The will of the people

Will of the people

Why don’t sports teams listen to their fans? Don’t laugh. It’s a serious question. Why doesn’t the head coach take offensive play suggestions from the guy in section 115? Why doesn’t the GM keep that pitcher at the trade deadline because a caller to a sports radio show says so? Why won’t the USWNT dump Hope Solo despite many fans now hating her for her “cowards” comment?

I want you to think about those questions before continuing.

Furthermore, it’s not like fans don’t know anything. Teams ignore their fans’ wishes despite many fans being involved in sports for 50 or 60 years. Despite all the fantasy leagues out there. Despite millions of sports fanatics keeping terrestrial sports radio in business. Not to mention all the amateur blogs out there breaking down every single play an NFL team uses from week to week.

Still, owners and GM’s of sports teams pretty much ignore what fans think should be done on and off the field. Why? Is it arrogance? Are the coaches and the rest intimidated by their fans? Do the teams not know how their fans feel?

I’ve never worked for a sports team, but I suspect the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this article is this: Sports teams don’t listen to their fans because fans are fickle. The way fans feel about something this week could be totally different next week.

Organizations, sports or otherwise, can’t be run on whims. In fact, given my knowledge of Pittsburgh sports radio, fans would’ve fired and re-hired Mike Tomlin, Clint Hurdle, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew McCutchen etc., many times over the last several years. Hilariously, there were fans who wanted to scrap the Penguins halfway through this past season. And if you don’t know, the Pens won the Stanley Cup a couple months ago.

Do fans sometime get something right? Sure. But is it based on facts or luck? Actually, the answer is hard to determine. My belief is more the analogy of the broken clock than anything else.

So, what does this have to do with conservatism since The New Americana is a political site?

My belief is that we as conservatives have gotten too caught up in the phrase “will of the people.” The phrase is brought up when an activist judge overturns a referendum. When the Democrats pass Obamacare and continue to expand it. When our President ignores militant Islam.

Those are all great points. However, the people of the USA also want more Social Security benefits, a higher minimum wage, the rich to pay more taxes – just to name a few issues. In fact, an issue like abortion is a 50-50 topic in the USA. So, what exactly is the “people’s will” on that? In fact, if you look at most political issues, the people’s will is wrong. Most people love big government. Most people depend on big government, even though many of them never receive a government check. A majority of people believe that infrastructure work paid with taxes will actually improve unemployment and the economy, despite evidence to the contrary. Moreover, what makes this all so tough is people want something done until that something affects them in a negative way. Then, people will suddenly switch to the opposite side — liberal to conservative, conservative to liberal — whatever is convenient for them.

By the way, the preceding paragraph is a perfect reason why populism as a governing principle doesn’t work in the long term in the USA. Governing by taking the temperature of the people is ultimately a lesson in futility. The truth is people don’t know exactly what they want — most of the time they just want something else.

However, this could also be the key as to why someone like Donald Trump found a way to work his way into the GOP. Conservatives have been using the “will of the people” phrase for so long that at some point the issues ceased to be about conservatism, and more about just listening to the people — a populist attitude. Trump has somewhat embraced the nationalism/populism road. And what happens? His stances change from week to week based, I’m sure, on how his people react.

This could also explain why long-time conservatives have welcomed Trump, by the way. It’s funny how that “will of the people” belief can infect people.

Well, what if the people don’t know anything? In fact, given the sports analogy at the beginning, my belief is that the average American knows a hell of a lot more about football than he or she does about the Laffer curve. Yet, teams ignore their fans’ demands, while too many conservatives embrace theirs. Interesting…

The truth is that conservative media leaders over the last 25 years haven’t had the courage to tell their listeners, readers, and viewers that they’re wrong occasionally, if not more so. They’ve created a generation of know-it-alls who believe they can do no wrong, meaning, “If I think it, it must be conservative.”

Hey, here’s some news: Just because you call yourself a conservative, doesn’t mean that political thought in your head is conservative. More likely it’s an idea that’s convenient for you that may or may not just happen to be conservative. Hey, nobody ever wants a law passed or rescinded that is going to hurt himself, right?

As a test…

Do you as a conservative have the courage to reject that research grant because it’s a function of big government? Because the will of the people will tell you to accept it. Do you as a conservative have the intestinal fortitude to reject that Social Security check because it’s a Ponzi scheme that is killing younger workers in the USA? Because the will of the people will tell you to keep cashing those things until the day you die. Do you as a conservative have the balls to pull your kids out of public schools because their heads are being filled with liberalism? Because the will of the people will tell you that you need to keep them there for the non-educational opportunities likes sports and the socializing, and well, people who home school are just weird.

The truth is sports teams don’t listen to their fans because the teams know they’d be deep in debt with losing season after losing season if they did so. Hmm… seems like the current state of conservatism.

Ed Dentzel

Ed is an author, talk show host, and blogger living in Madeira Beach, FL, after 13 years in Las Vegas. Originally from Leechburg, PA, he is a 1993 graduate of Grove City College. When he isn’t obsessing over politics, his Pirates, and Steelers, he can be found on the nearest beach or disc golf course. Ed can be emailed at: edwarddentzel AT His show plays M-F 11pm, Eastern on