My blog post yesterday about why conservatives shun the arts sparked a wide-ranging discussion, with Brian Niemeier, Daytime Renegade, Yakov Merkin, Jeffro Johnson, and many others chiming in. All of them disagreed with me, and the common theme of all their objections is that conservatives have been very prolific in the arts in the past, but do not engage in it now because the Left controls all the major outlets for it.
First, there is much to be said about the blackballing effect. Pros in comics are relentlessly hostile to people on the Right. Voicing any right-wing opinion in Hollywood is a fast track to unemployment. Book publishing is almost uniformly liberal, and speculative fiction publishing even moreso. Any up-and-coming conservative artist would simply turn away from it all since he would be actively opposed by everyone in those industries.
But why did it get this way? Why did conservatives abandon the arts?
I think my statements on practicality have that covered.
Due to this practical mindset, conservatives as a group came to view art as unimportant. Look at where moneyed conservatives spend their dough: on football teams, for sports feel more physical and more real, with objective measures of success. On think tanks, because writing policy essays is more “important” than silly stories about spaceships and ray guns. On election campaigns, because conservatives want their people in the offices of our government, primed and ready to enact policy right away. On their businesses, because businesses either grow or die. All of these appeal to the practical mind, and they don’t have the stress level of dealing with unsupportive colleagues in a field that seems useless.
There’s also the conservative tendency to follow rules. Since the Left set the rules, the conservatives did as they always did and followed those rules, even if they were unfair. They figured that the Left played dirty, but that modeling their rule-following behavior would change the Left’s mind. Needless to say, no such thing occurred (as an aside, note how SJWs in partcular frame opposition to their views — as either a breach of etiquette or an act of bigotry.)
While individual conservatives, whether past or present, have done quite well in the arts, there aren’t very many of them today, but I think that it’s because of both blackballing and the practical mindset, not just the blackballing. That being said, the few conservatives I know of who are in the arts tend to write commercially, which suits a practical mindset just fine.
For art as a whole to be healthy, it needs a variety of voices. The Right simply cannot abandon this as somehow not worth their time. Fortunately, the internet has loosened things up somewhat, so blackballing — while still effective — isn’t an absolute deal-breaker anymore. It just requires more entrepreneurial spirit and pulling up by bootstraps, that’s all.