If you’ve read my previous articles about “Market of Ideas VS Battle of Ideas” and “What can we learn from Conservatives”, I am sure you are aware of my main interests: Libertarianism, Marketing and Cultural Hegemony. And if one wants to dig deep into this issues, there’s no other way than surrendering to Marxist literature.
In case you don’t know him, this article is inspired by the job of the Italian Marxist philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci. Although I think that marxism-leftism-socialism have been terrible ideas for our society, my point is that we can learn from them if we talk about dialectics, cultural hegemony and psychology.
Some years ago an anticapitalist friend of mine said to me “although I don’t like Capitalism, I must confess that it has been a tremendous success”. It shocked me a lot. So, an anti-capitalist intellectual can confess that capitalism has been a huge success for humanity, but still support leftist ideas. And why is that? The response might be, believe it or not, thanks to the work of Antonio Gramsci.
If I had to define Gramsci’s cultural theories in few words I could say: “If you want the society to be Socialist, you should “create socialists””. But what does it really mean? It really means that “If one wants to conquer political power, you should first of all focus in the conquer of cultural power and you can achieve that thru the work of certain intellectuals that will be infiltrated in the mass media and universities”. And he also said “Reality is defined by words, therefore, who controls words, controls reality". If you’ve ever heard about the ex KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov and his knowledge about the Marxist hidden agenda or read Orwell’s 1984, you’ll know exactly what Gramsci was talking about.
So maybe you’re thinking: “ok, Ignasi I guess you’re crazy at this point. Are you implying that we should lie and use perverse strategies in order to implement the Libertarian agenda?”. And my response I’d be YES and NO. And why Yes and why No?
If you are part of the Libertarian movement I am sure you know that we all love the ideas of freedom, tolerance and personal responsibility. We want as litlle coercion as possible and we want to achieve a society with more peace, prosperity, and rule of law. And, is that a utopia? I guess not. Actually, as my anticapitalist friend was saying, “we can’t deny that Capitalism has been a huge success”. But if you’re also part of the Libertarian movement, I am sure that you are aware of our own limitations: we don’t persuade and we don’t motivate the audience. We are not being influential at all if we realize how many policymakers are libertarian-leaning, what’s our influence in the mass media, or what does the average citizen think about Libertarianism. In few words: we can see nowadays how lots of people are ranting about Capitalism thru their Smartphones on Twitter. And that’s reality today: the world is getting better thanks to the expansion of free markets, but most of the citizens (at least in the Western countries) demand non-libertarian policies.
What does it has to do with Antonio Gramsci and what can we learn from him? Actually a lot.
I am sure that we as Libertarians don’t want to use the State to subsidize Libertarianism. We don’t want to lie to society using populist strategies. And we definitely don’t want to be a dishonest and disrespectful intellectual movement. But, (and I think this BUT is very important), we still need to get our hands dirty.
What does it mean? That means that if our intellectual enemy is using some simplistic and emotional campaigns, we have to defeat their ideas using the same strategy. If your enemy is approaching at you with an ax, I don’t think that you can win with a knife and a fork, and it would be naive and irresponsible to think that one can win a battle “without giving up to your values”. And I am not referring to our core values, I am talking about communication strategy and skills. Yes, I am talking about SELLING LIBERTY. Quoting Gramsci, if he said that in order to implement the Socialist agenda, you should “create socialists”, we should literally "create Libertarians".
I guess you’re thinking: "ok, I get your point. I can understand that you’re using Gramsci as a metaphor, you’re not that crazy, but… How can we do that if we don’t want to “infiltrate” into University or the Mass Media?". Well, that’s relatively easy, and I think that the new movement The Intellectual Dark Web is proving the point that that’s possible.
We must win the cultural hegemony being successful and influential on the internet. The Internet is still the freest platform in where to exchange ideas and motivate hearts and minds of intellectuals.
I think that Libertarians, Classical Liberals, Conservatives and even (some) liberals must join forces and create and invest in communication projects on Youtube, Social Media, Bloggers and Public campaigns. If we want to “sell liberty” and “create libertarians” in order to own the cultural hegemony, we will have to talk to individuals using the millennial and generation Z language and mindset, and there’s no other place better to do that than especially Youtube and Internet in general.
The time is NOW, the place is HERE and THIS is the strategy to implement. Don't you think?