Running the World By Bumper Sticker

The Age of Obama brings 60s slogans to vivid life.

The Left's greatest advantage today is its unmatched ability to command the heights of the culture - really, the Left controls nearly all aspects of our national conversation.  From entertainment to news to political analysis to universities, the occasional "far right" speaker is really a centrist at best.  Any genuinely conservative voice gets no airtime, suffering the fate of the tree that falls in the forest with no one to hear it.

Yet this great strength of the Left is also a serious weakness: the shibboleths of the Left are so well-crafted and so pervasive that they are impossible to sweep away down the memory hole when they become obsolete.  And since they are contrary to reality, eventually their falseness and stupidity becomes painfully obvious even to the oblivious.

Consider the panoply of bumper stickers found on your average Prius.

"What if they gave a war and nobody came?"  In the Middle East, we are seeing exactly what happens: the bad guys gleefully broadcast movies of their victims being burned alive or beheaded.  Islam has given a war, the West has elected not to come, and the result is not pretty.

Part of the reason for that is found in another Lefty bumper sticker: "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."  We aren't quite there yet, but we're well on the way: our military is currently being cut to the smallest it has been since before WWII.

Not just ours, either: NATO, supposedly history's greatest and most successful international alliance, has a recommended spending level for each member country of 2% of its GNP.  That's tiny - but as low as it is, only 4 NATO member nations spend even that much!

The American military may not be holding bake sales just yet, but last year Ukraine had to do almost exactly that.  No wonder Mr. Putin thinks he can just waltz in and take over half a country: because he can.  Who has the means to stop him?

Maybe holding a bake sale for aircraft would be a step in the right direction.  Consider the embarrassing situation of England's Senior Service, the Royal Navy, one of the originators of naval aviation.  Just now it has no aircraft carriers at all anymore - the last working ones were decommissioned a few years back, and the new Queen Elizabeth-class ships won't be ready for several years yet.

Even then, they won't be much use because they're designed for the new F35 fighter, not any planes the UK already owns.  This was a bad idea because the F35 has been delayed for years and can't be ready until 2020 at the earliest.  What's worse, due to budget cuts, the Brits don't have the money to buy any.  Anyone for some Royal Navy scones?

The trouble is, it's not possible to fit a fully-formed thought onto a bumper sticker.  Consider the classic "Coexist" design made up of the logos of various religions.

Sounds nice, right?  "Why can't we all just get along?"  The answer to that question is fairly complicated, and doesn't impact all those logos evenly.

As Gov. Bobby Jindahl pointed out, "The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President.  Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today."  There is a slightly different bumper sticker that might help Mr. Obama figure out how that can best be done, since that seems to be the terms he best thinks in.

In a world of 30-second soundbites and tritely meaningless slogans, the Right needs to step up and do a better job of communication.  The great works of Adam Smith and Friedrich von Hayek won't fit on a bumper sticker, nor will even the Ten Commandments, but there are still ways to get the point across in a way brain-atrophied Low Information Voters can comprehend.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

You display a quite a lack of history by describing anything in the middle east as a war that the west did not come to.

February 19, 2015 4:28 AM

They've been fighting each other for thousands of years. Ethnic conflict in the Middle East has been a reality of all written history we have.

The idiocy is thinking that we can settle a conflict that old. Only the loser can end a war:

February 19, 2015 6:54 PM

The United States has participated in plenty of wars in the Middle East. But Obama declared the war over a few years back, don't you remember? So indeed, we are not turning up for this round.

February 20, 2015 8:07 AM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...