How to Make Young People Conservative
Influential talk show host Mark Levin has called on constitutional conservatives to come up with a way to appeal to young people. Levin said it is not enough to make intellectual arguments for conservatism and constitutionalism; we must come up with a way to reach young people that has emotional impact. I'd like to step up to the challenge, using nearly the same buzzwords that the left has programmed young people to respond to, like "privacy," "equality," and "investing in the future."
Privacy. Under Obamacare, the government wants to maintain a database containing a complete record of your medical history. Tens of thousands of bureaucrats will have access to your medical records at the touch of a button, and they can abuse and release this information. Do you have heart disease? Or cancer? Or a sexual problem? Can you imagine what it would be like if someone in the government made that information public, as the IRS has done with tax records of conservative groups?
We should tell young people the following:
"Constitutional conservatives believe that your medical history should remain safely private, only in your hands your doctor's. Conservatives want to keep your most private information, your medical history, truly private and out of the hands of government. Liberals also support the government maintaining records of all phone calls and e-mails of all citizens, not just suspected terrorists. They also want black boxes in your cars to monitor where you go and real-time power monitors in your home to monitor your energy usage. That's an unprecedented invasion of privacy. Constitutional conservatives are against that and believe that unless you're being specifically investigated for a crime, your communications should be private, and where you drive is your own business, not the government's. Are you a liberal who wants the government looking over your shoulder, or a constitutionalist who values your privacy? Which side do you prefer?"
Equality. Liberals love to talk about income inequality.
"Let's do a thought experiment. Offer to pay two friends a dollar each to dig a hole in the ground. Say one digs a big deep hole, and the other barely scratches the surface. Now, is it fair to give each of them a dollar, in the name of equality? My first friend dug a hole four times deeper than my second friend, in the same amount of time. Did my first friend try harder? Yes. Was he more productive? Yes. Could he be more skilled at digging? Yes. In that case, what's the sense of paying both of my friends the same wage?
"Liberals have a myth that if not for the pervasive inequality of society, everyone would be making the exact same wage. The minimum wage worker at McDonald's would be earning the same at the CEO of Citibank. And if we were all robots, that might be true. But we're people, not robots. We have different abilities and different levels of motivation. If we were all paid the same regardless of what we did, then people would lose their incentive to do any kind of quality work, and society would collapse, exactly as it did in the Soviet Union and Mao's China. Income inequality is essential to reward individualism, ability, and freedom of choice!
"Liberals would also have you believe that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. But we know that's not true. Millions of people who started out poor have become middle-class. And many of those who have become middle-class have become rich. Look at the wave of dot-commers who are worth millions or billions. They're mostly not the children of millionaires and billionaires themselves. They're people who started at the bottom and worked hard. And that's the American story that constitutional conservatives believe in: if you work hard, you can get ahead, and income inequality is a problem only for those who envy other people's money without wanting to work harder for it. Which side do you prefer – being rewarded for what you do, or everyone being rewarded the same regardless of effort?"
Investing in the Future.
"Liberals always tell young people we have to invest in 'infrastructure' to create jobs. But what jobs has the government ever created? The government has nothing to do with creating jobs in the private sector. All the government can do is kill jobs in the private sector.
"Every time the government raises taxes, it makes it harder for companies to launch businesses and hire people. Taxes, like wages, costs of materials, and rent, are a cost that businesses have to bear. So are regulations. There are literally not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of pages of regulations created by unelected bureaucrats that companies have to comply with. There are so many of them, and they are so complex, that ordinary people can't even comprehend them, and companies have to hire armies of lawyers to figure out what's in them and how to comply. That's money spent complying that could be spent expanding and hiring new workers.
"When you go online and look for jobs, and see very few jobs available, that's because of liberal policies that kill jobs. When you apply for jobs and see fifty other applicants for the same spot, that's again because of liberal policies that have killed other jobs. If we truly broke the chains of unreasonable taxes and regulations holding entrepreneurship down, you would see the reverse: you'd actually see employers chasing after employees! How's that for 'investing in the future'?
"On the same subject, spending obscene amounts of tax dollars on government bureaucrats who produce nothing doesn't invest in the future. Creating a huge bureaucracy to redistribute wealth also doesn't create anything. In fact, liberals are doing the opposite of investing in the future. We have not merely 18 trillion dollars of debt, but up to 100 trillion dollars in unfunded obligations for the future. We have to engage in unprecedented borrowing to enable us to keep up with these obligations. Sooner or later we will be unable to keep doing this, and our economy will collapse like Greece. There will be no Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid and everyone will be left to fend for themselves. Liberals want to continue borrowing and spending because they know they will be long gone when the bill comes, for you and your children. Constitutional conservatives believe in only spending what is affordable, because they are the ones truly looking out for the future of the country.
"Democrats delight at offering things for free – condoms, phones, welfare, and now community college. But what use is community college if when you graduate, there are no jobs available, and the economy has collapsed? Europe has a much more heavily subsidized college system for young people than we do, but huge numbers of young people graduate from school unemployed because the governments there have nearly strangled their private sectors. European young people have all the phones and welfare and condoms they could possibly want. The only thing they don't have is jobs and a future. Liberals will offer you a million free things; constitutional conservatives will offer you nothing for free, but a healthy economy where you can prosper, if you choose to. So which appeals to you more – unlimited condoms, or a thriving job market?"
These are only a very small number of the compelling arguments to be made for constitutional conservatism. As Mark Levin often says, offer the young generation freedom, and offer them liberty, and be articulate about it, and they'll respond.