Instapundit has a post from a reader asking what can be done to move the broader culture in a direction more amenable to conservative / libertarian viewpoints? This is a question that has been on my mind a fair bit. By way of background, in the immediate aftermath of the election a number of pundits (Andrew Klavan, Roger L. Simon, Michael Walsh, et al.) pointed out that the culture at large gives a Democrats a massive built-in advantage, as nearly all political issues are framed in terms friendly to liberals. Instapundit himself wrote a widely discussed column on the desirability of acquiring websites aimed at low-information women voters.
So what can a person actually do to try to move the culture? This is something I will noodle on a bit further – my initial thoughts are:
Get In The Game. An obvious and easy way to start changing the culture is to support conservative / libertarian media who are out there trying to do that. Subscribe to PJ Media, Reason or the New Criterion, give to NRO during pledge drives, watch 2016: Obama’s America and those Atlas Shrugged movies. It might not all be to your tastes (some of it might not be very good), but supporting people who are making the effort is critical to keeping them in business and encouraging others to try.
Network. For people who are willing and able to do more, it would be immensely helpful if the blogosphere could organize a conference where like-minded conservative-libertarian types could network. Ideally all the media would be represented – print, movies, TV, and the web. There are obviously a lot of people who are active in the conservative media today, and even more who want to be active. As far as I can tell there is no gathering where such folks can get together. For a few years the Liberty Film Festival tried bringing together independent filmmakers with non-Hollywood politics, but they stopped a few years ago. I have no idea what sort of rivalries / personality clashes might prevent collaboration in promoting such an event, but I am confident a joint effort by Hot Air, Brietbart.com, PJ Media, NRO, Red State, Powerline, etc. to publicize such a gathering would be successful.
Capital Formation. Much of the early discussion on changing the culture focused on tapping big-money GOP donors to finance these efforts. That is important, but other fundraising options exist. Crowd-funding through sites like Kickstarter funds creative projects. Contributors do not get any ownership stake in the project, but are funding it simply for the satisfaction of seeing a project come to fruition. The conservative fiction website Liberty Island used this approach recently.
Last year’s JOBS Act loosened the securities law requirements on contributing capital to start-ups. The existing rules made it very difficult for people who did not qualify as “accredited investors” to by equity in a company. The new rules expand crowd-funding to allow companies to raise up to $1 million a year without having to go through the public offering process. The SEC has yet to issue rules, but is expected to do so within the next few months. In this area even someone like me (a tax lawyer who spends my days putting together investment funds) might have a role to play.
These are just some initial thoughts. At some point a new media company will reach a critical mass where it can start to compete with Fox as an alternative media source for conservatives and libertarians. How to get to that critical mass is a question to ponder.