My friend Nicolaj, who happens to be an aspiring member of the Danish Conservative Party (especially the youth section for which he represents Denmark in YEPP, often buzzing about Europe for meetings), referred me to the Danish Conservative Youth’s latest membership drive campaign, complete with own webpage.
And I quote from the introductory text:
“Capitalism isn’t just about money – it’s a way of life, if you’re into the cool stuff and have the attitude.”
Being bling is apparently the best way to show political opinions, as this page even suggests sending in your own pictures of how much you’re into your capitalistic lifestyle – champagne, money clip, car, etcetera.
And it works. Being bling and promising people their very own “Kapitalist” T-shirt upon joining the party has doubled membership within the past 3 months. Now, the Danish Conservative Youth has never been known for being hip, but with this latest change of face, they may very well become the new political bling.
It’s curious how politics seem to be just as much a fashion statement as an actual ideology. Just like all the rebellious teenagers in high school prefer the left , and the cool late-twenties academics prefer the liberal radicals, young higher-middle- and upper-class people can now flaunt their political convictions in a cool way.
Of course, Nicolaj is not entirely too happy with this, though he hopes that the initial bling will lure people in, and that they’ll then find a more traditional interest in conservative politics. Still, there must be some limits to how superficial one can be in presenting a political agenda, and turning politics into a lifestyle is more forgiving on the lifestyle than on the politics. I see less of the “compassionate conservative” stance that Nicolaj advocates and more of the I love my things stance in that campaign.
Can you imagine a similarly bling campaign on “socialist.dk” : “I’m down with sharing my relative wealth, yo. It’s not about owning stuff, it’s about sharing.” – hardly very gangsta, is it?