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« In the words of a confirmed atheist ... | Main | Daily roundup »

January 06, 2009

Conservatism strikes back

Hollywoodsignaddress There's a lot of reading material here, but bear with me: It's good stuff.

Mark Steyn writes in The Corner:

Andrew Breitbart gets to what's really at stake:

If conservatives don't figure out popular culture soon, the movement will die a deserving death.

I think that's right. If the non-political sphere is permanently left-of-center — the movies, the pop songs, the plays, the sitcoms, the newspapers plus the churches, schools and much else — it's simply unreasonable to expect people to walk into a polling booth every other November and vote conservative. The culture is where the issues get framed and the boundaries set.

He's promoting Breitbart's new website, Big Hollywood (occasional profanity), which Breibart himself describes as "a big group blog that will feature hundreds of the big minds from the fields of politics, journalism, entertainment and culture. . . a continuous politics and culture posting board for those who think something has gone drastically wrong and that Hollywood should return to its patriotic roots." The site is edited by John Nolte, formerly of Dirty Harry's Place, and, as advertised, features a number of conservative voices from Hollywood and elsewhere.

If you're thinking that the conservative/liberal divide has no place in the arts or the popular culture, well, as Jay Nordlinger writes here, quoting a reader e-mail, it's already there. And at this point it's not much of a divide anymore.

A couple weekends back, I was listening to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. And Renée Fleming [the great soprano] sang “In the Bleak Midwinter.” But the lyrics to this beloved and touching carol were changed, in order to celebrate Barack Obama. The original carol is about Christ. But, in this version, Obama was the central figure. What is happening to us?

Looks like Steyn, Breitbart, et al. are onto something.

One more point (and link). Not all of us are prestigious voices who can attract a lot of attention. But if you're reading this site -- and thus, if you're at least somewhat familiar with the Web and how it works -- you have a voice, and you can use it. It doesn't even have to be in a major venue. On blogs, on message boards, pretty much anywhere on the Web that conservative Christians are stereotyped and misunderstood -- that is, pretty much anywhere on the Web -- you can politely but firmly articulate your views and make a case that many of your readers may never have heard before.

As Jason Lee Steorts wrote in NRO a few weeks ago:

It would be unfair in the extreme to deny that many young, educated voters have reflected thoughtfully on conservative arguments and rejected them. But it would be naïve in the extreme to deny that lots and lots of people, on all sides, are completely predictable outputs of cultural inputs. If your inputs are, roughly, the college campus plus the “mainstream media” plus the “blogosphere” plus the music industry plus Hollywood, it’s no wonder you end up [thinking that conservatives are out of it].

I don’t think, then, that the problem is conservative positions — or at least not mainly so. I think the problem is the way conservative positions are communicated. If we want to persuade the cool kids, we need to find a way of reaching them. Part of that is retaking the cultural institutions we’ve ceded to the Left for almost half a century. (No, I don’t know how. Feel free to drop a note in my suggestion box if you do.) But another part is expressing our views — and especially our moral views — in a way that eschews shrillness, does justice to the complexity of the questions at issue, and justifies our positions from the ground up instead of assuming a shared foundation.

Wherever we're from, that's something we all can do -- and must do.

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Comments

labrialumn

Children need an education. They do -not- get that in the public schools and universities. The Church is going to have to once again take on that duty.

John Lofton, Recovering Republican

Forget "conservatism," please. It has been Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It .is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com
Recovering Republican


viking mother

Great quote "...Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain.
It .is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

I see lots of people (in this encrusted hide-in-one's corner) just wishing to keep "the status quo"!

Jen

Hi!

I'm a regular reader of this blog, and in light of this post, I thought you and some of your readers might be interested in the following:

Leigh Bortins (my boss), founder of Classical Conversations, a home school support organization, will be interviewing Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on her talk radio show TODAY (Wed, Jan 7), at 1pm EST.

The direct link for the show is:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/1SmartMama/2009/01/07/Governor-Mike-Huckabee-and-Leigh

You can also find the radio show via Leigh's blog, http://1smartmama.blogspot.com. See Leigh's latest blog post for more on this idea of the loss of true conservatism, especially in education.

Feel free to call in to talk to the governor - just call after you hear his voice so the lines aren't tied up for his call.

If you miss the show, it will be archived at www.blogtalkradio.com/1smartmama.

Kim Moreland

I've got some new heros from reading your post (Andrew Breitbart and Gary Graham). Good reporting, Gina.

labrialumn

It is a pity that not only is Keillor no longer funny. (In ages past, I enjoyed his show), but now he has stooped to blasphemy? (Or was the context making fun of the Obamians?)

If blasphemy, we need to boycott Powdermilk Biscuits. ;-)

And NPR.

Jason Taylor


Lofton's quote sounds suspiciously like either advocating Pietism or Theocracy. Having "secular" politics is no different then having secular carpentry, or secular plumbing. Politics is a craft, not a religion.

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