This next statement might shock, but ultimately it’s true. Conservatives do a bad job of expressing care in the public political arena.
The problem begins with tone. Too often do we as conservatives insist on asserting the rightness of the facts that support our conservative world view. Ben Shapiro’s tagline “facts don’t care about your feelings” is the perfect example of this claim. Shapiro’s statement implies that conservatives should ignore people’s emotional sensitivities.
Not only is this a rhetorically ineffective and unsatisfying reaction to the left’s general attitude, it makes it easy to portray conservatives as being ignorant of those who are rightfully distressed about their living conditions. ( I’m not personally criticizing Mr. Shapiro. Rather I’m arguing his most well-known quote doesn’t help conservatives shed the stigma of being emotionally cold. )
In response to this exclusively fact oriented way of communicating, conservatives would be better off by being proactive in politely stating why conservatism — and by extension capitalism — appeals to everyone including the poor. As an ideology it works, it helps, and creates. In big cities, like New York for example, conservative policy — that policy being repealing liberal zoning laws — would likely bring more jobs, better housing, and lower costs to many in need.
And to further accentuate this idea that conservatives really do care, conservatives should start showing a greater interest in art and culture. Artists and creative types offer a lot to society. They bring personality and charm to world that can be cruel and uninviting. They draw attention to the inherent goodness of human civilization. They add stimulating visual flair that contrasts against the drabness and gloominess of nature. Being apathetic toward art and artists sends a bad message that conservatives aren’t interested in expressive people who help make life worth living.
Most importantly conservatives ought to exercise restraint in trolling others. Don’t get me wrong — trolling can be funny and amusing. I’ve done it before. But so often trolling degenerates into a gross and lasting mutual resentment. That’s neither healthy nor helpful. Conservatives should drop the trolling, and work to extend our civility to those who know little about the conservative cause.
Doing so will help create a new generation of compassionate conservatives, a group of driven future leaders strengthened by their capacity to be caringly thoughtful in all things political. That would be progress not only for conservatism, but for all of humanity.