Gavin McInnes wrote an article titled “Punk Rockers Make Good Conservatives.” As a punk Republican, I wholeheartedly agree. Not many people who I know in a professional capacity suspect that I used to have blue hair, or know that if it were feasible, I still would. Even fewer understand why being punk and Republican makes so much sense.
Republicans and punks have an incredible amount of common ground. Neither thinks the government being excessively involved in people’s lives is beneficial. Both emphasize the importance of self-reliance and innovation. Both must also learn to defend themselves against criticism.
McInnes argues that “being into punk rock was actually great training for becoming a rational, libertarian, paleoconservative adult.” He explains that Republicans and many punks want the government out of their lives, and this includes legalizing some drugs. Nobody proclaims the benefits of small government more than the GOP. While far from all Republicans (and few Democrats) are in favor of legalizing drugs, it is a small-government position which sensibly jives with the Republican small government philosophy.
McInnes also points to punks’ inherent self-reliance and “do it yourself” attitude. He uses the example of young punks writing to a band in hopes that they would play in the young person’s town. This concept of self-reliance also relates to clothing. With the exception of Hot Topic, I had to scavenge for clothing I liked. In elementary school, I painted flames on my platform boots. Goth clothing isn’t cheap, so I taught myself how to sew by machine when I was 10, and made much of my own clothing. Other times, I would buy t-shirts, and find the best means by which to paint an intricate design. I eventually learned that putting a shirt over my laptop allowed me to gently trace an image. Later, I would put the shirt on a flat surface and paint over the traced image. I always loved trying new ways to make and alter clothing.
In this same way, Republicans advocate for self-reliance. The government is composed of humans, not angels, as James Madison reminded us in Federalist 51. “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Accordingly, one must rely on oneself, not government. Government can help — when it isn’t busy ruining everything — but most often relying on government to be the supreme problem-solver will lead to severe disappointment. On the contrary, self-reliance and hard work produce success.
Being punk and being Republican both require deviation from that which is chic in order to pursue something interesting and meaningful. At age nine, I began to love and embrace the punk style. Kids made fun of me. To my dismay, within a few years, many were also dying their hair bright colors and wearing black nail polish. I have never been one to join the crowd for the sole purpose of being a part of something, and some argue such behavior “is a recipe for mediocrity.” Rather, I wanted to do something interesting and meaningful. When others began to dress like me when being punk became cool, I was annoyed. Similarly, I want people to be Republican because it means something to them, not because “everyone is doing it.”
Trying to be accepted by peers as being a young Republican was, at times, far more difficult than being accepted as a punk. Being punk eventually became chic, while being Republican has yet to. I became Republican at age eight, because I loved the emphasis on self-reliance and liberty. When I was eleven, I became involved in a political debate with a woman while getting my hair cut. She became enraged and spoke rudely to me. Someone nearby told me it was rude to talk about politics. I often had to defend and justify my punk style and my Republican views. Even adults treated me harshly for my views. It is more difficult to defend my political views than a preferred clothing style. However, defending the latter helped me learn how to better defend the former.
When my friends learn I wasn’t always so clean-cut, they are perplexed. The overwhelming majority of people do not understand how these attributes can mix fluidly, but the truth is that they're a natural fit for one another.