Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Spend Carefully This Christmas

In this extraordinary time, the least conservatives can do is to direct our dollars conscientiously. Retail is the frontline of the culture war.

It’s okay. You are conservative. It’s not a pose, but a life choice. That’s why you don’t think there’s any great honor in defending life, family, freedom or private property; it’s simply an obligation. In fact, a priori you don’t think that anyone should be rewarded for their convictions either. You distrust boycotts, campaigns against big corporations, and generally resent changing your consumption habits. In the end, like a true Chestertonian soldier, you don’t fight because you hate what’s in front of you, but because you love what’s behind you. You have no idea how I understand you!

Nor do you like the idea of your countrymen dying on the battlefield, and yet you know that sometimes it is necessary to support righteous wars and watch as your brethren are sacrificed for what they believe in. Well, good. We are now in the midst of a culture war. And it is unpleasant to tell you this, but you may have in your pocket the key to victory. I have come, as you see, to spoil your day.

I’m sure you’ve wondered why most big corporations surrender to politically correct language, gender ideology, or radical environmentalism. Take a look at their websites and you’ll see hundreds of campaigns that speak only one language: the language of the left. Rarely will you find the big brands betting on defending life or encouraging large families. This is not by chance. Advertisers know that conservatives are more reluctant to change products, so they don’t care about their ideals. Instead, they seek to rouse the lowlier progressive instincts. The left-wing consumer is more sectarian. Nor is he or she instilled with a Christian sense of forgiveness: If a brand runs a pro-life campaign, it is likely to ruin its economic empire for a long time.

Moreover, in the song of ideologies, the music of the left always sounds more pleasant. Even if they are siren songs.
However, you like to read books, newspapers and magazines that defend your ideas, and you are moved when an advertiser makes a minimally Christian Christmas advert, anything that goes beyond that typical Central European Christmas postcard, featuring a snowy old mountain house lit by colorful lights, with reindeer running around outside. A postcard that, I can only imagine, is supposed to congratulate you on the arrival of winter, or the snow, or that reindeer continue to be born, or who knows what.

We often complain about cultural Marxism’s success in diluting our Christian values into empty sentiment at best, or transforming our society by some obscure Masonic plot at worst. I do too, I don’t deny it. In fact, as a columnist, my main contribution to the world are complaints about as much as possible, for as long as possible. And yet, I’ll admit that embedded in my complaints there resides a certain cynicism. Because, although I would rather avoid typical Democratic rhetoric, we have the world we are building for ourselves.

Your actions and your convictions can go hand in hand. That might make you feel better. I have no intention of becoming some bestselling self-help author for unmotivated conservatives, but you do have an easier time being consistent than any liberal.

Imagine for a moment that you really believed that you could stop the climactic apocalypse by changing your car out for a donkey; that getting rich is a civil sin; that you have to pay as many new taxes as can be thought up in one night of drinking; and that, in accordance with your secularist ID card, we owe everything to Mother Nature, which would place you in an uncomfortable debt to the cockroach, the cactus and the damn bat. Fortunately, as a conservative, you prefer to proclaim, like the poet Luis Alberto de Cuenca, “that you don’t believe that the West is a barbaric monster / dedicated to the sordid task / of destroying the planet” and perhaps you even agree with him that “multiculturalism is a new fascism / only tackier.” For these reasons amongst others, barring what liberals might think of you, you’ve got it easy to be coherent.

William F. Buckley gave us the key to the survival of 21st-century conservatism: “I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit.”

I make these reflections because a very special Christmas approaches—marked by the pandemic, by health restrictions, a certain generalized sadness and a worrying economic and employment situation. And perhaps the time has come to stop complaining and take action. And no, I’m not suggesting that you dress like a Cristero rebel and start setting fire to snowy shop windows lacking religious motifs. Maybe it’s enough that you pay a little attention to where you’re putting your dollars this time. That’s part of your power.

I’m sure you do. Many readers already subscribe to this wonderful publication or to other essential magazines for the dissemination of conservative ideas. Many already gift books by worthy authors, or movies with good moral values, or even try to buy their presents from brands that promote virtue. I am only suggesting that this Christmas we do it even more.

The Internet and social networks make it difficult for brands that want to advertise or finance conservative publications, or support campaigns for Christian institutions. In some Western countries, for example, right-wing radio stations have serious difficulties in getting advertisers, because sooner or later, some announcer will say something that offends somebody—regardless of the truth of the statement—and a culture-war campaign is unleashed on the network and its sponsors.

But, what can you and I do? It’s simple. We need to start convincing ourselves that we must pay for what we love. A book from a Christian publisher can be, too. Buying toys, candy, or clothing from a small family business of good, committed people is also a gift. I am not suggesting that we wage war against anyone, or even that we give up buying whatever we want from big multinational corporations (fortunately we love freedom!), but perhaps it is appropriate to ask ourselves: are we financing with our hard-earned dollars the big food, clothing, or technology companies that have made theirs the UN’s unfortunate Millennium Goals, incorporating them into their corporate social-responsibility policies? Or worse still, are we still buying products from Chinese communist giants?

The richest multinationals only understand the language of money. And your gesture is probably irrelevant. But if your gesture becomes a trend, be sure they will get the message. The ideological policies that these companies develop are not voted on in an election, it’s true. But they are still voted on: you vote for them every time you take out your card to pay for one of their products.

Personally, I prefer to see all this in a positive light. Your purchases in a small family business, and your support for a young singer who has renounced selling himself to the postulates of the prevailing cultural Marxism, can be the key to him, to them, to us, being able to carry on fighting on the front lines of this battle; fighting the fight, day after day, for all of those further away in the rearguard. It is the fight for your ideas. For the free world you believe in. For what you are and what you represent.

I told you that I had come to ruin your day. That wasn’t quite right. I also came to ruin your shopping list and your letter to Santa.

Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He is a contributor to The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, National Review, The American Conservative, The American Spectator and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an advisor to the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.