Yesterday one of Instapundit’s readers sent in a bleg asking how one could fight the culture war if one weren’t capable of buying a tv station or two. Glenn asked for ideas and of course I sent in something, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought there was a need for a whole post on it. Because while buying TV stations might be useful, it is also in a way fighting the last war. Oh, I don’t oppose it. To some extent it is needed. But only to some extent.
When it comes to a central point of diffusion of information, a central, coordinated message, and techniques to marginalize and shut up anyone who dissents, we’ve already lost. They’ve been crawling through the institutions for generations, and we’ve been working, and feeding our families and cooking and cleaning and keeping the world spinning. They’ve been trained to think everything is political. We’ve been working under the assumption that you don’t talk politics or religion in polite company. It’s not a fair fight, and they have a huge advantage.
It wouldn’t hurt to nibble into that advantage with two or three well-placed mass media efforts, but don’t delude yourself. Nibbling is all you will manage, and besides, I don’t know about you but I just went through all my pockets for change, and I don’t think anyone will sell me a tv station for $50. (How glorious it would be, though. The REAL sci fi channel. Now with more real.)
So what can you do? Supposing you didn’t come up with much more change than I did? Should you sit down and die?
Oh, please! Look, these cult-of-personality socialist regimens never last anyway. Seventy years or so, in the long sweep of history is the time of a good sneeze. They don’t last because they’re parasitic and can’t keep themselves going. Someone has to make the stuff to be stolen. Given a vast war machine, you can keep going for a while – but not forever. And the indoctrination only works until the real world smacks you in the face. Sooner or later, the peeling paint on the façade becomes really obvious. Yes, you can brain wash people – it never lasts forever.
The Soviet Union, at the height of its power, felt threatened by people with typewriters because they could copy/distribute stuff more efficiently, and couldn’t be controlled. Faxes made them p*ss themselves in fear.
Our current wanna bes are nowhere near the control the Soviet Union had. And we have the internet. Look upon our might, yeh central planners and despair!
So – here’s how to fight a culture war on a shoe string, a culture war in which you – yes, you – too can make a contribution.
Remove the mote in your own eye.
Before you get all huffy on me, let me tell you that there is one there. You’re seeing reality through the lens of a media and entertainment which has been designed for years by the people who were crawling through the institutions. So… To begin with…
1 – Inform yourself. What I mean by this is that you should study history and science and anything else you can get your hands on to figure out what the reality REALLY is of the things that you think you know the truth on. This can be done, yes, by reading history books (and others) published in the late nineteenth century. But be prepared for the fact that these too had their bias. I’m not going to tell you that the left is right when it says Western culture is uniquely bad. They’re wrong. Western culture is human. But if you believe everything those nineteenth century (and before) texts say you’ll buy into a lot of stuff about eugenics and the uniqueness of the mighty bestriding superior western civilization. Don’t. Just don’t. Keep in mind that our forefathers were human, just was we are. Even the founders – great intellects, men of vision – were just human and had their failings. Which doesn’t mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water. But you must be informed and well informed before you can fight the disinformation.
2- Look to what is being taught to your kids. Yes, I do realize that a lot of you can’t and don’t have the resources to bring the kids home to homeschool. We did it for a year, it cost us eleven thousand dollars, and then we sent him back to the public school because we don’t have eleven thousand dollars wiggle room in our budget. And I don’t have four hours wiggle room per day. Now, my kid might have been uniquely demanding due to the circumstances, but I have homeschooling friends and I know how hard it is.
So… Do what you can. Look through their books. Did you know that the history books being used in schools are created on the basis of Howard Zinn’s ridiculous, inaccurate and Oikophobic A People’s History Of The United States? They are. And his arguments aren’t very hard to puncture, either. Inform yourself and inform your kids.
DO NOT trust them to come out all right through the schools, they won’t. It’s got MUCH worse since what you remember. (Even religious schools, these days are teaching some form of liberation theology.) If you don’t guide them, the best you can hope for is that they will eventually open their eyes. But there will be a rough time first. Most of all, though, give your kids books. Make sure they can read – I mean really read. Yes, I know the schools will tell you they teach phonics. They don’t. If your kid is trying to guess at a word, that’s not phonics. (My kids got so used to the bellow of “Sound it out. No whole word cr*p” that they’d start trying to “guess” and cringe.)
Make sure your kids read well enough to read for pleasure. This is a level above “reading well enough to pass exams and do well in school.” For boys and girls who act like boys, comics help bridge the gap when they need complex plots but are not yet reading well enough for them. I highly recommend the OLDER Disney comics. Yes, there is some social stuff there, but it’s negligible, and not coherently presented. Best of all, they’re cheap if you find them used – and you usually do – in the dollar bin of the comic bookstores. Best of all, if you are an sf-nal family, it will introduce the kids to concepts such as Atlantis and Easter Island and such.
3 – Both of these endeavors will change your perception and you’ll find yourself huffing at sitcoms you used to enjoy. This is good. Most of the politics are snuck into stuff like that (hence the directive that came down for more plots about healthcare in sitcoms and episodic dramas) and if you’re not aware of them they’ll insidiously color the way you see the world. It’s brilliant to sneak them into entertainment because if you complain, you’re a sour puss. But at this point they’re not even subtle, and you’ll start seeing them if you look: cardboard “conservative” characters who are anything but and who can’t defend their positions. “Dangerous” tea partiers. Liberating yourself through having indiscriminate sex and stuff. The government as a fount of goodness. It’s all there. And it’s there on purpose.
4 – Mini-galt without tears. For those of the mass entertainment you still enjoy (and there are some where I swear the creators are channeling beliefs they don’t even understand) buy used, borrow from the library, and in general starve the beast. Yes, Hollywood is willing to sacrifice (SOME) profit to ideals, but when it really pinches, they’ll drop principle so fast it will make your head spin.
5 – Do try not to be a cartoon conservative. I am religious, and I have religious friends. HOWEVER I try to make my arguments from reasonable povs. If all you do is scream “repent” people who don’t believe as you do will tune you out. Worse, people who don’t believe as you do will think that the portrayal of conservatives in the media is accurate.
There is a reason for the “render onto Caesar.” There is a reason, too, why G-d fought the Israelites tooth and nail on their nifty idea of having kings. Religion is a fine thing, (if it’s a religion that enjoins you to be good to your fellow man at least) and you shouldn’t be ashamed of being religious. You should also hold yourself to the higher standards of what you believe.
But when religion becomes public power, you get religion corrupted by all-too-human considerations and power for lust and wealth. BE a good person. Live your ideals. But don’t try to legislate your ideas of “holy” unless you can justify them rationally. (And there are some positions you CAN justify rationally. I’m not getting into the debates you can’t win, but you know very well what they are.) You’ll never get even half the people to agree with you. For reference see Europe and the wars of religion.
So, now you’ve informed yourself. What do you do with it? All of this is very passive and turned inward. How do you change the culture from there?
1- Write. Write informed history articles/non fiction books; write blog posts; write fiction; write entertainment. Do it cheerfully. Be a happy warrior. You might think that there is no room in the blogsphere for yet another blog, and the first few days with your hits at less than a hundred will make you want to give it up. Don’t.
Meditate on a pebble thrown into a massive lake. The ripples go out. Trust me on this. One more voice always helps.
If you can consider doing humor and snark. Heinlein said something like “We laugh because it hurts too much to cry.” Take that to heart. The left is very, very funny. And at least the soft left (most of them) are in only because “all the smart people believe this.” This is the result of the long crawl, and the way to fight it is to point out how abysmally idiotic a philosophy that judges you as though everyone in a group were the same is. How it’s stupid that “this time we’ll do it right” after that philosophy has left 100 million dead around the globe. And how abysmally dumb it is to think you can create a paradise with fallible humans.
And the best way to do that is often to point and laugh. Channel your inner middle-schooler.
2- If you are thus able, create games. Create comics and art too. Show that we are cool and informed and FUN Don’t get preachy, just write from the point of what you believe. The rest will flow.
Do you-tube videos. Write a song. Make hilarious recipe-videos with conservative commentary. Do a talk show for you-tube with your best buddies.
But Sarah, you say, I couldn’t draw or make a game, or even write a daily/weekly blog anymore than I could fly. What is wrong with you? It might be easier for me to get a billion and buy a TV station.
1- Okay. Maybe so. But look to the talents you do have. CAN you create technical stuff? We need better software that allows us to create professional-looking games and comics – and books. Think of the ebook. Think of all the apps people write. All of them bypass the gatekeepers and make a mockery of the left’s long-crawl through the institutions.
If you build a better game engine, they will come. Better animation engines so even total putzes like me can make short animated movies won’t hurt either. Look at the success of Simon’s cat. It can be done.
2 – Teach others to do what you know how to do: whether it’s historical research or ebook formatting, or writing a game engine, or writing a game, or writing a novel. Infect as many people who are interested as possible with your knowledge. Remember, if everyone in the USSR had had a fax, the regime would have fallen so fast it would have left a(n even bigger) dent on the pavement. Our goal is to get a metaphorical fax into every hand.
The crawl through the institutions suits the personality and aims of the left. They are disciplined, submit to a centralized purpose declared by someone else, and obey their leaders. If we try to fight them at their game, we will lose. The individualists always (somehow) fail to organize.
My stuff above is just suggestions. I want you to start thinking along the lines of what YOU – yes you – can do. And then go out there, and create glorious chaos. Be everywhere and be funny, witty, prepared and fascinating.
You’re all we have. And we have them surrounded.