2018 is off to a fever pitch start. Only thirteen days in and already we’re seeing the year’s tone being set as one of upheaval and change. There’s a certain freshness to it — a sense of new beginnings. The reactions and consequences originating from the debacles of last year are coming to fruition, especially in terms of politics.
Youtube is facing multiple lawsuits for the widespread demonetization of conservative viewpoints. Credible evidence has emerged that Twitter is systematically suppressing the voices of people who don’t fit cleanly into a San Francisco scene orthodoxy of thought. Kevin Sorbo, perhaps one of the nicest men in entertainment and perhaps the only person in Hollywood not facing credible allegations of rape, was banned from Comiccon just yesterday due to his political affiliations. A conservative writer, Jon Del Arroz, was banned from Worldcon, one of the largest conventions for science fiction writers in the world. Google is facing a class action lawsuit from James Damore over its illegal hiring practices and discrimination against white men. Owen Benjamin was dropped from his agency and forced to pioneer his own new path.
When it comes to politics, I always like to give some context to my political views. I’m a registered independent who most commonly identifies with the libertarian and classical liberal labels. I’m no authoritarian in any sense and believe strongly in the mantra that people should be at liberty to make their own decisions as long as they don’t have direct negative implications on others. I believe in individualism, not group identity — perhaps because I was never a person who cleanly fit in. I don’t, in large part, believe in or trust political parties because they’re so fluid about their beliefs, so often guilty of hypocrisy, so readily prepared to release crocodile tears or feign outrage, and so haphazard about the truth.
More than that, I’d mention that politics is not at the forefront of my personality — before I have my political identity, I have my identity as someone with integrity, honesty and effort. A writer. A lover of dogs. A person interested in mythology and fiction as it affects culture in the Joseph Campbell style of interpretation. A student of Japanese language. A good guy who tries to do the right thing. A thoughtful and affectionate friend. A complex tapestry of many unique virtues and flaws.
And so, before I am a politically engaged individual, I am all these other things, which I consider to be more important to my identity and self worth. The terrifying reality is that to those who put political affiliation above all else — a shocking minority in a country where only 16% of the population is a card carrying member of either party — they see nothing but my political labels when, in truth, even in that sphere, my views are incredibly nuanced from issue to issue. My great fear is an environment where these unimportant, reductive labels are used to exclude huge swaths of people from participating in the cultural sphere. Of course, this has been reality for some time. Only now has there been any attempt to rectify this, and it is vindicating.
Prager U’s Youtube demonetization was met with a lawsuit. Jon Del Arroz and Kevin Sorbo’s banishment was met with media outcry. Twitter is under more intense scrutiny. However, what each of these situations have in common is a David versus Goliath narrative, a wronged underdog against an Orwellian tyrant. I think, in conjunction with this, it’s necessary for these disparate forces, each railing independently against behemoth corporate-backed ideological censorship, to more closely work together to help each other, because the real necessity is not to win these individual battles, but to spread an antidote to a corrosive ideology of hatred and anger that has seeped through the veins of American culture.
The poison has to be met at every juncture that it’s infected: politics, education, entertainment media, business, and technology. While there’s value in fighting to have organizations that want to discriminate carve out space for people to begrudgingly exist, I think it’s of much greater necessity to think long term about creating alternative organizations that can exist as a counterweight to the current prevailing monopolies and, in turn, be mediated by them through competition.
This, of course, was the conclusion that conservatives came to in politics, the first front of this battle, when Fox News and other conservative media outlets came to be. But, as many people understand, politics is downwind from culture, and the fights taking place in the politics sphere originated from the ideas disseminated by the post-modernist professors at universities, distributed to the masses by Hollywood and the vast supporting networks of entertainment media.
I believe, and this is not a left versus right thing, but simply a liberty versus authoritarian view, that it’s time to begin the slow construction of a new, competing apparatus, a new Hollywood that, in time, produces films, comics, comedy, video games, books and music. Due to its ease of entry, there is a thriving surge of libertarian and conservative authors making great work. Some, who have achieved success, have branched into comic books — a slightly more sophisticated and more mainstream storytelling form. Compounded success will see animations, films and movies then, finally, video games. To achieve this apparatus, we need to work closely together, just as the existing giants have, in order to help one another grow.
To conservative, libertarian, independent and classically liberal media figures in the political realm, I humbly suggest that it should be part of your charge to assist in promoting the early work that will become the foundation of this new media apparatus. An example of the kind of assistance I’m talking about is the way that the conservative media jumped on Jon Del Arroz’s ban from Worldcon — but what if, instead of railing against an existing structure, they promoted his book and, leveraging the success of that new audience, eventually founded their own convention? We know for a fact that this kind of promotion can be successful. Andrew Klavan’s Another Kingdom, promoted by the gentlemen and women of the Daily Wire has seen great success.
We have to recognize that libertarian and conservative artists are necessary to compete effectively in the culture and, different from the warring minds of the political sphere, are geared to create, provoke thoughts, and not debate or fight.
I humbly and respectfully suggest that if those of us who simply want to create art with freedom of expression and see such art created, we can ally and form a community. Not ‘conservative’ work, though that would be included, but work that is simply free of being subjected to ideological purity tests. If we work together and start now, in a generation we could see a structure of enormous cultural significance. Downstream from what we create, the benefits in your world will emerge, rather than the cascade of problems that come downstream from what currently exists. Please help us promote our work. Please be on our side.