Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/27/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cultural conservatism is an implicit recognition of the paradigm changes that have taken place within the digital age.

During the 2012 presidential campaign the most oft-repeated charge against pro-life social conservatives was that they did not care about a human life after the moment of birth. When I was surprised to hear this charge from a Catholic bishop, I decided to write a response and offered this simple argument: To be concerned about life is to be concerned about everything. In other words, if pro-lifers are consistent in their convictions then their passion for protecting life will extend throughout a human lifetime.  Well-known philanthropist Foster Friess recently called for fellow conservatives to embrace a cultural conservatism.  Friess's message is that conservatives, especially Catholics, need to work to heal the unnecessary divide between the pro-life and the social justice communities.  Friess is right.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/27/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Life, culture, culture, cultural conservatives, social Teaching, arts, pro-life, paleoconservative, social conservative, libertarian, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - During the 2012 presidential campaign the most oft-repeated charge against pro-life social conservatives was that they did not care about a human life after the moment of birth.

When I was surprised to hear this charge from a Catholic bishop, I decided to write a response and offered this simple argument: To be concerned about life is to be concerned about everything. In other words, if pro-lifers are consistent in their convictions then their passion for protecting life will extend throughout a human lifetime. 

As someone who has known many pro-life leaders over a long period, I also shared my observation that no one among the leadership I knew were guilty of that particular charge.  However, it had to be admitted that the ongoing divide between the Catholic pro-life community and those Catholics who speak first of social justice can create a disposition for each side to ignore the concerns, or achievements, of the other.

If asked, most pro-lifers would identify themselves as politically conservative which, over time, has given rise to the category of the social conservative, i.e., a conservative who views the life issues as having greater importance than any others. Politicians have earned the label of social conservative by being on the correct side of abortion, marriage, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning. 

During the 2012 presidential election, religious liberty was virtually added to the list due to socially conservative reaction to the imposition of Obamacare. In retrospect, the linking of religious liberty, although entirely appropriate, to the already established five settled, or non-negotiable, life issues served to reinforce the general impression of social conservatives as uncaring about life after birth.  Healthcare, after all, is a necessary part of living a full, and hopefully long life.  And suddenly, pro-life social conservatives didn't care about that.

Social conservatism has served as an effective political banner for many years, but the debate over healthcare exacerbated its public perception as uncaring about issues impacting the sick, poor, vulnerable, suffering, and those lacking opportunity. Well-known philanthropist Foster Friess recently called for fellow conservatives to embrace a cultural conservatism.  Friess's message is that conservatives, especially Catholics, need to work to heal the unnecessary divide between the pro-life and the social justice communities. 

Friess is right: a cultural conservatism would revivify conservatives both in their minds and hearts - it would allow them to act with their larger heart and with those parts of the mind that dream, imagine, contemplate, and create. Conservatives would discover another source of energy and vitality, rather than reliving the glory days of Reagan and Goldwater, publishing another meditation on the Founders, or one more angry tract on how Obama is destroying America. 

Cultural conservatism would help donors and activists to realize they don't have to choose between culture and politics or argue over which is more influential, when in reality they are interactive, with culture being a far broader concept that cannot be reduced to pragmatic calculations of electability.

Cultural conservatives would be more involved in the arts - meaning they would feel free to read more novels, or admit how many movies they've seen, and enjoyed.  There is already a culturally conservative phenomenon growing among conservatives and Christians who have engaged the creative, production, and marketing sides of arts and entertainment.

One might argue that conservatives engaged primarily in politics need to notice what has been achieved by Walden Media, Icon Entertainment, Regal Entertainment Group, the Advent Film Group, Vision Forum Ministries, the documentaries of Dinesh D'Souza, and the fact that former Senator Rick Santorum in now the CEO of EchoLight Studios.

Of course, the word culture means many things to different people, but that is part of its advantage: Individuals will connect to cultural conservatism from a multitude of angles, addressing issues new to the conservative movement but building upon the bedrock principles such as personal freedom, free markets, limited government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, American exceptionalism, and the sanctity of human life.

Cultural conservatism is an implicit recognition of the paradigm changes that have taken place within the digital age. News, opinion, and information are no longer managed by a media elite, and communication itself has become more visual, more interactive, and more cross-disciplinary. One added benefit will be moving important conservative thinkers back into the spotlight, such as Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver, Marion Montgomery, Eric Voegelin, Whittaker Chambers, Robert Nisbet, Charles Murray, Robert Scruton, and William F. Buckley, to name a few.

The principles informing cultural conservatism will be no different from those that guided earlier generations of leadership, but it will be conservatism that puts aside the dour repetition of stock phrases and complaints. In short, cultural conservatism will come as a surprise to those who thought they knew what conservatism is. 

Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

U.S. Presidency is not a 'crown' to be shared by two families, former Governor of Maryland says Watch

Image of Some Democrats have speculated that Martin O'Malley is angling to be Clinton's vice presidential candidate or a Cabinet secretary.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley has taken a swipe at likely 2016 contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush this past weekend. He said that "the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families." Appearing on ... continue reading


Indiana governor defends religious freedom act - says it's not 'anti-gay' Watch

Image of Critics who preach tolerance for the LGBT community should do the same for people of faith, Governor Pence said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted by Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been the subject of widespread controversy. Critics say the act legitimizes discrimination against the LGBT community. Governor Pence says the act protects people's ... continue reading


OUT OF CONTROL: During Harry Reid's time in Congress, national debt up an astonishing 15-Fold Watch

Image of During the 32 years that current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has served in the United States Congress, the debt of the federal government has grown $16,955,289,814,977.42.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During the 32 years that current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has served in the United States Congress, the debt of the federal government has grown $16,955,289,814,977.42, roughly equaling an increase of about $145,131 for every household in the ... continue reading


Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security exposed as favoring wealthy 'White House allies,' including Hillary Clinton's brother Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Department of Homeland Security's latest watchdog report reveals the agency's second man in charge, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, repeatedly "played favorites" when it came to well-connected participants in an investor-visa program. LOS ... continue reading


IT BEGINS NOW: Conservative rebel, Sen. Ted Cruz becomes first Republican to announce presidential bid Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas, has become the first Republican to announce a campaign for presidency in the 2016 election. Taking to Twitter, Cruz announced his candidacy with a 30-second video message posted shortly after midnight on March 23. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


What is going on here? U.S. threatens sanctions against Israel while making excuses for Iran Watch

Image of Even more trying to Israel would be any lessening of Obama's opposition to Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority will formally join the court this coming April 1.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What is going on here? Israel, the United States' only clear ally in the Middle East is now facing tough new sanctions from the Obama White House. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Politico's Michael Crowley, "Obama officials must now decide ... continue reading


Large study reveals startling media bias toward Democrats and Obama during presidential elections Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and international press show signs of strictly favoring the Democratic party. According to the Washington Examiner, a study of 130,213 news articles during the 2012 presidential election shows just how pro-Democratic the news sources were. LOS ... continue reading


Did the Obama administration give a massive amount of money to an anti-Israeli group to keep Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu out? Watch

Image of Is President Obama attempting to overthrow Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Declining to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he was in the United States earlier this month is one thing, but President Obama may have crossed a line by illegally financing an American nonprofit group that was attempting to keep ... continue reading


Iranian president finds diplomacy with U.S. to be active 'jihad' Watch

Image of Describing his country's diplomacy with the United States as an active

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Describing his country's diplomacy with the United States as an active "jihad," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the diplomatic front is just as significant in advancing Tehran's nuclear ambitions. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rouhani praised the ... continue reading


Match made in Heaven: Hillary Clinton as secretive as Bill Clinton; deletes over 30,000 emails Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the upcoming Presidential election approaches, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton continues to be pressed on the issue of her private email account and private servers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Finally breaking her silence, Clinton has admitted ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 49:1-6
1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, John 13:21-33, 36-38
21 Having said this, Jesus was deeply disturbed and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 31st, 2015 Image

St. Benjamin
March 31: St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter