I’m glad that my post, Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals, has garnered a fair amount of attention.
Mandy Nagy at Breitbart.com, has an interesting history, in response, that we all should consider, Why LOLcats Matter in Politics:
In 2002, when the Democrats felt woefully defeated and questioned the long term viability of their party’s goals, they realized that their existence was dependent upon more than elections. It would take a new permanent progressive infrastructure – one that included not only new donors, but new media, bloggers, activists and new technology innovation all its own. And culture would become a driving force behind their new progressive movement and infrastructure.
As in-fighting in our own movement continues, I am reminded of the left’s struggle and rebirth after 2002. That’s where we are now. It’s easy for many on our own side to lose sight of the long game, the perpetual fight – the fight against the left’s permanent infrastructure, which is one that embodies a nexus of politics, media and culture combined. The power of cultural memes and viral messaging to counter political ideology doesn’t just happen autonomously. To speak to the low information audience today, you need to create the infrastructure of the future.
Our existence is about more than just the issue of the day that consumes our attention, or the candidate we’re all fighting over today. Our existence depends upon weaving technology, new media and culture into our messaging and into our mechanisms. That’s infinitely more than just “incorporating social media” or “bridging the digital divide.” It requires creating a culture unto its own.
When you do the permanent infrastructure right, tackling individual elections suddenly becomes easier. Just remember, that LOLcat might mean more to politics than you ever imagined possible.
Andrew Breitbart used to say, “Politics is downstream from culture.” That should be the mantra of our movement, and of all who invest in it.
I was thinking along these lines today when I saw a tweet linking to an American Enterprise Institute book presentation, Bad history, worse policy: How a false narrative about the financial crisis led to the Dodd-Frank Act. The point of the presentation was that almost every leftist trope about the causes of the financial crisis is wrong, and the remedies have made matters worse:
Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, US economic growth has slowed. When the Volcker Rule is finalized, state and local governments will experience increased borrowing costs. The largest financial institutions will dominate the market, with funding advantages over their smaller rivals. The adverse effects of Dodd-Frank will seriously outweigh its benefits. Why did a law with these deficiencies pass in Congress?
Peter Wallison’s new book “Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act,” (AEI Press, January 2013) provides the answer: the act was based on a false narrative about the causes of the financial crisis. This book release event will examine how a mistaken view of an event leads to bad policy decisions.
There certainly is a place for such in-depth discussions. But what chance does an intellectual discussion of how the mortgage crisis was a result of government policies stand in the culture when confronted with the low information presentations at Upworthy, in the mainstream media, and from low information politicians (via MassLive):
“You can’t come into people’s neighborhoods and just tear them up. You can’t sell terrible mortgage products that cause people to lose their homes. You can’t come into our economy and just wreck it – cost people jobs, cost people their savings, cost people their retirements – and then say, at the end, ‘We’re too big to touch,’ ” Warren said.
There is an important place for The American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and other intellectual foundations on the right.
But we also need more LOLcats. A lot more of them.