to learn the lessons of life. 1) You can carefully study the experience of others. You can't observe everything, but you can, by wide reading and formal education, learn from the experiences of your contemporaries as well as those who lived ages ago. You can learn from them all. 2) By observation, by paying attention to what goes on around you, you can learn from the experience of others. Careful observation benefits anyone in any field, from sports to science to politics. Lessons from the lives of Jack Abramoff and many others are unfolding before your eyes. Keep those eyes open, and you can learn useful lessons of life every day. 3) Finally, you can learn though your personal experience. That's learning by trial and error, better known as the school of hard knocks. Personal trial and error is usually the hardest way to learn anything, though I can't deny that that school teaches its lessons well. Its drawback, however, is that by the time you graduate from the school of hard knocks you may be too old to go to work. 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. So if you leave this thriving Liberty University and have the success which your family, Dr. Falwell, your professors, and I all hope you will have, please keep in mind that you will then have to face a new set of problems, the problems of success.
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
The Real Nature of Politics
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
The Real Nature of Politics
The Real Nature of Politics By Morton C. Blackwell What I am about to share with you is probably the most important lesson you will learn at any time in your life about success in the public policy process. Conservatives did not understand the real nature of politics for many years and certainly did not begin to teach it systematically until the early 1970s. Many conservatives today haven't learned it yet. Please bear with me as I begin with the important historical background. I'll get to the key concepts soon enough. What was the greatest difference between conservatives who supported Barry Goldwater in 1964 and those who supported Ronald Reagan in 1980? Most people don't know the answer. The majority today aren't old enough to remember the 1964 presidential campaign, but Barry Goldwater's book, The Conscience of a Conservative, is still available and widely read. Fortunately, most people still remember Ronald Reagan and his conservative principles. Anyone who supported Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980 can tell you that there was no significant difference in philosophy between Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. You can see this for yourself. If you read The Conscience of a Conservative, published in 1960, you will see that Barry Goldwater's positions on public policy issues then were very close to those of Ronald Reagan in 1980. I can tell you from my personal experiences in the 1964 Goldwater campaign and in the 1980 Reagan campaign that there was one great difference between the approach to politics of the Goldwater supporters and the Reagan supporters 16 years later. The difference was that we Goldwater supporters tended to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, was sufficient to win. We firmly believed that if we could prove we were right, if we could logically demonstrate that our candidate was of higher character and that his policies would be better for our country, somehow victory would fall to our deserving hands like a ripe fruit off of a tree. That's not the real nature of politics. I call that misconception the Sir Galahad theory: “I will win because my heart is pure.” Do you know what was the most used slogan of the Goldwater campaign? It was this: “In your heart, you know he's right.” Unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way, as we who supported Goldwater found out when Lyndon Johnson trounced us. Johnson got 41 million votes and Goldwater got 27 million votes. To this day I'm convinced Barry Goldwater would have been a better President for the United States than Lyndon Johnson, but Lyndon Johnson won big. Some Goldwater conservatives were so shocked and disappointed that they dropped out of politics and were never seen again. But not all of the Goldwater people left. Many of us stayed involved. Lots of us travelled similar paths and wound up working together. In 1964, I had served as the youngest elected Goldwater Delegate to the Republican National Convention. The next year, 1965, I came to Washington to be executive director of the national College Republicans. Others with solid Goldwater pedigrees moved into the national scene at about the same time. A young Goldwater supporter named Richard Viguerie came to Washington in 1965 and created his direct mail firm. He soon became the nationally dominant consultant in political direct mail and is still a leader in that field today. Another notable young conservative, Ed Feulner, also came to Washington in 1965, to work for a think tank. Then he became a leading conservative congressional staffer. Now he is president of the massive and effective Heritage Foundation. Another young Goldwater supporter, Paul Weyrich, came to Washington the next year, in 1966, to serve as press secretary for a conservative U.S. Senator from Colorado. Weyrich soon became the key conservative expert on politics on Capitol Hill. He later became America's most successful organizer of conservative organizations and institutions, playing a key role for more than 40 years in founding important new groups. All of us had supported Goldwater, but none of us was prominent in his campaign. In fact, none us even knew each other until we got to the D.C. area and began to build our own national reputations as fighters in different ways for conservative principles. But in those days, our past support of the Goldwater campaign was a priceless credential among fellow conservatives. Lee Edwards, a friend of mine who served as Director of Information in the 1964 Goldwater campaign had founded in 1965 what was probably the D.C. area's only conservative public relations firm. Now Dr. Edwards, he has become the nation's foremost historian and biographer of the conservative movement. In May 1972, Edwards introduced me to Richard Viguerie. A week later Viguerie hired me away from the conservative think tank where I then worked in D.C. He said, “Morton, I want you to come help me build a conservative movement.” Richard Viguerie meant what he said, and his words were music to my ears because building a conservative movement was exactly what I wanted to do. Soon, with my help as his political assistant, Richard began to gather frequently a small group of experienced, totally reliable conservatives who were serious about trying to figure out how to win for conservative principles. Included in our meetings were those I have named, including Lee Edwards, and others whom we believed shared our conservative principles and our determination eventually to win for those principles in government, politics, and the news media. We were tired of losing. We discussed what had worked well for the political left, why conservatives had lost so many political battles, and what conservatives might do to win in the future. It came down to this: What is the real nature of politics? Here was our first great conclusion: Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. You don't win just because your heart is pure, even if you can prove logically that you are right. What, then, does determine victory? In our frequent meetings and discussions, we came to our second great conclusion: The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides. That fundamental understanding changed our thinking. It explains why the side that's right doesn't necessarily win. Next we considered the vital question of what determines the number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side. Clearly, numbers and effectiveness do not depend on which side is right. Our third great conclusion was: The number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side in a political contest is determined by the political technology used by that side. That explains a lot of political history, including why bad causes, like communism, attracted a lot of activists. The people on the political left used effective political technology. In contrast, most conservatives had relied on proving we are right. Political technology can be roughly divided into communication technology and organization technology, with no neat line of separation between communication and organization. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. Techniques which work for the left can work for conservatives. Techniques which work for Republicans can work for Democrats, and vice versa. Similar techniques can work whether a public policy battle is an election or a legislative battle over tax rates, the right to keep and bear arms, abortion, or any other issue. In the 1970s, when we made what were for us these discoveries about the real nature of politics, we saw this new understanding as a terrific insight which could lead to victory for conservative principles in the public policy process of government, politics, and the news media. But because most political technology is philosophically neutral, most people who are deeply committed philosophically tend to disdain to study or use political technology. Instinctively, people devoted to their political principles tend to think learning mere skills is beneath their dignity because techniques are philosophically neutral. Such people are, after all, thinking about and proving their wonderful, deeply held views on important public policy questions. Is abortion the murder of tiny babies? What must be done to stop the spread of worldwide communism? What must be done to keep big government from destroying economic liberty and prosperity? “They will take my gun only by prying it from my cold dead fingers. God made man, but Winchester made men equal!” Serious questions. Serious people can get very excited about issues and philosophic differences, but they instinctively tend to think poorly of the study or practice of philosophically neutral skills. Political technology is composed of a universe of specific techniques. Of course, not all political techniques are philosophically neutral. Terror is an evil technique used most commonly by the left. Communists famously and effectively use terror to grab power and keep it. But most political technology has no inherent philosophical content. How you design a piece of political literature, how you raise funds, how you organize a precinct, how you attract a crowd to a political event, how you communicate to a mass audience online — those techniques can work for anybody. You may wonder now what I mean by techniques. Most of the most useful techniques don't involve complex computer programming. Let me use, for example, the techniques available for something as simple as a nametag. How often have you seen pre-printed nametags which begin, in big letters, with “HELLO, MY NAME IS”? That's a bad technique. The printed message is useless, and it takes space on the nametag which could be used for communication. How many times have you attended meetings where someone has thoughtfully printed nametags for everyone in advance, in letters about the size a typewriter would produce? That's a bad technique because it wastes space which be used for communication. How many times have you had to write your name on a nametag with a thin-line ballpoint pen? That's a bad technique because a name written by a wide-line, felt-tip pen is easier to read. Often people print or write names on nametags in all capital letters. That's a bad technique because capitalizing only the first letters makes the nametag easier to read. The name on a nametag should comfortably fill the entire space available. Where do you place a nametag? Most people instinctively place their nametags on their left shoulders. Wrong. The best place for your nametag is on your right shoulder, where people can most easily read it when you extend your right hand to greet them. Thousands of known techniques work. Very few techniques in politics are as complex as rocket science. Most are as simple as learning the types of print font which are easiest to read or what I have said about nametags. The right techniques can make you more effective in everything you work to achieve. Each good technique you use in politics makes it more likely that you will win. But many philosophically committed conservatives tend to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient to win. Those of us who began to meet in 1972 discovered the real nature of politics: The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides, and, The number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side is determined by the political technology that side employs. We knew that many of our conservative allies thought otherwise and that we would have to persuade them differently. Here is how we convinced many of them. We shared with them our analysis of the real nature of politics, and then said, “If that is true, you owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win.” If you allow your opposition to learn better how to organize and communicate than you do and they implement that technology, they will beat you no matter how right you are — and you don't deserve to win. That is a persuasive argument. When you talk in terms of a moral obligation, you're talking in terms people can understand if they have a strong philosophical commitment. We began to have success teaching committed conservatives this, the real nature of politics, and it had a remarkable and sudden impact. New groups begin to spring up in a wide range of issue areas. A wide variety of specialized organizations: educational foundations, legal defense foundations, lobbying organizations, and political action committees. Conservatives began to study how to win. Existing conservative organizations also began to grow very rapidly. For example, in 1972, one of the biggest, most effective, most famous, most respected and even most feared organizations on the conservative side was the National Right to Work Committee. In 1972 they had 25,000 members, and they were thought of as really big stuff. Then they began to study and use communication and organization technology. They began to grow throughout the 1970s, from 25,000 members in 1972 to 1.7 million National Right to Work Committee members in 1979. Then they really were big and could affect policy in a major way. At first a handful of new conservative groups started. Then dozens. Then conservatives started hundreds of new national and local groups. Each new or newly large group contributed an increase in the number and the effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders. By 1980 conservatives had the political muscle across the country not only to nominate Ronald Reagan for President but to elect him. That wasn't the first time Reagan had run for President. I was a Reagan alternate Delegate in the presidential campaign of 1968, when he made his first, brief run for President. Again I was a Reagan alternate Delegate in 1976, when he ran against President Ford for the nomination and almost won. By 1980 the conservative movement had grown remarkably. Reagan won nomination convincingly and then won election. And I got to serve three years on the Reagan White House Staff. All of this is of central importance for you because the potential for growth of conservative political strength still exists. The rapid, spontaneous growth of grassroots conservative activity in 2009 and 2010 proves that. It turns out that the more groups you have and the greater the number of people you activate and teach how to be effective, the more power that you have to impact on the public policy process. I don't have to tell you how often Supreme Court decisions on liberal versus conservative issues are now decided on a five to four basis. The next Congress is likely to be closely divided between conservatives and the left, with many congressional elections decided by only a handful of votes. The next presidential election is likely to be very close. Conservatives may once again be able to unite behind a conservative to win a presidential nomination and the 2012 presidential election. The margins of victory in the American public policy process may be smaller now than at any other time in American history. You can make a difference, now and in the future. The number of American conservative activists and leaders is certainly growing. To grow in effectiveness, they must study how to win. My Leadership Institute now offers 40 types of training schools in the public policy process. You can review those 40 types of schools at leadershipinstitute.org. For the first time, political training for conservatives is available online, on demand, and free 24 hours a day. Other conservative organizations also offer worthwhile training you should consider. Nothing would be more disappointing politically than for conservatives to lose because of avoidable mistakes. So I urge you, remember the real nature of politics and the clinching argument which has revived the power of conservative principles in America: You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win.
The Roots of the Ultra Left
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
The Roots of the Ultra Left
The Roots of the Ultra Left is an in-depth looks at 35 things the ultra left really thinks. From Socialism to Communism, from economic and religious oppression to the elimination individual freedoms -- they say it's all for the common good, but the ultra left's sordid history tells a different tale. It's the documentary the left doesn't want you to see. It's the documenatry you can't afford to miss.
SMUGGLED JOKES FROM THE SOVIET ONION
Morton C. Blackwell
December 6, 1984
SMUGGLED JOKES FROM THE SOVIET ONION
STALIN IS SPEAKING IN FRONT OF WORKERS: I am prepared to give my blood away, drop by drop, for the good of the working class." An anonymous note is passed from the audience: Dear comrade Stalin! Why drag things on? Just give all of it away at once. Read More Jokes
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.
A Tribute to Paul Weyrich
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
A Tribute to Paul Weyrich
Next to Ronald Reagan, no single person has achieved more to advance the cause of American conservatism than Paul Weyrich. Paul came to Washington 42 years ago to work as press secretary for conservative U.S. Senator Gordon Allott of Colorado. At the time, liberalism was riding high. There were very few conservative op-ed writers. There was no talk radio as we know it today. Fox News and conservative blogs like Townhall and RedState did not exist. Lionel Trilling wrote at the time that "liberalism is not only the dominant ideology; it's the only ideology in America." Some of the few conservatives who worked in the D.C. area didn't dare call themselves conservatives. After Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the Nixon/Agnew ticket resulted in another disappointing setback for conservatism. But beginning in the early 1970s, conservatism was on the march. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 constituted a major triumph for conservative principles. ... And none of it would have happened without Paul Weyrich. Now it's time to honor him. As a congressional staffer, Paul watched the powerful liberal coalition of academics, think tank analysts, members of Congress, White House aides, interest-group officials, and journalists running America and wondered: "Why can't we put together an operation like that?" There was, for example, no comparable conservative alternative to the Brookings Institution, the catalyst for many of the legislative successes of the liberals during the 1960s and early 1970s. Paul Weyrich had been inspired by Barry Goldwater's principled run for the presidency in 1964. Paul called himself a movement conservative. You see, Barry Goldwater's landslide loss in 1964 taught many of us young conservatives a valuable lesson that I still focus on at my Leadership Institute: "Being right, in the sense of being philosophically correct, is not sufficient to win." Paul keenly understood this. When he and I first met in 1968, I saw immediately that Paul was very special: principled, articulate, creative, tenacious, fearless, and wise -- in a unique combination. Over the years I have had the good fortune to know almost all of the most effective conservatives in America. No one else has come close to being as effective as Paul in building the conservative movement. In an astonishing range of activities, Paul's achievements are spectacular. Let me start by sharing with you the little-known story of one of Paul's most important institution-building successes. Paul and I had been friends for about three years. I was on the senior staff of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), then the D.C. area's largest conservative think tank. When I learned that AEI had deliberately withheld the publication of a powerful study regarding a bill under consideration by the Congress, I privately discussed the matter with Paul. It seemed AEI policy at the time was not to publish studies which might be seen as attempts to affect the outcome in Congress. After the Senate narrowly defeated the conservatives' bill, AEI published the study. When the tardy AEI study arrived at Sen. Allott's office, Paul himself called AEI president William J. Baroody, Sr., and said, "This is a great study. Why didn't you publish it when it could do some good?" Bill Baroody replied that publishing studies which appeared to be attempts to affect pending legislation might endanger AEI's tax-exempt status. At that moment, Paul decided that conservatives needed an independent research institute to influence the policy debate as it occurred in Congress -- before decisions were made. He envisioned an activist think tank, separate from Congress and not officially tied to any political party. You'll be highly interested in what happened next. Paul contacted Joseph Coors, whom Paul had known when he was a TV newsman in Denver. Joe was president of the Adolph Coors Company in Colorado and one of the best known conservative business leaders in America. Paul told Joe Coors about AEI's policy of delaying the publishing of policy studies which might affect pending legislation. Joe said, "I think I can handle that." But he got the same story when he phoned AEI's president. Joe Coors then called Paul back in Sen. Allott's office and said, "I want to spend money on the conservative movement. I want to do something." Not missing a beat, Paul essentially said, "Have I got an idea for you!" Later, Joe visited Washington and met with Paul. Casting about for help, Paul arranged for Coors to talk with fellow conservative Lyn Nofziger, who was then President Nixon's deputy assistant for congressional relations. Along with Coors and Paul, in Nofziger's large pastel-blue office in the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House, was Paul's friend Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. Ed Feulner was then administrative assistant to Congressman Phil Crane, a staunch conservative from Illinois. Paul and Ed frequently breakfasted together in the basement cafeteria of the U.S. Capitol. Paul was then age 28, and Feulner was 30. "So what about AEI?" Joe Coors asked Nofziger. "AEI?" repeated the curmudgeonly White House aide. Lyn Nofziger then strolled over to a bookshelf and blew some dust off an AEI study. "That's what they're good for -- collecting dust. They do great work, but they're not timely. What we need are studies for Congress while legislation is being considered." Coors later told Paul that two things made him decide to go with Paul's idea, despite the obvious youth of its principals: Lyn Nofziger's dismissal of AEI as too academic and Paul's "tremendous business plan." And that was the beginning of something big. Paul became the first president of a new conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Ed Feulner later succeeded Paul as president and built Heritage into the conservative powerhouse we know today. If there had been no Paul Weyrich, there would, in all likelihood, have been no Heritage Foundation. And had there been no Heritage Foundation -- and the many other new and improved conservative organizations Paul created or made possible -- Ronald Reagan would not have been elected in 1980. Keep in mind that Goldwater's humiliating defeat occurred just 16 years prior. And while Reagan clearly appealed to a wider audience than Goldwater, the rise of conservative organizations allowed Reagan to win by a landslide while Goldwater had lost by a even greater margin in the popular vote. That's just the start of my story of Paul's impact. Paul, Ed, and I were among an informal group brought together by conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie in 1972. We were determined conservatives who began to discuss how to build a powerful base of conservative activists and leaders who could eventually win in American politics. Central to our plan was to create new, effective, conservative groups. Paul Weyrich turned out to be, by far, the most successful creator of new groups. Below is only a partial list of the conservative organizations he engendered or was one of the key people in starting: Heritage Foundation Free Congress Foundation Free Congress PAC Coalitions for America House Republican Study Committee Senate Steering Committee Council for National Policy International Policy Forum American Legislative Exchange Council American Association of State and Local Officials Conservative Leadership PAC Paul sparked many people to create and lead a wide variety of other effective, new conservative groups. Our informal group met frequently throughout the 1970s to brainstorm new ideas and put them into effect. In one of our discussions, I described theologically conservative Americans as "the largest tract of virgin timber on the political landscape." All the liberal pastors were already up to their necks in politics, but conservative religious leaders thought any such participation was no part of their calling. At the time, conservative pastors sat back and allowed the leftists to remove prayer from school, legalize abortion-on-demand and, in general, make government the active enemy of traditional values. Conservative evangelicals were non-combatants in the political aspects of the culture war. Yet government was successfully assaulting almost everything they held dear. Paul took the initiative to organize a group of conservative leaders to visit a successful religious broadcaster in Lynchburg, Virginia -- to recruit him to lead conservative Christians into political participation. During their discussion, Paul told the Rev. Jerry Falwell, "Out there is what one might call a moral majority." Jerry Falwell suddenly exclaimed, "That's the name of the organization!" Many people know what happened from there. (And now you know what Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story.") Not long after that, Ronald Reagan became the first presidential candidate to benefit from the support of millions of newly activated, theologically conservative Americans. Here's another thing most people don't know about: Paul's central role in overturning the defeatist Republican leadership in the Congress. For decades the House and Senate Republican leadership contentedly accepted their government limousines and gave little thought or effort to overturning the Democrats' congressional majorities. Paul saw that only a new generation of conservative Republican congressional leadership could wrest control from the leftist Democrats in charge of both Houses. Key to that achievement was creation of the House Republican Study Committee and the Senate Steering Committee. Paul and Ed Feulner persuaded some solidly conservative U.S. Representatives and Senators to do that. But that was only the important first step. Paul then led the bigger and more complex task. It required many steps: 1. To recruit and train a new generation of conservative candidates all across America. 2. To generate political and financial support for those candidates so they could win nomination and election. 3. To identify, recruit, and train conservative Members of both Houses who could eventually become the congressional Republican leaders. 4. To work quietly and systematically to line up support in the House and Senate Republican conferences for action-oriented challengers against the content-free incumbent party leaders. 5. To build up an efficient network of trustworthy conservative congressional staff who would have to do much of the work of advancing conservative principles in congressional activities. Paul did all of that and more. It was an incredibly complex, massive task. Paul began a weekly strategy luncheon which he hosted in his office. He recruited as a luncheon regular a very bright new congressman named Newt Gingrich. I was there as Paul first explained to Newt what a "wedge issue" is. Paul took the lead in an astonishing variety of tasks: training a new generation of grassroots conservative activists and leaders recruiting solidly conservative candidates generating support for conservative candidates in nomination and general-election contests by introducing them to conservative donors and to the leaders of new conservative organizations helping newly elected conservatives hire solidly conservative staff lining up support for activist conservatives in party leadership contests in both Houses of Congress. Of course, most of these activities necessarily take place behind the scenes, so people not directly involved never have learned of Paul's leadership role in them. Now you know. Most effective conservatives do know that Paul was the "go to" guy when you wanted to make something happen. Paul's effectiveness is famous. Over the last 40 years, I was in uncounted thousands of conservative meetings, large and small, where everyone looked to Paul to put the heat on specific people to do the right thing. You probably remember the children's story where some mice were troubled by a cat who was catching and eating many of them. One mouse came up with the great idea of tying a bell around the cat's neck so they could hear him coming. Another mouse raised the question, "Who shall bell the cat?" Belling the cat is dangerous business. Fortunately for all of us, Paul Weyrich was fearless and ready to do whatever must be done to advance conservative principles. He never aspired to win a popularity contest. Regardless of the consequences to himself, Paul kept his commitments, and woe unto anyone who broke his word to Paul. The truth is that many people are (wisely) afraid of him. Many a waverer was brought back to the straight and narrow for fear of angering Paul. Serious conservatives treasured Paul's judgment and the smartest ones often followed his advice. If one wanted support from conservatives, earning Paul's respect was very, very valuable. Next, let me tell you one of the best things Paul ever did for us. Having once been invited by mistake to a left-wing coalition meeting, Paul studied how the left operated. Then he adapted for conservatives the techniques for building powerful coalitions. Paul organized the first successful conservative coalition meetings. Soon Paul's model began to produce major results in a wide variety of policy areas. Briefly, here's how it works: 1. Invite people who share common interests and who will commit to take actions to further those causes. 2. Invite people who have the personal ability to make things happen, through their financial resources, their communication vehicles, their grassroots following, their network of contacts, or their expertise. 3. Avoid inviting people who are merely note-takers for others. 4. Prepare an interesting, action-oriented agenda of topics for coalition meetings. 5. Brainstorm ideas for appropriate actions regarding the topics discussed. 6. Call for volunteers to take specific actions. 7. Note those who volunteer to take actions and hold them accountable for doing what they agree to do. 8. Have the meetings chaired by someone who has resources to commit, who has considerable prestige, and whom participants would fear to disappoint. The beauty of this model is that each person in the coalition remains independent. No one is required to do anything by a vote of the gathering. Yet an enormous amount of action can result. People are dropped from the meeting if they come only to promote their own projects, never volunteer to take actions to help the projects of others, or consistently fail to do what they volunteer to do. That all sounds simple, but in practice conservative coalitions pioneered by Paul Weyrich multiplied the effectiveness of conservatives in the public policy process. Paul created a number of different coalitions and personally chaired his famous Wednesday luncheons when Congress was in session. About sixty people regularly attend. Other conservatives have replicated Paul's model effectively for national coalition meetings. Now such coalitions operate locally and do important work in many states. A little-known aspect of Paul's career is his huge effort to identify and train pro-freedom activists and leaders in the former Soviet empire. He understood that the fall of Communist regimes would amount to nothing unless anti-communists there learned how to operate successfully in the democratic process. From the Iron Curtain to far Siberia, Paul brought expert American conservative faculty to teach practical political skills to grassroots activists. Over several years, Paul personally made more than 40 trips over there. He identified good people and brought first-class training to them. Conditions were often primitive, and there was more than a little personal danger. But as usual, Paul poured his talent and resources into doing the right thing. We should thank God that Paul remained active so long in politics. Through his principal organization, the Free Congress Foundation, he did tremendous work on behalf of our country and our conservative principles. At the end he wrote and published more than ever. Hardly a day passed without powerful, interesting, current quotes from Paul in the print and broadcast media on the hot issues before our country. Several years ago, Paul had a nasty accident when he slipped on the ice. This left him crippled and in constant pain. Ultimately, doctors removed his legs. In spite of the resultant disability, Paul labors on, always courageous and highly effective. Still an inspiring movement conservative, Paul continued as an outspoken critic of Republicans and Democrats who don't advance our economic and social values. Without Paul Weyrich, there would likely have been no conservative movement worthy of the name -- and no Ronald Reagan presidency. If there were a Mount Rushmore for conservative leaders, Paul's face would have to be on it.
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.
Why Jesse Helms is the Country's Favorite Conservative Senator
Morton C. Blackwell
October 6, 2015
Why Jesse Helms is the Country's Favorite Conservative Senator
Why has Sen. Jesse Helms for so long been our country's very favorite conservative senator? Why do we love him? Let me count the reasons: In every word and deed, Sen. Helms embodies solid conservative principles. No one else in the Senate, no one at all, comes even close to his reputation for selfless, steadfast adherence to every tenet of our conservative philosophy. Name the issue, and I can tell you how he will vote. Name the issue. Free enterprise. Limited government. Strong national defense. Traditional values. Name the issue. Jesse Helms is predictable. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms forces votes on issues the liberals don't want to vote on. Time and again, year in and year out, Sen. Helms has been the only conservative prepared to make the Senate vote on conservative issues where most politicians are on the opposite side from the American people. Think about all the liberal senators who have been defeated by more conservative challengers since 1972. It's a fact. Jesse Helms made every one of those liberals vulnerable. He gave them all voting records their challengers could run against. Jesse Helms makes democracy work. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms is powerful because his word is good. In business, anyone with a good credit record finds it easier to get things done. In politics, anyone who keeps his word finds it easier to accomplish important things. Sen. Helms is trusted when he merely nods his head affirmatively. Too many other politicians can't be trusted, even before a notary public. No amount of pressure ever forces Sen. Helms to break his word. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms is a great expert on the Senate rules. He uses those rules assiduously to protect conservative values. Just a hint from Sen. Helms about extended debate works wonders in the legislative process. I can tell you from my personal experience inside the Reagan Administration that a high percentage of the conservatives who won appointments in the State Department got their jobs because of Sen. Helms. Uncounted times, he held up the nominations of liberal pets until conservative appointees were cleared. He used his skill and clout as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee to inject conservatives into the resisting bureaucracy in Foggy Bottom. In fact, more than any other senator, Jesse Helms got conservatives policy jobs in all parts of the Reagan Administration. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms is a great communicator. Yes, I know some media liberals say he talks as if he had a mouth half full of oatmeal. But he talks over their heads, directly to the American people, in language they understand. He moves people's hearts and minds. He speaks out for the permanent things the late Russell Kirk revered. Sen. Helms can tell a moving story and move a crowd to tears. He can inspire a crowd to patriotic fervor, even after they have been numbed by years of liberal propaganda. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms has been instrumental twice in electing conservative colleagues to the Senate from North Carolina. In fact, Sen. Helms is generous with his time and efforts in behalf of conservative candidates all across America. If you're a solid conservative, he'll help you, without asking in return anything more than that you stay conservative if elected. In 1976, Sen. Helms breathed life into a dying Reagan presidential nomination effort, keeping that effort alive until the national convention and paving the way for the nomination and election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. And he helped President Reagan revitalize the American economy, strengthen our national defense and bring about external defeat of international communism and the internal collapse of the Soviet Empire. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. More than any other American politician, Sen. Helms helps grassroots conservative organizations get started. He serves on good advisory committees. He speaks at fundraising dinners. He signs fundraising letters. He recruits hundreds of thousands of new conservative activists. He defends conservative groups against attacks on the floor of the United States Senate. There would have been no conservative movement worthy of the name without Sen. Helms. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms takes special interest in young conservatives. Some of us in this room knew him long before he was elected to the Senate. He spoke to us and inspired us at College Republican, Young Republican and Young Americans for Freedom meetings when we were young. He retains that focus today and gives special help to groups which today are training a new generation of conservative leaders. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Sen. Helms is a modest man. He's immune to Potomac Fever and Statesmen's Disease. He's a living example of an exception to Stan Evans' Law that when our people get where they can do us some good they stop being our people. He lives simply. He can't be bought off by an invitation to a White House state dinner. He doesn't care if the liberal media attack him when he does the right thing. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. Finally, Sen. Helms is good for business for the nation's dentists and doctors. Liberals gnash their teeth to the gums as, election after election, Jesse Helms wins and wins and wins and wins. Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel, Ted Kennedy and now Bill Clinton get such heartburn thinking about Sen. Helms that Maalox will do them no good. They have to go to their personal physicians for prescription medicine. That is why we admire and love him. And that is why he's the conservative liberals love to hate. In fact, of course, we love him far more than liberals hate him. And I'm sure, in their heart of hearts, the liberals do respect him. Jesse Helms would ask for nothing more.