There is an emotional, moral element to politics that ideologues grasp but which most businessmen don’t have a clue about. In using the term ‘moral’ I don’t mean in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word, but more the military sense, as in Napoleon’s dictum, “The moral is to the physical as three is to one.” What he didn’t mean by that was that the side who most acted like choirboys would win, but that the side with the greater will to win - the greater morale - had a decisive advantage.
The best example comes from naval warfare. In the Napoleonic Wars, it was customary in the Royal Navy to court-martial ships’ captains for cowardice (and hang them) if they showed insufficient zeal in attacking. The result was that the British lost a few ships in reckless, doomed attacks, but they won the moral aspect of the naval war. British captains were always on the lookout for French ships to attack, and French ships were always looking over the shoulder for crazy British ships about to attack them. This gave the British a great moral advantage: they were aggressive, the French were cowering. Aggression leads to expectation of victory, cowering leads to expectations of defeat. After a while, these expectations are self-fulfilling.
A little example from politics. About 20 years ago, I attended York University. At that time, the campus left were hell bent on getting OSSPIG approved on campus. This was a mandatory $10 annual levy on every student, in order to fund a left-wing slush fund (controlled, I discovered later, by Ralph Nader). The trouble was that student elections usually have a 10% student participation rate while 20% constituted a quorum for propositions of this sort. The left wanted quorum to be reduced to 10% but the Board of Trustees wouldn’t budge. Their solution? Infiltrate a big trustee dinner with anarchists and start a food fight among the VIP’s. After that, the trustees were so shocked that the caved in. That’s how you achieve a moral victory! No businessman-politician thinks like that. That’s why they are so often outmaneuvered by Alinskyite community organizers.
While the left often overreaches with such tactics - as it did with OWS – the right has the opposite problem: we don’t understand the character of the fight at all. Andrew Breitbart did, as does his protégé, James O’Keefe, but they are the rare exception.
In contrast, conservatives often, in a misbegotten way to score points for being ‘reasonable’, concede legitimacy to the other side’s arguments. They think, by, in effect, apologizing for their positions, it makes them look centrist. In reality, it makes them look weak. It also makes them look evil because they are conceding the other side’s point that they are evil. Weak and evil, the perfect foil. Who doesn’t want to be on the side that’s weak and evil?