Recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attacked Republican Senator Rand Paul, calling his line of thinking “dangerous,” as Politico reported. Republican congressmen such as Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have made repeated cries to defund Obamacare, an effort which pundit Charles Krauthammer called “really dumb.” These conflicts display a rift among the right-wing side of U.S. politics. To oversimplify the issue, there is a libertarian-leaning “Constitutionalist” side espousing small government, non-intervention abroad, and dismantling of surveillance programs, and an “establishment” side working for bipartisanship, strong military and defense policy, and traditional political success.

This tension has boiled over into mudslinging and namecalling. Many have called Senator Marco Rubio a “RINO” after his support for immigration reform, often dubbed “shamnesty.” Senator John McCain infamously called Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Justin Amash “wacko birds” after their filibuster regarding drone policy. There is a struggle for control of the Republican party, along with grumblings of joining the separate Libertarian party out of disgust for the ideological impurity of the GOP.

These arguments miss the point.

If the right makes the battle only about winning elections, it has already lost the war. Even the entire Republican party became “pure,” or was replaced with an ideologically perfect Libertarian party, the fact remains that Barack Obama, a tried-and-true modern liberal, won the last two presidential elections. As long as 51% of people don’t think the Constitution should determine the purpose and actions of government, it doesn’t matter how rigidly everyone else adheres to the Founding Fathers. The right-wing must convert people not from “impure” right to “pure” right, not even from “independent” to right, but from the left to right.

The best way of doing that isn’t clear. It seems likely, however, that education plays a very important role. Public schools and universities are essentially progressive activist mills. Young people leave those places with de facto belief in liberal ideology. Somehow, professors like Anthea Butler, who called God a “white racist,” have to be replaced by teachers who will teach students how to think rationally. When young people are educated, not indoctrinated, then they can be convinced of constitutional, right-wing ideas.

Arguing about proper implementation of social contract theory and constitutional principles will only be relevant to the country as a whole if there is a consensus (or at least a majority) of society believing that the U.S. Constitution lays out the proper role and function of government.

The political battles and problems of today are symptomatic. The cure lies at the fundamental roots of society: the citizens. They must believe that governmental power flows from them and simultaneously have a sound understanding of how that government should work. Only then will our representative system function as it should, with accountability to the people.

Political battles are still important. At this point in U.S. political history, though, they serve only to stem the tide of a wrongful ideology. The people must start thinking differently if the country is going to change for the better.