What are our conservative “kids” thinking? I went in search of one such elusive creature and found Rob Shimshock, a DC-based editor. In May, he published his first book, “Nightmare Crescendo: Breaking the Chokehold of Woke Capital.” In the dialogue below, Rob patiently explains the idiom in which he expresses his ideas, political and social. Amazon understood enough Millennial Speak to censor his ad campaigns.
ILANA MERCER: “Blistering diatribe” is the correct way to describe your first book, Rob. For me, it is a much-needed glimpse into the mind of a young, thoughtful conservative, ruminating about the state of our country. Explain what is this cabal that “ensnares” us all?
ROB SHIMSHOCK: If I were a magician and you asked me this, my response would be the expected “pick a card, any card.” Academia, Hollywood, the media, Silicon Valley, the banks … no matter which modern institution you choose, the house wins. Except this house doesn’t accommodate a family; in fact, it is explicitly anti-family, anti-Western ideals, and anti-natural law. It is what I term the “Nightmare Crescendo,” or an amalgam of woke corporations and social decadence that’s as loud and merry as any rock concert. But the volume keeps rising, slowly but surely deafening us to a whole host of horrors.
MERCER: In an atomized, alienated America, you find yourself directing existential questions to a higher-order computer program, to the AI (Artificial Intelligence) called Alexa. What, to you, is the significance of that? You ask, “Alexa, how long before groceries are denied to right-wingers attempting to purchase them at stores using Amazon palm-scanning checkout? How long before such individuals are labeled terror threats?” Indeed. It’s fair to say that CNN and the newly imagined ACLU will be cheering Bezos. But what exactly is the GOP doing, and why vote GOP if it is not looking out for the rights of dissidents?
SHIMSHOCK: Ah, yes, my chapter “Just Asking Questions,” where the narrator begins by asking Alexa when his “My Little Pony” hoodie is arriving, but gradually arrives at more intriguing questions such as whether Jeff Bezos supports diversity because a “heat map” Amazon uses to track Whole Foods stores pinpoints lower racial diversity as a factor making a given store’s employees more likely to unionize. I’d say it’s a cynical swipe at the opportunism and malice fueling “men” like Bezos to replace human accountability with machines pushing narcissism and hedonism for profit.
As for the voting question: American electoral politics is a two-party game for the foreseeable future. But it’s important to remember that neither side is an unshifting monolith defined by a couple hundred Beltway suits. As we’ve seen with the hottest issue of the last couple months–critical race theory–the decisions that matter are being made on the level of state government, school boards, and local interest groups. D.C. can proclaim that all citizens must observe “Meatless Monday” starting next week, but if the states reply “get stuffed,” I really doubt a national military whose collective nose is buried in “How to Be an Antiracist” and social justice cartoons is going to do jack about it.
MERCER: As a longtime paleolibertarian, I’ve managed to straddle the divide between conservatism and traditional libertarian economics, but not without ostracization and derision from one side. I don’t love trade deficits (2010), outsourcing (2003), humdrum work visas (2008), and I loathe what I’ve dubbed corporate “economic elephantiasis and gigantism,” untethered to corporeal communities. You go further. You call all us libertarians “Trojan whores.” Take it away, Rob!
SHIMSHOCK: I think the “paleo” part absolves you of any of my puny pejoratives, Ilana. As for the others, flip the number “12,” change “BC” to “AD” and you’ll get two centuries during which flashy gargantuans have rolled into a city and conquered it from within. But while the Trojan horse ushered in Greek military and scholastic supremacy–a noble subversion, if you will–the prostitute and Koch-inflated “LOLbertarian” lobby are vehicles for disease. I mean this literally, as they each embrace the sexual liberation that results in chlamydia, along with lower birth and marriage rates and general destruction of the nuclear family, but also figuratively as, with the libertarian’s soft spot for sickness, it’s a buy one, get fifty free sale. Trojan whores come stuffed with a free-market idolatry spawning tyrannical Big Tech monopolies, open-border mayhem spurring crime and cultural dissonance, the displacement of the American blue-collar worker, etc.
Conservatives must act now if they wish to avoid a fate far worse than that of the Trojans.
MERCER: Moving to a more, shall we say, delicate part of your book, The data show that compared to young men, for whom it’s a “sex recession,” young women are hoing it up. From your experience with the dating app, I gather the problem is not only #MeToo, but “me, me, me” all the time. Is that right? What is it like for conservative young men out there?
SHIMSHOCK: On the Day of the Disconnect, when the Internet goes bye-bye and Big Tech CEOs are the subject of a tribunal that makes Nuremberg and the Salem witch trials seem small fry, online dating execs will have their feet held to the fire–perhaps literally!–for perpetrating one of the most heinous crimes against humanity: the commodification of romance.
Tinder, Bumble, and their co-conspirators have taken the pure and noble pursuit of finding a life partner and strangled its visage with edited and airbrushed “duckface” selfies, stabbed its vocal cords with vapid and robotic pick-up lines, and then rifled through the corpse to pluck out its heart — the thing capable of forging a long-term relationship — and replace it with a more monetizable libido that keeps users coming back for dopamine hits and one-night stands, at the small cost of their time, money, pair bonding ability, divorce rate, and immortal soul.
MERCER: What’s wrong with you, Rob? Why don’t you understand that you must “serenade her in front of her work colleagues,” cook for her, help pick her tattoo, and adopt her out-of-wedlock rug rats? For other maladjusted men like you, is it “swipe left” or “swipe right” on the mobile?
SHIMSHOCK: From what I’ve seen, it’s a hybrid approach: attend social functions but perhaps scroll through your options virtually while on the metro or in line. Ultimately, right-leaning men would do best to keep the first couple of dates apolitical and win women over with comedy, charisma, and compassion; then show them that someone possessing these traits can also hold certain views. Bear in mind that people are malleable and it is often just a matter of swapping out some of the John Oliver clips in their propaganda diet with cute and subversive memes.
MERCER: Hitting on another chapter in the lifestyle section of your book, what are the benefits to a guy of describing himself as a “high-capacity schizophrenic” in the woke workplace?
SHIMSHOCK: It’s all about earning respect, Ilana, by any means necessary. Purchasers of Nightmare Crescendo receive a syllabus for my course Structural Training and Foundational Understanding (STFU) 690, which describes how to get ahead in the workplace through use of body language, like jokingly threatening to throw medium-heavy objects, visual cues like punctured photos of loved ones, and, yes, confiding in colleagues about disorders they can’t be sure you don’t have because of patient privacy laws.
MERCER: LOL. Laughter is not a long-term strategy to the disillusion and societal dissolution you emote about, although it helps. What are you proposing?
SHIMSHOCK: I agree that it’s not enough to point and laugh at our problems. While conservatives often see Big Government as an impediment to freedom, Nightmare Crescendo envisions how this already-bloated bureaucracy may be redirected from exacerbating to easing social ills.
Like I said, state governments are useful on this front. But to get more creative, on the federal level, instead of sinking millions of dollars into left-wing university programs, the National Endowment for the Arts could pay artists who produce music with socially conservative messages. Establishing a Ministry of Culture is also an intriguing idea. There can be no doubt that China, which makes use of such a body, has a much more culturally homogeneous society than America. While the Chinese cannot bask in the glory of LGBT films like “Brokeback Mountain,” they also don’t have a media-academia-Hollywood-Big Tech apparatus that’s permitted to foment discord and incite riots. Is this a worthwhile tradeoff?
MERCER: Heaven’s Rob, you understand that if progressives get control of your Ministry of Culture, it becomes a ministry of twerking, with a transgender tush in the face of every three-year-old? That’s why conservatives and libertarians generally do not want the state in control. Address that criticism from statism, please.
SHIMSHOCK: Ideally, the Left would be blocked from gaining control of such a body. If this sounds anti-democratic, my question to you would be: To what extent has a public–whose perspective is so viciously warped by a one-sided media, academia, Hollywood, and Big Tech zeitgeist–been capable of functioning as a democracy? Is democracy vulnerable teens being bombarded nonstop with progressive platitudes by Lady Gaga et al.? Is democracy the ground of the new digital public square, opening up and swallowing conservatives with millions of followers whenever it feels like it? I don’t think so.
In closing, I’d say that if America still stands a chance, we need to strive for cultural cohesion. I hear a lot of “Diversity is our strength” these days, but it’s hush-hush when it comes to another maxim, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Dissidents, not the establishment, need to be the ones to determine that culture and, to that end, humor is an invaluable weapon in our arsenal.