Freddie nods approvingly at Conor Friedersdorf’s latest manifesto for conservative writers and entertainers at Doublethink online, and sure enough, it’s a good read. But I wonder if Hollywood’s laissez-faire approach to ideology extends to all stripes of conservatism, not just libertarian-minded fiscal tightwads. As one commenter put it over at the American Scene, would outspoken cultural conservatives get the same treatment as their fiscally conservative comrades-in-arms? One of Friedersdorf’s subjects seems to acknowledge this divide, noting that “hardcore social conservatives might find things a bit tougher,” but that’s about as far as the piece delves into the state of social conservatism in the entertainment industry.
One reason “liberaltarianism” has always seemed so plausible is the close cultural affinity between libertarians and progressive liberals. I’ve always imagined that despite their differences, the editors of Reason and, say, The Nation could get together and smoke a few joints on the weekend. This may be a result of coming up in the Age of Bush, but I have trouble imagining a similar rapprochement between Reason and National Review.
In other words, haggling over marginal tax rates or the stimulus bill seems less contentious than trading blows over abortion or gay marriage. The former is at least supposed to be an empirical question; the latter strikes me as a more fundamental, value-oriented disagreement. As the cultural apogee of crass materialism, I doubt Hollywood would exile anyone disenchanted with forking over piles of cash to the federal government. But what about someone whose worldview is an implicit challenge to the industry’s core assumptions?
N.B. – Freddie’s alternative hypothesis – that art is fundamentally at odds with cultural conservatism – is also plausible. But Hollywood and art aren’t synonymous, and the success of one film in particular implies that there’s a financial incentive to cater to a socially conservative audience.