Counter-Hegemony 2: Of Rightists and the Media

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One of the most common mistake of a modern rightist is a dismissal of the public activity and propaganda importance. They tend to ignore one of the main ideas of nowadays politics: “He who rules the media rules the society”. This is doubly ridiculous, as in order to win the rightists, who rarely engage in cheap populism, need not just their own slice of the media – they need to dominate it fully.
The rightists believe in reality and in ratio. Our thoughts on politics and economics are incomprehensibly boring to the throng who is only interested in “happiness for everyone within the next five years”. These people, irrational voters who dislike statistics, economics, sociology and other ‘brainiac stuff’ vote for the left, bought and paid for by horribly ignorant but popular slogans. Whatever a right-winger does, he would look ‘wrong’, i.e. boring and incomprehensible, compared to a leftist demagogue blabbering about the capitalist pigs of profiteering corporations who prevent the humanity’s leap into space, immortality and all-expenses-paid paradise on earth. That all this is unrealistic is as obvious as it is irrelevant: the young voters, as well as those coming from the poorer strata, like to hear how someone else is to blame for their problems, how someone else cramps their creativity, how someone else stops the poor youth from reaching their limit.

 
Thus, it is imperative that the rightists embark on an enlightenment campaign, make plans on edification of the masses in the ideas of individualism, personal freedoms and responsibilities and the free market economy. For once the count of the populism-swayed voters reaches a critical mass, things will go rather badly for the country as a whole and for every single voter in particular.

 
The rightists should not just ‘be present’ in the media, they should dominate it – especially if the country’s governed by populists who see nothing wrong with corruption or gagging their opponents (whether metaphysically or just physically). The populists eagerly dip into the state funds to supply their allies in the media; alternatively, they use the money of their foreign supporters for the same purpose. What they achieve is an all-out brainwashing with socialist and left-liberal ideas. It is, therefore, absolutely vital that the conservatives and the right-liberals maintain the ability to fight this evil and tell the voters the truth – exposing along the way the lies and fact manipulations employed by the leftists on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, my conversations with the rightists all over the world – from Russia to Argentina – these elementary truths were met with indifference or incomprehension: they were unable to grasp the idea of taking over the media. The arguments of the right-wing politicians and businessmen against associating with the media can be roughly classified as follows:

 
1. I’m a businessman/politician, I like to do things, I don’t need to talk of what I do, let the people judge me by me achievements.
2. The very thought of rightists’ incursion into the media is abhorrent as any aggression. Dominating means suppressing the opposition, which is against our principles. We will be seen as ideologically aggressive, and the leftist propaganda will have a ball day with this.
3. The media is for the tongue-waggers. They are shallow, their information is unreliable, their role is overrated, they have no influence over the state. A conservative with something to say should write a book or an article.
4. People who vote for the left do not want to vote for the right; don’t tell me the majority of our state is ignorant.

 
Let’s analyze each of these arguments and show how or why they are wrong.

 
“I’m a businessman/politician, I like to do things, I don’t need to talk of what I do, let the people judge me by me achievements.”

 
A man is capable of a more or less objective analysis – but only in whatever areas he is knowledgeable about. It is well-nigh impossible for an unprofessional onlooker to evaluate the actions of a politician, especially one who is part of a vast system spanning hundreds of other politicians. To do that one would have to monitor his every move and speech, analyze the connections between those and his actions, etc. No sane man would waste his time on this, unless he is a journalist, a PR professional or a crazy fan.

 
Let’s be honest. Most people keep in their head a very simplistic model of politics. Comprehending the complexities of the intricate machines that run the state – the foreign and the domestic policies, the economic institutions, and so on – is beyond anyone who isn’t making political science and national economy studies into a profession, or at least a fully invested hobby. Such people are few and far between, the rest get their information – and their ideas – from the media. And when the media in a state is dominated by the left, the people will learn that the bad rightists interfere with the good leftists’ plans of giving everything to everyone for free, from free education and medicine to free five-star hotels. At first they may doubt the populist propaganda, but soon enough the “blame capitalists and America” will prevail and become norm. The first affected will be the younger generation, lacking in life experience on which to rely in rejecting this trash; then, swayed by the union agitators, the workers will fall. At that point the process will become pretty much unstoppable: the rightists will be excluded from the politics. As for the businessmen who hoped to be judged by their deeds, will instead receive hatred of the people, nationalizations by the state, loss of property, arrests, and, in some extreme cases, extrajudicial physical harm. They may – just may – wake up by then; and it will be way, way too late. Vox populi, influenced by the leftists, will have spoken, and it will have said what it usually does: rob and share. The minority of the people too ashamed to act on this premise will, nevertheless, wait passively for the shitstorm to be over.
This is the price paid for the “noble” grandstanding of we-don’t-stoop-to-propaganda.

 
The very thought of rightists’ incursion into the media is abhorrent as any aggression. Dominating means suppressing the opposition, which is against our principles. We will be seen as ideologically aggressive, and the leftist propaganda will have a ball day with this.

 
This statement is not simply mistaken; it is weird – especially when uttered by people who, being free market proponents, think of the competition as the main force for social and economic processes. The only conceivable explanation is that they don’t view media as a market. It is, though – may be somewhat peculiar, but it is subject to objective economic and sociologic laws, the main among them being healthy competition and a desire to drive ones rivals out, to conquer as large a piece of it as one can.

 
As for what the journalists will or will not have a ball day with… See, the thing is, populist media will paint the conservatives and the right-liberals as monsters, aggressors, warmongers and so on and so far in any case, even when they are afraid to show themselves in the streets. The populists need a bogeyman to distract the public from noticing the failures of their policies (which always fail, and sooner rather than later). When a leftist or a fascist regime banishes or murders all its real opponents it begins to invent them and to fight imaginary “enemies of the people”. For an example of how this works, take a look at what happened after the dictator Chavez drove all the businessmen out of Venezuela and caused a mass exodus of its Jews. Did their rhetoric change, can they finally sleep soundly at night? Not at all – Maduro keeps blaming the rightists, Zionists and Americans for all that is wrong with his country. That they are no longer in the picture and cannot interfere with his mad policies makes no difference to him.
The problem is that someone like Maduro should not have been elected. He should not have the power. At all. Even if he wants it very much. The results of his policies are tantamount to ravages of war – economic collapse, total illiteracy (which is especially funny seeing as how he declares total education), non-existent foreign relations, poverty and general devastation.

 
For such a person not to be in power a country needs rightist media which will bring the truth to the voters. We should not mind the populists’ bleating – it’s not like they can actually achieve anything, so let them exercise their freedom of speech. Just don’t let it affect us.

 
The media is for the tongue-waggers. They are shallow, their information is unreliable, their role is overrated, they have no influence over the state. A conservative with something to say should write a book or an article.

 
The communists were defeated in Russia in 1996 thanks to a well-coordinated effort of liberal-minded businessmen and media. The latter, funded by the rightists and the liberals, campaigned openly and effectively for Yeltsin, printed huge amounts of anti-communist booklets and articles, prepared TV programs, and so on.
This was met with furious protests by the leftists all around the world. The rightists act in media against the left? How dare they! They should roll over and submit!

 
That’s the main difference between what a right- and left-winger mean when they talk about law, freedom and civic rights. For a rightist, the crime against freedom of speech is any attempt by the government or the establishment to shut the mouths of the opposition. For a populist, the crime against freedom of speech is any serious argument against them or their policies. That’s why, for instance, one of the first things Putin, a populist and a dictator, did when he came to power, was to incapacitate the two businessmen most influential in the media – Berezovsky and Gussinsky.
A broader view of the situation teaches us that all the capitalist, rational societies can hold their own if and only if there is a significant force for the rightist ideas in the media. The USA have their Fox News and lots of other conservative press. The same is true in the UK and Canada. The Chilean “economic miracle” was mainly due to the rightist technocrats dominating the media. In Singapore and South Korea the conservatives and the right-liberals are quite influential in the media as well.

 
The most important function of the press is to process huge amounts of information which an ordinary man is unable or unwilling to study, and gives it to the voters clearly and succinctly. You cannot compare a book to a daily paper: ours is the time of no-time, our rush is to rush everywhere, and this includes facts’ ingestion. Time costs money – not many people are willing to spend either on a book which may well prove boring. The media solves this problem for the rushing people: it tells them what is going on, introduce political figures to the public, debate their activities – in short, their role is that of intermediaries between the public and its leaders.
If the rightist politicians and the businessmen lack such intermediaries to perform this ultra-important function for them, all their vital, crucial works may be as none, for they will lose their voters and therefore lose all.

 
People who vote for the left do not want to vote for the right; don’t tell me the majority of our state is ignorant.

 
This is a well-known cognitive bias, a variation on the illusion of transparency, and is a result of something which can be called a ghettoization of the mind. The rightists – technocrats, conservatives, right-liberals, libertarians – tend to live in their own microcosms. They tend to form either small political groups closed to strangers, or research communities, likewise mostly off-limits to the outsiders, due to intellectual or professional propriety barriers. Take a look at the Chilean Gremialismo – it’s a good case in point: all the right-wing political activity is done in small, closed communities. The negative side of this attribute in the rightist politics is the forming of an intellectual ghetto of sorts. Each such group consists of people of a more or less same cognitive ability; and as they work together, they form a rapport, even a sort of empathy; they begin to understand one another without any need for protracted explanations. Unfortunately, this is not at all obvious to the people affected by it, so they expand the expectation of this understanding on the outside world, sometimes the whole state, honestly believing that their ideas would be equally comprehensible to a colleague and to a man on the street.

 
This is obviously absurd. However, this is why the rightist politicians do not try to “spoon-feed the public”, and, overdoing it, neither explain anything nor support the media which would have done it for them. The voters, in turn, take offense at this “elitist snobs” and shift their preferences to the “more democratic” centrists or even for the populist leftists.

 
In fact, there can only be one reason for people not to vote right: if the rightists failed to convey their ideas to the people. Any excuses, any shifting of blame, are just that – no more, no less. Media, as per its name, is what conveys the ideas to the people. A Facebook or Twitter account is not enough of a substitute – we must not assume the people will perform the action of reading or following those.

 
A refusal to deal with the press, to support the media, is tantamount to surrender – and in this war, in a political arena, surrender is suicide.

 
Kitty Sanders, 2014

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