The Spectacle Blog

Standing Athwart?

By on 1.27.09 | 11:17AM

Filmer, a commenter on this post, writes:

Part of the reason it is a PR minefield is because we allow it to be. We play by their PC rules. How does that change until someone takes the first step to buck those rigged rules?

The "Magic Negro" guy was Saltsman, not Dawson.

I've heard this argument before Filmer -- lots of our commenters say it. The basic point that we should be arguing "X" conservative principle, but we're too afraid to because it's not politically correct and the liberal establishment prohibits us.  If only we could get a little braver, we could make these arguments, and do so in a way that will resonate with most Americans.

This is absurd. Does the person on welfare suddenly realize how terrible welfare is when you explain to him that the Constitution didn't explicitly allow Congress to do this? Did black people suddenly repudiate Martin Luther King, Jr. when others criticized him for being a socialist?

Media, whether liberal or not, has become a world of identity politics and a need for bullet points. When conservatives respond to this by puffing on pipes and adjusting suspenders and bowties, they send the message that they are unwilling to modernize. You don't get people on your side by being a fuddy-duddy, and you don't bludgeon the other side by becoming a caricature of yourself. Of course principle should lead the way, but what battles should you fight? Picking your battles is a necessity in war -- should everything be a Pickett's charge?

UPDATE: Actually, come to think of it, it's sort of like that old definition of insanity. When the battlefield changes, tactics need to change too. And sometimes, leadership needs changing too.

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