Wars. Everyone loves them. Lately we’ve had the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, and the War on Women. But unlike those wars that come to an end when we defeat drugs, terror, and women, there is an unending war we’re all involved in: the Culture War.
Everyone knows the culture war is important to the future of this country, but the right has been deficient in fighting it. The only reason the right hasn’t been wiped out by the left’s cultural dominance is that the left’s ideas are so screamingly idiotic. But if we want classical liberal ideas like freedom, individualism, and punching hippies to gain ground, we need to go after culture.
HOW TO FIGHT THE CULTURE WAR
To influence the culture, you have to be a part of it. And you have to know what’s out there and what’s popular. So read books, watch TV or the latest Netflix series, go to the movies, and play video games. And if you still think you don’t understand things, play more video games.And if your wife is like, “Why are you playing video games all the time?!” tell her, “I’m trying to save the country!” Why does she never believe me when I say that?
2. Make something.
And now that you’re part of the culture, you need to make things to add to it so the culture doesn’t suck. That means you need to get to work. Me, I write. You may have noticed that. You’re perhaps reading things I wrote right at this moment. I recently released my first novel, Superego (I may have mentioned it before), and I work at the creative agency making all kinds of cool stuff. But perhaps you don’t write. Maybe you sing songs or draw or something. I think that’s stupid, but run with it anyway. And you can also just blog and tell other people about the good stuff you see out there. Like you could say to other people, “Have you read Frank J. Fleming’s novel, Superego? It’s great!” That’s just an example of the things you can say, but if you want to steal that, that’s fine.
3. Don’t propagandize.
Okay, so you’re making cultural contributions to society. Now how do you use this to influence people toward liberty and free markets and all the good things? My advice: Forget about it.
Goal number one should always be to entertain. That should be your sole focus. If you have principles you truly believe in, that will seep into your work in a natural way. It’s like your principles are this nice curry sauce and the work you produce is this meat, simmering in the curry sauce and taking on the flavor of the spice, and now I’m hungry.
If you try to propagandize, it compromises your work. Like with fiction, trying to make a specific point about politics or something often means making characters act artificially or having one-dimensional villains to use as strawmen. I’m sorry, but no belief is so important that it’s worth bad art.
And realize that a lot of the younger people these days grew up seeing all the partisan arguing and are tired of it. So while some people like the red meat in politics, that never influences anyone, as your targets are all vegans. If you’re righteously ranting, you’re losing.
4. Abandon your favorite words.
So what do you want to promote, anyway? Liberty? Freedom? Rights? What the hell does that mean?
We cling to a lot of words, but things that mean something very specific to us may mean something completely different to someone else. Plus, because of politics, a lot of words and phrases carry a lot of baggage and will get you dismissed as soon as you open your mouth (“That’s just another right-winger ranting about magic ‘free markets’!”).
So abandon all of your favorite words — which only promote lazy thinking — and instead try to get to the core of what you want to promote. What’s another way to say you like liberty? To me, that means I think it’s possible for people to get along without having to constantly point guns at each other and tell everyone what to do. Really, I’m a pacifist. A well-armed pacifist.
5. Forget politics.
So you have all these great principles you want to share that you know will lead to a free and vibrant country. So how do you turn them to crap? Add politics.
Politics is all the principles we hold dear, seen through a glass darkly. Take everything you value and add compromise, tribalism, and power-hungry people until it’s all a bunch of garbage. And yet politics seems to be where all the focus always is, as people try to have the tail wag the dog and think they can drag the public where they need them to go by passing the right law or electing the right sociopath.
Conservatives especially have this idea that they need another Reagan, and everything will change, but it’s a fantasy. There is no Reagan who will fix everything. And there never was a Reagan in the first place. He never existed; it was just a shared delusion on the right. Check Wikipedia, and you’ll find there’s no entry for him.
If we want to make a better country, we need to talk to people and not to politicians. Let the other fools spend all their energy and anger banging their heads against the wall of politics while we put most of our energy into culture and cultivate a people who want freedom and treasure their opportunities, and let the politics follow from that. The reason to fight the culture war is that it is where the main battle will always be. And that’s why I will never stop playing video games. Just don’t tell my wife.
Image illustration via 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com