KLAVAN: The Right Has To Learn To Set The Nation’s Agenda

Will Deschamps, state chairman of Montana, wears a tie decorated with elephant mascots at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of the great disadvantages of having ceded the culture to the Left is that conservatives are always on defense. Because the Left owns the news media, the entertainment media, and the academy – the Empire of Lies, as I call it – they set the agenda, and all we can do is fight back. We think we’re winning when we repulse their attacks, but you can’t win on defense. They will keep coming back again and again until the day is theirs, even if it takes half a century.

Why are we talking about race, for instance? Race is not a problem in this country. A violent underclass, too often black, created and sustained by Democrat policies – that is a problem. Instead of babbling about the police, who are only trying to clean up society’s messes, we should be talking about how to destroy the Great Society swamp in which too many of our black citizens are trapped.

What about transgenderism? I have no doubt there are a small number of people in this country who get confused about which of the two sexes they are. But so what? All God’s children have their troubles. We’re 25-trillion dollars in debt. If Harry wants to pretend to be Sally, that’s Harry’s problem, not mine. I’m sure I’ll treat him kindly, cause that’s just the sort of lovable fellow I am, but I’m not rewriting the wisdom of the ages so he can play make-believe on my dime.

These things become topics because the Left has the power to make them topics. The minute we start saying, “Well, maybe some statues should be taken down,” the game is over. They won. The minute we say, “You can’t defund the police. What we need is police reform” – game over. They won. We’ve accepted their premises. We’re no longer talking about the things that matter.

Instead of debating idiot race theories or idiot gender theories or idiot economic theories, we should be setting the agenda ourselves.

And the agenda should be liberty. Not libertarianism. Not capitalism. Not even Christianity. Liberty. The right of each person to go his own way. Liberty is the first good. Without liberty, there is no virtue or charity or love, because all those things are only authentic when you are free to choose them yourself. Without liberty, you cannot even be yourself. You are only who you are told to be.

Liberty cannot stand alone. It was built on pillars and those pillars cannot be removed. The process of sustaining liberty is deep and complex. And while Trump has often stood for the cause, he just as often fails to defend it effectively.

But his administration has, in fact, been at work on the liberty agenda, especially our excellent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This week, Pompeo’s State Department released a draft report from the Commission on Unalienable Rights, chaired by Pompeo’s old Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon. The brief of the committee was not to discover new rights, but to re-establish those rights that the United States of America set as an agenda for the world in the aftermath of our victory in World War II.

The report is a stunning repudiation of the lies being spewed by The New York Times and its despicable and dishonest 1619 project by reporter-slash-race-hustler Nikole Hannah-Jones. That project stipulates America is inherently racist and dedicated to inequality, a historical nonsense. The Rights Commission’s report, conversely, re-establishes what in fact we are: the source and support of the world’s quest for freedom.

Here is one paragraph from the report: “Among the traditions that formed the American spirit, three stand out. Protestant Christianity, widely practiced by the citizenry at the time, was infused with the beautiful Biblical teachings that every human being is imbued with dignity and bears responsibilities toward fellow human beings, because each is made in the image of God. The civic republican ideal, rooted in classical Rome, stressed that freedom and equality under law depend on an ethical citizenry that embraces the obligations of self-government. And classical liberalism put at the front and center of politics the moral premise that human beings are by nature free and equal, which strengthened the political conviction that legitimate government derives from the consent of the governed.”

Whatever happens in the next election, restoring this wisdom to our citizens and their children should be the project of the Right for the next fifty years. If it’s not, the agenda will continue to be the identity politics with which the Left divides us in order to consolidate their power.

If that happens, we may win the debate every day, but in the long run, we will lose the country.

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