If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s advice from people like me, who love giving tips that I’d never actually use in real life. But I give advice because it puts pressure on myself to actually act on the same suggestions – because I know, as a flaming hypocrite, I probably won’t.
So without further ado (what’s an “ado” anyway), here are my basic tips for creating a happier, more productive you!
-Jettison all moralizing. It’s part of the deal: if you want to grow a movement, you have to ignore the hyper-moralists on the margins, especially in the face of existential terror. Fact is, you shouldn’t give a damn about what your neighbor smokes or dates; the larger problems facing us now make that stuff seem silly, by comparison. So let it go.
-Abandon or ignore your worst allies. Every new revolution attracts assholes, be they on the left or right. We must admit: a conservative movement attracts nutcases that are sometimes every bit as annoying as those on the left – but maybe they number in the dozens, or maybe hundreds. The problem is, no one really knows, because voices on the web are magnified purely by input repetition. It’s not about purging the creeps, it’s about making them unwelcome in obvious and outspoken ways. Call them out, once – and then ignore them forever.
-Channel your radical energy to unconquered terrain. I speak, of course (like a broken record) of pop culture. Forget the repetitive practice of confirming and concentrating on the easy targets of agreement: you’re merely speaking to people who already see things your way. It’s time to convert and to spread. That means making music, writing scripts, publishing articles and – at times, working for little, or next to, nothing. It’s time to be as radically artistic and risky, as the radicals on the left. Where are the rightwing performance artists? If you can’t name a single one, then you could be that one. Why not? Speak out, and up. You will have more friends than you think.
-Credit the trailblazers. This new movement could not have happened if not for some very smart, brave thoughtful souls. You cannot forget them – yet we have in this new era of impulsive anger. I’ve seen right wingers get lambasted for not being “rightwing” enough, as they watch practitioners of the new right mimic the work these RINOS had done a decade ago. Being a dick is not being politically incorrect – it’s just being a dick.
-Work together. Do not purge your allies because of purity. It’s the reflex of the newbie: to eat the carcasses of those who came before…because they just aren’t “right enough.” It’s true: we are meaner to our allies than to our enemies, and that has to stop (or not; it’s really up to you). Because one day, you will be that ally who gets eaten too, trust me. Calling someone “establishment” is less right than it is lazy, if you fail to adequately investigate the beliefs and practices of those one might smear.
-Address the white elephant in the room. Media hacks will portray the new right as little more than a mass of angry white men watching their country slip from their control, as America morphs into a rainbow of pigments. What if you said, “look, the country is changing: I want everyone to enjoy the party, but it will fall apart if we don’t maintain the principles that enabled the country to be so awesome that it attracted all these new people. It’s not about color; it’s about character, as someone really famous and influential once said.” We need to remind the rest of the world why they are coming here. It’s not for our gossip blogs or our colonics. It’s because our values are massive and awesome.
-Be honest about your failings. It may feel good to think you’re right. But it’s better to allow the possibility that you’re wrong. Then, once you admit that – you can be right again! I do this almost daily. It’s more refreshing than nude meditation.
-Create commonality. I will never forget the time that Andrew Breitbart invited leftwing protesters to have breakfast with him (he was on rollerblades at the time – you can find all of it on Youtube), and they joined him at a pancake joint. That was who Andrew was. He would rather extend a hand than a fist, because he believed in persuasion, not pummeling.
-Balance anger with humor. The battle is supposed to be fun. How do you make it so? By lightening up. And by reminding yourself that we are humans before we are political animals. It also helps to take a break from politics every other day or so. If your brain is starting to feel like a clenched fist, it’s time to go fishing.