Persuasion vs. Compulsion
As I filled my gas tank with pricey ethanol-free gasoline, my liberal friend commented, "Oil companies are evil profit mongers and Isaac has put them in their place!! Their record profits will definitely take a hit, YAY!! And those corporate subsidies, well, take Isaac you illegitimate end-products!!" I bit my tongue, and the conversation shifted to another (non-political) topic in what had to be record time.
Thus is succoring the enemy sometimes a way to make peace. One must always pick one's battles, as the wonderful proverb "For Want of a Nail*" has always taught us. If you need a reminder, here it is:
"For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."
Let petty rhetoric pass. Such battles are not worth fighting. In another great literary work**, the concept put forth is that you must persuade, not compel, to draw the best men into your fold.
And so it goes as this election season draws towards its apex. Persuasion is always better than compulsion, and conservatives would do well to take this lesson to heart. We are winning, little by little, piece by piece. My dear companion (who, for the record, is not my spouse) rails against evil Big Oil, evil Big Pharma, and evil Big Corporate in general. I smile, nod, and keep my mouth shut, and know that our side is winning.
How do I know? It's the vitriol coming from the opposition. The sheer desperation that accompanies every pronouncement, underscores every hysterical screed, against we who have the (gasp!) temerity to win. In this is truth: they know they are losing, they know they have nothing to offer, and the only thing left for them to do is pray hope wish that there is want of a nail on our side. Even some progressives acknowledge that they may lose, and look in vain for that missing nail.
Friends and patriots, continue fighting the battles that are worthwhile, and concede the battles that will not win the war; do not be fooled, it is indeed a war, a winnable war. Persuade, even by silence, those who have lost the way. Do not fight, do not cajole, they who, deep in their hearts, know we are right. Their hearts are winnable, their souls are redeemable, if only we know which battles to choose.
"For want of a nail the shoe was lost."
Today, and every day, smile, nod, know when to be silent, and persuade. Some battles can only be won by doing very little. A slight nudge here and there can be more moving than a great shove. We are winning, and all we have to do to cross the finish line in the end is persuade. No one likes to be compelled, even progressives, yet that is all the opposition has left with which to fight. Persuade, and we will win, but pick your battles carefully.
*Proverb dating to approximately the 14th century.
**A paraphrase from Dune by Frank Herbert, © 1965, p. 100.