Steve Deace

This is an excerpt from the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.”

There’s this girl you’re really interested in, and you really want to meet her, but you’re too nervous to go up and introduce yourself.

So you ask your worst enemy to do it for you, who’s attracted to her as well.

He proceeds to tell her about this guy he knows that’s interested in her, piquing her curiosity. “Tell me about him,” she says. “Is he cute?”

“Define cute,” he replies. “I wouldn’t say he’s hideous, but he’s certainly nothing special.”

Granted, you’re not exactly Ryan Reynolds or George Clooney, but you didn’t have a problem getting a date in high school.

“Is he athletic or normal size,” she asks (translation: is he morbidly obese).

Sure, now that you’re a little older you’re not as lean and mean as you once were, but you’re still in pretty decent shape for your age.

“Dude could stand to lose a few pounds,” is how your enemy describes you to her.

Now the girl is grasping for any initial reason to pursue this further. “What does he do for a living,” is her final inquisitive attempt to give you a chance.

You’re just about finished with med school, which you put off for a few years to do missionary work in Africa. Currently you volunteer to provide medical care at the homeless shelter in your spare time, and you’re temporarily living at home with your mother, who is still lonely and struggling with grief after the unexpected death of your father last year.

Nevertheless, your enemy tells the girl “he’s unemployed and lives at home with his mom.”

By allowing your enemy to define you to the girl you’re both interested in, you have been defined as unemployed and living at home with mom, overweight, and not exactly blessed with movie star looks. Your enemy didn’t technically lie in the way he described you to the girl, but he certainly cast you in the worst possible light. Since the girl assumes she’s already getting the best possible description of who you are from the person you sent to indirectly represent you, she concludes you’re really a fat loser without a job.

“No wonder he didn’t come talk to me himself,” she says to her friends after your enemy departs—with her phone number for himself.

If you went online looking for love would you put “fat loser without a job” on your E-Harmony profile? No, you’d probably put “decent looking guy finishing up med school who is currently caring for his grieving mother” instead.

By now some of you reading this are wondering what the point here is, other than the shy guy who sent his enemy to talk to the girl he’s interested in is a total ignoramus?

That’s precisely the point.

In the culture war we are making the exact same mistake. We’re bashful about expressing and advancing our principles, which allows our enemies to bash us to an available and undecided culture. Most Americans do not know what they really believe let alone why they believe it.

Ours is a nation up for grabs, where both Duck Dynasty and Modern Family are hit television. Most Americans describe themselves as Christians, but then sit idly by and do nothing while every vestige of Christianity is snuffed out of our public institutions. Most Americans want less government until it’s their suckling spot on the welfare state teat being threatened. We’ve gone from red states and blue states to red counties and blue counties, and now to red suburbs and blue inner cities in the same counties. One local weather forecaster says today will be partly sunny, and the guy on the other channel says it will be mostly cloudy.

About the only thing we can agree on is we’re desperate for leadership, and desperation almost always leads to bad decisions. We’re basically trying anything to see what works, which is the political equivalent to grasping at straws or casting lots. We’re one step away from just determining public policy via Powerball.

Maybe it’s just me, but I see this as a tremendous opportunity for us. We’ve got a shot to restore the republic, but we’ve only got one shot.

However, we will not be able to reach this emerging generation and position this country for a long-term rebound without obeying the seventh of my 10 Commandments of Political Warfare: define your opponent before they define themselves and define yourself before your opponent defines you.

Almost all of the terminology we take for granted our culture has redefined to the point the emerging generations are ignorant of what we’re talking about. They have become living, breathing examples of the Hegelian Dialectic, which is when the thesis (the argument) and its antithesis (counter-argument) end up merging into a synthesis (narrative), and they become virtually indistinguishable from one another.

Thus, the emerging generation hasn’t rejected the American dream. It hasn’t even considered it.

We’ve stopped competing in the arena of ideas, so we’ve left them with no choice but to accept the synthesized narrative (Hegelian Dialectic) they’ve been sold in government school. Thus, they believe the Constitution calls for the separation of church and state, there is no such thing as transcendent truth, and moral absolutes don’t exist. So if we’re going to engage this emerging generation, we’re going to have to define our terms and ourselves clearly and explicitly.

What I have found when interacting with those who don’t share my worldview is that when I clearly define what I believe and why I believe it, the more credibility I develop with them, and the more willing they are to engage me in the arena of ideas—provided I do one thing.

I must apply my standard consistently.

Since we are no longer a silent majority in this country, we cannot just continue to subjectively admonish Democrats and provide Republicans political exoneration for their repeated violations of our principles and expect to get our way on Election Day. In this next phase of the culture war, we’re going to need converts to our side, and in this day and age no one wants to sign up with a bunch of hypocrites. If we want the culture at-large to accept our truth claims then we must have integrity in applying them.

I define integrity as a consistency (that’s not the same as perfection) between right belief and right behavior, or long obedience in the right direction. Without integrity there is no trust. If people don’t trust you they won’t vote for (or with) you.

We are also allowing our enemies to define the argument.

Why do pro-life groups just accept being labeled “anti-abortion?” Why do we expect to actually win the argument after the other side has already framed it? After all, the right to life is the default position of the Declaration of Independence, which is the organic law of the United States. So shouldn’t those who oppose that right be described as “anti-life” or “pro-death?”

We must stop allowing the Left to define us and the argument if we actually want to win the argument. A pretty good rule of thumb is if this is how your enemy wants to be defined, or wants to define you, you don’t want to use that definition.

“Abortion” sounds indifferent to what is actually taking place, which is intentional. When your kid is getting his tonsils out, the doctor calls it a tonsillectomy. So how come when a mother is having her child removed it’s not called a pediaectomy? Probably because there’d be a lot less of them if it had been defined all along by what it is—child killing.

Whenever pro-lifers are using a public platform to defend the God-given, unalienable right to life, we need to define child killing as child killing. Would you rather be pro-choice or pro-child killing?

Some of you reading this will balk immediately at what I just wrote worried such coarse language comes across as offensive (while the other side calls us “racists” and “bigots” of course). If you’re one of those people, then do the rest of us a favor and get out of politics because you’re not cut out for it. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you’re not made for warfare and only getting in the way of victory. This is not for the faint of heart. There is a civilization at stake.


Steve Deace

Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated radio host for the USA Radio Network. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and Real Clear Politics among others. He's one of the top 100 talk show hosts in America according to Talkers Magazine. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Conservative Review, USA Today, and Town Hall.com, Deace is a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the book "Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again," which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. He lives in Iowa with his wife Amy, and their three children: Ana, Zoe, Noah You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.