Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Branding, or Lack Thereof

A recent American Conservative article:


And a direct quote:

The party has stumbled into exactly the wrong mix of libertarianism and Christian conservatism—the libertarians are now seen as bringing what I called a “heartless ruthlessness” to the party’s economic thinking, or at best an only theoretical concern for the poor, unemployed, and middle class; while the Christian conservatives have picked up a reputation as a force for intolerance.

The wrong mix for what? For bullshitting people who are liberal into thinking that the Republican party is liberal, too? That we can be just as permissive and naive and shiftless as the left?

Say what you want about Mr. McCarthy; I say that he's a liberal. Or maybe just an idiot. He's more worried about winning the election than being conservative. Actual conservative ideals hold to the notion that charity and assistance are private matters best carried on by private individuals and institutions who know the people they're helping. One of those institutions is the church, and the notion that a community should have some unity of faith goes along with conservatism as well. This is always intolerant if you're viewing the situation through leftist principles.

And this article does view the situation through leftist principles, and we know those principles. Government-funded economic relief is taken as directly equivalent to caring about, and helping, the poor. Not supporting gay marriage is taken as directly equivalent to intolerantly attacking gays. The perspective that is required to see this is a liberal perspective grounded in secular humanism, that undifferentiated, characterless materialism that will perpetually cower for the sake of keeping a peace. It is the ideal of a world without integrity. And Mr. McCarthy here thinks that presenting such a face is necessary to survive. Unfortunately, the insight into voter ideals may not be wrong. But if this is a political brand going bad, then it's not the ideas of that brand that have changed, but the views of the people it must sell itself to. Plenty of people know this by now, but for those who don't, it's very simple: we must now assume that we're talking to children.

But even if the right does compromise itself, I doubt it will work.

If you play this game with the people who created it, there is no sensible reason whatsoever to think that you're going to win. They run a better propaganda game than you. They know how to use media better than you. They know how to manipulate emotions better than you; the government programs exist so they can play the compassionate role, no matter how poorly they work. They are better at this than you. They can cast any standard of behavior as evil. Sex has gone from being a private matter to a cause for public discourse, while religion has reversed, gone from being public and community-based to a private matter you shouldn't even discuss with others. It's a stupid shift of ideals, but it's already happened. They can turn thousands of years worth of gender-specified family organization into pure oppression. They already have. It's done. You've failed. YOU now see it through their eyes, because you operate in a democratic system and you have to do what they do, just to stay competitive: you must dive to the level of the lowest common denominator.

In a society where righteousness is a matter of media perception, where personalities dominate principles and there is no conceptual center for anyone except as a matter of their most infantile intuitions, the left has every advantage. There's no sense to diving further into where those intuitions come from, why they are unworkable and ridiculous, here. That worldview is dominant, and that's what matters to some people that would turn the right into an alternative left party, maybe slightly more pragmatic and with a soft spot for free market fundamentalism.

If you're more interested in being liked by people than in being respected by them, then it's over and no stable ideal can exist. The status quo is always hated when people gets emotional about wanting something they can't have. God, I hate politics. With the blood-soaked rage of a meth'd-out Chuck Norris, I fucking hate this pathetic, retarded game that is the democratic popularity contest.

The last hope here may be to let the left take the system, stand back, keep them at arms length but do not seek greater responsibility, provide them with no political resistance, no sturm und drang they can play kabuki theater with. I'm not saying a full Atlas strike, but a little of what this guy suggests: work less, try less, take your finger out of the dike. Your society doesn't respect success - unless you also put huge efforts into media manipulation and image management - so why strain yourself? Just offshore your money and do as little as possible. Wait. Wait while you keep your head down, put bars on your windows, and fantasize about founding a micronation. When their vision implodes - and it will, it's not based on reality - then they can take the image hit, they fold, they collapse, and the adults come back and take the wheel, as intended. Can you imagine the political left without an establishment that enables them to play the underdog?

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