Taking Back the Arts

Artists and teachers must lead a resurgence on the Right.

Matt Patterson, writing in National Review, has issued a bold call for a change of thinking on the political Right. Excerpts:

The inexplicable rise of Donald Trump is perfectly explicable if you accept the following: The Republican party has failed [to make the case against big government].

Strategically speaking, the failure stems from two disastrous abdications. First, and particularly devastating, starting in the late 1960s conservatives surrendered academia wholesale to liberals, who are now in virtually total control of the education of our children, from kindergarten to university.

Second, the Right completely abandoned entertainment and the arts, which are often wrongly viewed by conservatives as frivolities, diversions to pass the time, something to look down upon. But it has always been through art that ideas, both large and small, both profane and sacred, are spread and absorbed.

Reagan may be our last great politician, and our last great thinker. His long career as an artist was instrumental in preparing him for both roles. And yet, how many young conservatives these days long for a career onstage or onscreen? How many young conservatives long to be, and are encouraged to be, painters, novelists, poets, filmmakers, comedians? Instead, young conservatives flock to the Imperial Capital in droves looking to score internships at think tanks, in conservative media, and on Capitol Hill. The lucky ones will get jobs in these places — and change the culture not one little bit.

Today there is a veritable cottage industry of conservatives complaining about American culture. If a fraction of these complainers ever decided to make something besides a blog post or a television rant, they would do more good for the culture than they could possibly imagine.

My advice to conservatives: Make something. Fiction, verse, art, film. Make something beautiful that justifies its own existence, and, if you love liberty, that love will automatically become a part of that justification, whether obvious or not. And whether obvious or not, that love will seep through the words or images, and may just stain some other heart.

Read the entire article at National Review.