Talk of censorship is all the rage these days.
In Fairfax County, Va., parental resistance to sexually explicit books in school libraries is labeled censorship. A charming article entitled, “Which books do conservatives want to use as kindling?” was published in the January 3, 2022 Arizona Mirror and cross-posted by Publishers Weekly.
(Common sense check: protestation by a few people is not censorship.)
More broadly speaking, the near-complete ban by social media giants Facebook and Twitter on COVID-19 information that contradicts government guidance and advice has been fairly, I think, called censorship.
Interestingly, most cases of alleged censorship in the United States accuse conservatives of perpetrating or precipitating the censorship. But what if that’s completely wrong?
What if, in fact, liberals who control the government, media, publishing and even Hollywood are censoring conservative voices, robbing them of the opportunity to make an argument?
That makes more sense – that those in power are silencing those who aren’t. This is, of course, precisely what has happened.
There is a dearth of conservative voices in entertainment because conservatives and right-leaning libertarians are discounted as unimportant. Worse, conservatives who do write – whether they write stories, screenplays, or blogs – are singled out for mockery, threatened with violence, doxxed, and even SWATted.
Not only does this often silence outspoken conservatives, it leads other conservatives to fear speaking out at all.
Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the International Publisher’s Association Freedom to Publish committee – certainly not a conservative organization – points out that those who are censored, from publishers to authors, may simply begin to self-censor.
“The same fears that can affect publishers and lead them to self-censor can also infect authors, booksellers, and librarians.”
I’ve seen this in action.
For over a decade now, I have been active in helping conservative writers develop their writing and find community. I have watched writers move from, “oh, I can’t be a writer” to winning awards. And I have had the absolute pleasure of watching fiction written from a conservative perspective by conservative writers move from nearly nonexistent to a burgeoning underground movement with its own standouts, conventions and even rock stars.
Our voices should never have been silenced. In a world where diversity is valued, certainly diversity of political perspective should be valued as well.
Those from different political perspectives have different points of view. We possess, in many cases, the other side of the argument – while abortion, for instance, may save young women from the heartache of bearing the child of a rapist, not having an abortion may lead to the birth of a scientist, a healer or a great artist.
Guns kill good people; they also kill bad guys when used wisely by the victimized. Religion should never be forced on school children; but religion can save those same children from drugs, violence, sex crimes and other worldly dangers.
Presenting only one side of these issues – which is what our current entertainment mainstream tends to do – prevents full understanding, which makes solving problems nearly impossible.
Had conservative writers and entertainers been afforded the space to create our own stories, we could have provided that diverse perspective that is so lacking from today’s storytelling world.
But we weren’t.
Instead, the MFA-to-publication pipeline, in which connected professors link their talented students to Big Five editors, doesn’t welcome conservatives.
We don’t think “right.” Even if we are diverse in color or ethnic origin or sexuality, being conservative means we are not really black or immigrant or gay.
Likewise, the making of movies, which requires far more buy-in by others and far more financial backing than writing novels, is limited to conservative film students who have a different story to tell.
This leads to a kind of creative abortion: instead of telling our stories, conservatives keep them to ourselves. Our books aren’t born. They fester inside, or die without ever having a chance. Despair, lack of confidence, or lack of opportunity kills them.
When conservatives don’t tell our stories, we are positioning ourselves to be straw men – undefined forms that liberals can fill with anything to attack. This is why they call us racists, homophobes and bigots.
Of course we aren’t. But where are we telling our own stories to show the world that we are, in fact, classically liberal, or loving Christians or generous philanthropists who give in secret?
We don’t. We aren’t allowed to.
And when you don’t tell your own story, you are allowing someone else to tell it for you – and you are unlikely to be the hero.
According to common understanding, of course, liberals aren’t really censoring conservatives. They tell themselves, and us, that conservatives don’t read, or at least they don’t read fiction. (Publishing executives said this to one Big Five editor – a conservative.)
And if conservatives don’t read fiction, it stands to reason that they can’t write it. And even if conservatives could write fiction, they would have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said before by Old White Men.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. Conservatives are stunningly diverse – especially in thought, but also in all the superficial forms valued by the progressive mainstream. Conservatives read. And conservatives write very well.
I’m starting a publishing company focused on the stories and voices of conservative authors, Conservatarian Press. We will publish books of all adult genres, and next year stories for children, through online distributors. Over time, we hope to grow enough to distribute in bookstores. And we will be publishing a magazine for short-form fiction, poetry, essays and other creative projects by conservatives.
Of necessity, we will be starting small, though we hope to grow large.
Conservatarian Press is focused on providing a professional outlet for creative conservatives, from writers to artists, that they can use to build a career. It is about us telling our own stories, not just for fellow conservatives, but for a wide audience.
It’s time for us to tell the world who we really are – past time, in fact. While we are a for-profit enterprise, our mission to bring conservative voices to the fiction marketplace is our primary focus.
I am officially inviting writers who have not found acceptance in the mainstream publishing world to submit to us; our submissions requirements are on our website. I am inviting readers to explore our books as they are published, or to read our blog for information on conservative-friendly books and authors that we do not publish but enjoy reading.
We can change the way the world thinks, one book at a time.
Jamie K. Wilson, a military spouse and mother, has been involved in the conservative/libertarian fiction world since 2008. She has written extensively on the topic at her website, conservativefiction.com, and was integral in the creation of the CLFA and Liberty Island Media. In 2021, she established Conservatarian Press to help get right-of-center fiction voices of all genres into the literary world. Conservatarian Press’s first books will be published on February 21, 2022.