Who’s that fellow listening to Radiohead, working in their home garden, wearing a—wait … is that a … a GOP shirt?
Excited for a weekend with a friend on the Appalachian Trail, you are on your merry way up the winding Blue Ridge Parkway when you spot an early 2000s Volkswagen Cabriolet struggling its way up the steep incline.
You reach a straight in the road. The vast Tennessee valley to your right, splashed every shade of the autumnal color spectrum, captures your awe yet again. You are content, but it seems the vehicle ahead is quite a bit below the speed limit. No big deal, it is a rather large incline after all. The smoke emanating from both the cabin and the exhaust of the vehicle as well as the multicolored dancing bears on the bumper, though, indicate that they might not be speeding up anytime soon. Attempting to reach your destination in order to watch the sunset, you decide this to be the opportunity to pass the old jalopy.
Your engine’s whir increases in pitch as you begin to pass with relative ease, preparing to offer a nod or wave as you pass so as not to seem rude to your Appalachian compatriots. The VW’s top is down, allowing the interesting array of looped percussion, layered on top of one another and barely given direction by the lead singer’s whimsical voice, to vibrate the air in your cabin. Your friend recognizes the artist’s sound and guesses that it’s Animal Collective. A quick Spotify search confirms. It’s “FloriDada,” a newer release. “Makes sense,” she exclaims to your nonverbal agreement.
With your final glance through the windshield, you take a quick look at the couple piloting the worn-out piece of German engineering. To your surprise, one of them sports a Young Americans for Freedom baseball cap. Well that’s odd, you think to yourself. I thought YAF was a conservative organization, is it not? Upon a successful passing, you ask your co-pilot to give it a search.
“Hey Siri …,” the passenger proceeds. The phone promptly returns with a bit from the organization’s website: “Young Americans for Freedom today promotes to youth the principles of limited government, individual freedom, free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional values, as outlined in the Sharon Statement.” Hmmm … Your eyes meet in mutual surprise.
This, my friends, is the beginning of the Hip Right.
Here’s a question for you: What is the greatest threat to the Left today? While you may not yet know and those on the Left who do know may not admit to it directly, the answer is indubitably the Hip-Right: Conservatism’s Sexiest New Movement. The Hip Right represents more than just some ironic hypothetical movement, it represents, rather, those who peruse Pitchfork for their next surf-rock obsession, those who buy local and do their grocery shopping outdoors, and those whose morning routine isn’t complete until their jeans are rolled up enough to reveal a quirky pair of mismatched socks.
Culture is indeed upstream from politics, and once the counseling sessions—incurred by some misinterpretation of a Radiohead lyric—are completed, the Hip Right’s cultural influence will have already infiltrated the grimy banks of Washington D.C. And then, the game is lost. The Left’s contentment with their influence on culture is understandable. Their complacency, however, will only catalyze capitulation to the fast-growing Hip Right. It is only a matter of time until a similar demographic to counter-culture movements-past such as the 60s hippies form again. But what establishment is there to resist today? You guessed it, the culture war waged for years by the self-righteous Hollywood Left.
Imagine a day when the Republican Speaker of the House not only recognizes the ‘dab’ but can subtly implant a Migos line into a proposal for a free market health care system. Consider the threat to the Left that a presidential candidate who sports a Grateful Dead sticker on their phone case to compliment the American flag on their lapel. My goodness, if Mitch McConnell’s specs had rims as thick as Rodrigo Blankenship’s, Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer’s voting records would read more conservative than John McCain’s in his most hawkish of voting years.
We can sit around and talk about “principles” all we want. The Arch Conservative‘s magazines are full of measured and well-researched articulation of principles, though. At times, the right just refuses to realize that arguing with facts and figures simply won’t cut it. The Left’s demagogues will infiltrate the scene and manipulate the discourse to their advantage. Hell, demagoguery on the right is inevitable when Mr. Think Tank gets up and spouts off the intricacies of the exact corporate tax rate cut that will be best for the country. When it comes down to motivating the revolutionaries of society–a faction of Western culture that will always exist–, it’s ultimately about bucking the curve. It’s about giving a middle finger to the Man.
The Left loses when they react to (as in lose their minds about), for example, a guess that Donald Trump is probably not a racist. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, a man well-versed (to say the least) in middle fingers to the Man, did just that. In a display of perceptive counter-cultural genius, he also voiced support for Brexit.
The right has been lacking in any real grasp on modern culture of late, but the Hip Right grows vast. All the while, the Left ironically takes the classic place of ‘the Man’ in the most important nexus to any revolutionary: You vs. ‘The Man.’
The Hip Right is more than that conservative artist you’ll meet at the flea market this Saturday. It represents the greatest known threat to the cultural identity of the Left as it stands today. Remain on your guard, Katy Perry. Stay frosty, Clooney. Sleep with one eye open, Senator Sanders. For, as we speak, the Hip Right awakens. And this time, it’s not to the tunes of yesteryear.
This piece is adapted from one of the same name in the Fall 2017 edition of The Arch Conservative in print.
—Nick Geeslin is Editor-in-Chief of and Will Brown is a regular contributor to The Arch Conservative.