Why Culture Matters More than Politics

In a very insightful article that conservatives will probably ignore, Mark Steyn explains how politics is less important than culture, and probably always has been:

If the culture’s liberal, if the schools are liberal, if the churches are liberal, if the hip, groovy business elite is liberal, if the guys who make the movies and the pop songs are liberal, then electing a guy with an “R” after his name isn’t going to make a lot of difference.

Right on. Does that mean you shouldn’t elect a guy with an “R” after his name? Not necessarily. But you need to realize that your work isn’t done just because you voted. In fact, your work has barely begun.

I’ve been saying it for years, and it is frustrating to me how long it has taken for people to finally start waking up to the simple fact that changing hearts is more powerful than changing brains. Conservatives have been struggling along trying to convince people that what we’re saying is true. But that doesn’t matter much if people think what we’re saying is ugly.

We’ve got to actually involve ourselves in culture. I don’t mean playing catch-up in culture the way we’ve been playing catch-up in politics either. I mean actually producing and developing a holistic and authentic cultural alternative to the communities that have set themselves against us. Conservatism is a head without a body right now. Mostly because the church is in a similar predicament.

If you think of conservative art, you’re probably thinking of Christian art, and I don’t need to tell you just how absolutely inadequate Christian art is. Just go to Rotten Tomatoes and look up any Christian movie made in the last twenty years. This is what you’ll see: a hilariously low score from professional critics and an uncannily high approval rating from audiences. Why? Because we’re preaching to the choir.

Mark Steyn is right. If we’re going to make a difference in the future, we need to make a difference in culture. Until we do, it really doesn’t matter much who we put in office.