Andrew Breitbart always said the key to shifting America’s political landscape is in the culture. In a way, I think that’s what Shelby Tankersley is getting at in this new post from Intercollegiate Review.

When Young Conservatives Meet Hipsters

I, like many young conservatives, have a complicated relationship with the hipster lifestyle. I will spare you the platitudinous articles about this new sub- (or is it mainstream?) culture that has pervaded the millennial lifestyle over the past decade; for some reason, major news outlets can’t publish enough meditative pieces on the “complexity”, “irony”, and “pretentiousness” of this group. I’m not interested in further exploring the label, but I think we can apply it in a slightly new way.

Young conservatives cannot avoid raising suspicions about their hipster status. This is because hipsters are “vintage obsessed”, love reviving old social trends, verbally eschew gaudy commercialism, and privilege localism. But the relation is more complicated than that. Hipsters tend to behave in culturally conservative ways while holding strongly socially progressive views. Despite all these similarities, young conservatives overwhelmingly tend to sneer at this group, taking easy pot shots at the fairly obvious self-contradiction (no matter, hipsters prefer irony to linear thought). This is a serious missed opportunity, in two respects.

First, it is increasingly hard to convince people that there are any goods besides greater efficiency and specialization. Hipster culture somehow avoids this piece of chronological snobbery. There are few people with whom one can share interests in the best of bygone Americana and classical literature. They are worth talking to, even if their nonconformist tastes are predictable, or their glasses are laughably thick-rimmed. Perhaps, through enough cultivations of these cultural values, the social progressivism that they normally espoused will become distasteful and negligible when compared to a vibrant lifestyle of rediscovery.