2019: Conservatives Need To Ditch Despair. It's Time To Take Hope


We conservatives have a lot to be depressed about after 2018. At least I was certain of that this time last night. Around 24 hours until the New Year dawned, and I was ready to throw in the towel (emotionally, anyway) on the American public and the West in general. But these few hours later I’m seeing everything in a new light, and I want to share it with any of you who might be feeling that same despair.

Traditionalism lends itself to a siege-like, defensive posture, and that’s exactly the posture conservative Americans tend to take. “Oh, what will we do? The left just won’t stop! They’re always attacking. They’ve got the media! How can we ever win” we all wail to ourselves — myself included.

But we’ve got to take a step back, a deep breath, and look with clear eyes. The left is on the move, yes, corrupting and corroding as quickly as it can. But it has nowhere near won this fight. In fact, it’s only now getting any real traction. If you think that’s a stupid statement and want to stay on Prozac for all of 2019, walk away now. But if you want to start your year with some hope, stick with me here.

Writing in 1944, Friedrich von Hayek described the struggle against collectivism (socialism, communism, leftism generally) in America and Europe in remarkably similar terms to what we would use today talking about the West.

Yet, today, the American (and European Markets mostly) are free — frustrated by red tape, but free. States don’t own or control the means of production. Private property is still protected. Speech is the area most endangered right now, but the elites have pushed too far and are terrified of the public (witness the pitiful spectacle of French boy-king Emmanuel Macron, whose subjects decided they weren’t subjects, and he wasn’t a king).

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In 70 years leftism has corrupted but at an astonishingly slow pace given the fever and fervor of those promoting it and the mass media which generally supports them.

A few weeks ago Emily Ekins wrote over at Cato that fundamental Obamacare provisions “lose support when the public learns the costs.” While trying to track down that piece, I stumbled onto a Washington Post piece, coincidentally by Ekins as well, highlighting data showing “millennials like socialism until they get jobs.”

Seventy years and their biggest accomplishment is getting dopy college kids to believe in warmed over 19th-century German philosophical malarkey (thanks, Joe Biden), and that doesn’t even stick once the dopey kids get out in the real world. Bravo, leftists. Bravo. You must be so proud.

Americans are still fiercely individualistic and independent. They reject leftism once they’re shown it, and that’s a huge reason to take heart. Freedom, self-reliance and a keen suspicion of centralized authority are coded into Americans’ DNA. If they weren’t, would the left have to lie as bald-facedly as it does about leftism?

Going back to 1979, Gallup has never been able to find more than 8 percent of respondents who have no opinion on the direction of the country. Americans aren’t disengaged. They’re otherwise engaged — leading lives that build free markets, promote civil society and advance free thought. There’s a very big difference.

Does all of this mean we can all take a beach day? Not on your life. As we fight back, they’re turning up the heat. And just turn on MTV or whatever channel the Kardashians are on. The culture war is very real. But put it down big, plain and straight:

We. Are. Not. Lost.

I know, I know. That vomitatious thing living in the Washington Swamps looks hideous compared to the gleaming Republic the Founders left us with. But marred as it is, it is still so much better than anything the world had seen until 1787, and it is fixable.

Trump, the government shutdown, the wall, Mueller — these are all battles in a much, much larger war that’s been raging in the U.S. since the late 19th/early 20th century and Europe since the mid-late 19th century. These are civilizational struggles, not dependent on one man, one fight, or one election.

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So as 2019 begins, take a step back, a deep breath, and look with clear eyes. We won’t win this fight by defeating the media or even the Democrats. We win this by opening other Americans’ eyes to the truth the left tries so hard to hide: that deep down what they want is control over our very lives. I dare you to show me one everyday American who will be OK with that. And the left needs a heck of a lot more than just one to take the country. Don’t know about you, but I’m going to start my 2019 thinking about that. Happy New Year!

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Josh Manning is deputy managing editor for assignment at The Western Journal. He holds a masters in public policy from Harvard University and has a background in higher education.
Josh Manning grew up outside of Memphis, TN and developed a love of history, politics, and government studies thanks to a life-changing history and civics teacher named Mr. McBride.

He holds an MPP from Harvard University and a BA from Lyon College, a small but distinguished liberal arts college where later in his career he served as an interim vice president.

While in school he did everything possible to confront, discomfit, and drive ivy league liberals to their knees.

After a number of years working in academe, he moved to digital journalism and opinion. Since that point, he has held various leadership positions at The Western Journal.

He's married to a gorgeous blonde who played in the 1998 NCAA women's basketball championship game, and he has two teens who hate doing dishes more than poison. He makes life possible for two boxers -- "Hank" Rearden Manning and "Tucker" Carlson Manning -- and a pitbull named Nikki Haley "Gracie" Manning.
MPP from Harvard University, BA from Lyon College
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, tiny fragments of college French
Topics of Expertise
Writing, politics, Christianity, social media curation, higher education, firearms