An Appeal to Normies

We Shouldn’t Neglect an Important Political Faction

A favorite pastime of both the Left and the New Right seems to be heaping scorn on normies.

Leftists have been waging protracted warfare against the normie way of life through all existing channels. Hollywood, public education, transnational corporations, and government institutions have been conspiring to fundamentally transform their traditions, history, and folkways. Daniel McCarthy pointed out in his assessment of Jonathan Yeo’s controversial painting of King Charles III, “Off-putting works are to be cherished precisely for their power to repel the right sort of person”—that is, the tastes of normie Americans. As Middle America was being hollowed out (with the help of the establishment “Right”), the creators of our moral consensus worked to recode the normie mind, attempting to groom them for their unopposed rule. 

Meanwhile, the online New Right can often be a mirror image of the Left and express bottomless exasperation at normies, poking fun at them through a constant stream of memes and posts. When normie-tier memes are shared, many in the online Right shake their heads in disgust, seeing normies as simply not worth the effort to engage with politically.

To be sure, a sizable number of normies will always drink Bud Light, make the annual pilgrimage to Disneyland, and send their kids to public school without a second thought (with some doing so because they wrongly view their children as missionaries in the classroom). In other words, there’s always going to be a substantial number of normies who will be mesmerized by the constant churn of regime propaganda and will never want to break free. 

But a slice of normies are ripe for the taking. 

Persuadable normies might still watch Fox News for hours each night and listen to conservative talk shows as they mow their lawns. But they have noticed the regime’s “hypocrisy” on the 1619 Riots during the summer of 2020 compared to its treatment of Americans throughout the Covid lockdowns. They’ve seen what are clearly political prosecutions of Donald Trump by those who claim to stand for democracy and the rule of law. And they’re currently witnessing the media act as though a sitting Supreme Court justice deserves impeachment and probably jail time for allowing an “Appeal to Heaven” flag to fly outside his beach home. Overall, they understand that the fundamental tenets of the founders’ Constitution no longer obtain and that America is fading before their eyes.

This is why the New Right cannot overlook appealing to normies. Interacting with normies—and refining and elevating their ideas—is necessary for the Right to have a sustained series of wins in the near and far term. After all, there have been many recent flashpoints that have awoken former normies who now plainly see reality. The Obergefell decision, which was perhaps the most important shift in our culture over the last decade, along with the Kavanaugh hearings and the 2020 election, opened up the opportunity for then-normies to understand what the regime had become.

One way for the Right to make such an appeal is to create quality streaming shows, movies, and podcasts that speak to the normie way of life. As Michael Anton has noted for IM1776, Tom Wolfe became the most important writer on the Right in the mid-to-late twentieth century through penning “sympathetic accounts of ordinary middle-class people, backwoods country folk, American fighter pilots in Vietnam, and the Mercury Seven Astronauts.” Wolfe’s non-fiction work featured portraits of American heroes that normies could appreciate and aspire to live up to.

And the method by which Wolfe did this was possibly just as important as the people he chronicled: 

And yet Wolfe’s conservatism was able to fly under the elites’ radar and gain a wide audience, in part because he never preached or hit readers over the head with his views. He was also consistently funny, which goes a long way toward making readers not realize they’re consuming crimethink.

Rather than beating normies over the head with “the point,” the Right should tell stories that can become lodged in their hearts. We need to push aside popular but profoundly incorrect methods of persuasion—for example, Ben Shapiro’s “facts not feelings” approach, which owes far too much to the radical Enlightenment conception of a human being—for a full-orbed view that takes into account the whole man, both body and soul. Since human beings are not heads on a stick, the Right needs a strategy that is aligned with this anthropology. 

In a time in which everything has become politicized (which cleverly conceals the abolition of actual politics), the Right needs to be able to speak to human life in all its dimensions rather than the cringy schlock to which they have been accustomed to making. 

We need those in the advertisement industry to support the aspirations of normal Americans. Instead of ads that depict bumbling, woefully out of shape fathers who are led around by their wives, ads should instead show dads who are competent, fit, and capable. Portrayals of good families need to be featured in magazines, books, journals, and periodicals produced by the Right. And while being in good shape is important, weightlifting absent the ties that bind us to others can become the lifting of heavy objects unconnected to any useful ends. 

Those who run online accounts focused on art and architecture should consider making an appeal to normies as part of their work. Posting pictures of beautiful European cities and the Swiss Alps should be leavened with those that show America’s natural wonders and public monuments. These accounts should be posting the paintings of Albert Bierstadt, whose breathtaking work displays the glories of America’s natural beauty. Absent a focus on America, such accounts can too easily give the impression that there is nothing worth preserving in our country, which is categorically false. 

A key part of this project entails featuring people who look normal—people like the semi-famous internet anon Lomez. To the chagrin of The Guardian’s Jason Wilson, Lomez is not some basement dweller with fascist symbols hanging up, illuminated by the glow of multiple widescreen monitors. Instead, he was an athlete, served as a lecturer at UC Irvine, has a family, and looks like an all-American type who would be right at home on a Wheaties box. 

As Peachy Keenan wrote in the wake of his doxxing, Lomez is “the sort of talented, charismatic, normal” person who is “always in short supply: the kind who can inspire fanatic loyalty and rekindle a fighting spirit.” Peachy noted that “there is a lot of potential in someone who is just smart, funny, personable, and has a gift for spotting opportunity.”

It is doubtful that many, if any, normies will have heard of Lomez or order a book from Passage Press, the publishing outlet he founded and runs. But one reason why the doxx failed was because of the vast difference between the perception of internet anons, boosted by popular portrayals of them as incel losers, and the reality—that for normies, Lomez could have easily been someone’s son who used to live down the street. Being healthy, having a family, and possessing a personality are important things that the Right needs to platform.

The New Right should neither become normies themselves nor be forever castigating them as a hopeless group that will never get it. Like the poor, normies will always be with us. This means that bringing them along through a slow drip of increasing nonconformist thinking, bit by bit, is necessary to build a winning coalition that can deal with the country the Boomers gave us.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Mike Sabo

Mike Sabo is a Contributing Editor of American Reformer and an Assistant Editor of The American Mind, the online journal of the Claremont Institute. His writing has appeared at RealClearPolitics, The Federalist, Public Discourse, and American Greatness, among other outlets. He lives with his wife and son in Cincinnati.

2 thoughts on “An Appeal to Normies

  1. So the normies are marginalized by the Left and even some on the Right? The normies are now victims? Have the normies marginalized anyone in the past and/or present?

    And Trump is being politically persecuted in his trials? But weren’t his indictments the result of Grand Jury, not politicians’, decisions to indict Trump based on the presentation of court worthy evidence, which is the kind of evidence that a Republican controlled House could not produce on Biden? And who is being hypocritical on Democracy? Is it the person who after claiming, without producing court worthy evidence, that the election was stolen instigated an insurrection to try to steal the election?

    And was there hypocrisy in the 1619 Riots? Of the BLM protests that followed the George Floyd murder, around 93% took place without violence. Of those protests where there was violence, some of that violence was outside of the control of the protests’ organizers, especially violence that was practiced by provocateurs and right-wing radicals.

    The above article is trying to employ the 3Fs in order to manipulate, which is not to be confused with persuading, people. The 3Fs are inciting fear, enflaming fury, and using flattery in order to manipulate the “normies.”

  2. H/t to Mr. Sabo for at least attempting some suggestions instead of just stating the problem.

    Sadly the odds of any of the institutions he mentioned taking any of them seriously are vanishingly small.

    A place to start however would be church and parachurch organizations changing their approaches. To paraphrase Sabo “Instead of sermons, posts, and podcasts that depict bumbling, woefully out of shape fathers who are led around by their wives, sermons, posts, and podcasts should instead describe and show dads who are competent, fit, and capable.”

    Men are relentlessly hectored about fulfilling their roles as husbands, father, providers, servants to their wife’s emotional needs, etc. Pilloried for toxic masculinity and misogyny, while at the same time faulted for failing to lead their families.

    Instead of the “you guys are totally failing, you need to do this long list of works and be a real Christian man” posts and sermons that will start appearing on the in the run up to Father’s Day maybe this year have some positive examples of men.

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