Many of us are still reflecting on all that we saw and heard at CPAC earlier this month. Those of us who are not CPAC virgins were struck by how different it was this year compared to our previous experience with the conservative movement’s annual shindig.
It was certainly a rally of the active conservatives. However those in bloom were not the stereotypical conservatives, but a newer and hipper breed. The social conservatives were very much on the back foot, and the fiscal conservatives — with varying degrees of libertarian leanings — were in the ascendancy. It’s possible that my views were skewed by spending a great deal of time with the Pajamas Media/PJTV and Competitive Enterprise Institute/Bureaucrash hordes, but I don’t think so. I think that limited government, low tax, and ‘get the hell out of my life’ conservatives were very much in the majority at this event.
One thing that came up quite often in chatting with people outside my two “comfort” groups was the movement’s dearth of musicians and writers, best crystallized after a fellow attendee described me as a “Ted Nugent conservative.” In fact, at one reception I was asked point blank why the movement did not have many people from the entertainment world in its number. This was at least better put than the usual “all creative types are leftists” rants, which I hear often. The answer — if you ask anyone outside the country/gospel music scene — is quite simple: it’s a matter of professional survival. There are many “closet” conservatives in the music business and even in Hollywood who don’t dare out themselves for fear of curtailing their careers.
It’s simply about whether your political beliefs are worth more than your livelihood. And it’s not just the case in the performing arts. Publishing companies all over the world are full of “liberal arts” graduates who more often than not steer to the far left. Getting anything not “right-on” past them is damn near impossible, unless you are religious and wear it on your sleeve.
So how do we solve this problem and make it financially acceptable for those on the right to be “out” in their professions? At the risk of sounding sycophantic, a case could be made that the Pajamas Media project is the right way to go. The right needs to stop whining and start its own publishing houses, record companies, and movie studios. The left helps its own all the time, so why don’t we?
Starting a record company has never been easier. So why aren’t we seeing companies cater to rock, jazz, and folk musicians who don’t skew to the left? In fact, we need lots more companies in all fields of creative endeavor. If you think Ted Nugent is a bad example of a conservative entertainer, then establish a record company and harvest new talent that is more to your liking. Most journos would agree about Ted. They are unable to praise Nugent without having a go at his politics and “hobbies.”
The right has to stop believing that for a creative type it’s necessary to suffer in the harsh sea of the left-leaning entertainment world. We need to go out and find the next generation of musicians, writers, and actors. Help them make a living and then others will see that it’s okay to be creative and a conservative.
Let me leave you with this thought. What do you think the chances of Mickey Rourke winning the Best Actor Oscar for The Wrestler would have been if he hadn’t made this outburst in the UK press defending Bush:
I don’t give a f**k who’s in office, Bush or whoever, there is no simple solution to this problem… I’m not one of those who blames Bush for everything. This s**t between Christians and Muslims goes back to the Crusades, doesn’t it.
The people I know who know about this sort of thing said Rourke was a shoe-in for the award until he said those few words. So should conservatives condemn the man for his statements that might in fact hurt his career or laud him for being honest?
“Right” doesn’t mean no imagination or creative talent. What it does mean is that as things currently stand, those creative types will be ostracized by publishing houses, Hollywood, and other creative careers. So stop bemoaning the fact that there are not more creative types who are keen to be seen as conservatives. Start by supporting the ones you do know and help them with their careers. The left has managed to do so. Why oh why can’t we?