The Lost Art Of Persuasion
In order for conservatism to survive and thrive in America, we conservatives had better be about the business of persuading others to accept the truth of our political ideology.
This should be obvious to anyone, but what is at least equally obvious is that some conservatives do not actually engage in effective persuasion.
We need to change that if we intend to keep the Radical Left from remaking America. Or fundamentally changing it. Or "building back better." Or whatever the Radical Left's next misleading slogan is.
Persuasion is a skill. It's an art. It doesn't focus on being right, rather it focuses on communicating the truth that has been revealed to us with others so that they are prepared and willing to accept it.
Persuasion meets people where they are. Without judgment. It seeks to find common ground yet without compromising its principles. It listens and holds its tongue until the right time to speak. It's patient. It's kind. It doesn't focus on winning the argument but rather finding a way to move more of us toward the truth.
Persuasion isn't something you do to someone but rather something you do for someone. Or perhaps even better yet, with someone.
Persuasion doesn't insist that the other person sees every single minute detail exactly the same way we do. It isn't pushy. Or overwhelming. Or insistent.
It simply communicates. Passionately, yes. But not annoyingly. Not condescendingly. Not angrily.
Effective persuasion absolutely requires that we know the truth and are convicted by it. But let us remember how we came to accept the truth. Did we fully accept it in an instant? Did we agree with it because someone screamed it at us? Did we embrace it because its power was revealed to us over time quietly in our hearts and minds?
I'm reminded of what Dale Carnegie said about persuasion: "Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still."
It is opinions we are seeking to change. And that is never done by force. In fact, trying to change opinions by force violates the very liberties we claim we seek to embrace and protect through conservatism.
Many people consider themselves to be conservative, yet it should alarm us that many in the younger generation have seemingly been hypnotized by the rhetoric and propaganda of the Radical Left. (By the way, there is nothing particularly uncommon about this: younger people tend to skew liberal.)
If we want to win the cultural and political battle raging in America today, we are going to have to find a way to communicate with and persuade those who do not accept constitutional conservatism or the ideas that have made this nation great throughout history.
So how do we do that?
First, we have to believe the right things.
We have to embrace and believe in the principles our Founders built this great nation upon. We need to recognize that our liberties come neither from man nor government, but from God. That all people are created by God to live free. That we are citizens, not subjects. That we all have within us reflection of our Almighty Creator and, as such, do not need anyone else
Second, we have to be the right type of people.
We must remain humble. Respectful. Thoughtful. We must love and care for other people, even if they may annoy us! If you are a Christian reading this, there are probably several Bible verses that come to mind here. Live those out. (And if you're not a Christian and would like to learn more about that, I always welcome you to personally correspond with me about this topic by contacting me as described below in this article.)
And third, we have to handle the interaction the right way.
This is similar to the second point but also differs in key ways. This is the step where "the rubber meets the road." We must be engaging. Respectful. Thoughtful. Good listeners. Patient. Kind. Skilled at asking thought-provoking questions. The type of people who earn the right to be heard instead of demanding that others listen before we've earned that right.
So who can you begin to persuade, starting today? The future of this great nation depends upon our collective willingness and ability to do just that.
Todd Huff is a conservative, not bitter, political and cultural commentator, talk show host, podcaster, and columnist. He is also the founder of Conservative, Not Bitter University (CNBU). For more information about Todd, CNBU, or his daily talk show, visit toddhuffshow.com or download the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.