The soul of conservatism is defined by sweat equity.
There's a longer and shorter answer to why this is so, but since my purpose here is to convince deep-pocket conservatives that they are misdirecting much of their political giving I'll avoid the longer answer, which we can visit at another time.
Right now our side is losing important ground against the Left because of those lost dollars and there is little time, less than a year, to correct it.
So, I'll speak here primarily to the sweat equity of wealth-builders, and less to the 2) sweat equity of building the House common to most of us, or the 3) sweat equity of developing the conservative Intellect (who Moses Sands called "Protectors"), although they all figure prominently in the composite of American Exceptionalism. All are under assault equally.
Suffice it to say that the notion of sweat equity itself is under assault in America, and I think it is time for our most successful members to step in and stop it. For you see, individual House builders, like most of us, and smart guys like Sowell and Krauthammer, are really quite limited in what they can do to stem this new kind of assault being made on the American soul. Fighting this enemy requires organizational planning above and beyond grass roots political activism and getting out the vote every two years. It requires more than best sellers. It even requires more than popular talk shows and media. Much more. It requires well-targeted, well-planned money.
Our Achilles Heel
While personally I would like for a few conservatives to redirect a few of those dollars down avenues I have in mind, seeking outcomes I think are important, there is something a little more fundamental to be considered here first...
...for conservatism's greatest strengths (we work for our livelihoods and generally think the best of each other) have been turned against us, while the Left's greatest weaknesses (they bitch and whine, doth party and sloth a lot and are filled with hate) have been turned into assets.
Irony of ironies, one of Aesop's most ancient lessons has been turned on its head, for the wastrel Grasshoppers are not just defeating, but dispossessing, the industrious Ants precisely because of their wastrel ways.
How can this, how can this be? In Vegas this is called the break-the-bank, all-or-nothing crap shoot; for they're gone all-in, and have become a swarm of locusts, a plague, gambling that we still believe we can rush out to the fields and swat them away with blankets.
About sweat equity, we need to remember:
The Founders understood that free men would aspire to be the best they can be if provided the open doors to do so. That men should try to create wealth, and then spread it around according to their tastes is as natural a desire as men can have.
And despite what Marx said, this is Good. For we are better at spreading around wealth for the common good than all the other systems offered up precisely because we have such a regard for sweat equity in judging men's worth. Those who work hardest merit more.
Provide the open doors, with free and open markets, plus the Rule of Law to protect all the parties, and a House each man can build as his own and pass on, no matter how humble...and then a nation of untold potential will emerge.
And in a moral society (our national mortar) it could last forever, for our success would precipitate a kind of gratitude that would cause every man who ever made it to the top to then pause, and reach around with a handshake to those at the bottom still struggling to rise, thus repeating the process over and over again.
The entire doctrine of liberty found in the Constitution is designed around the free man and woman's right and power to build...from their own House, however humble, to a business or profession of every kind and size....and that it will be perpetuated less through the blood line than through that handshake.
We are a nation of builders, then, and as mentioned above, America is carried forward on the backs of three types of builders, named above, which rightfully compose the heart and soul of conservatism in America.
Now, I've written a lot here about "the handshake". As a reminder, consider its math...
The successful man naturally passes on the bulk of his financial estate to his children. But the Constitutional blueprint "relied" on him passing on much more, for the rule of thumb is three generations and the kids will blow it all anyway, and probably become liberals until they become broke...mostly because they didn't invest the same amount of effort in building either their House or their fortunes. Their sweat equity in their achievements was much less, sometimes zero.
This rule goes back to the early days of Progressivism (American socialism) in the late 1800s, when all those young men who traveled to Europe to study Hegel and Marx to bring back home so as to try and re-engineer America, were the children and grandchildren of prominent, wealthy "builders" of the American experience. So we should all know, from the beginning, liberalism, progressivism and socialism in America was bought and paid for with someone else's sweat equity.
And we also know it's very difficult to keep the ideal of sweat equity in the family once a certain amount of wealth is obtained. So of equal importance to the Constitutional blueprint is that the wealthy man must pass on "his legacy" of success by extending his hand back down the hill to those coming up behind. This handshake is a bond, not unlike the Eucharist, that links him to every generation of builder who came before him and to every would-be builder he can touch who will come after him. It is an acknowledgment that once upon a time he'd been there, too. It is a quiet prayer of thanksgiving in one direction while a "Follow me, boys" in the other.
The loss of this handshake, and its meaning, has been the failed legacy of conservative wealth in America in the last forty years.
It's that simple.
The ugly truth is that those who earn their wealth with the sweat equity of having actually built a thing, being practical men after all, are reluctant to spend or invest money unless according to models that helped them build their wealth in the first place, while...
...the wealthy of the Left, who either inherited it, or obtained it on the backs of the sweat equity of others, or by luck (film and television personalities and the like, Hollywood, and yes, stardom is 95% luck, the other half good looks, sprinkled with just a dash of talent) have spent it as willy-nilly as they acquired it. They invest only to perpetuate privilege for themselves and sloth for their patrons. Easy come, easy go.
Now, America had lived for generations under the assumption that those who can, do, while those who can't...well, they er, complain...and that the doers, by-right-of-merit, will always overshadow the complainers, in most part because they outnumber them. This "law" is not inviolate, however, for it ignores still higher laws of math, as when the complainers start to catch up with the doers in number, and are then allied with armies of politicians, bureaucrats and professionals with a sweat equity ratio of say 2:1, (builders range in the 10:1-and-up range) who have learned they can profit by fleecing the builders for the benefit of both the complainers and the fleecers.
By 1970 this had become the new rising economic class in America for they had become so good at fleecing the builders and their earned wealth that they'd hunkered down, spending almost all their time just trying to hold onto their rightful earnings...while entire university disciplines, including business school and law school, were dedicated to propagating this sort of unnatural and self-destructive universe of Feeding-the-complainers-for-profit, Inc. There have been many casualties, highest among them, the handshake.
America is now under the control (temporarily we hope) in all its government offices, in many of our corporate offices, and in almost all our schools of higher learning, of people who never built a thing and have about as much sweat equity in their stolen wealth as Joe Biden does in his original thoughts.
This is where we're getting killed; not in lack of spirit or willingness to fight, nor a lack of able-bodied men and women, or heaven forbid, a dubious Cause. Our soldiers are fit and keen and willing to carry the fight to the enemy. But all they have are blankets for swatting bugs.
We're getting killed because the Left is pouring millions into destroying us, both politically and culturally, while true conservatives are holding back, waiting for someone else to come to them with a better plan. And they are looking in all the wrong places.
Conservative wealth has this exactly backwards. Let me explain why this is so.
We (and the world) lost Russia because American business (granted, its 1990's class) was waiting for the Russians to come to them. To find them. Only the Russians didn't know how. With genius and creativity of incredible scope and the ability to earn millions for anyone who would simply meet them half way, the Russians didn't even know what Yellow Pages were. They couldn't find a dentist in Gorkiy, let alone an American company who might be interested in a new theory on permutations that could change computer science.
So we lost them. And today Russia (and Russians) hate us. That window has been shut.
But if you think losing Russia was bad...
...try losing the goose that feeds you.
The long and short of it; this is the real bottom line math
Builders, true builders are becoming more and more rare in America, both at the high end and small business end of American business. Squeezing small business has been the result, if not also the intent, of the entire Obama economic plan from the outset. They figure they've already co-opted the corporate side of business in that there are so few "from scratch" builders out there anymore. They don't take you very seriously in that your political activism is so predictable. And they are mostly correct, for the government's interests and Big Business' interests are becoming increasingly intertwined. The Grasshoppers are overwhelming the Builder Ants.
I argue this has all been by design, but I am not an economist. I only know socialists and know what Marxists have always viewed as their greatest impediment in America...the builders.
Our real builders are being squeezed out by takers, people with no more sweat equity than what it took to get through law school, business school and fill out an OF-6512. BFD. Entire corners of our financial institutions are inhabited by people and systems that build nothing. You can acquire great wealth today, inside the system, without creating "new wealth" of any kind; not one new job, not one new dollar. George Soros comes to mind. So do the political "investors" of the Left. They create play money and spend it just as lasciviously. Their plan, a la Europe, is to replace real money with play money. Then power will be the only currency, just as it was in Middle Ages.
So it comes down to this (I'm addressing this to the rich, now)
You must first recognize the threat, namely that the goose that laid the golden goose is about to be plucked and put into the oven. You not only have to choose sides, but you have to take decisive action...on your own.
My recommended solution:
1) Make your own assessments of the situation and what needs to be done, but with a vision of the real stakes in this.
We recently suggested this to the freshman class in Congress, for they have to hire staff who, from Day One have interests that are not in the Congressman's promises to his district's best interests. Avoid this.
So, do not contract your best assessment skills out, even to me (I only consult) but especially to the Republican "Have Tux Will Travel" National Committee. Many of the 501(3)(c) groups you support have many people who would love to roll up their sleeves and move from the analysis side to the operational side of matters. Find them. Task them.
And there are all kinds of people out here who can get things done for you, efficiently, expeditiously, and without large overheads due to expensive tastes in ties. But you must first define the outcome.
2) Target your donations based on an outcome of your own design.
If you have one thing, or many things, that just seem "Wrong" to you, find the people who can make it right. Many are not in Congress. They're out here. A network, in fact. Create an ops center and find them, for they've always been out here...waiting for you to find them, because they couldn't get to you on a bet otherwise, and you don't have to buy them new blazers.
3) Consider the bottom line, as you do with your 501(c)(3) donations, but never forget the intangible bottom line that cannot be measured in dollars and cents...
...the one that got you here in the first place, and your duty to protect it and pass it on. Your 501(c) (3) support is a nice 33% drag from your tax debt but it can't keep you, and your kind, out of the cross hairs. Your tax deductible grants will not protect the core of yours, or America's business.
You greatest investment is in this thing called America goes forward, and yes, that is no longer tax deductible.
So, take a portion of your political money off the table and put it under the table. (This always keeps them guessing.)
If you want to call this a tithe, be my guest, but you owe...yes, you owe...all of us out here to meet this locust swarm with all that you can summon to insure that the fertile field that brought you forth and the generations before you is not plowed over into a golf course for the Grasshopper set.
Do your homework.
In short, become the master of your political giving just as you were in building your company.
In the words of the balladeer Billy Ed Wheeler:
You've got to prime the pump, you have faith and believe
You've got to give yourself before you're worthy to recieve
Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face to your feet
But leave the Bottle filled for others
Thank you kindly, Desert Pete
Passing the Plate
I'll say it straight out; the Left's infrastructure can be brought down but you will have to take a direct hand in it. Five-ten years, tops, and tens of millions less than they had to spend erecting it. Understand, they know their own weakness, so they still can't stop you. You hold the winning hand, just play your cards.