I'm short of time, so this will be rough.
I posted the basic point of this post over at neo-neocon's blog where she is calling for a march on Washington to oppose the Iran deal, and the conversation turned to the reasons why the right doesn't do activism very well.
One reason the right isn't good at activism is because we're amateurs, and amateurs pay for what they do. Professionals get paid.
The left understood long ago that they were insurgents. As I'm sure all of you know, one of the problems of waging an insurgency is logistics. The insurgent's answer is to steal the enemy's provisions and use them. So, if insurgents need guns, food, ammo, or just about any materiel, the best place to get it from is the enemy's supply lines. It's a double-win -- you deny the enemy materiel he has paid for, and you get to use it against him.
The American left took this to heart and went after the professions where they would get paid for their activism by the very system they intended to overthrow. They became professors and teachers, researchers with government grants, social activists and community organizers (also with government grants), government employees with powerful unions, judges, Hollywood movie makers and news reporters. The members of these groups get paid for their activism, and then they go out for a good time or home to enjoy the weekend.
The right is in the opposite position. If they want to take action, they lose money. They have to take time off from work, or close the shop for the day, or spend their day off on it. They have to pay their own transportation, and buy their own signs, and in the end it saps their resources and makes them tired and hard to get along with.
The left is paid and energized from their activism, the right is drained of money and energy in theirs.
50 years ago, the left was the insurgency. Today the positions are reversed, but many on the right still look to conventional forces for salvation: maybe the GOP will turn it around, maybe the Koch brothers will buy up some major media outlets, maybe Jesus will return and we won't have to mess with any of it anymore.
Conventional forces still have a role to play, but conservative politicians and other public figures can't fight nearly as effectively as
they should because they have tremendous strategic disadvantages. The left controls the strategically essential ground of the universities and educational system in general, they have tremendous air superiority in the mainstream media, and they have a direct line to the hearts and minds of the citizenry through the entertainment media. If the conservative tanks roll out, they are immediately hit with artillery from universities full of enemy experts, enemy airwave assets degrade their credibility and reputation, and then the ground troops, high on the false promises of Hollywood moral crusades, move in and finish the job. Conservatives have seen this play out over and over, but for some reason many of them are still waiting for the cavalry to come over that hill.
Well, they can't get here. They're bottled up. They'd probably be destroyed if they genuinely tried to break through, as we saw with the government shutdown. We need to take out a good part of the enemy's air assets and take a bunch of those hills and mountains. We need movies and novels and songs and poems to build up the courage of our fellow fighters. We need to create the situation on the ground where our conventional forces are free to maneuver and bring their big guns to bear on the fight. The only way to win this is to embrace the reversal and throw ourselves into our role as infiltrators and insurgents.
And that means we need to get paid for our activism, preferably by the same system we hope to overthrow.