He who controls the language controls the masses.

– Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

It is true that we now have a Republican majority government. Technically, we won. But as evidenced by the negative visceral reactions echoed across the social and mainstream media spectrum, the battle for the culture still rages.

Now, more than ever, we have to understand how progressives have made gains in the culture war.

The Left’s Verbal Offensive

Leftists understand the power of language—so much so that they have used it to successfully influence our culture. Words are their weapon, and they wield them like a sword.  As conservatives, we have wielded a shield instead of a swords.  We have largely played defense, trying to prove that we are not what progressives say we are: hateful, ignorant, bigots, etc.

Despite these efforts, leftists have continued to play offense, spewing buzzwords and attempting to redefine opposing beliefs as hateful or dangerous. Now, words such as “homophobic”, “racist” and “bigot” seem to have been thrown around by progressives so carelessly for so long that they have practically become devoid all of meaning. As a result, progressives have cheated themselves by preventing legitimate grievances from receiving the time and attention that they deserve.

But if that is the case, then why does leftism still seem pervasive in our culture? In my opinion, this is the result of too many shields and not enough swords.

A Conservative Response

So what is the solution? The secret is simple: it is not solely about wielding the weapon of words, but about knowing how and when to use it.  If we truly value our beliefs, we cannot not afford to drain the truth of its meaning and compromise its value.

To use your words effectively, you must be selective with your battles.  The battles worth fighting are the ones that we fight to preserve our core values: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and everything else contained within our Constitution. Focusing our battles on these core issues also highlights the empty, deceitful, and manipulative language that has been used by progressive elements to influence our culture.

Wielding our words at the right place and at the right time helps build credibility for your views. With that credibility, you can successfully go on the offense. When you use the right language for the right occasion, your words wield power.

History’s Example

Throughout history, Republicans and conservatives have made positive change through their judicious and timely use of words. Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, affirmed the founding principle that all men are created equal. When Ronald Reagan called for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to dismantle the Berlin Wall, his words sent a powerful message that the people of Europe would no longer accept communist oppression.

Our goal, then, should not simply be to win people over.  Rather, we must expose injustice, speak truth, and offer viable solutions to counter any opposition to our constitutional rights.

In the battle for the culture, history has shown that the key to failure comes from either overuse of a shield or a recklessly swung sword.  By contrast, success comes from using our weapons wisely.