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The world often seems to cater to those on the left side of the aisle, especially when it comes to things like social media and pop culture. Because of this, it can be tempting to try to create alternatives in order to fill a market demand for outlets of expression for conservatives, especially for young conservatives, who place more value than their older counterparts on things like pop culture.
But to attempt to create so-called “conservative” spaces that mirror the mainstream is not only not the answer, but is actually counterproductive when we consider the goal of spreading conservative ideologies through political discourse. Separating ourselves by labeling our own cultural creations as “conservative” in nature only sends us further into isolation by perpetuating the same problem we set out to solve.
It’s no secret that conservatives do not enjoy the same freedom of expression on social media as others do. Because of this, conservatives have long been calling for an alternative Twitter, somewhere they can go for the Twitter experience, without being silenced. One alternative platform that has made headlines recently is Parler, an application formatted almost exactly like twitter, but whose leadership promises to allow full freedom of expression on the platform.
As Parler emerged on the market, such promises inevitably drew people fed up with Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives to the platform. Conservative media outlets were littered with headlines promoting the alternative platform. I myself penned an article with a headline that read “Conservatives Burned By Twitter Flock To New Platform.”
But as with many things of this nature, the buzz around Parler subsided nearly as quickly as it had arisen. As soon as Fox News ran a chyron that dubbed the platform the “conservative alternative to Twitter” during an interview with the company’s CEO, the platform was doomed.
This is because conservatives aren’t satisfied with just conversing with other conservatives, as they shouldn’t be.
There is no point of discussing anything, especially politics, if everyone hearing what you have to say agrees with you. Not to mention that part of the addictive appeal of sites like Twitter is bickering with those with whom you disagree.
The conservatives who join these types of alternative social media applications don’t delete their Twitter accounts, and after the hype dies down, people would rather be where the most other people are. When we make the mistake of dubbing something a “conservative” space, we automatically alienate more than half the potential audience or user base.
Not only have we alienated non-conservatives, we’ve also alienated conservatives who want to continue engage with different types of people, which happens to be a lot of them. The only people who hang around these types of spaces for the long term are people interested in an echo chamber, because that is what “conservative” alternatives quickly become.
Not to mention the fact that while Twitter is certainly an important aspect of today’s political discourse, it is not entirely about politics. As hard as it may be for some of us to believe, there are people who spend their time on twitter for entirely different reasons. Some of them may dabble in politics from time to time, but some of them may focus entirely on video games, or cat videos, or porn. Those people might move to a different platform for any number of reasons, being a “conservative alternative” isn’t one of them.
The same rule applies for other aspects of society dominated by the left. Last year, In an earnest but misguided attempt to combat the left’s stronghold over young women and feminism, a number of influential conservative college aged women launched a “conservative women’s magazine.” The magazine, called Expressions, was launched with the noble goal of reclaiming femininity and feminism through a conservative worldview.
“We wanted to do something different,” the organization’s president Laci Williams told The Daily Wire. “We got inspiration from Cosmo because we liked that they were a brand magazine—it’s more than a magazine, it’s a huge brand.”
The problem here is that Cosmo doesn’t go around calling itself a “liberal” women’s magazine. Although these days the pages of the iconic magazine are rife with political propaganda, the Cosmo brand has the advantage of not explicitly telling the reader about their political angle.
The project was met with great enthusiasm, especially after Williams appeared on Fox News to plug the publication, but ultimately the hype faded. This was, of course, inevitable, and happened for the exact same reasons that most people would not tune into a “conservative” entertainment television channel.
Conservative women are certainly in search of products and publications that celebrate their femininity while also aligning with their values. It is evident that the left has somewhat successfully endeavored to inject leftist doctrine into all popular aspects of mainstream culture, whether it be Hollywood, the music industry, or magazines, but the solution is not to capitulate the hyper-politicization of entertainment.
There is definitely something to be said for creating modern publications that happen to align with a more conservative lifestyle, but directly labeling these things as “conservative” does not work to attract a lasting, versatile audience. And wouldn’t it be awful if it did? Would that not be certain evidence of some sort of cultural dystopia made up of political echo chambers, some people reading “liberal” women’s magazines, and some reading “conservative” ones?
The fact that these types of ventures do not take off is not evidence of a lack of conservative thought in society. But even the most politically involved conservatives have a human desire to connect with culture and to be involved in mainstream society. Conservatives should be seeking to change the culture from within, not to separate from it.