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Money in Politics: Everyone Complains About It, but Every Political Movement Needs It

Yes, everyone complains about the role of money in politics, but nobody’s figured out how to run a political movement or party without money.  Get it from lobbyists?  Special interests?  Billionaires?  Conservatives in the 1960s figured out a better way.

Money in politicsBut I’m getting ahead of myself.  We will discover that “better way” in coming weeks.  Meanwhile, this is the concluding excerpt from Chapter 3 (“The Recipe for Creating a New Mass Movement”) of America’s Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power, by Richard A. Viguerie and David Franke.

In this excerpt we will see how the first two media revolutions of 1517 and 1776 were financed.  We will also learn why the ruling establishment is so often caught off-guard by a new revolutionary movement.

Valuable lessons for today.

Chapter 3

The Recipe for Creating a

New Mass Movement

Money to fund the revolution 

Everyone complains about the role of money in politics, but nobody’s figured out how to run a political movement or party without money. 

In the case of the Lutheran Reformation, most of the money came in the form of church members’ tithes, and the big change came when the collection plates stayed in Germany rather than following the path to Rome.  Merchant entrepreneurs put up the funds for presses, but they did that for profit, not charity, which no doubt explains why the new printing industry grew so fast – it wasn’t a government printing office run by bureaucrats.  It was a free-market venture propelled by capitalism and competition.   The German princes were Luther’s third source of funding (as we’ve seen, the Catholic Church got even less financial support than verbal support from these German princes).

By the time of the American Revolution, we had a fully developed merchant class, unlike anything the world had seen before.  Merchants now had real financial power, and they were committed to independence ahead of the rest of the population.  As a result of the Stamp Act, the printers above all were united for independence and took a lead in supporting the cause with their presses.  Of course, actually fighting a war takes a lot more money than agitating for one, and George Washington had great difficulty getting that funding – until Tom Paine came to the rescue.

And then there’s the establishment…

On the surface, the establishment holds all the important cards – power, prestige, and the big bucks, obtained through taxation and generous donations from special interests that want access to power.  That can work very well, for long periods of time, as long as most people are generally contented – or too powerless to pose a threat.

Under the surface, however, the establishment may be vulnerable in ways that are not readily apparent.  Support may appear to be widespread, when in reality it is very thin – a veneer of support without substance.  Most important, power corrupts – as Lord Acton reminded us – and that corruption isn’t limited to pecuniary concerns or arbitrary police powers.  Often most fatal is the conceit to which power holders fall victim that they deserve to be in power – perhaps even by divine will – and therefore will remain in power, tomorrow as today.

You get that conceit when you only talk and listen to people just like you – the other members of your establishment.  Court intrigues abound, but the peasants – who cares or worries about them!  And so, when some incipient protest first surfaces, your first reaction is to ignore it.  If that doesn’t work, you ridicule it.  And if that doesn’t work, you take steps to try and suppress it.  You rely on your authority, not persuasion, to maintain the status quo.

Both the Catholic Church (in Luther’s day) and the British king and his court (in the 18th century) were so impressed by their own claims to authority – and so isolated from the reality of the world about them – that they failed to take action in time to forestall revolution.  The Catholic Church saw no need to employ the printing press in the way those “rude Germans” were using it.  The Church relied, instead, on its centuries of authority by decree.  King George was just as removed from reality, and 3,000 miles of ocean between his throne and the colonies exacerbated his plight.  How was he to know that the colonists had become a different breed of people from his subjects at home?

As the new revolutionary movement grows, of course, some elements of the establishment opt to join the new order.  In Luther’s case, this brings us once again to those German princes, who needed little persuading to stop the money flow to Rome.  And in the case of the Americans, they had considerable support among the Whigs in England, while in the colonies there was a steady stream of conversions to the revolutionary cause, especially when the alternative became banishment to Canada.

Fast-forward to the year 1955

 It is now time to advance to the main object of this book – to show how the conservative movement rose from obscurity to attain power in the second half of the 20th century.  What was the “recipe” that brought this new mass movement into power?  We’ll look at the motivating issues, the dedicated vanguard, the communication networks, and especially the conservatives’ new media weapon, which also served as its main source of funding. 

Most intriguingly, as we’ll see, history once again repeated itself in the actions of the ruling liberal establishment, which sought first to ignore the conservatives, then to ridicule them, then to suppress them, while refusing to utilize the new media weapon until it was too late.

Now, push that fast-forward button in your mind….


America’s Right Turn serialization:

To order American's Right Turn from Amazon please click this link.

“Media Monopolies Declare War on Conservatives” (introduction to this serialization)

“What Conservatives Can Learn from the West’s First Media Revolution” (Chapter 1) 

“What Conservatives Can Learn from America’s First Media Revolution” (Chapter 2)

“The Factors That Created a Grassroots Conservative Movement” (first excerpt from Chapter 3)

“More Factors That Created a Grassroots Conservative Movement” (second excerpt from Chapter 3)

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Military protecting our border(s)

Until wall is up & tested - - - necessary.
Also need Term Limits & mandatory drug testing for all in Congress.

And some way to reduce the massive corruption in the Congress.