Everyone wants to be heard, and people will go to outrageous lengths to be seen. The feeling that you get when people want to learn about who you are is a rush and just like many things, once you feel it, you want to chase it to the end of the line.
Inside of my own social media echo chamber, I see a barrage of right wing stories covering the crooked mainstream media, special snowflakes on college campuses, and willfully ignorant liberal figures. It’s almost like a pattern, a twisted angry, dim pattern of binary thinkers crying for my attention. Many public figures I once had respect for due to their unique outlook and critical thinking, have now fallen prey to the spotlight rat race.
Conservatives are in a unique position in this post-Obama world. For many, it’s cool to be a young, attractive, female conservative stirring the pot, or to be a loud conservative male begging the social justice mafia to descend upon them like a pack of wolves so the world can see them stand in the remains. It seems every day there is a new golden child claiming to be the next William F. Buckley, but instead act and think like Sean Hannity.
All flash, no substance.
It used to be you had a skill, achievement, or a record that showed you were the subject matter expert in a field which granted you your rightful place in the forum to be heard. Now it’s all about who can bring you the most likes on Facebook or drive viewers to your YouTube channel. News is now entertainment and screamers are now classified as leaders. I felt alone in this thought for a while. It was an annoying fact of life but I didn’t feel strong enough about it to bring it up in regular conversation. The other day, conservative blogger Matt Walsh echoed the same sentiments of mine in a post on Facebook:
“I survey the landscape of conservative talk show hosts, pundits, commentators, bloggers, etc., I see a fairly large number of shallow, boring, witless, humorless talking point spewers who never say anything new or interesting. It seems that conservatives have extremely low standards and are liable to make a right wing celebrity out of just about anyone. This has turned conservative punditry into an extremely lucrative field, which means that many conservative pundits don’t even believe in conservatism, much less understand it or possess the ability to articulately explain it. They just understand the formula. They know which topics to hit, what to say about them, and what sort of posture to take. And so they reap the rewards while they silently laugh at the rubes who made it so easy for them.”
I can continue to state the obvious about conservatives, but there is a larger issue at hand when you observe the pace the world is traveling. From your Ann Coulters to your Michael Savages, many of these individuals got off the ground by selling rage and throwing red meat at the base to drive up book sales and ratings. Don’t get me wrong: liberals are the exact same way but they lost credibility long ago.
“… As you scan the sea of conservative punditry and you look particularly at those who may be considered the “stars” and “rising stars” in the field. Ask yourself: Has this person ever offered an actual insight into something? Does this person appear to be really and truly passionate and knowledgeable about these topics? Does it seem that they’ve really spent time thinking about them and reading about them and developing their own worldview, enough that it’s worthy of being spread all over the internet or TV? Is this person willing to take positions that may be unpopular even with their own audience? And are they able to do something interesting with conservative ideas?”
Take “conservative” and replace it with “libertarian” and the situation sounds like what you can see all around media and entertainment. Years back no one gave libertarians the time of day, and now it’s an everyday occurrence in the world of pop culture and politics. Sadly, many self-identified libertarians don’t look at our philosophical counterparts and identify where they went wrong. What’s worse, many don’t care to point out the pitfalls ahead that could easily be avoided.
The problem isn’t people craving attention or wanting to be heard. The issue is people who would rather behave as Internet trolls instead of thought leaders; individuals who would rather steer the direction of smear and hate instead of being rabble rousers for reason. When the mic is in your hand you use it, and when no one brings attention to a quiet issue, you bring light to it. We should wish to occupy the narrative to push things in a positive direction, instead of occupying seconds of the day spewing the same old, washed-up rhetoric.
Libertarians claim to be the standard bearers of individual responsibility, yet since we don’t live in a void, as promoters of open minds and free markets we should extend individual responsibility to this simple idea: don’t steer your friends or family in the direction of screamers proclaiming to be leaders.
Featured image: AmericanNews.com
* Remso W. Martinez is the host of the Remso Republic podcast. You can learn more at his website, www.remsorepublic.com