As conservatives gather for the inaugural Australian Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Sydney this weekend, it is worth considering why we mostly lose.
But first, it must be said that the advent of CPAC in Australia is a good thing that can help us start to win.
Why would a former deputy prime minister, John Anderson, participate in a “hate fest”? Seriously, these Senators should be challenged by the mainstream media for making such lazy assertions.
It’s past time there was organised push-back on the left and this is where our American and British friends can help.
Too many of us have been voices crying in the wilderness.
We are up against a committed left-wing that is not ashamed to state its case in public.
Unlike politicians who subscribe to mainstream values, the left’s parliamentary representatives sustain their arguments in the public square. They are relentless.
Sadly, politicians who subscribe to mainstream values often hide their light under a bushel and often don’t become active in public debate until five minutes to midnight.
This is the key difference between conservatives and the left.
Effective tactics are deployed which contribute to conservative silence.
Politicians on the conservative side are rewarded by elites with the misleading moniker of “moderate”. This gives them respectability with the “cool kids” and they can be easily peeled off to join the left’s causes, blunting the clarity of the conservative voice.
Meanwhile, principled conservatives are given the pejorative label of “hard right” in an attempt to make them appear toxic.
Labels, instead of the veracity of one’s arguments, then define the battlelines.
Citizens are left confused as a result and public policy becomes a muddle, even and especially when the Coalition is in government.
Deploying power, not reason becomes the currency of politics.
This manipulation results in too many conservatives becoming complicit by their silence or actively collaborating with the left on virtually all of the iconic issues of our day.
They sign up to the UN’s climate agenda against their better judgement, they release transgender guidelines for junior sports (as Scott Morrison’s sports minister Richard Colbeck just did) and they put precious taxpayer money into human rights commissions which then persecute Australians for exercising their freedom of speech.
The idea that human-induced C02 emissions are dangerously warming the planet and must be cut is the most prominent area of compromise.
Because conservatives have collaborated with the left’s climate agenda and poured billions into dubious and expensive renewable energy schemes, it is impossible for the traffic-disrupting Extinction Rebellion anarchists to be condemned for their cause, just their tactics.
Climate change is either wrecking the planet or it is not.
If it is, the anarchists are right. The government is not doing enough and we must lower our living standards.
If it is not, then we are harming battlers and the economy for no reason.
Half-baked policy costing the taxpayer billions, resulting in sky-high electricity prices and unreliability of supply is where we are trapped.
For too long conservatives’ compromise with the left has metastasised into full-blown collaboration.
In NSW senior Liberals and Nationals, including premier Gladys Berejiklian, are working with the extreme left-wing independent politician, Alex Greenwich, to rush radical abortion-to-birth legislation through the parliament.
When did conservatives co-sponsor the bills of the radical left?
Do Liberals and Nationals support laws that make it perfectly legal to abort a baby because she is a girl or is disabled?
Do Liberals and Nationals support abortion laws that allow men to coerce women to abort their babies? Force doctors to be complicit with abortion against their conscience?
It was the same with same-sex marriage.
Confused virtue signalling meant too many Coalition MPs and Senators worked with the rainbow left and backed the change to the legal definition of marriage despite its consequences violating almost every principle of conservativism.
It trampled on the conservative ideal of the natural family as the basic group unit of society, institutionalising motherlessness and fatherlessness.
Like no other issue, same-sex marriage has been the battering ram for the left’s attack on freedom of speech, conscience, religion and parents’ rights to protect their children from radical LGBTIQ indoctrination at school.
Yet without the five Liberal rebels of Dean Smith, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman, Warren Entsch and Trevor Evans threatening to cross the floor against Coalition policy on marriage, maybe – just maybe – family and freedom could have been protected.
Radical change seldom happens without bi-partisan support. The left knows this and that is why it works so hard to find the weak links within conservative ranks.
Lenin called them “useful idiots”.
Despite the confidence placed in Scott Morrison by the “quiet Australians”, the problem of the water of the left in the Coalition’s boat has not gone away.
Where does minister Colbeck think introducing gender-fluid guidelines to junior sporting clubs will lead?
Why does the Morrison government, whom conservatives fled to for salvation from a Shorten Labor-Greens government, not have the political muscle and confidence to resist so many of the left’s most cherished agendas?
Sure, the mainstream media will go nuts. But so what?
Quiet Australians will cheer.
Donald Trump’s narcissism and gracelessness are deeply unattractive. But his courage in pushing back on the “fake news” media is inspirational.
We’ve seen glimpses of this here.
The Coalition with Scott Morrison as immigration minister did a good job standing up to the left on border protection.
They prosecuted the argument, stared down the false accusations of racism and won.
Now of all policy areas, this is arguably the most potent vote winner for the Coalition.
That sort of courage and commitment needs to be replicated across a range of policy areas.
Courage to speak and resolve to resist is what’s lacking.
When this is found, the next step is promoting a positive vision of human flourishing.
Most people want family, freedom and a functioning economy.
The lies of the left are undermining all three with the complicity of too many conservatives.
My hope is that CPAC in Australia will embolden conservatives to break free of playing footsies with the left and campaign in public for what they know is right.
Unless we do this, we will keep losing.
Lyle Shelton is a former federal communications director and Senate candidate for the Australian Conservatives.
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