Creating from the Right

Wood Carving, photo by Angelina Litvin

A challenge that all of us dissident right-wingers face is the need to retake culture. We lament that the left subverts traditional values and attacks our way of life. In the political arena, there is a clear-cut path to victory. Victory in politics will not guarantee victory in culture. Victory in culture first may even be a prerequisite for political victories, though the current situation suggests an implosion of the left-aligned status quo. How can we, the right, take over culture?

Repression is not a viable solution.  Historically, this does not work as a long-term solution. Even if we were to secure sufficient political influence to impose such a crackdown, it consumes the efforts of the intellectual vanguard. This means stagnation and decadence. Furthermore, repression has major ethical issues. I’m a right-anarchist and open about it. Ostracizing people from society for their actions (especially political actions) is the whole point of Hoppe’s idea of physical removal, but force is not an acceptable response to ideas.

Culture abhors a vacuum. Without our own superior options for those seeking leisure, enlightenment, and edification, we will not prevail in the culture war.

Against The Myth of the Stagnant Right

The first step is to resist the myth that those on the political right do not create. In an era with Tolkien as one of the pre-eminent figures in literature, this shouldn’t even need an argument. Yet, it is worth addressing. All people have used culture to bring their message to the world. The oldest extant literature involves explicit attempts to codify the power structure found in such tales as Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

According to the modern thesis that left-wingers breathe creativity and life into the universe and right-wingers bring order, this should be impossible. At the very least, the modern perspective would cope by saying that the reactionary old-guard creates stories that are bland and propagandistic. But these stories have survived because of what they evoke. And it is the modern left, with their democracy cult, that has created meaningless effluvia that repels audiences and leaves them gasping for fresh air.

We can tap into the quintessential foundation of culture—the image of the hero. The left has forgotten this in their masturbatory deconstruction, and their failure is a weakness.

But it will require would-be artists to master forms that are both archaic and modern, using everything in their arsenal to build anew and restore the old cathedrals that provided sanctuary to human spirit. This must be done with an eye to the practical considerations of logistics and financing, distribution and audience.

Strategies of Resurgence

What are the strategies that we can use to bring a resurgent right into culture? What do we need to do to reach our potential?  How do we go from being at the bottom of the hierarchy to the top?

First, it is necessary to take an economic analysis of the current cultural situation.  The state subsidizes some artists (though many people would not know their names), hoping to create talent that supports the regime. Any disruption of this through an attack on public expenditure in this direction is a win. Alternatively, we could usurp this, but becoming dependent on the state is a bad idea for all but the most brilliant dissidents.  After all, a state-funded dissident creator would ultimately bite the hand that feeds them, and the lack of meritocratic funding in the state media apparatus means one grows accustomed to pleasing state patrons rather than audiences. This means that working with the state is self-defeating, as it is less influential over the culture than it desires because of its inherent inefficiencies.

Fortunately, the lion’s share of creative investment is in major media corporations and publishing houses that are nominally private.  These have state ties, of course, because we live in a corporatist hell, but are a potential angle of attack. They’re heavily aligned with the state because it’s an easy way for people who can’t directly compete to receive subsidies, and there are taxation and practical subsidies in place to prop up their efforts.

These media conglomerates have become creatively bankrupt. Many of their employees are technically outstanding, so one cannot just walk in with better ideas and score an easy victory because this technical mastery can push out even a superior vision, but it makes our task easier. Further, there are unlikely allies to be found in the ranks of these corporations, even if they face more risk when joining with us than working with the status quo.

There is also the growing pathway of private direct-to-customer production. Besides self-publishing finished works through large marketplaces, there are also subscriptions, crowd-funding, and other strategies to achieve alternate revenue streams than simple sales.

So, that leaves us with three options.

Infiltration

The first option is to work through an existing revenue stream and co-opt it. This would involve either state subsidies or the semi-private publishing system. This is an ideal for unknown quantities, especially those who have talent and skill and can create works that are obscurant enough or interesting enough to escape censorship or opprobrium for dissident political beliefs.

The usual advice for creatives applies here. It’s a field that’s all about who you know (and many of these people, especially in Hollywood, are very unsavory) and getting in the right place at the right time. If you’re a writer, the publishing industry there has a lot of politics. Visual and performing arts also have a political bent, though visual art has enough of a commercial market you might work through a studio or other intermediary to build a portfolio, network, and break through, even if you have some black marks on your record.

 This will require sacrifice. You will crash and burn if you do not play your cards right. JK Rowling is an example that we should learn from. She is not one of us, but the left hates her. The left controls the culture. They try to destroy her, and they keep failing. Why?

I’ve heard people claim that she’s controlled opposition, or that there’s some power propping her up. This is a plausible explanation if you don’t know anything about her financial and intellectual property decisions, which are pretty darn solid. The left can’t take down Rowling because she was smart with her business.  She kept the rights to her work, and it’s good enough that it will find a market even if everyone else tries to cancel her.

Yes, it’s actually good. I know I’ll get flak here, but YA literature is a genre, and her work is probably in the top 1-5% of that genre. You can’t support hierarchies and then pretend they don’t exist when you have the perfect example of competence rising to the top.

Reach the point where you have enough money and platform to jump ship and build your own thing.

The Open Struggle

I’m stuck on this path because I write politically extreme content under my name. I also have a game company, an apolitical podcast that I’m starting (putting my MFA to good use, eh?), and a handful of blogs. I’ve got a platform that’s probably in the top 1% to 0.1% of all humans in history, though it’s not exactly shaping the world (yet).

This is the route you’re going to have to take if you make yourself unpalatable to publishers. Fortunately, I have a skill stack that makes me capable of doing everything I need to self-publish, barring illustrations. And if you go this route, you need that. You need to handle a business, do the creative work, and handle all the distribution and other stuff yourself.

Technically, this is a lot easier than it used to be. You can find tons of marketplaces and other avenues to distribute your work, and unless you become thermonuclear radioactive, you’re probably fine. The important thing here is that you need to build a market. The big publishers already have a market, and that’s what you get while working through them in any creative medium. Hollywood knows they’ll sell tickets, book publishers have mailing lists, record labels have tours, and so forth. You’ll need to do that yourself. As with any business-owner, you’ll be underwater for a long time before you have your platform, so don’t quit your day job.

Yet, you’ll also have improving returns as you work more, if you’re skilled at what you do, because you’ll have repeat customers. So long as you don’t get yourself banned, you’ll find the algorithm boosts you, and you’ll be able to earn your way into conversations with other people in the sphere.

Go on podcasts. Write for other peoples’ blogs. Do all of that. Sell your work and your talent.

The Unicorn

Or you can pray to find a financial supporter who aligns with our cause. I am skeptical of this. First, the problem would be that if you’re waiting to find the money before you work, you’re going to get hammered.

I work in games, particularly tabletop roleplaying games. I was a game reviewer for years before I started making my own. I was a freelancer and attended a couple of trade shows, and people pitched ideas to me, thinking it would get to my boss (which was when I cut them off and they sulked away, disappointed).

Everyone has an idea. Some people even make their ideas sound good. If people think you have money, they will try to tell you their ideas and get you to give them your money. Few people asking for money have an idea worth investing in. Make it, then sell it.

There’s an axiom in Austrian economics: production must precede consumption. People who are wealthy enough to fund your dream project are also wise enough not to fund specters.

If you can actually show up with something, you can get it off the ground. If you have a fantasy novel you want to turn into a twelve-book saga, your unicorn could help with that. If you have a few cool characters and a rough outline, they can’t.

So, write the damn book before you go to them. Or sketch out all your storyboards. Or make a prototype of your game. It doesn’t matter. Just show up with something. Don’t beg, don’t plead.

Second, unicorns are rare. People with money are one thing, but people with money who share your beliefs are another. People with money who share beliefs that run contrary to the status quo are literally one in a million. Now how many of those align with your beliefs?

It’s not that it can’t happen, but even if there is someone who would fund your work, they will be busy. So go back to point one. Make it first, then pitch. Because you’ve probably got more company than you think as far as the whole “please give me money” game goes.

Third, be careful what you wish for. Giving up your creative control isn’t just for Hollywood, major record labels, and New York publishing houses. If you go to a unicorn for money, they can be awesome. Hell, I’ve had something akin to this experience when I was freelancing, since I got a massive gig dropped in my lap for the asking and I have crossed off more of my bucket list than anyone my age has a right to. But they can also put demands on you. If you’re not ready, you can break under strain.

Do not wait for the money only to figure out you wilt under pressure. Then you’ve blacklisted yourself and you’ve wasted the unicorn’s time.

Encouragement

You can create. You can break into the space.

It won’t be easy, but the rewards are simple. Retake the culture by creating entertainment free from subversion and perversion.

Do what you love. It requires more discipline than a hobby to make it as a pro and making progress can feel like losing a part of yourself (post-partum is real for creative sorts). But in the end, you will set your spirit free. Be a beacon that encourages others to join the fray.

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