For starters, I need to thank @OregonMuse of popular blog Ace of Spades HQ for helping creators wage the culture war by promoting my book A Traitor to Dreams, among other great independent novels, on last Sunday’s Sunday Morning Book Thread.
Not only did this signal boost result in my best day of sales yet, more importantly, it put my book, and the others, in many, many people’s hands. I can’t speak for all authors involved, but I’m not in this for the money. Any money is nice, of course, but I’m in it to change the culture. All fiction is message fiction, after all. The question is, “Whose message?” It’s been so one-sided for so long it’s about time people had an alternative.
Which brings me to today’s point: Complaining about a problem does nothing. You actually have to show up to fight.
And those of us here on this particular side of the cultural divide have been just bitching and moaning for too long without actually taking the fight to the other side. To paraphrase author and friend, Rawle Nyanzi, you paid money to people who hate you to see their new movie and then made a YouTube video complaining about it–now what?
This comment on the AoSHQ thread really rubbed me the wrong way, and encapsulates why the right has been losing the culture war for so long:
The tweet about supporting authors (and the subsequent paragraphs) brings up something I’ve been thinking about the last few years. One person who hits on this a lot is Klavan, of course in his case he included more than just books.
But I have a problem with this. Given that I have limited means, and thus cannot simply give donations but can buy only for my personal consumption, what exactly is my OBLIGATION here? The simple fact is that I have never liked the culture I live in, and the older I get the stronger that is. I know it speaks ill of my character, but I find myself ever more drawn to Evelyn Waugh as a kindred spirit. I started rejecting Boomer culture in the 60s, and I’ve seen nothing to tempt me to change.
So, why should I, when I’d rather read older books, have to read the stuff they come out with now? This is especially so given that a lot of the energy seems to be in sci-fi, which is not my thing, and from what I have tried, I find mysteries are just worse. The “message” beats you over the head. (The last such writer I’ve gone with was Michael Gilbert, who was notable in that, if you read several of his, you won’t be able to tell which side he was on, though he was in fact a Tory. When he and Patrick O’Brian died, that was it, given the decline of Tom Wolfe.)
I’d rather try a “new” Trollope. So, where should I stand on this?
We see several TrueConservative™️ talking points here:
- It’s all about me.
- My time is too valuable.
- My money is too valuable.
- Why should I care?
- These genres aren’t I personally like.
- I’d rather read older books.
The overall takeaway is: I don’t like the culture we’re in, but I don’t feel like doing anything to combat the rot I’m complaining about.
You want to talk obligation? Here’s a good starting point: don’t bitch about what a burden it is supporting those fighting the fight you’re not fighting.
For the price of a candy bar, you coils download one of these books. Is that really a heavy “obligation”?
Or here’s an idea: just spread the word. You don’t have to read it. Promoting something is free! That’s a great price, isn’t it? And it takes maybe ten seconds. Perhaps you have a friend who’s into one of these genres represented by OregonMuse’s post. Send them a link.
That’s it! Very little of your oh-so precious time and money has been spent and you can get back to reading old books and complaining about the culture.
It might seem like I’m belaboring a small point, but this “It’s all about ME!” attitude drives me bonkers. We’re in this position in the first place because for so long conservatives have conserved nothing about the culture. They stepped aside and let the other side walk in and dominate the arts.
The arts are “beneath” the TrueCons™️. They don’t make PROFIT, so they’re utterly insignificant. They know what’ll REALLY win hearts and minds: more corporate tax cuts!
This is why conservatives always lose, and why I’m no longer a conservative. Malignant individualism leads to utter ineffectiveness.
Here’s why the other side has been winning for so long:
- They show up.
- They make noise.
- They don’t form circular firing squads.
- They air internal debates IN PRIVATE.
- They spend money on what they believe in.
- They provide rhetorical support to their allies.
- They are united against their foes.
- And–here’s a big one–their millionaires and billionaires support art and culture. Ours support open borders, foreign wars, and corporate tax cuts.
Conservatives do the opposite of this. They whine about personal inconvenience, spending a few dollars, helping spread the word for fear of association with “those people,” or even just not attacking their own.
It’s why, if you’re interested in winning the culture war, you need to be like OregonMuse. Check out all the authors involved and, if you aren’t in a position to buy anything, at least spread the freakin’ word.
A Traitor to Dreams is still on sale for $0.99. Download it today, or in the alternative, check out Adam Lane Smith’s Maxwell Cain: Burrito Avenger, Rawle Nyanzi’s forthcoming Shining Tomorrow, John Taloni’s The Compleat Martian Invasion: Earth’s Defense Awakens, or Yakov Merkin’s Galaxy Ascendant series.