attendees in the hallway at sgs13This past weekend I attended Smart Girl Summit, an event geared towards conservative-leaning women. The object of the weekend was to discuss and exchange ideas on culture, politics, policy, and how we can grab the steering wheel of the country and jerk it out of its perpetual left turn. One of the many panels held was on youth.

There is always a panel on youth at these types of events – whether it’s BlogCon, Western Conservative Summit, CPAC, or Smart Girl Summit. The question is always the same: what’s the problem with youth in conservatism? I should clarify, that I am using “conservative” to encompass such ideologies and constitutionalism, libertarianism, Republicanism, the Rand Paul Fan Club, Federalism, TEA party, and others – but that’s a long list to go through every time.

Usually, the panelists, who are members of “the youth,” will all eventually say that messaging and branding is the problem conservatism has with youth. Well, the panelists this time were barely out of the gates when the messaging and branding bomb was dropped. I swear to you, I almost lost my giblets.

My first article on Standard Excellence was about how we need to grab youth before college, when they are school-aged. Because, by the time Youth reach college, they have actually been conditioned to think Socialism and Progressivism are good. Not only that they are good, but that being a Socialist or Progressive makes you a good person, and the alternatives make you evil and a bunny-killer.

The young ladies on the panel were bright and seemingly well-meaning people. However, during the Q&A an interesting tidbit was revealed. All of these Youth had been raised in homes and by parents with conservative values. None of them was the conversion story of a Tammy Bruce or an Andrew Breitbart. This just bolsters my point about when we need to reach the youth.

One of the young ladies, pushing the “it’s the messaging/branding” meme, gave an example of trying to sell a car. She said something to the effect that you wouldn’t try to sell a Mustang to a 65-year-old white woman the same way you’d try and sell it to an 18-year-old Hispanic male. True, marketing is targeted to the desired consumer. However, not everybody needs or wants the same products. I have never seen a tampon commercial where the target demographic was 25-year-old males. I’ve not seen a Slim Jim commercial geared to people who like to eat actual food.

It’s not that we don’t know how to sell liberty (a lot of the huge grass roots libertatarian-type movements of the last four to six years have been quite youthful). It’s that some people actually don’t want to purchase the product; they don’t want liberty. I’ve said it before, and I hate to repeat myself, but liberty is risky. There are no guaranteed outcomes. Some people just don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t necessarily assure a return. They’d rather bank on the thing that says it won’t lose the principal, where the return is minimal and so is the risk.

These youth panels also accuse those with conservative political philosophy of being too square, not hip, uptight. They say the Left, Progressives, have keyed in on emotion. Indeed, the Left’s thinking lacks logic, but it’s not emotion they think with, nor do they own emotion in political ideology.

Liberty comes at the cost of blood and treasure. Liberty isn’t given. Liberty is guarded…Jealously. Painfully. Vigilantly. With toil and tears. With constancy. With immense ecstasy when secured and exercised.

THAT is emotional.

It is not emotional what the Left does. It is visceral. It’s easy to obtain a visceral reaction. I could get a visceral reaction from you right now if I showed you a picture of a kitten hugging a baby platypus as they leaned against the spotted hide of a sleeping doe in a field of daisies. Engaging emotions requires engaging intellect and the senses.

It’s not that the message or branding of liberty is bad, or that we’re too square and have no souls. It is that we reach Youth too late. By the time they hear us, they have been regaled of the vileness and darkness of liberty, and we’d have a better chance if we told them we were here from another planet and we wanted to wear them as skin suits and harvest the Earth’s minerals and bunnies to save our own species.

Taking back the country (really, reviving a zeal for liberty) is a lot more involved than we’d like it to be. Seeing as you can’t steal other people’s kids and tell them things (the Left does that already in our public schools), you’ll either have to have your own and raise them right. Or, you’ll have to find a way to reach the youngins through already available avenues like music, media, books, religion, and breakfast cereals. I’d like to end this article on an upbeat note, but I’m going to have to go with the truth instead. We are not playing a game of Red-Rover here folks. This is a guerrilla ground game. This is a war: A war for the great variable, vibrant, unpredictable, effervescent experiment this country was supposed to be, not the control group it has become.