UPDATE: Brian Niemeier responds.
UPDATE 2: Daytime Renegade responds.
UPDATE 3: Yakov Merkin responds.
Recently, Brian Niemeier put up a post criticizing conservatives for abandoning their ideological allies in the workplace whenever SJWs demand their firing. He asserts that conservative claims of high principle are masks for cowardice, and that any conservative seeking to dissent from the SJWs — who hold influence in all major institutions — will receive no support from their supposed allies.
This got me thinking on how this applies to art, because as many a commentator has noticed, all artistic institutions, from film and television to music to comics to fine art to book publishing, are stuffed with people of the Left (though not necessarily SJW extremists.) The few non-Leftists in those industries tend to be libertarians, not flag-waving, God-fearing patriotic types. I think I have an idea of why this is the case, and it is related to the points Niemeier made.
Mainstream conservatives are too practical, and this is why they ignore the arts.
The US conservative ethos can be summed up as: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Make money to support your family and improve your lifestyle. Handouts are shameful. In following this ethos, they select careers with a practical application that would get them earning right away. It’s not bad advice; you need money to live, and more money is better, for bills need to be paid. With this conventional mindset, conservatives relentlessly focus on “what works,” emphasizing careers like engineering, resource extraction, skilled trades, and other things of that nature. Since these are skills immediately useful to society, conservatives have a reputation of “getting it done.”
And it’s this exact temperament that makes them unsuited for the world of art — and by this, I mean all forms of artistic expression, not merely paintings or installations.
Art is not immediately useful; it neither grows your food nor supplies your energy. Except for a handful of megastars, art is low-paid. Most artists rely on either a job or on other people to support them in their endeavors; “don’t quit your day job” is a cliche for a reason, as is “starving artist.” It requires the mind to break with conventional modes of thinking and spend much time speculating on bizarre possibilities. Art requires one to focus on emotion.
This is as far from the conservative mindset as one can get.
As a result, conservatives do not view the arts as particularly important; to them, it feels like a useless indulgence. To the liberal (whether SJW or not), the arts pose no psychological obstacle since their self-concept does not derive from accumulating wealth, being the hardest worker, or having a conventional family life. They’re fine with being supported if that’s what it takes. They’re fine with making less money if that’s what it takes. They’re fine with not getting married or having children.
Thus liberals have the psychological advantage for art. Thus liberals put in the work to become successful at it. Thus liberals shape popular culture through it.
Though art appears useless, it is quite real — every bit as real as anything conservatives prefer to deal with. People love to engage with it to relax or to gain some emotional thrill, and such things are highly addictive. The small buildup of every little piece of art over time eventually shifts the culture. Though most entertainment is chosen, the mere availability of high-quality works can brighten someone’s day. People like being entertained.
And few conservatives provide this entertainment because they consider art to be beneath them.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Conservatives avoid going into art, then they complain that all the art is liberal. If conservatives are to make any headway in the world of art, they have to let go of their doubts and do what they do best: get to work and get it done.
No one reads think tank papers for fun.
.@Cernovich The left has big-budget movies and critically-acclaimed TV shows. The right has long, boring Cato Institute essays.
— Rawle Nyanzi (@RawleNyanziFTL) April 13, 2016