There’s a battle going on for the soul of the conservative movement across our nation, and despite its reputation as a deeply red state, Texas is ground zero.

“If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Many critics in Austin will claim that I, and those I work with, spend too much time “going after our own side.”

But this begs the question, what side are they referring to?

The naysayers assume anyone with an “R” next to their name on the ballot, an NRA bumper sticker, or a picture of Ronald Reagan somewhere in their house is on the same team.

The fact is, they aren’t; especially in Austin.

Conservatives often wonder why, despite repeated electoral victories across Texas, commonsense reforms fail to gain traction. The answer lies in understanding what transpires in Austin.

Countless folks in our capital city claim to stand with conservatives and preach their willingness to fight to the end. Meanwhile, few are willing to pay the very real price associated with such claims.

Legislators are sold on ideas that working with leadership and reaching across the aisle are the only ways to be effective. They fall prey to these lies and convince themselves they can change the system from the inside out. If it were only that simple…

I’m reminded of the naïve youngster at church who a few months ago claimed that one must become part of the world in order to spread the Gospel. Children failing to understand the absurdity of such a philosophy is one thing; legislators wholeheartedly ascribing to it is quite another.

And yet, the practice of selling oneself isn’t limited to elected officials. More often than not, those who work for campaigns, think-tanks or watchdogs are the worst offenders.

The lure of higher salaries, bigger offices and invites to fancier parties are often just too difficult to pass up. Climbing the ladder of the conservative movement has become prioritized over helping it move forward.

Voters get upset when their representatives sell out, but who can blame them when nearly everyone around them is doing just that.

Conformity is the norm and approbation the goal. In a town where backroom deals and special favors are daily occurrences, honesty and principles aren’t tradable commodities.

Men and women who stay true to their conservative convictions are ostracized by those with power and mocked by the clearly partisan media.

Legislators and other politicos are told to be reasonable; to work with the other side and that compromise is the only way to effectively govern.

How well have those strategies worked for conservatives? (Hint: not well.)

If increased economic and personal liberty are the goal, selling out isn’t the road to get there.

Conservatives who understand the severity of the situation are compelled to fight this battle despite the burdensome costs. Doing nothing only ensures complicity.

Those espousing to be conservatives must decide what is more important: promoting themselves or promoting liberty?

If one can answer that question correctly, then yes, we’re on the same side.