The ZMan has a post today ( The Narcotic of Minor Celebrity ), that should be of interest to most of us who are the audience for the right wing blogs and sites. All of these judgements are extremely subjective and it definitely matters whose ox is being gored but there are some good points being raised. It’s the nature of modern web commerce that drama increases web traffic and so we get a lot of drama. But attacking each other turns it into a zero sum game where someone wins and someone loses. That doesn’t build a community. I guess the question comes down to what the right wing web presence will look like in the future. And it’s an important question. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are shutting down conservative content providers and Google has demonstrated its willingness to selectively hide right wing content. Assuming that nothing changes another method for promoting right wing messages and businesses will be needed. With respect to this I have a little bit of interesting data. I tried out Google AdWords for about a year. I determined that the clicks from that source had an almost 100% bounce rate and almost never returned. So chances are they are click-farm zombie hits. And this highlights the necessity for growing our own stuff and supporting an ecosystem on the right. This will require a certain amount of cooperation and also a reasonable amount of tolerance for people with at least slightly different ideologies. I see the bickering and purity tests as counterproductive. I don’t espouse locking hands and singing kumbaya with the SJWs but I don’t think there is any danger of that anyway. I think that attacking people who are more or less on our side is slowing down the coalescing of a consensus that is occurring on the right. What seems to be missing is a framework that allows all these disparate elements to engage and allow for synergy. I imagine the Republican party should be that framework except it’s not. It’s part of the problem instead. It’s more or less occupied territory. I’d say we need a new party except that’s a recipe for disaster. What’s needed is a cultural/commercial enterprise to give the right a space to interact. The closest thing I can think of is a right wing version of Amazon. That’s a tall order. Maybe Peter Thiel could get to work on it. In the meantime we all should do our part to support anything that halfway looks like a step in the right direction. But boy it’s hard to find.
At the end of the first installment of this series I said “Next time we’ll talk about how you talk to a prospective wife.” Well, I think I’ll leave that one for a later date, mostly because my dating advice is more than forty years out of date. Instead I think I’ll talk about how to interact with the “right-wing.” I put that in scare quotes because even mapping that territory is so fraught with contention that I’m liable to set off a turf war just trying to alphabetize the list. So, I will speak in generalities and I will err on the side of caution.
My handy-dandy guidelines for interacting within the right-wing:
- Don’t get involved in intra-mural wars. If two right-wing factions are at odds let them settle it themselves. The last thing anyone needs is you playing marriage counselor to the Alt-Right.
- Don’t ever discuss family squabbles with the enemy. That includes “neutral” parties who claim to be “conservatives.” Look at the helpful NeverTrumpers at the National Review and the Weekly Standard. They’re just full of good advice for us poor rubes in Trump Land.
- You don’t have to agree with anything that you consider morally wrong just to “fit in.” Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to declare jihad against those who disagree with you. Just walk away. Find a camp where you are comfortable. It’s a very big world.
- Going along with the last point don’t attack to your right. Even if you disagree with someone you consider too extreme, don’t take it upon yourself to police the right. Let the lefties fight their own battles. Don’t do it for them.
- Whenever it is at all possible, support right wing groups financially, politically, socially and with morale boosting. And especially do it at the expense of the left-wing. And do it even if it has a penalty in terms of quality, cost or status. Think of it as part of the war effort. Eventually it should pay dividends.
- Be slow to take offense. There are many folks out there who let zeal get the better of their manners. I try to add an extra dollop of courtesy when corresponding on-line with someone I don’t know well. Many people have a very excitable writing style when discussing highly inflammatory subject matter, which includes just about everything likely to come up in one of these political discussions. Tread lightly. Sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree and even let the other guy get the last word and just walk away. Winning the internet is a lonely assignment.
- And finally, have fun. There are a lot of good people out there who are looking for the chance to share their thoughts and experiences in the trenches. Even some of the lefties can be decent folks. Just don’t let them borrow any money. They won’t pay you back. They’re communists you know.