James at Nourishing Obscurity raises a very important but very uncomfortable point today.
“This is a key issue in getting any of the snowflakes to see reason – that we ourselves come over as unpleasant people.”
There’s no question that the Right has a huge image problem. Unfortunately it's to some extent well deserved. There are people who identify themselves, and are generally identified as, rightists or conservatives who are the kinds of people who will give any movement a bad name. These unpleasant people are not representative of conservative-leaning voters as a whole and it’s unfair that we get blamed for their sins but that’s the way it is. We need to face the problem.
The first group of the unpleasants is the rabid free markets/free trade/tax cuts for the rich crowd that comprises a large segment of the establishment of parties like the Republicans and the Tories. They obviously don’t give a damn for ordinary people and ordinary people are aware of this and as a result a very large number of ordinary people have an absolutely visceral loathing for these right-wing parties. They would die rather than vote Tory. And unfortunately as far as most people are concerned the vicious grasping Republicans and Tories are the face of conservatism.
The second group of unpleasants is those damned Nazis. Yes I know they’re all dead and there haven’t been any actual Nazis for seventy years but it doesn’t matter. Any political leader who is on the right and who deviates to the slightest degree from the approved path of respectable conservative politics is going to be labelled as Literally Hitler.
Now comes the really uncomfortable bit. While the rise of the alt-right has been understandable and is probably on the whole a very positive thing it does have its lunatic fringe. Of course every political movement and every political party has a lunatic fringe. The trouble is that the alt-right’s lunatic fringe is an absolute gift to our political opponents. It’s just so incredibly easy to portray them as being Literally Hitler. Some of them really are disturbing. It’s quite possible that many or even most of them are actually paid trolls employed by leftist organisations or even agents provocateurs from the FBI, but it has to be admitted that some of them are real and even though they’re harmless nutters if they make me uncomfortable they undoubtedly make ordinary people very uncomfortable.
What this all adds up to is that if you’re on the Right most people are going to regard you as either a cynical champion of the rich against the poor or an angry violent humourless life-hating person.
So how do we deal with this problem? I don’t claim to have the answer. Perhaps we need to avoid terms like right and conservative altogether. These terms just have too much negative baggage. I’m not sure we can ever rehabilitate these terms.
Perhaps we need to be better at selling an overall positive vision for society. We need to emphasis what we’re in favour of rather than emphasising the things we hate.
That’s the immense advantage that anyone who claims the leftist label has - they’re fighting to create a Better World, a safer place for children and puppies and we all want that don’t we? If not for the children then at least for the puppies. In actual fact most modern leftists are part of the Fake Left. They’re actually fighting for a better world for bankers and billionaires but they don’t get called out for their deceptions and they still get the benefits of being portrayed a crusaders for justice, equality, hugs and general niceness. We on the other hand just get labelled as hateful bigots.
We need to find a way to market our vision of a better world. We love puppies too.