As an engineer, one of the most valued books in my personal library is How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer. The author briefly uses politics to illustrate his lesson on cognitive dissonance, “Once we identify with a political party, the world is edited so that it fits with our ideology.” This powerful statement adds to my sense of urgency to find strategies for appealing to young Americans with conservative principles while their partisan loyalties are still forming.
We won’t know until November of 2012 whether Republicans will be able to stop the Democrats’ determination to raze everything that makes America exceptional. Whether or not their plot is realized, it seems critical that Generation Y somehow attains an appreciation for founding principles if freedom is to have a future.
While young Americans won’t easily relate to traditional GOP heroes, there are some appealing, contemporary characters whose personal convictions have matured to conservative creeds. I urge the following celebrities to increase their public voice in politics for America’s under-40 population:
Dennis Miller seems to hold the lead position among cool intellectuals. This formerly left-leaning graduate of Saturday Night Live has emerged with more wit and savvy than any funny man I know of. If Rosie O’Donnell were the devil on your left shoulder, Dennis Miller would be the angel on your right. Anyone who hears Miller on his weekday radio show will marvel at his fleet and poetic common sense.
Ben Stein has been timelessly cool ever since his cameo role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. While he parts with the conservative platform on several issues, Stein could bring credible understanding of financial matters to younger adults. His bold movie No Intelligence Allowed was an effective challenge to the liberal education establishment. Ben Stein could provide a winsome series of brief videos on American fundamentals.
Alice Cooper maintains his No More Mr. Nice Guy branding and continues to tour internationally - ghoulish makeup, death simulations and all. When not on tour, Alice is quite the entrepreneur, with a restaurant, a custom car business, and enthralling host of a syndicated radio broadcast. His Christian, conservative beliefs are apparent during his radio music interludes. I wish that he would lend his philosophy to a wider audience while maintaining the macabre exploits that keep him edgy and inviting.
Ted Nugent. Enough said.
Comic commentator and automobile aficionado Adam Corolla overcame very humble beginnings to build a flourishing career, including television shows and the Internet’s most popular podcast. As an atheist, Corolla does not subscribe to the complete GOP platform. But, his blunt commentary on fiscal matters would certainly make a tea party animal smile. For example, “Your [bleep]ing idea of taking more of my money and giving it to people and lowering their self esteem and making them feel less energetic and less likely to work is a [bleep]ing horrible idea. That’s why we have this problem in the first place. ... That’s how you [bleep] them up more, you condescending [bleep] suckers. ... Whoever works the hardest is going to do the best. Do not take money away from those that work the hardest and give it to the people who don’t feel like working. ... Those [bleep]ing people are too weak and they just buy into the [bleep] that the Democrats are spoon feeding them and go, ‘Yeah, that’s right. How ‘bout we spread around the wealth?’ Listen, there’s going to be no wealth to spread around. Get off your [bleep]ing ass and work. And, by the way, you ain’t gonna be happy just by me giving you some of my money. That’s not going to magically make you happy. You think the key to happiness is the car or the house? The key to happiness is the satisfaction and peace of mind of knowing that you busted your ass to get that house; not getting your man in office so he could give you some of my money for me busting my ass.” Perfectly clear message for a set of white earbuds.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone irreverently lampoon just about everyone through their South Park cartoons and movies. I don’t know how seriously these guys take matters of liberty. But based on their wonderfully naughty movie Team America, I suspect that they lean much more to the right than the left. Their caustic delivery method seems to appeal to most folks under the age of forty and I would love to see them once again augment the American lexicon with a whole new set of movie lines about the current cast of sinister liberals in Washington.
Bono, the lead singer of one of the world’s most successful bands, made this memorable comment about American initiative, “In Ireland people have an interesting attitude to success; They look down on it. ... In America you look up at the house on the hill, the mansion, and say, ‘One day that could be me.’ In Ireland, they look up at the mansion on the hill and go, ‘One day I’m going to get that bastard.’”
These are my examples and, like me, they are imperfect. But as we reach back to those who are ready to run the next relay, we need to offer them a baton that they will grasp.