Why Conservatism is Always an Uphill Fight

Andrew Wilson has a great post titled “Why Pushing Right is Harder than Pushing Left.” It specifically addresses the challenges of promoting conservative ideas in the church, but it could just as easily apply to any other area of the culture. Some tidbits:

My guess is that there are at least three factors at work. The first is to do with the youth-centred spirit of the age, in which freshness is more fashionable than faithfulness, innovating inspires people more than imitating, technology trumps tradition, and novelty is confused with creativity.  

… 

The second is equally obvious, in some ways, but it is worth saying anyway: contemporary secular culture is well to the left of the Bible on most things it teaches. Non-Christian Britain thinks the Scriptures are backward on all sorts of topics, including judgment, evolution, tradition, war, marriage, slavery, sexual ethics, holiness, gender roles, and the idea of teaching doctrine in the first place. So when we move to the left, we are almost without exception moving closer to what the culture around us thinks, and that makes the process much more comfortable for us. 

… 

The third factor, related to this, is that the victims of excessive rightishness are much easier to identify, and to feel sorry for, the victims of excessive leftishness. An anti-war protest is much easier to recruit for than a pro-war protest. It’s easy to make movies, or posters, about the victims of slavery and domestic abuse; not so much about the victims of abortion, since they don’t live long enough to be given names. When a couple splits up through unfaithfulness, causing massive pain to their children, the individualistic, morally leftish values that made it possible are not personified, and nobody blames the newspapers, TV shows or movies that make short-term romantic fulfilment life’s ultimate purpose.

Conservatives, whether religious or political, have our own sub-culture. But we all float in the river of the dominant culture, and it’s always a struggle to keep from being pulled along by its currents, which are distinctly liberal. This is the explanation behind what’s know as Conquest’s Law: “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”

So what can we do to change this? Conservatives surrendered their influence in the culture a long time ago. It’s going to take a long, concerted effort to reclaim all the ground we’ve lost. But knowing that we’re in a fight, and knowing what we’re fighting against, is a start.

(Via Justin Taylor)

One thought on “Why Conservatism is Always an Uphill Fight

Leave a Reply