I’m a college student. Being conservative on a college campus can prove tricky, especially for a grad student. Enduring rants againts Fox News and Glenn Beck during lectures is nothing unusual for me. I’m also — shall we say, unconventional in my religious beliefs and practices, and my co-religionsists are frequently of a liberal persuasion. This can make my political beliefs a point of contention at times. Sometimes it may be easier to hide my beliefs, and on occasion I do actively avoid commenting on politics because I know it’s just not the place to do so.
Artist Robert Jones, featured columnist at Conservative Punk, discusses the “Conservative Closet,” especially as it relates to the art scene. Art is becoming increasingly more politicized, to the point where politics trump talent, and those politics are generally far-left. Jones writes about the urge to hide one’s political views in an environment hostile to them.
You’ve censored who you are in order to stay safe, fit in, and pass by unnoticed. But your real self looks upon your artist self with nothing but scorn and shame, because deep down, you fear that you have sold out in some more insidious way than by prostituting your art.
You tell yourself it’s not your fault, because you know that the selfsame “tolerant” lefties have stacked the deck against Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians. They get away with it because of Political Correctness, you tell yourself.
But then, from out of the past comes the stinging rebuke that maybe they are not the only ones culpable for this bad scene. The admonition that, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” echoing in your mind comes not from Edmund Burke, but your own conscience.
Yes, when the intolerant left finds out about your clandestine conservatism, of course your art career will be ruined: You have already abdicated the sanctity of your conscience by prostrating yourself before people who hate what you stand for. Why should they suddenly respect you when they already know you’re lacking in spine and stomach?
Or, you can take some schooling from Don Vito Corleone: “You can act like a man! What’s the matter with you?” I have never had the problems so many conservative artists have with liberals because I have never played this self-defeating charade of hiding my political beliefs. I don’t bash people over the head with them, but at gallery openings and such I don’t let an insult go by without at least offering an “I disagree with that.” If you are forthright about who you fully and truly are from the start, then you set the terms by which others deal with you, not they.