Lessons from Toppling Tinpot Dictators

Wretchard of The Belmont Club has an interesting lesson I think Second Amendment Activists could take to heart.  In the comments:

One thing I learned from hard experience is you always start from where people are. Not from where you want them to start. You have to take people step by step, on the basis of their own experience, getting them to reflect on it to their own conclusions. Just because you “know” doesn’t mean you can force what you “know” down people’s throats. They have to figure things out for themselves. It’s not a function of being unsure of your beliefs. Just an acceptance of the fact that people have to travel their own road to the same spot you may be standing on.

There are no shortcuts. Fourteen years it took us to knock down a tinpot dictator. And we did largely by letting him expose himself. The key was to set up what I would call the reflectional infrastructure. You got people together. And they figured things out. But that required energy to overcome entropy. Just no way around it. I don’t think it necessary to create one big conservative opposition to socialism. You can create people who are opposed to socialism out of greed; some out of philosophy; others out of a desire for liberty. Still others for reasons they can’t articulate. It dudn’t matter. Also organizations have the disquieting tendency to fall apart after they’ve formed. Coalitions are always splitting up or coming together. It’s like trying to build a sandcastle. Still if you keep at, as the Temptations used to say, ‘Our Day Will Come’.

And when the Day comes it won’t solve all the problems of the world. It will just keep the night back for one more day. Our job isn’t to fix things for all time, but to keep this old world running for the time we’re on it. Like Gandalf said, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Wretchard is speaking from experience organizing against Ferdinand Marcos.  We don’t have tinpot dictators to topple, just minds to change, and allies to make.  What opportunities the Obama administration will give us we don’t know yet, but we should be prepared for strange bedfellows.  As I’ve said before, I don’t need someone to have 100% buy in to our cause to find them useful.  John McCain certainly isn’t a high philosopher of Second Amendment rights, but on the really important stuff, he got it.  I am more interested in advancing my cause than in finding philisophical fellow travelers.

This past Tuesday, manning the phones to turn out the vote for our NRA endorsed tickets, I was working along side two orthodox Jews; a father and son team.  I did not know for what reasons they thought it important to show up to make phone calls.  I know little of their overall political philosophy.  I’m sure much of it would be alien to me.  But for 12 hours in the call center, none of that mattered.  For different reasons we were working toward the same thing.  Too often gun owners take a black or white path toward building allies; anyone who deosn’t buy in completely is a pariah.  To be effective, you have to be willing to work with what fortune gives you someitmes.

One Response to “Lessons from Toppling Tinpot Dictators”

  1. Jeff says:

    You’re exactly right. This is why the Libertarian Party is an abject failure. They waste time arguing over whose ideology is purer instead of trying to build common ground and move in the right direction. I’ve given up on them and am now hoping we can get the Republican Party to at least start shrinking the federal government.


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