Building Institutions

The following is my response to a reader who raised a number of thought-provoking questions prompted by yesterday’s post. I thought it merited a post of its own.

Building institutions is what the Right does. The Left is incapable of building anything. That’s why they only ever parasitize existing institutions. Most of the individualists and free market fanatics espousing the “Every man for himself” attitude are in fact Conservatives, whose ideological roots can be traced directly back to the Left.

What’s gone unsaid in the current discussion is that an institution isn’t necessarily a big building downtown with the company name in shiny letters over the door. The family is an institution. Christmas is an institution. Your D&D game that’s been running weekly for ten years is an institution.

Institutions exist to serve people. If enough people believe a particular institution is of benefit to them, they’ll give their time, treasure, and talent for it. Marvel, DC, and tradpub failed as institutions because they stopped providing value and thereby stopped justifying their existence.

Now, I just gave people with blind faith in the free market a hard time. But there’s a difference between worshiping the market like an Aztec god and recognizing market forces as phenomena that emerge from the daily operations of human nature. Pursuing individual success in comics or SFF publishing and building something lasting aren’t mutually exclusive. Marvel and DC were founded by entrepreneurs whose products attracted enough customers to make an enduring cultural impact.

Creating a lasting institution is a black swan event. Only God knows how to do it on purpose, and anyone else who tries finds himself in a situation akin to meticulously planning a party to recreate the fun and camaraderie of a bash that happened spontaneously the week before. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle. You can only try to create favorable conditions and hope for the best.

That said, a quick look around the cultural landscape shows that new institutions are, in fact, emerging. #GamerGate looks to have the necessary staying power as it keeps dying and rising again. The Dragon Awards have already overtaken the Hugos. Galaxy’s Edge is bringing on new writers to continue the story. The guys in #ComicsGate are seriously discussing forming their own publisher. God’s mill grinds slow but fine.

As for people still believing the Left’s propaganda, that problem is busily sorting itself out. Tradpub isn’t in the storytelling business. They’re in the lumber business. Their business model relies on their paper distribution monopoly, of which Barnes & Noble is the last vestige. B&N has had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel since they fired most of their receiving managers. When B&N dies, it will take most of tradpub with it, and no one’s beliefs to the contrary will matter.

Take part in helping to build and sustain the new publishing industry. Support The Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void by author Bradford Walker today!

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