The Integration of Theory and Practice
The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement was an American conservative political activism call to action published in 2001 by the Free Congress Foundation. It was written by Eric Heubeck with guidance from Free Congress Foundation founder Paul Weyrich. It urges conservatives to reassess their position in American society and to consolidate their position by focusing on building conservative institutions with the goal of "taking over political structures." Heubeck makes a number of pragmatic arguments, such as "Good Results More Important than Good Intentions."
The essay describes as "hopeless and self-delusional" the political activism efforts of conservatives to "compensate for their weakness in the non-political sectors of society." Instead it called for fostering an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of conservatism in American society which would in turn convince the American people that conservatives can be trusted to take over political structures: "to do that we must win the people over culturally -- by defining how man ought to act, how he ought to perceive the world around him, and what it means to live the good life. Political arrangements can only be formed after these fundamental questions have been answered." Weyrich's 1999 A moral minority? An open letter to conservatives from Paul Weyrich is cited for its call for "a tactical retreat from political battle" for conservatives to regroup and reorganize. Again citing Weyrich, it suggests that "a network of parallel cultural institutions" be developed, "existing side-by-side with the dominant leftist cultural institutions" and that the these institutions will supersede "the existing ... conservative movement ... because it will pursue a very different strategy and be premised on a very different view of its role in society."
Heubeck makes the case that radical changes are necessary steps for achieving American conservative's goals:
"This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea’s promoters—in other words, the individuals composing a social or political movement..."
"There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this movement. The first stage will be devoted to the development of a highly motivated elite able to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be devoted to the development of institutions designed to make an impact on the wider elite and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will involve changing the overall character of American popular culture..."
"Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions..."
"We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment's rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American. We will offer constant reminders that there is an alternative, there is a better way. When people have had enough of the sickness and decay of today’s American culture, they will be embraced by and welcomed into the New Traditionalist movement. The rejection of the existing society by the people will thus be accomplished by pushing them and pulling them simultaneously."
"We must create a countervailing force that is just as adept as the Left at intimidating people and institutions that are used as tools of left-wing activism but are not ideologically committed, such as Hollywood celebrities, multinational corporations, and university administrators. We must be feared, so that they will think twice before opening their mouths..."
"We will be results-oriented rather than good intentions-oriented. Making a good-faith effort and being ideologically sound will be less important than advancing the goals of the movement..."
"We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime. We will take advantage of every available opportunity to spread the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the existing state of affairs. ... contribute to a vague sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing society. ... We need to break down before we can build up. We must first clear away the flotsam of a decayed culture."
"We need more people with fire in the belly, and we need a message that attracts those kinds of people...We must reframe this struggle as a moral struggle, as a transcendent struggle, as a struggle between good and evil. And we must be prepared to explain why this is so. We must provide the evidence needed to prove this using images and simple terms..."
But while he calls for aggression and the overthrow of the current order, he also disavows certain unfair tactics and the desirability of a theocratic police state, as well as denying the ability of the Republican party to achieve these goals:
"We will have standards—we will never try to justify dishonesty, destruction of the personal reputation of our opponents, cheating, assault, etc., in the service of victory for our movement."
"There is nothing in this movement that an operational libertarian would find objectionable. It does not seek to replace an intrusive leftist state with an intrusive traditionalist state."
"We have repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot by expecting too much from the Republican Party. Of course, New Traditionalists should not defend the Republican Party when it pushes legislation that makes the government more intrusive than it currently is. But we should not sacrifice a united front by trying to badger the Republican Party into doing what it is incapable of doing. That is a waste of the political capital of the party and the time and energy of our people, simply for the sake of 'fighting the good fight.'"
Katherine Yurica of "The Yurica Report" wrote that Paul Weyrich guided Eric Heubeck in writing The Integration of Theory and Practice, and that it calls for the use of deception, misinformation and divisiveness to allow conservative evangelical Christian Republicans to gain and keep control of seats of power in the government of the United States.
History of the document
Originally appearing on the FreeCongressFoundation.org website in Summer of 2001, it was removed in early 2006. Yurica says it was taken down from the Free Congress Foundation's website and those of other Christian groups after critics began linking the strategy it detailed to Dominionism and specific policies of the religious right.
- The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement Eric Heubeck. Originally published on the Free Congress Foundation website in 2001, available through the Internet Archive.
- Conquering by Stealth and Deception, How the Dominionists Are Succeeding in Their Quest for National Control and World Power Katherine Yurica. The Yurica Report. September 14 2004.
- A moral minority? An open letter to conservatives from Paul Weyrich Originally published on the Free Congress Foundation website in 1999, available through the Internet Archive.
- Paul Weyrich's Training Manual TheocracyWatch. February 2005.
- "The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party", TheocracyWatch. December 2005.
- The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement FreeCongressFoundation.org, July 2001. Via Internet Archive.
- Paul Weyrich's Teaching Manual? The Yurica Report.