I’m going to ramble here a bit.
When I first started exploring Goth subculture I saw posts that said that Goths come from all walks of life and all political persuasions. However, in my own experience I’ve seen more of a left-wing bent. One link I found (not going to link to it) that purported in a forum to be to “right-wing goths” and had an appropriate sounding URL but led to a porn site (in any case, domain is now for sale). Apparently the poster thought that was a prank worthy of a giggle. I supposed a kinder interpretation might be that the registration on an old domain had expired and a porn site had bought it up invalidating the old link.
In either case, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
I went looking online searching for other libertarian (the lack of capitalization matters) Goth’s. Found one person on twitter from the UK who identifies as Libertarian Goth. A couple of passing references to individuals here and there some of which were at least “used to”. (Goths like to say “it’s not just a phase” but for some people it is. Young people go through phases as they try out different things to find which “fit” them. For some that final fit is “goth”. For others, they try it and it’s not. For them it is “just a phase.”) That pretty much summed up what I found on Google. Both Bing and Duckduckgo had an earlier iteration of this post as the number two item (which may tie more to some cookie on my computer than to the actual search position) but otherwise was the same.
There just doesn’t seem to be any significant presence out there for libertarian or politically conservative goths.
To be honest, I tend to be pretty much a loner as a Goth. In Indianapolis, where I live, when I first went looking there was exactly one “Goth Club” and even that is just one night a week at a club that serves other segments of the community the rest of the week. And since I’m older (and need my recovery time) and have to go to work in the mornings, staying out late to party on a weeknight just doesn’t work. Now we appear to have two: Spellbound Indy’s “Darkwave DJ Dance Night” (Darkwave–close enough considering the lack of other options) and Sins of the Flesh Goth Night at the Black Circle Brewing Company. Both appear to be monthly, one in the middle of the month, one at the end. I’ll admit that I haven’t had the chance to check them out for various reasons but that may change down the road.
Maybe “Goth-lite” or “Entry-Level-Goth” is a better description for me. I tried the “Cowboy Goth” look for a while, but in the end it didn’t suit. Recently I’ve decided that, since my religion of choice is Asatru, I should see if I could create “Viking Goth” as a look. My results have been mixed. I’d love to say that adding a sword or an axe to an outfit is always appropriate, it can be a problem when having to deal with mundanes. For a while I’ve had to back off a little bit for personal reasons but lately I’ve gotten back into experimenting to find my personal “style.”
Let me give you a little bit of my background as it relates to being a “libertarian Goth”.
When I was a child, for a long time, black was my favorite color. This really wasn’t a Goth thing. It was late 60’s. This was before Punk was even a thing, let alone the various post-punk movements which included Dark Wave and Goth. Still, when you add in that my household were big fans of the original run of Dark Shadows, it was perhaps a sign of things to come.
Time passed, and I just missed the early days of the Goth movement in England in the mid-80’s. I mean just missed it. You see, I was in the Air Force at the time and stationed in England from 1983-1985. I’d finished training and, well, I’d started buying clothes for off-duty wear. Looking back those clothes were pushing in the direction of what could now be called “trad-goth”. Being in the military there were limits on what I could do with hair, and piercings were right out. Being a man in the military with even simple lobe piercings is a great deal of trouble.
About that time, one of my co-workers who was living “on the economy” as we said in the military (meaning he had an apartment off base rather than living in dormitory accommodations). I don’t know how he managed it since, as I recall he was single and the same rank I was. His name was Patrick Lince. Later, at a different posting, we became better friends than we were at this first one. During that time in England he had a relative, a young woman, a sister or cousin or something like that, visiting him. He mentioned that she had her hair dyed purple. I remember thinking to myself “I could never be interested in a woman with purple hair.” Looking back, I think I was in “he doth protest too much” mode on that. Once, a number of us from the shop were invited over to Pat’s place to socialize and play Trivial Pursuit. Pat’s relative was there so I got to meet her. She was a perfectly nice young lady that was a pleasure to be around. This not being a romance novel, there was no “chemistry” and we certainly didn’t become involved. I’m not even sure she was even aware of my existence except as “that stranger at the party.” Still, what it did was show me that my preconceptions on unconventional fashion were unfounded. I couldn’t consider it for myself–not then, not in the Air Force–but it was no longer taboo.
As an aside on that note, I later came across an issue of World’s Finest comics (I was an avid comics fan). That series features Superman and Batman team-ups. In this issue they were seeking a lost heiress. Batman showed Superman a picture of the heiress.
Superman: “She has green hair. That’s some kind of rebellion thing, isn’t it?”
Batman: “Used to be. Now it’s just fashion.”
(Today, the “rebellion” aspect seems to be ascendant among certain groups but for many it still remains “just fashion” and their “personal style.”)
As you can see, I was moving in a “goth” direction. Then someone took me aside and “explained” that if I wanted to be attractive to young women I needed to start wearing bright colors and that my darker ensembles were a put-off.
Being irredeemably heterosexual I took this advice to heart.
It didn’t work.
It really, really didn’t work.
Didn’t help that all the “fashion advice” in the world couldn’t change that I was an “odd”, who suffers from crippling social anxiety and a complete lack of “getting” social cues.
Still, the habits stuck for a long, long time. I slipped into uncomfortable mundanity. (I don’t care, Spell Check. That is too a word.)
During all this time, I nurtured a deep and abiding distrust of government. It started when I was very young but especially blossomed in the years post-Air-Force. I’d always been a fairly small-government conservative. I didn’t so much change as think through my positions more and try to make them more consistent. (Do I still have inconsistencies? Since I’m human that’s going to happen. I try to work things through and make them consistent but that’s an ongoing process which will likely continue to my dying day.)
Fast Forward. Some years back, however, I came across several books by John Ringo. He introduced me to music that didn’t so much drag me out of the musical rut I’d been stuck in as blast me out of it with a cannon. Dragonforce. Nightwish. And this group called The Cruxshadows.
Oh. My. God.
The Cruxshadows. Some sources called them “Dark Wave”. Others called them “Goth.” Well, I’m not really clear on the difference. But…wow. Dark music, but music that honors concepts like self-sacrifice and martial virtue that resonated with my own political philosophy.
I expanded from that starting point exploring other bands. Within Temptation. More Nightwish. Evanescence and their “spin off” band We are the Fallen. Bauhaus. The Cure. Souxie & the Banshees (in an interview she swore up and down she was not Goth, but others drop her in that category). Lacuna Coil. Epica.
Well, I could go on and on.
I find Goth Rock (Bauhaus for instance) a pleasant change of pace, but most of what I listen to these days is Gothic and Symphonic Metal (Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, etc.)
And, at the moment, I’m fixing a hole in my musical history knowledge and exploring groups Sisters of Mercy, the 69 Eyes, and others.
A lot of the music fits with my personal philosophies surprisingly well. And a lot doesn’t but it’s still good music.
But, I encounter so very few people out there who combine both my philosophy of “leave government out of things, and no, there ought not be a law” with the enjoyment of the darker side that I get from Goth/Gothic Metal music and subculture that I often feel very much alone.
But that’s okay. Being alone in a crowd that does not understand…is Goth.
6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Libertarian Goth: A Significantly Expanded Blast from the Past.”
Being all alone in a crowd isn’t necessarily Goth – that’s just one way to get there. Being the only person in the room that has seen combat is a good way to be alone in a roomful of people as well…
“is goth” != “is only goth” 😉