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SPEECH: Revamp Conservative Message, Win Young Hearts and Minds (VIDEO)

Over the last four decades, progressives have used popular culture to turn Americans into collectivists, but the war of ideas is winnable by conservatives if they would just get smart and savvy on how they argue their side.

So says Bill Whittle, a popular conservative commentator who spoke recently at the Western Conservative Summit in a speech titled “Taking Back the Moral High Ground.”

“If this party cannot sell freedom, private property and virtue, then we don’t deserve to be in this business,” Whittle told the crowd, which gathered in Denver in July for the annual conference. “We have got to get in this fight.”

The talk largely centered on why young people mostly vote Democratic, and how to explain to twentysomethings why that’s wrong.

“Very few people vote based on the issues,” he said. “Young people … vote based on two things: What they think is the morally superior position … and which one of these guys is the coolest.”

The problem, he said, can be traced to what young people have been taught and trained to believe through popular culture – think movies, television, music, and the like.

Gone are the days of Superman, who represented truth, justice, and the American way, he said. Take the theme song to the popular sitcom Family Guy, which many young people in the audience sung by memory when prompted by Whittle.

“If you are a young person and you can finish the sentence for Family Guy, then all the anti-American, anti-Capitalism, anti-Christian bile that comes with Family Guy has gone into the heads of those young people – and that is why they vote (for Democrats),” he said. “They vote because conservatives are uncool and conservatives are evil, and if we don’t start going after this evil aspect face-on, we are going to lose elections no matter who the candidate is.”

Progressives, through pop culture, have for the last 40 years repeated the same mantra: “Wealth is unearned, everybody is special, and let us help you,” Whittle said.

“It’s managed to turn the freest people in the world to about 50 percent collectivist socialists,” he said.

Progressives, socialists and Democrats – through pop culture – have convinced young people wealth is unearned, which is why they support outrageous tax rates and redistribution policies, he said.

They have also successfully infused the notion that “everyone gets a trophy” into the fabric of American minds, he said.

“Well folks, if everyone is special, then nobody is special,” he said. “If everyone is inherently special than achievement means nothing, goals and hard work means nothing, there is nothing more special about a brain surgeon than the guy who hangs out in the back of 7/11 and smokes doobies all day.”

“They want us to stop thinking of ourselves as individuals and start thinking about ourselves as all the same.”

And finally, Whittle said, the mantra of “let me help you” has turned America into a nation of handouts: free housing, free food, free healthcare, free phones.

“Why won’t those rotten evil Republicans let us help you – all we want in exchange is all of your work, all of your freedom, and all of your energy,” he said.

Many people say President Barack Obama is the problem, but he’s not, Whittle added.

“Barack Obama is the symptom of the problem, it’s the cultural decay that’s the problem,” he said, prompting a wave of applause.

The way to fight back is “astonishingly simple,” Whittle said.

For one, don’t talk to Millennials using words such as “freedom, private property and virtue … young people will look at you with glassy eyes,” he said.

Don’t say freedom – teach freedom, he advised.

To demonstrate this, Whittle mentioned when he spoke recently at Oberlin College, he asked the students: “Raise your hand if you want to be left alone?” Most of the students raised their hands. “Now raise your hand if you like to tell other people what to do?” Nobody raised their hand.

“The Democrat Party tells people what car to drive, soda size, whether or not you can have an air conditioner in your house,” he said. “We are not that party.”

When it comes to private property, ask young people to put their money where their mouth is; they will soon find out they are not as socialistic as they think.

Whittle commented how he asked the same group of students at Oberlin College, “What is the primary tenant of socialism?” Not one of them could answer.

So he says, “To each according to his own.” And the students started nodding their heads in excitement.

Then Whittle asked the students to bring down their cell phones so they could “sell them at a pawn shop” and give the money to those less fortunate. Not one student gave up their phone. Whittle said at that moment students understood they owned wealth and became “rock-ribbed conservatives.”

“You have to call them out to their faces, and make them live up to the standard of socialism,” he said.

As for selling virtue, put it like this, Whittle advised: “Virtue means this: Don’t be a jerk. If you are not a jerk, we can leave you alone, you can be free. If you are a jerk, we need policemen and traffic cameras and bailiffs and wardens. So don’t be a jerk, and we can all be left alone.”

Finally, Whittle said it’s time for Republicans to stop being wimps.

“Truth, history, and logic are on our side,” he said.

Fix contributor Aslinn Scott is a student at CU Boulder.

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