How to Carry on the Pilgrims’ Mission

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere.

Pilgrims1

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats. 

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities. 

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  –William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world. 

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.  

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive. 

How to Carry-On the Pilgrims’ Mission

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere.

Pilgrim's Progress Map
Pilgrim’s Progress Map

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats.

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities.

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  –William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world.

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive.

Left Doubles Down on Threats

Reading Time: 1 minutes

What would you do? 

Suppose you did something stupid.  You blamed the wrong person, for instance, for a capital crime.  Then supposed one of your comrades compounded your . . . error . . . by threatening to kill someone on national television?

BillMaherAngryIf you’re an American leftist, you might double down by issuing even more death threats to even more people.

That’s what’ happening right now in America.  Death threats are pouring into Trent Humphries, Tucson Tea Party organizer, Dana Loesch, Sarah Palin (who vows not to be silenced), Glenn Beck, and more.  The self-proclaimed conscience of America—collectivist lefists—have essentially declared war on the right. 

Gateway Pundit and the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition issued a press release on January 17 denouncing the left’s continued threat of violence as means of advancing its anti-liberty agenda.

To counter the left’s increasing vitriol and violence, please publicly thank three people today.

I’ll start:

Thank you, Jim Hoft, for bringing to our attention the mounting threats Trent Humphries is receiving.

Thank you, Jen Ennenbach for crafting a great press release on the issues.

Thank you, Dana Loesch, for continuing to keep our voices in the national ear.

And a bonus:  thank you for honoring by reading my little web missives. 

*UPDATE* J. Eric Fuller issues apology to Trent Humphries.

Is Bill Maher’s Vitriol Responsible for Arrest?

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Last week, America’s sleaziest leftists—Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, E. J. Dionne, Paul Krugman, others – have executed a prepared BillMaherAngrypropaganda war against anyone who disagrees with them. Their theorem is: vitriolic rhetoric inspires conservatives to act out in violence.

Unfortunately for the loony left, there was no evidence to support their theorem.  The evidence they falsely pointed to—Jarod Lee Loughner’s deranged murder rampage in Tucson—was determined to be a lie only hours after the event.

Undaunted, Maher, Krugman, Donne, Matthews, and crew continued to lie, lie, lie, lie.  They refused to let go of their story, false though it was.

On Saturday, the leftist “rhetoric = violence” cult got something close to vindication.  Perhaps responding to the hateful, violent rhetoric from Krugman, Matthews, Maher, Dionne, and Olbermann, Tucson shooting victim and hard-left activist, J. Eric Fuller, was arrested for communicating a direct threat against a tea party leader in Tucson. (More at Michelle Malkin.)

Fuller issued the threat after photographing tea party leader Trent Humphries. (Was the photo’s purpose to help the hit man ID the target?)

If Krugman, Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, et al, were correct in their assessment of blame to conservatives, then Krugman, Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, et al, are at least as guilty of conveying a threat as Fuller.

But if Krugman, Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, et al, were wrong about rightwing rhetoric, than I am wrong about their culpability in Eric Fuller’s psycho moment.

I think there are only two people responsible for their criminal actions: Loughner and Fuller. But I think Krugman, Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, Dionne, et al, are guilty of exploiting tragedy and emotions to destroy their political opponents.

An Extensive Interview with Missouri News Horizon

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When I hear all the lies, slanders, and threats against the Tea Party movement from folks on the left, I wish I could counter with a fuller examination of my beliefs. Luckily, with the help of Missouri News Horizon, I can.

The Friday before the 9/12 Tea Party, I sat down with Rebecca Townsend to talk about the Tea Party.

Rebecca and I chatted for an hour.  She led me through just about every aspect of the Tea Party’s history up to that point.  We also talked about its future.

The time of the interview’s release was tough.  It went to press on 9/11, the day before Gateway to November.  Immediately after, we opened our Victory HQ on Hampton and dove into full campaign mode.

Rebecca’s totally fair coverage—she published the transcript and video whole, without edits—deserves more exposure.

Please feel free to point out this interview to anyone who wants to know how I think or what I believe.

Here’s an excerpt:

Q: WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF WHAT?

The ultimate goal is to make sure people understand the founding principles of our country. Those founding principles may be well known, there’s key phrases we all know, but the thinking behind them I think we tend to forget about because we know the phrases so well.

There’s a reason why Jefferson said the “pursuit of happiness” instead of property, which was the popular phrase of the day – life, liberty and property.

Pursuit of happiness may include the pursuit of private property, but it goes far beyond that. There’s a school of thought that says he chose that because property was so closely associated with slavery and he didn’t want to codify the idea of owning another human being. That may have been part of it, but I believe there’s more to it than that.

The pursuit of happiness: There’s a Harvard researcher named Nancy Etcoff, who begins a fantasticTED.com talk by saying, “We are wired to pursue happiness.”

The way she phrased that is very important. She didn’t say we are wired to be happy, but we’re wired to pursue happiness. She went on to say “not only achieve it, but pursue it again and again.”

We know from neuroscience and psychology that a person who is paralyzed and a person who wins the lottery one year after the event will have an equal degree of happiness. Because happiness…we’re driven to want to better ourselves and the world around us. The pursuit of happiness – and Jefferson couldn’t have known this because we didn’t have the science at the time – but he was right, he was way ahead of his time. The pursuit of happiness is as important a right to human beings as the right to defend ourselves from attack.

Going back to the idea that of the negative emotions prevent us from being eaten by tigers and positive emotions prevent us from becoming tigers, if we’re denied the pursuit of happiness, we’re denied the right not to become miserable creatures –miserable to ourselves and miserable to those around us.

In the old Soviet Union in Moscow they did make sure everybody had their basic needs were met. And everyone I’ve met who lived through that era said life was just miserable. Everyone was unhappy. They squabbled, they complained. It was like existing but not being alive.

That’s what happens when government tries to replace our pursuit of happiness with their idea of happiness. Until we establish a good understanding of how important the pursuit of happiness…the unfettered right to pursue of happiness so long as it doesn’t deny someone the right to pursue happiness… until we understand that, we’re in danger of losing that and living the way the Muscovites lived for 70-some years.

Please post your comments on the interview below.

Jay Nixon Putting Party Ahead of Missouri? *UPDATE*

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a massive income tax increase on individuals and businesses.  Overall, it represents about a 67 percent income tax increase.

In response, neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana have wisely mounted massive campaigns to suck businesses and people out of Illinois.  Even New Jersey’s fabulous governor, Chris Christie, plans to fish the Land o’ Lincoln for some business transplants.

One state bordering Illinois has been notoriously silent.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has done nothing to steal business and residents away from Illinois.

Is Nixon being lazy?  Or is he just being a good Democrat?

While we’re at it, why isn’t St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay beating the bushes on the East Side?  The city needs business and people desperately, but Slay has been as silent as Nixon.

Look, people, I realize that we have a lot of friends in Illinois.  My wife is from GC.  Most of her family lives in Madison County.  But businesses and workers are going to flee to the state.  Illinois dropped from the 23rd best tax state to the 36th in one step.  With Democrats in charge of the legislature and the governorship, this increase is only the beginning.  Illinois taxes will rise until the people in Illinois elect tax cutting budget hawks.

In the meantime, Jay Nixon has an obligation to put Missouri’s economy ahead of Democrat party loyalties.  Missouri needs to follow the leads of Indiana, Wisconsin, and New Jersey by campaigning for fleeing Illinois businesses and people.

*UPDATE* Over on United for Missouri, Emily Iles explains the extraordinary dangers to Illinois’ economy this tax hike poses.