Generation South Park, Part 4: The Rise of Stealth Conservatism
Besides entertaining us with a hyperbolic mess of a Beck/Palin/Obama-turned-Avatar parody, the latest episode of South Park remains incredibly clever. The show’s set up was a trap to get their center-Left fans involved. However, instead of giving them satisfaction by administering a blow to the Right, the political parallels fall through the trap door provided by the useful “killing Smurfs” metaphor. Cartman’s seemingly crazy assertions about a corrupt class president were correct after all.
This episode proves why South Park is great at getting everyone involved regardless of political affiliation. While their targets are usually to the left of center, their overall focus generally flies under the radar which is why the show is embraced by both the Left and Right. Generation Y Conservatives use this same method in order to engage in dialogue without appearing entirely partisan. This tactic is what my friend and colleague David Swindle likes to call “stealth conservatism.”
Glenn Beck reacts to South Park on his program Thursday:
This is why Gen Y Conservatives are not libertarian, Republican, or traditionally conservative. We draw from each political pool, taking the best from each ideological tradition to create a smarter and stronger group for the future. Part of our strength is the ability to find faults in all sides of the political spectrum in all forms from its lawmakers to its pundits. This includes instances like the South Park critique of Beck when one may agree with someone’s substance but disagree with their style therefore allowing a “stealth” critique.
“I don’t care what you do with your life. Honor the Constitution. Limited government. Maximum amount of freedom. Throw them all out. Get people who understand the founding fathers. Libertarians are eating each other alive. And it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense. But see, there’s no, there’s no structure to it. And I’m fine with that. But that’s why libertarians lose is because there’s no, there’s no system. There’s no system. And so there’s no one to defend. And so the, both parties, when they start to grind down on you, you have the entire system against you, and it’s quite amazing.”
This lack of structure is a problem for accomplishing practical political results. And it’s why Gen Y Conservatives only use aspects of libertarianism but also ally with the existing conservative movement to complete their footing. Like with liberalism, conservatism has garnered a negative connotation which is why we need “stealth” alternatives for future political discourse.
Gen Y Conservatism is similar to South Park for its ability to engage those on the Left and centrist-minded independents while not appearing dogmatic. This is something that is impossible for figures like Beck and Sean Hannity. The latest South Park shows us exactly how the show appeals to all audiences. Those on the Right are able to laugh because they know the show is critiquing style not substance. Also, those on the Left can enjoy it because they can spin the play on Beck’s style into a political statement that adheres to their agenda.
Thus South Park can smuggle freedom-oriented ideas into minds that would otherwise not hear them. Gen Y Conservatism will do the same thing, presenting pro-American arguments in a new context in ways which cannot be as easily brushed aside. By asserting Gen Y’s “stealth conservatism” it will be better equipped to conduct useful dialogue that will ultimately make the country stronger for the future.