You Can’t Win If You Never Fight

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?

Pictured (L-R): Liberals, conservatives.

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.

28 comments

  1. I see that your blog has a “contact” section, so could I potentially email you about that story that I’ve been working on? I just need to bounce some ideas off of you, because people like you would be in my target audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s playbook Boomer. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    One of my biggest regrets of 2018 was that I read too much old material and fell behind on the new. It’s a wonderful time for creative works outside of the dying mainstream. The PulpRev alone has given me a lot of hope in regards to what the future might hold. To pass that up because other people are making bad art is too defeatist for me. There’s too much out there now, if anything.

    Liked by 1 person

      • That is just as much defeatism as the openly black pilled attitude. The refusal to fight back against those who will ultimately take the old books, as well as destroy those attempting to write the new ones, is clear cowardice. Hiding in the corner of your room is no more help than cowering in the battlefield.

        “Eat me last, Mr. Alligator!”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s time for the right, what’s left of it, to face the truth. When American women parade in DC celebrating the murder of their children and our doctors and teachers pump our children with sex hormones there isn’t anything left to conserve. Conservatives have failed. The best we can do is fight a rearguard slash and burn action while beginning the seeds of a new world. But I’m not holding my breath, conservativs mainly talk big on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thought I already commented to this, but guess not.

      I agree completely with you. We need to build the alternative and continue to try wrecking the current grotesquery so that when it all collapses, we’ll have something good to replace it.

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    Alex writes some thoughtful stuff. Makes me think. So after writing a comment I often decide a reblog is required.

    What follows is the comment I would have left.

    I think you are making The Establishment out to be more virtuous than it is. Think about what it means when we call Trump an outsider. Outside of what?

    What describes The Establishment? The expression Crony Capitalism works well. Now consider that in the context of your “praise” for the opposition.

    -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.

    Because of Crony Capitalism, your last bullet is the big one. The Establishment works together to protect and expand the system they have devised because it is in their economic interests to do so. It is about money, not virtue.

    What should unite Conservatives? Love. Conservativism is not about “ME”. It isn’t rabid individualism for its own sake. We defend the rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness because we love our family, friends, and neighbors, and we want to protect them from abuse and enslavement by egomaniacal and tyrannical busybodies.

    To fight The Establishment, we have learn again what the people who founded this country once knew. We have to learn how to work with our neighbors in voluntary associations. That’s not easy, but love overcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting take. My intention was not to give the Establishment credit at all, but I see where you’re coming from with that point.

      What we call crony capitalism seems to me to be an inevitable byproduct of the system we’ve developed in this country over the centuries. How could megacorps NOT stifle everyone else to maximize their own profit?

      So yes, why on earth would right-wing millionaires and billionaires do anything to rock the boat? I am dreaming, because I don’t think rich right-wingers, save for My Pillow mogul Mike Lindell throwing money to save the “Unplanned” movie, want to see the gravy train stop rolling.

      I like your last point: Love and smaller associations. That’s what I was trying to get at with individual people supporting alternatives however they can, monetarily or otherwise, instead of doing the typical conservative thing of complaining.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Alex

        When you speak of the importance of the battle over the culture, I think you are correct.

        Each of us has a role to play. What we do depends upon our gifts and what we believe God has called us to do. Can we tell someone else what role they should play? We can try, but it won’t work. What does work? We can each set an example and hold up our vision of what we have been called to be. Seem you are doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “I like your last point: Love and smaller associations.” Are you sure you’re not a closet libertarian?

        Serious question, though: If you’re not a conservative or libertarian (and obviously not a postmodern “liberal”), then what ARE you? What would you call yourself if you had to sum it up in only a word or two?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m some kind of creature of the right. A Christian nationalist, I guess?

        While I like parts of libertarianism, I can’t get behind the whole thing because I’m not pro-drug, I’m anti-open borders, I think free trade is a disaster for a nation and a culture that really only benefits the few, I think we need more religion in public life, I believe in authority (with HEAVY penalties for corruption, etc.), I don’t think unregulated, completely unfettered capitalism and profit-seeking above all else is the highest good, and I think there are instances where government should intervene.

        So that’s my philosophy.

        Like

      • “Love and smaller associations.”

        Man, I’m old enough to remember when that was a very leftist thing. Well, maybe not leftist per se, but certainly not of the Old Right. Anyone else remember E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful,” the back-to-the-land movement, etc., etc.? The Bay Area and UC Berkeley buzzed with that stuff back in the day, before everyone sold out to woke corporations. What a sleight of hand: internet censorship, worker exploitation (“muh gig economy”), globalism, Antifa goon squads…all made OK because of some rainbow flags, diversity officers, and Orange Man Bad [1].

        There’s actually a decent overlap between the New Right and the “small is beautiful” crowd. I think it’s because the current demarcation is globalist vs. nationalist, and conservationism — not to be confused with the Climate Change neo-gnostic religion run by grifters — is inherently nationalist and incompatible with open borders and the like.

        The Bernie crowd suffers from similar internal contradictions: a globalist, anti-nationalist, open borders party like the Democrats is incompatible with his platform. All the early labor leaders opposed mass immigration because of the obvious impacts on wages.

        Will be interesting how nationalism vs. globalism shapes the Democrats and Republicans over the next decade. President Trump could easily win in a landslide by running on student loan forgiveness and reform.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Conservatives have been conserving the status quo forever. It’s baked into their model. They slow down the progress of progressives and that’s all. So this really doesn’t surprise me.

    Re supporting authors, I do get overwhelmed, but will still buy books that interest me. I need to review more often. Not likely to review the real schticks, like, omg, there’s an explosion and gun fight in every chapter! 3 gun fights in some! That’s where art becomes crazy self-mimicry.

    Re signal boosting, I would like to find a way to boost my sales. None of the signal boosts I’ve had led to any sales, but that’s very cool that yours did. Maybe the covers are bad, or the descriptions, or…? I tend to write what I want, which resonates with a handful of people. I guess I’m okay with that. That is the area where individualism is hard to eradicate (in myself).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well truth be told, I shill like mad but the AoSHQ single-handedly pushed me over the 100 sales mark. I started strong, died down a LOT, and then this boom. So I don’t know.

      I try to signal boost what I can. I bought the Minaeverse, but I want to read it before I review it.

      Now back to conservatives, you’re right. They just attempt, quite feebly, to slow down “progress,” and then adopt the formerly radical positions some five years later. They have no real plan or ideas.

      Like

      • I need to shill more. I find it exhausting, tbh. I’ve had one signal boost per book; the book that sold the best was Anna and the Dragon. The Minaverse is kind of weird. I think the first few chapters kill it for a lot of readers. I took a vote with my betas, who all told me to leave the chapters as-is because they provide grounding. I probably shouldn’t have listened. It’s okay. My next book is going to be the best, though. Just not comic like Minaverse. That’s my shill for today. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shilling IS exhausting. But it’s sadly necessary for any independent businessmen and women . . . authors included.

        I’m finding that one has to keep putting out books. It’s slow going for those of us with day jobs though!

        And I can’t wait for your next one! I like the sound of that: THE BEST!

        Like

  6. Congratulations on your book sales! And on your vision or your mission. I liked this very much, “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?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s fun…it’s like another full-time job though!

      And it is truly all message fiction. Our side, if I may speak broadly, has made the multi-generational mistake of failing to understand this. And that’s why it’s the severe underdog in the culture war.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So we’re not actually that far apart in many respects. It’s the degree to which we trust authority where we part ways.

    I call myself a libertarian (or libertarian-minded) because it’s the closest term in current politics to where I stand, but it’s actually not all that accurate. “Constitutional libertarian” might be closer.

    Personally, I’m an incurable individualist — a leave-me-the-hell-alone-ist — and the only reason I’m involved in the battle over culture and politics at all is because so many people refuse to just leave me the hell alone.

    But unlike the stereotypical hippie libertarian, I realize that people *need* religion, governments, laws, and national/cultural/economic borders. The trick is to tilt the balance toward individual freedom and voluntary association instead of authoritarianism. I believe the Constitution, for all its flaws and failures, is the best attempt ever made at striking that balance, so…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too want to be left the hell alone, but there is a balance between needing guilt (feeling bad about being bad) and shame (having society police each other). Many Asian cultures go for the latter (some might say TOO far), while the West went more for the former . . . although with the diminution of Christianity, that’s fallen by the wayside. So we’re left with 350,000,000 personal gods, and THAT’S where I see the huge problem in the Constitutional model.

      The Constitution doesn’t work without a moral population. Neither does capitalism, as we’re seeing. Neither does having a ruling class in general.

      So I’m not saying bring back theocracy or a monarchy, but I’m also not saying those systems might not arguably do a better job of what we have now because, let’s face it: Our ruling class is the worst. We’re basically ruled by demons.

      Liked by 1 person

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