January 24, 2011

614 words 3 mins read

How to Carry-On the Pilgrims’ Mission

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.

[caption id=“attachment_16457” align=“alignnone” width=“800”]Pilgrim’s Progress Map Pilgrim’s Progress Map[/caption]

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  ([email protected]) 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.