This past weekend, in a flurry of other oppressive political news, some Twitter conservatives took to social media to call conservativism “the new punk rock.”
Just to set the record straight, punk is dead. It had its funeral when Joe Carre, the son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, set $6 million worth of punk memorabilia on fire. That’s the most punk anyone can ever be, and now it’s dead.
The opinion itself seems like trolling, which tends to be conservatives’ favorite way of arguing their point. However, it is reflective of an idea that has been gaining popularity among token millennial Republicans. It reminds me of a sign I saw on Berkeley’s campus as a first year, from the Berkeley College Republicans, advertising a meeting and claiming to be the “new counterculture.”
This claim is a surface level cultural understanding if you think everyone is a liberal, and that “liberal” is a catch-all for people who aren’t conservatives. Our society is constantly shifting with culturally accepted ways of thought. Counterculture in its definition is a new way to view culture and existing thoughts, something different and shocking from the societal norm. Racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism and capitalism are nothing contrary to popular sentiment. They’re written in our history. Conservatism is a widely accepted culture in America, and one highly nostalgic for the country’s past. The goal is to keep the culture stagnant by the people who want to keep themselves in power, not to counter it.
Despite it being a vastly ahistorical statement, what would their rallying cry be? No healthcare for poor people? Love the police? Hate trumps love? I’m sure the lead singers of these bands would strongly denounce property destruction. They would simultaneously call the show a non-safe space while also whining in a song because they were called fascists by snowflake liberals (the most insulting thing they can conjure up).
In the early 20th century, the futurist art movement in Italy evolved into fascist support, since a key founder, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, was one of the first members of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. The Italian fascists of futurism didn’t absorb any other contemporary or past art movement as their own. They didn’t claim they were the new impressionism or the new Baroque. Not only is it ahistorical and absent of logistics, but its lazy and co-opting past movements.
Aside from everything else, anything claiming to be the “new’ anything, is sheltered from the world. In the words of Jean Luc Goddard, ‘There are no new waves, there is only the ocean.” In conservatives’ case, they’re the boat in the ocean that is sinking.