The role and failure of conservative thought leaders

Conservative thought leaders really should restrain the conservative masses. There was a time when conservative thought leaders would have universally condemned screaming obscenities at the President. Large crowds screaming "F*** Bill Clinton" would have been unthinkable only a quarter century ago, and universally condemned by conservative and Republican leadership. Furthermore, there was a time when those leaders would have been respected enough that such chants would have largely stopped. That time has long since passed, sadly.

We have seen this collapse of basic civility due to three things: First, being crude gets ratings, attention, social media shares and populist support. Second, those who are more grounded and will not support these things will be silent because they are afraid of the base. Even church leaders around the nation have largely been silent, and refused to admonish those who refuse to honor the authority God has placed over us.

Third, conservative elites have abandoned the battlefield. They have refused to fight against the advance of the Left, so "deploables" have had to show up on the battlefield. The thought leaders who abandoned the fight then wag their fingers at the "deploables" for their crude behavior, but those thought leaders have lost the trust of the masses by refusing to fight in the first place. You cannot regain the trust of the masses unless you fight, and if your entire career is "punching right" you will never regain that trust and respect.

The advance of the Left and the conservative establishment's refusal to fight back is what led to the rise of Donald Trump. That support was there when he flirted with running for President in 2011, with the same justification used then: "At least he fights." Conservative leaders who want to restore a sense of decency, then, need to regain the trust of the masses by actually fighting back, without being nasty and crude. Furthermore, making a principled stand against obscene chants must be done by treating people as equals, not with disdain and not in a condescending way.

A restoration of civility on the Right can be done, but it will be hard work.