Humor me before you click away. Historically young people do play and will play an important role in the national political scene. Young people are the future and liberals know this, so they focus on them. One factor that contributed to Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980 was the historic crossover of young people voting Republican. My mom was one of those young people. Before that point, she was a registered Maryland Democrat. How did Reagan cause that to happen? It wasn’t his youthfulness, since he was the oldest person to ever be elected U.S. President.
Before I answer that question, we must understand where my generation is coming from. The vast majority of young people graduating college are liberal, mainly because our college campuses are used as indoctrination camps for liberal thinking. But what this system has done is created the perspective that there are only two legitimate platforms. One being liberalism, the other libertarianism. In a secular setting the vast majority of young people view the TEA Party as Bible-belt Christianity which has no place for our new generation. Our education system and liberal media have indoctrinated the upcoming generation into believing that social conservatives are not scientific and are crazy Bible thumping teabaggers.
Young people overall view it as narrow-minded and bigoted to think that marriage is between one man and one woman, or that illegal drugs should be illegal. These social issues have been championed with Biblical arguments that have only caused the millennial generation to dismiss those points as mute.
Whether you agree with this or not, that is the reality. People dismiss the Bible. By using only Biblical talking points, Social Conservatives have done nothing but hurt themselves in the political arena. While conservative Catholics have done wonders in protecting the sanctity of life, the marriage battle waged by many Evangelicals has done nothing but gain bad press for conservatives. Keep in mind where the young people stand will be where the next generation will stand.
My analysis of the situation is that Republicanism has veered away from libertarianism something Reagan said was the heart of his philosophy. As he stated in 1975 in Reason magazine, “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Conservatives now have made their talking points about social issues. We have the same people running for office saying they will fight the gay agenda and save babies but at the end of the day continue to accomplish little to nothing. Instead, they keep up appearances and let our debt soar higher and higher. This is crony conservativism, and this is what my generation has had enough of. People who use God as a personal tool to get elected and then don’t fight for half of what they claim to support. Trust me, Ted Cruz does not fit this image I just painted, but his talking points are no different than this crowd of people. This is why he cannot, in the eyes of the up and coming leaders and voters, be the person to inspire young people.
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Can We Bridge the Gap?
There is always hope. The Republican Party needs a facelift if they want to get the attention of young people. I am not suggesting they need to change their values, but only find extra-biblical talking points to prove their point. This concept has been taught as the idea of “Thinking Biblically, speaking Secularly.” If we want to prove to young people that, for example God’s word is true then it shouldn’t be hard to find reasons from hard facts to show that what God said is true. More importantly Social Conservatives need to understand that forcing religious beliefs upon the majority is tyranny very similar to what our founding fathers decided to fight against. It is one thing to tell people what you believe, it another thing to use the government to require that everyone follow your belief.
I know for many this is a hard pill to swallow. As a follower of Jesus, I believe the Bible is true word for word and can give us guidance. What I also believe is that there are examples in our culture that show what God said is true and can be proven with facts. One example is the recent backlash against pornography. A very prominent organization out there called Fight the New Drug uses secular reasoning why pornography is terrible and there are many Christians behind the movement. Their efforts are being aided by Hollywood surprisingly, with voices like Russell Brand and movies like Don Jon which speak out against the use of porn. It is things like this that help bring about change and open people up to the gospel. This is what social conservatives need to emphasize, realizing that is how we can take back our country.
The Case For Liberty
On that note, taking back our country is not going to be easy. I believe that if we truly want to unite Americans in the cause of conservatism, we must embrace libertarianism. What is libertarianism? Sharon Harris, President of Advocates for Self-Government defines libertarianism like this, “Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property – as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same.” This is what conservatives need realize is the core of a secular approach to their viewpoints. A conservative government should promote the protection of Life, Liberty, and Property and the principles of limited government. Anything beyond that definition will give grounds to allow the government to impose itself in areas, where depending on the party in power, will mean we will be subject to whims of their philosophies. Conservativism and libertarianism work in harmony to produce a society that will embrace Christian values but make sense of those values for the non-Christians. Liberty must be at the core of our beliefs and if we disagree with those who believe in it more strongly, you must realize those people are who will be with all the way on almost everything else. The idea of liberty is what united a large enough group to declare war against the greatest superpower in the world at that point. It is a powerful principle and liberty must be protected at all cost.
We must recognize that our government must limit its authority only to handle protecting Life, Liberty, and Property and to uphold contracts. We cannot try and legislate our religious beliefs to keep people from doing things that do not harm other citizens. These principles and ideas are essential to establishing the functional government that Fredrick Bastiat wrote about in The Law.
The biggest reason we are in this current cultural situation is because the church as an institution has not been the light to society it needs to be. Politics is a reflection of culture. We cannot use the government to replace what the church was supposed to do. Society should help society, and I believe that the Church should take care of society, not the government.
As a young person I see so much inconsistency in the Social Conservative movement. The media will show no mercy to us, so as conservatives we must be above reproach in our rhetoric and thinking. The vast majority of conservative young people are moving towards libertarianism simply because they see that it is what is consistent with our founding principles even when it’s not convenient. This is what will reboot the Reagan Revolution.
Where do we go from here to truly create the Reagan Revolution? The plan is simple. Conservatives need to change their rhetoric. The element of persuasion requires us to speak to people where they are at. We must use tangible evidence and stories to move this generation, and we must speak their language. If you strongly believe that the government needs to be involved in marriage, then you need to show there are psychological and social problems that involve gay marriage. Quoting the Bible is not going to convince this generation. They want proof, not just words that mean nothing to them. Maybe the answer is that the government should stay out of marriage? This is what is gaining popularity with young conservatives. Remember the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill quoted the philosophers of the Greeks when speaking to the people of Athens. He did not berate them with Jewish Scriptures, he met them where there were at with the truth. This is how you convince and win people over. You get down on their level and guide them to truth.
Most important, conservatives need to embrace liberty and not push against it. As Ronald Reagan himself said, libertarianism is the heart of what he believed. We cannot dismiss the founding principles of our nation because we don’t like the viewpoints of other people. If we do not embrace liberty, we will be the party of exclusion and will never have relevance with the young American voter. We must also understand that libertarianism is how a secularist makes sense of conservative Christian values.
Lastly, the church must be the social light it once was. Instead of embracing social change is should be the influence of it. The church has surrendered culture and in our form of government, the church is a crucial institution. Without it, our society falls apart. We need to actually follow our conservative narrative and promote the protection of Life, Liberty, and Property and the principles of limited government.
So what about Ted Cruz? He is a great statesman and speaker, but again his talking points represent mainly the evangelical voter and he does not use the element of libertarianism to reach out to new groups of people. Republicans talk about how we need another Reagan Revolution. If we truly want to see another sweep across this country of conservatives taking back our nation, we must win the young people. The key is changing our messaging and embracing more libertarianism.