The Low Info Express
January 1, 2013 1 Comment
Happy New Year! We’ve gone over the fiscal cliff, thanks to the capable leadership of President Barack Obama. It was just a tiny pipe dream when Democratic senator Patty Murray urged it a couple of months ago. Now, it’s a reality.
Republicans have been pretty miserable in the midst of this journey. Fingers have been pointed at Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. But who could blame them when the real problem is the weight of public opinion? Polls showing the public blaming Republicans more than the White House tell us all we need to know.
Among conservatives, the calls for more backbone and a greater articulation of ideas continue. But Democrats will maintain leverage as long as “low information voters” are in their corner. They’ve got the bully pulpit and the media. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans continue to be concerned with less . . . pressing things. How can conservatives rally to get America out of its bind?
I was inspired by the simplicity of a book I received as a gift over Christmas: Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl. If you’ve followed this blog you know that I freely mix politics and apologetics. I’m not a fan of preaching to the choir, or of drawing out the secret army of people who think like me. Rather, I take the long view in hoping to persuade others as to their basic beliefs.
As you can surmise from the title, Tactics is primarily about having discussions with others. What’s striking about Greg Koukl’s approach is that the goal is modest. When he engages someone in conversation, he’s not out to completely change their views in a half hour. Rather, he wants to jump start their thought process, or put a stone in their shoe, as he so often says. After all, most people have not sat down and thought through their most basic beliefs.
Whether it’s politics or religion, the majority of folks are not staunchly rooted in one camp of belief, but are just content to go along for the ride. Epitomizing these are the low information voters who ushered in President Obama’s second term with all its fallout.
The long slog that conservatives should embrace is the everyday task of gently questioning their neighbors’ assumptions. This is something that comes on all fronts, from the messages of movies watched and songs listened to, to expectations of government and understandings of human nature. It helps to be studied up on history and statistics, but even someone with incomplete knowledge, when armed with the right outlook and simple tools of logic, can make a real difference.
On this New Year’s Day, I’d like to propose a toast for a more carefully thought-through 2013.