Dissidents tend to think of politics as the driver of social change. Elections have consequences, as the winners get to shape public policy, which guides the cultural evolution of society. There is some truth to it, but in reality, politics, as in elections and campaigns, are the product of social change. The real action is upstream where attitudes are formed and morality is structured. Convince people that something is morally wrong and this belief will turn up at the ballot box.
This is why the ruling class maintains a death grip on mass media. This is their primary vehicle for shaping public attitudes. Convince 70% of the public that wearing a rag over their face is a good idea and suddenly they are open to a wide range of claims by the politicians in the next election. They will support the side pushing for more restrictions and mandatory vaccines. It is the art of the nudge, which is the primary weapon in a modern liberal democracy. It’s rule by suggestion.
This is why success in dissident politics lies in getting people to question their assumptions about politics. The current example is the assumption that the only way to effect change is through voting. Lots of people who agree with dissidents on most things keep voting harder thinking that will get the result they want. These people are so convinced of this they often get angry when the truth is pointed out to them. The power of bad ideas is a wildly underestimated force in politics.
Another bad idea that has haunted the Right for generations now is the idea that the media should be independent. For as long as anyone reading this has been alive, conservatives have been moaning about liberal bias in the media. They are not wrong about this observation. Even media that positions itself on the Right tends to parrot the party line on important issues. Go on Fox News and suggest the restoration of free association and they have you arrested.
The thing is though, the issue is not bias. The real issue is the nutty idea that the media could or should ever be independent and neutral. This has never happened since the printing press and it never should happen. In liberal democratic politics, all participants are partisans, which means all media must be partisan as well. Therefore, independent and neutral media is media that does not exist. This is why right-wing media tends not to exist, as it is trying to be neutral and independent.
A similar problem exists with the courts. For generations the normal people in America have been lectured by conservatives that the courts must be independent of politics and be neutral in the application of the law. How an explicitly political institution, one defined by our politics and maintained by the political system, could be independent of our politics is never explained. The fact that the court has never been independent is an important fact often ignored by dissidents.
The truth is, what we really want as dissidents is a court packed by people who think we don’t go far enough in beating back the darkness of liberalism. The same is especially true of the mass media. This is one reason the Left has won every battle with conventional conservatism. They convinced their opponents to hold up independence as an ideal for media and the law, while they wage a savage partisan fight. A good bad idea is one that the other side accepts and you ignore.
Of course, this is the key bad idea that has been at the heart of American cultural decline for generations. The Left fully embraces partisan politics, while decorating it with the frosting of objectivity. The Right, in contrast, embraces objectivity while decorating it with the manure of righteous contempt for partisanship. One side appeals to reason, while promoting superstition. The other side works hard to make the reasonable side feel like a trip down to the local solid waste disposal plant.
Being right about things should matter, but what should always matter more in politics is advancing your interests at the expense of the other side. The ultimate goal of politics is to wipe them from the field. If that means being wrong, deliberately wrong, then that is the cost of being right in the end. This is how all right-wing politics should function, but instead it obsesses over minutiae and squabbles about how many angels can dance on the head of the free market utopia.
A simple mental exercise is to imagine what would happen if tomorrow 90% of white people saw freedom of association as a sacred and inviolable right. Your right to decide with whom you associate and with whom you do not associate is so important that speaking against it is a disqualifier. All of a sudden, racial set asides take on the morality of pederasty. Anti-racism sounds like mental illness. Simply correcting one terrible idea would radically alter our politics.
This is the power of bad ideas. One terrible idea, like anathematizing free association, can have enormous downstream consequences. It is why effective politics needs to aim further upstream and attack those bad ideas at the source. Getting people to question their assumptions about voting, for example, rattles the system at its foundation, because the foundation of the system is bad ideas. Start to erode the power of those bad ideas then suddenly politics becomes a different game.
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