It has become a popular mantra of progressives to claim that conservatives are unable to contribute in any meaningful way to art or entertainment in America.
Having heard this diatribe for most of the last decade in response to my own work, I have become curious to discover the reasoning for this belief. One would expect, upon hearing such an assertion denouncing one’s own talent to come with a laundry list of reasons; or at least some links to an obscure, publicly-funded research paper. But one would be wrong. The sole defense for the assertion that conservatives are not capable of creating art is that we have no soul. Questions of skill and aesthetics don’t even come into play.
Ironically, these same people will argue that there is no progressive stranglehold on the arts in America. It only takes a few mouse clicks on the average art site or sampling of a popular art magazine to see that this is not true. I hear stories from other conservative artists regularly which describe their own experiences with the unofficial blacklisting of all things conservative in the arts.
I live near Atlanta–not a hotbed of conservative thought by any stretch. I know other artists here, who have been on the scene far longer than I, who have had far worse treatment at the hands of gallery owners.
Then, there are the myriad of high-profile cases of brow-beating and incivility at the hands of the elitists in the media and entertainment industries. David Mamet and Clint Eastwood are two examples that come immediately to mind. For all of their protestations about market-driven factors determining such things (when it suits them of course) there is an unbridled, insiders-only system in the arts and entertainment industry. The elitists are simply comfortable in excluding anyone with which they disagree.
So, this brings me to the point: Why do we put up with this? As conservatives, shouldn’t we be able to create a market for work that we find ideologically appealing? The left has been doing so for generations; often depicting America and select individuals in very personal and derogatory ways. One doesn’t have to search very far through an archive of political art to find demeaning depictions of all things conservative. So why is it not permitted for conservatives to show passion and ideology in their work? We’re allowed to paint eagles, flags and Jesus because that’s what is expected of us; then we’re mocked for our lack of imagination.
If we speak to the evils of a bloated government, even the President is moved to assure people that we are paranoid and should be ignored. Never mind Shepard Fairey colluding on a film project with the purpose of destroying the legacy of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Never mind Michael Moore and his anti-American hit pieces inspired by a tenuous grasp of reality. In the music and comedy business, we are bombarded with the evils of the 1 percent and George Bush. You can’t even read pulp fiction any more without being beaten over the head by the author’s politics. Get my point?
What do we do to change this one-sided cultural exchange? We get involved! If you’re an artist, start networking and supporting openly conservative artists. If you’re a collector, start seeking out conservative art. This doesn’t mean everything you create or buy should beat you over the head with religion or patriotism. Just make an effort to know enough about the art and its creator to actively support someone who shares your ideas. Some high-profile examples are Charlie Daniels, John McNaughton and Jon Voight.
Let’s also make an effort to find emerging artists, who need the help far more than those already established. They have less time and money to market themselves. Here are some examples:
By taking the control from the progressive elites, you’re “Sticking it to The Man,” as they like to say. It’s about time they got a dose of their own medicine.