Art Economics Low Politics Decline Political Theology Power Geopolitics

Heroin liberals and cocaine conservatives

Heroin liberals and cocaine conservatives
Photo by Colin Davis / Unsplash
"The difference between conservatism and cocaine is that you can OD on cocaine."

Political orientations in present America are best regarded as fundraising narratives.

Democratic politics proper—the contest for sovereign power by organizations or individuals with massive support, decided by counting heads—is basically dead. In the present American regime, politicians, pro-regime or anti-regime, are only granted a small trickle of discretionary power which is constrained more and more every year—making the election more and more farcical. Once this power reaches zero, and the politicians are as symbolic as the old hereditary monarchs, the evolution is over. The state has become a pure, naked oligarchy, governed by “independent” institutions. (“Independent,” in this context, means “unaccountable”—protected from elections.)

But just because democratic politics isn’t real—or, cleverly, is just barely real—doesn’t mean the show can’t go on. Like: if it was real, would you have to raise money for it? The story is its own thing. The story can go on for ever, like a soap opera. The purpose of raising money is to pretend you are real—ideally, to become real. In this case…

And fundraising is a great art—one of the greatest. Perhaps the greatest. One thing I have learned in my half-century is: never count a great fundraiser out. The twentieth is a great age of fundraising—like the Florence of Michelangelo, but for fundraising—and excellent advice is everywhere. Here is mine.

Fundraising is not a dark art. It is a light art. And it leads to a light heart. Raising is the conversational generation of a generous and optimistic mood. When a raise is successful, the fundraiser feels—relieved. When a raise is successful, the donor or investor feels—happy, hopeful and ebullient.

Let us read the grand narratives of our time with sympathy and love, as the amazing collective works of art they are. These cathedrals of propaganda, like real cathedrals, could never have been built all at once. The narratives and party lines have evolved over decades and even centuries. And yet—they stand and function, and every Sunday the masses still come to their respective political churches.

In an age when politics isn’t real, why? Why does anyone believe or care? Starting with an attitude of respect, not contempt, helps us crack the mystery of propaganda.

Propaganda and pharmaceuticals

This feeling of externally induced ebullience is of course also characteristic of drugs. Is not narrative a kind of drug? Does it not race the heart and brighten the eye? Do you want people to give you money? Pick a drug and sell it.

Sure: if politics was real, if it actually affected peoples’ lives—like in the 20th century and before—it would race the heart more. It would be like watching MMA fights with real edged weapons. If full gladiator battles could be on TV, who would bother with bare-handed “combat?” But there are still some limits—and people still like MMA. People still like our fake politics. Thank the Lord we are not hooked on something stronger. If you hate fake politics, man will you hate real politics. (We will need real politics to get out of this trap—not because we like it. And next, it has to end itself.)

But there is not just one drug. The core difference between the American conservative fundraising narrative and the American liberal fundraising narrative is best described in this pharmaceutical language: liberals sell heroin, conservatives sell cocaine.

The blue pill

The blue pill of liberalism is an opioid because it is a general anesthetic: it allows you to ignore the world rotting around you. Leprosy is also painless, even when advanced. What do you need a little toe for? Really? What are you, some kind of athlete?

The liberal felt no civic pain at the rot of Gary, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; or even Oakland, California. These suburbs—there are only one or two citiesmaybe three—were not his places; these people were not his people. In a way he felt they deserved their fate—though it was a pity, of course.

Now, it is quite a different thing when Harvard’s nose drops off, but…

But—it didn’t drop off! Conservatives pounced! They seized on it! They ripped Harvard’s nose off! Now, one might say—should the nose have come off that easily? Was it—was the organ in question yanked, or just tweaked—were there issues at the cartilage level? Important questions! Medical questions! But let’s not forget—

The trouble with the blue pill, as a pharmaceutical, is that it takes away all your fears but one: fear of conservatives. Or more generally, fear of anyone who doesn’t take the pill. The border of orthodoxy is always at risk from the armies of heresy and atheism.

Thus this opioid is a generator of felt power which stabilizes the oligarchical regime. Even when it leaves him granting enthusiastic consent to a manifestly incompetent government, the liberal fears the inevitable transition in regime form—whether the restoration of democracy or the installation of monarchy, whether or not there is even a difference at this point—for one reason above all: the new regime will take his junk. He will cease to matter. Or at least—cease to feel he matters. He will be disempowered.

This fear of dopelessness is the bass note in all propaganda about “authoritarianism.” The voter, without his opiates, sees the truth about Washington: he has no power over it, and it has absolute power over him. He is not a citizen but a subject—not a player but a pawn—in the hands of an unaccountable, omnipotent, and incompetent government which is gradually getting worse in every possible way. His caricature of authoritarian government is correct. And he lives in it. All governments are absolute—some are just less centralized than others. And this is not necessarily a good thing.  And the people who understand this the best are—the closest to real power. If they have even a little real power—they know how little that is. They know no one is in charge, not even them. And they are much less likely to think this is a good thing.

If you woke up sweating and dope-sick in the middle of the night and realized all this, even just subconsciously, wouldn’t you panic? Wouldn’t you feel afraid? Wouldn’t you do anything to get it out of your head? It is important to feel pity for the liberal—trapped in a world that would frighten him out of his gourd, that would hurt him terribly at once if the anesthesia ever wore off—simply from his guilt, which is genuinely immense, in creating that world—which is, like the life the addict creates around himself, a reification of his accumulated sin—in this case, the lust for power.

Blue pills are of course the the core of fundraising in America today. Enormous rivers of cash drain into the blue nonprofit sector, which outraises its orange counterpart by… 20 to 1? 100 to 1?

Donations pay salaries. Compare the number of professional progressives in America today, to the number of professional conservatives. There are many ways to measure this—one way is to count the number of jobs that require progressive fealty, versus the number of jobs that require conservative fealty. (Of course, anyone on either side can be in the closet.)

Ultimately, once the nonprofit sector and the state sector are ideologically aligned—which happened a long time ago in America—there is no reason to distinguish between them. Even parts of the corporate sector are aligned. If you have a job that requires you to be a progressive—whether this job is in HR or DEI at Snapchat, in the political science department at Harvard, or in fundraising at the Tides Foundation—you are a professional progressive. And the only certain thing about any real political change is that it will completely change your professional life.

To realize that we live in a historical era completely saturated by this numbing goop is the first stage of waking up. It is not the last stage, though—and it is easy to veer off course, and go straight from heroin into cocaine.

Cocaine conservatives

The difference between conservatism and cocaine is that you can OD on cocaine. On conservatism, you just keep getting higher—as the rivers of cash start pouring in. Kids: this is a flash flood, not a river. Cocaine ends as sharply as it hits. Making it run continuously, staying continuously high, is quite an art. But…

While there is much more money in heroin, it is way easier to make money in cocaine. You are just a bigger fish in a smaller pond. I really feel this reality is one of the main factors that makes the junkies hate the crackheads.

Cocaine technology evolves. The American orange pill has evolved from the genteel powder conservatism of George W. Bush, to the hardcore rock of Donald Trump—the very stable genius who was the first statesman to think: coke is great. But—what if I put it in the microwave with some baking soda? Could it maybe—would it—would it hit you like a motherfucking freight train? There are still old Brooks Brothers conservatives who will never lay down their silver spoons. But the rest of America has moved on.

Do not be fooled. The orange pill is still orange. All it can possibly do is get you high. It may look red to you. This is an illusion. You are not there yet. You are not crossing the Rubicon. You are just fishing in the Rubicon. Is there a real red pill? That actually works? Also: how high would that get you?

Because it’s most important to mock people when they are happy and successful, let me mark up this essay by the victorious, Harvard-educated Chris Rufo, flush with his Davidesque defeat of Harvard’s plagiarizing President, the Haitian concrete princess.

This text is classic cocaine conservatism. It may be as much as 85% pure cocaine. There is a bit of roughage and debris and you wouldn’t want to snort it directly without some processing—a quick rinse, with vacuum water extraction, will do.

The Right is reorganizing. Most intelligent conservatives, especially younger conservatives, who joined the political fray at a moment of sweeping ideological change, already recognize that familiar orthodoxies are no longer viable, and that ideas without power are useless. The Right doesn’t need a white paper. What it needs is a spirited new activism with the courage and resolve to win back the language, recapture institutions, and reorient the state toward rightful ends.

At first sight this seems good. But then you’re like: what is “win back the language” doing in there?

Does Rufo—himself a proud Harvard graduate—think he can “recapture institutions, and reorient the state toward rightful ends,” by—by—“winning back the language?” This comes perilously close to: “first, pay me to talk.” Okay… I get paid to talk, too… but I smell something I don’t like.

Because I think causality goes in the other direction. This is the essential difference between red and orange—the radical right and the conservative right. Conservatives believe these institutions (even Harvard!) work, and just need to be fixed. And, apparently, you can fix them just by slapping them on the side—like an old TV.

Anyone who thinks these institutions can be recaptured, in any way, needs his head examined bears the burden of proof. And anyone who thinks they can be recaptured by winning the battle of ideas, or of language, or whatever—really?

How did you come to that conclusion? You are going to persuade Harvard that… Harvardism is bad? In a later stage of your grand plan—the Pope converts to Islam?

This essay will introduce the basic principles of this activism: where it begins, how it might work, and what it must do in order to win. It is not “conservative” in the traditional sense. The world of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberalism is gone, and conservatives must grapple with the world as it is—a status quo that requires not conservation, but reform, and even revolt.

The status quo does not require either reform or (God forbid) revolt. (Was the fall of the USSR a “revolt?”) It requires replacement.

The “status quo” is a set of unaccountable institutions, including but not limited to Harvard and the New York Times, which though technically outside the “government” exhibit all the attributes of sovereignty.

These institutions need to not only be dissolved, but replaced. The only reasonable way to do this is to replace them first, then dissolve them. No one today has the power to dissolve them—but many today are in a position to start building the replacements.

For political change to become possible, the nascent state organs of the next regime should so far as possible already exist. They may be embryonic; they may have to metamorphose; but everything is easier if they can grow from some already extant bulb or seed, which in some way managed to survive under the old regime.

And when we decided that schools, newspapers, universities, and even churches are not state organs—we ended up here. If we want to get out of the hole, maybe stop digging?

The old institutions are permanently addicted to power and cannot be reformed. The addiction is structural. If you replaced all the liberal professors with conservatives today, they would all just be purged again in a progressive revolution.

The only way to fix the academy is to separate it from power—which can only be done by a new regime self-confident enough to think for itself, and act on those thoughts. Only a university isolated from the heroin of power can think clearly and rationally.

When this educational institution is trusted to think for the state—bear in mind that Western universities are a millennium old, but the idea of a public policy guided by scientifically infallible university scholars dates only to late 19th-century Germany—its marketplace of ideas immediately begins to select not just for good ideas, but also for empowering ideas. Sometimes these are the same thing. But sometimes they aren’t.

The only way to clean this up is to completely disempower the universities. The state has to think for itself and always have the last word. It will need to build a collective brain far more effective and intelligent than its present-day academic mind—a brain of Silicon Valley quality. One way to see this brain is as a literal intelligence service.

However, it makes no sense to disempower any enemy without destroying it. It is not necessary to harm any Harvard professors, students, or alumni, by dissolving Harvard. In theory, the historic buildings can be preserved—in practice I wouldn’t recommend it. Symbolism matters too. Imagine if you replaced Harvard with a park in which no one is ever mugged—however late at night.

What a magical space! Could it be done? I believe in us—I believe in America—I believe we can.

We don’t need to abandon the principles of natural right, limited government, and individual liberty, but we need to make those principles meaningful in the world of today.

It is exactly those principles—historically leftist principles—that prevent conservatives from winning. Those principles make Harvard and the NYT “independent,” that is,  protect them from any other power—effectively, sovereign.

The first step is to admit what hasn’t worked. For fifty years, establishment conservatives have been retreating from the great political tradition of the West — republican self-government, shared moral standards, and the pursuit of eudaimonia, or human flourishing — in favor of half-measures and cheap substitutes.

History note: “republican self-government” is the tradition of England, not “the West.”

When this leftist tradition was exported to the rest of Europe, it drowned a thriving continent with a millennium-old civilization first in revolution and war, and finally in bureaucratic stagnation. Its third horseman of the apocalypse is: mass migration. You may think this has happened already. You actually haven’t seen anything at all.

Following a libertarian line, the conservative establishment has argued that government, state universities, and public schools should be “neutral” in their approach to political ideals. But no institution can be neutral — and any institutional authority aiming only for neutrality will immediately be captured by a faction more committed to imposing ideology. In reality, public universities, public schools, and other cultural institutions have long been dominated by the Left.

Notice how, in Rufo’s fundraising narrative, there is a difference between “state” or “public” institutions, and “private” ones. Actually, when you actually go to college, you see no difference—besides weird random bennies for state residents.

What does this tell you? It tells you that Rufo is seeing the world through completely unreal categories.

In his world, with its limited government, the private universities cannot possibly be touched, whereas legislators may prevent the state universities from teaching, say—communism.

Mr. Rufo, with all due respect—you genuinely don’t think the Mississippi Legislature tried this in the 1920s? You don’t think they had twenty times as much political energy on their side as you have now? These “red-state Americans” actually lynched. They lynched people. And—could they keep the ideas of Harvard from taking over their state university? How did that work out for them? And what would they say if they could see Jackson, MS, today? “They’re just questions, Leon.”

Actually, like in real life, there is no difference at all—except that state universities are generally lower-tier. Of course, they are not as low-tier as “Harvard Extension.” (A servant has just informed me of this regrettable new wrinkle in Mr. Rufo’s resume.)

It is truly incredible that Harvard, like many other prestigious universities, operates its own degree mill—with the implicit understanding that if you are so gauche as to blur the distinction between Harvard and “Harvard Extension,” that’s totally on you.

But it is selection, not education, that defines the prestige of an American university. Everyone who cares understands this and no one should pretend to be an idiot.

As the Gospels state, In the beginning was the Word — and this is true also in politics. Modern political movements have always started with writing: with pamphlets, manifestos, and other publications. The New Right has already generated a high degree of innovation in this respect, spread across a growing network of publications, podcasts, literature, and visual arts. The point is not only to shape the meta-discourse as a matter of “general culture,” but to attack the political discourse directly on individual issues — in other words, to engage in agitprop.

This is a terrible idea. Don’t do this. Don’t engage in any Soviet-style agitprop tactics.

Why does the right never learn any strategic lessons from the left, but only learn tactical lessons? The strategic lessons—like, there is no victory without total victory—are the ones which work symmetrically. The tactical lessons are the ones that don’t.

For the faction of truth, falsifying or even spinning the truth is always and everywhere a self-own. Since truth is not their weapon, they can corrupt it. Since truth is our only weapon, we cannot corrupt it. I honestly don’t know how this could be more obvious.

For us, the best way to “make an impact” is just to paint the world as we see it. For us, as artists, the way to “make an impact” is to not think even slightly about our “impact.” This isn’t autism. It’s just common sense.

From language begins a longer process of legitimation. A movement gains legitimacy by taking territory in discourse, the adoption of its discourse by society’s elite, and eventually, through elevation of its discourse into law. Win the argument, win the elite, and win the regime — that is the formula, which traces the path from the pamphlet to power.

The elite will never adopt a discourse hostile to itself. Why would they?

Look at progressive doctrines: their effect is always to make progressives more important. The definition of a progressive doctrine is one that succeeds in elite discourse. If truth was a necessary condition, we would live in a different universe. Truth helps, sure—the truth always feels better in your mouth. Aspirin is better for you than heroin, but we know which one will win in the market.

The purpose of telling the truth is not to win over “the elite,” but to capture a counter-elite, which is much smaller, but which has far more confidence in its right to rule: the faction of truth. The truth in Rufo’s refined version of Trump’s “the failing New York Times” shtick is that the self-confidence of these institutions is truly troubled. They cannot become as false as they have become without collectively knowing it—and that collective self-doubt would become a weakness in any serious conflict.

The best way for this counter-elite to deal with the real elite is to ignore it. The elite, like the public at large, is a woman. Often the way to seduce a woman is to ignore her.

Institutions are where the word becomes flesh. The men who shape the discourse must understand that above them stand the statesmen: men of practical affairs who govern, legislate, and rule. The activist must not forget that he is doing politics, not literature, and balance his desire for intellectual purity with institutional reality. He must work to legitimize his language in an environment that is often hostile to his wishes and resistant to any change. At times, he must conceal his radicalism in the mask of respectability.

It doesn’t get more respectable than “Harvard Extension.” Did you know that it’s a totally legitimate Harvard degree? You can join the Alumni Association, and all.

And can we stop larping? There are no statesmen. There haven’t been statesmen since the passenger pigeon. Dear God. We do have politicians, though. Surely you’ve noticed the difference between Thomas Jefferson and Pete Buttigieg? John Adams and Ron DeSantis? As for being an activist, this is a progressive trope. The word is not useful. Not to us, anyway.

The artist, in my view, must not forget that he is doing literature, not politics. Any politics he does will be ephemeral and ultimately embarrassing. Even a diehard reactionary like me has to admit that Pound’s work on the Italian radio was not his finest oeuvre. Whereas his Canto 74, with Emmett Till’s rapist father—chef’s kiss. Sorry! Was that respectable?

In the end, the work of politics is the work of practical statesmanship. Those who ignore this reality by appealing to abstract principles always limit their effectiveness. When Thomas Paine wrote The American Crisis, he felt the breath of British soldiers at his neck. He understood that the Revolution had to defeat enemies on the battlefield and he looked to General Washington as the only man who could do it.

I don’t suppose Mr. Rufo—who presumably learned about Thomas Paine through, well, Harvard Extension—would consider writing 100 times on the blackboard the sentence “Thomas Paine was a leftist.” Do they do that at Harvard Extension? I guess it’s hard, you know, in a mail-order class. And not quite the latest educational fashion.

It’s really important that Thomas Paine was a leftist! It really matters! Because leftism is the force of destruction, of entropy—and you can only oppose it with its opposite, the force of order.

Do you want to see the real 18th-century America? Put down your Thomas Paine, and read some Thomas Hutchinson. It is not just that leftists today are liars. Leftists were always  liars. Yes, American institutions originated with leftists—what did you think? This is the curse at the heart of our history, for which the bill is now coming due.

The central message of Tolkien’s mythos is that no one can use the tools of darkness against darkness itself. It is not that it is wrong to use these tools. It is just that they simply don’t work—not for us, anyway.

We can agree with Locke that humans enter into society and institute government to secure their natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But the twentieth century disrupted this arrangement: the state became engaged in a project to reshape society in its own image. For a hundred years, conservatives have tried and failed to reduce the size of government: as a percentage of GDP, the American state today is larger than the Chinese Communist state, with no sign of reversing course. Nineteenth-century liberalism is dead and cannot be restored.

The activist must begin with status quo reality: the institutions which today shape public and private life will exist for the foreseeable future. The only question is who will lead them and by which set of values. The New Right must summon the self-confidence to say, “We will, and by our values.”

It will take more than self-confidence to persuade these institutions to surrender! And if they did surrender to you, Mr. Rufo, the wisest thing you could do with the Ring in your hand is to hurl it into the volcano. Didn’t you read those books?

No empire is forever. No institution is eternal. Any institution can be dissolved. The truth is not that these institutions must exist forever because they exist now—but that they must be replaced by new institutions which perform the same function.

It is not that the institutions are necessary—only their function is necessary.  Spinning up new institutions at scale is a comparatively straightforward matter which Silicon Valley understands quite well. Shutting down institutions is also well-understood:  seize the facilities, servers and records, bank accounts, etc.

Since these institutions are effectively sovereign, replacing them is a sovereign task. This proves—as if there were not many other proofs—the fundamentally unlimited nature of sovereignty. Opening our eyes to this reality opens many doors to the future.

It is not that the Lockean ideal of “limited government” and “individual rights” is right in theory but wrong in practice. It is also wrong in theory.

The first time theory does not match practice, you need a new theory. You do not need to uphold the theory in principle while making exception after exception to it. When practice abandons theory, it blunders around in the wilderness without a map. This, more than anything, is why conservatives lose.

Conservatives can no longer be content to serve as the caretakers of their enemies’ institutions, or as gadflies who adopt the posture of the “heterodox” while signaling to their left-wing counterparts that they have no desire to disrupt the established hegemony. Rather, the New Right needs to move from the politics of pamphlets to the governance of the institutions.

Conservatives need to operate in reality and in reality they have no power at all. This is just pure cokehead gooning. Go make some money off your Substack—seriously—selling good content is so much more important than getting some random flack fired.

That a talentless drone is the President of Harvard, or a senile politician is President of the US, is highly useful to the faction of truth—it helps paint the world as the world it is. The truth is that these are fundamentally leaderless institutions. Even if we installed Chris Rufo as President of Harvard, he would not be able to change the nature of Harvard as the temple of American progressivism since 1636. He would simply not have the power. And also, hell will freeze over first.

That a nobody is in the chair—all the better. An embarrassing nobody—chef’s kiss. Why disrupt that? Does it have to be all own-goals, all the time?

But—but, you protest, it must be good. Because it makes us feel good. No more liberal assumption could be imagined! And after all, so does cocaine. Cocaine wears off fast—so do one-off media-cycle hits.

We must recruit, recapture, and replace existing leadership. We must produce knowledge and culture at a sufficient scale and standard to shift the balance of ideological power. Conservative thought has to move out of the ghetto and into the mainstream. And we must be capable of resisting, and perhaps even embracing, a constant barrage of media coverage, with a hundred negative stories for every positive one.

It is great to “turn” deep insiders. But they are most useful for one purpose: telling the world how the world actually works. They are agents of information, not of influence.

Just ignore the media—then you will get good coverage. This is PR 101. Never try to get good coverage or beef with journalists. They are beneath you—or they should be. When you do talk to them, do so very rarely and with the greatest selective discretion.

The best way to counter the degradations of American institutional life is to remind the public of the fundamental purpose of those institutions, and to communicate that purpose. What is the purpose of the university? What is the purpose of a school? What system of government will guide us toward human happiness? These questions provoke doubt and anxiety in the current regime. And no wonder. The idea of happiness, properly understood, can be revolutionary.

The current regime has poured trillions into welfare programs, ideological production, family recomposition, and psychotherapeutic intervention, but Americans are more miserable than ever. To again demand happiness — Aristotle’s eudaimonia, Jefferson’s Declaration — cuts straight through all our postmodern dilemmas. Our regime has lost all sense of why it exists. The men who can rediscover this North Star will have everything they need to motivate others to pursue political life: a motivation which may be obscured but cannot be extinguished. They will begin the great process of recapturing the language, institutions, and ends of American life.

But isn’t this all explained by Locke?

Once we have personal liberty, individual rights and limited government, it will all just happen by itself—right? Right?

Chris, suppose you just dropped all this Lockean baggage? You seem to be spending all your time making excuses for it. Do you need it? Oh, wait, you need it, because it’s a necessary part of agitprop. That is—essentially—fundraising.

Also, the problem with Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness” is that, although arguably Jefferson himself was referring more to Aristotle’s eudaimonia, in the sybaritic 21st century the “pursuit of happiness” has rotted into the desperate hunger for pleasure. I’m guessing you get this, so maybe pick a different inspirational text next time?

For every Paine, Washington, and Jefferson, there are a hundred nameless men who spilled ink, and blood, for the fight. In our time, the Right will soon be confronted with a choice: to submit to the current regime, to revitalize the vision of the Founders, or to forge ahead into an unknown order. My commitment is to the old means and the old ends, as much as we can rescue them. This will require the spirit of brotherhood, sacrifice, daring, and selflessness. As the battle begins, we will learn and adapt. But one thing is clear: the fight is here.

[takes huge huff on pipe]

One thing is clear: the fight is not here.

If the fight was here, we would have a chance of winning the fight. Chris Rufo would have a chance of becoming President of Harvard. He could then dewokify it, like the Allies in Germany in 1945. Or something. This is all fantasy—more cokehead gooning.

Do you want to win? Replace these institutions—replace their product. Do you want to replace Harvard and the NYT? First, create institutions which are more trustworthy than Harvard or the NYT. Exceed the old regime by the old regime’s standards. Make regime change possible, and someone will give it a shot.

Will exceeding the old regime by the old regime’s standards replace the regime? Will it cross the Rubicon all by itself? Absolutely not.

All it will do is allow someone to cross the Rubicon—and this will not be in 2024, either. But maybe… 2040? Let us think and act in reality, and we might have a chance. Right now, no one can cross the Rubicon, because they have no idea where to go. There is no map of the other side.

Cocaine is a stimulant, not a hallucinogen. It cannot make you feel like you’ve conquered the world. It can make you feel like you’re on the verge of conquering the world. While everyone wants to be on the verge and as a result fundraising is great, your supporters can only stay on the verge for so long. You’re burning them out.

When you tell your supporters the truth, which is that they have no power and they aren’t winning, it’s just—a bummer. It’s hard to close anything when both sides of the table are bummed. Scientists say your fundraising pitch is 20% more likely to succeed on a sunny day.

But in the long run it is better to have fewer, stronger, better supporters—better for now, because now we are a long way from power. Look at Jesus. Let’s take a hint from Jesus here. Did Jesus have 12,000 followers? No, he had 12 disciples.

TLDR: it is not really even a bad thing, in itself, to get a little high over a win like this. You can sell this high and it will bring in the cash. You can’t sell it forever, so use the cash wisely. The problem is that you get hooked on the high, start chasing it, and turn into a clown—a clown who is leading an army into a battle that cannot be won.

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