Buy Nothing In June

Consumerism Sets the Stage for Pride

June is upon us, and with it the widespread celebration of “pride.” The left has made the vice that led to Satan’s downfall into the centerpiece of their cult, appropriating a sign of God’s covenant as its symbol. Sodomy is its primary sacrament.

As this evil display grows ever more pervasive, many debate how to protest. I have one proposal.

Aaron Renn reminds us that the right cannot simply mirror the left’s activism tactics — we need ones appropriate for our position and ends. Rather than look at what the left does during June and creating direct alternatives, let’s consider what gives them so much power.

Many claim the corporate embrace of pride should somehow embarrass the left—apparently a corruption or watering down of its original message. This is wrong.

Pride is the celebration of self—and of self-indulgence. It’s only natural that it’s been embraced by large companies pushing mass consumerism.

This points to a natural protest: Buy nothing in June.

My colleague Jon Stokes made the suggestion, building on an initial post by Josh Centers. They did not frame it as a protest or as directly related to “pride” (both are from the prepper world, and described this as a test of preparedness and exercise in thoughtful consumption), but the concept immediately stood out to me.

Consumerism neuters Christians, contributing to lifestyles where they are afraid to take risks, afraid to leave jobs at hostile companies that fund their lifestyles, afraid to take stands that might risk these jobs or professional advancement, afraid to adopt policies that would risk a Christian school’s status in sports leagues, etc. Mass consumer marketing shapes desires, selling not just products we may not need, but a picture of a lifestyle we are supposed to aspire to. And as becomes starkly obvious in June, those pushing this lifestyle embrace vice and reject virtue.

Boycotts may work in a few cases—most notably Bud Light, where the timing, public consumption dynamic, availability of easy substitutes, and regular data on impact all helped build momentum. But in June nearly all major brands wrap themselves in the rainbow: there is no easy switch to a less-offensive alternative in many sectors.

But a response need not be a targeted punishment of one company to be meaningful. It can be a symbolic rejection of the entire mass consumer lifestyle—and an exercise in virtues that can help free from the constraints imposed by such consumption. If we aim to buy nothing in June, we are doing both. And as Jon Stokes notes, there is a sort of liturgical balance in doing this in June—directly opposite the pervasive consumerism of December.

Why is this effective? It’s not a direct rejection of the LGBTQ agenda celebrated by pride, but it’s a protest against the broader corporate system that gives this agenda its political power.

Further, far from imposing a cost on us, as many protests do, it saves us money and directly helps us build habits necessary for the success of our movement. In avoiding the mass consumer lifestyle, we are setting ourselves up to take bigger risks in other challenges to this regime.

Finally, staying away from retail environments simply lets us avoid the disgusting—and almost certainly spiritually grating—experience of spending time in a store bathed in blasphemous rainbows and open celebration of sin.

How practically should we approach this?

For a few, “buy nothing” may be literally possible. Stokes and Summers suggest that a month without buying is a good exercise in preparedness for any range of disasters.

For others, we’ll need necessities such as groceries. This need not compromise the core protest: food of some sort is necessary, so not in itself a product of consumerism. (And fortunately, supermarkets seem to be less aggressive about pride branding.) The challenge can be to avoid buying non-necessities.

The real targets of this effort—and often, the most prominent purveyors of pride messages—are large mass consumer brands. So if we do buy a few consumer goods (say a birthday or wedding present), we can buy from smaller, often local and aligned (or at least less-obviously political) businesses. This will not just avoid mass consumer companies, it may help better-aligned companies.

Finally, some already live frugal lifestyles, often sacrificing things celebrated in a consumeristic society to allow beneficial choices such as a mother staying at home. Our participation in June can become a celebration of such thrift—recognized as a virtue by generations of Christians, and imprinted into American lore by Benjamin Franklin.

An intentional June protest offers a clear catalyst to make these cuts. And at a large enough scale, they could eventually grow to a measurable commercial impact—even if not enough to materially harm large companies. But it also offers the chance to develop a more conscious approach to consumption decisions that can help free us of the highly consumeristic norms in American culture—and prepare for the biggest risks and sacrifices that may be needed to challenge the left in other domains.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Nate Fischer

Nate Fischer is the Chairman of American Reformer. He is also the founder and CEO of New Founding, a venture firm focused on the American right. He lives in Dallas with his wife and four children.