Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/27/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may findeven within the huge cities of the worldopportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Democrats effort to embarrass Republicans backfires when their report is unredacted by reporters using a simple trick in Word Watch

Image of Democrats got caught in their own web when reporters managed to unreedact a portion of Blumenthal's testimony. Their own report shows they paid Blumenthal $200,000 annually, for 'consulting.'

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It pays to know the Clintons. A report released by the Democrats ahead of the Republican report, intended to show Republican misuse of power, has revealed possible corruption. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Democrats wanted to show the Republicans as ... continue reading


American traitor Henry Paulson endorses Clinton for president for the WORST reasons Watch

Image of Henry Paulson has endorsed Hillary Clinton and his the system that enriches him at the expense of you.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs has endorsed Hillary Clinton because of her globalist credentials. This underscores why Clinton is bad for America. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Globalism is a philosophy that suggests ... continue reading


AP discovers Clinton hid details of 75 meetings with donors while serving as Secretary of State Watch

Image of Clinton has the wrong attitude to be president.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hillary Clinton, Queen of the delete key, has deleted 75 meetings with key donors from record. These meetings were with major donors while she was secretary of state. The federal government turned these details over after the Associated Press sued. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Was Trump's would-be assassin right? Does America need a protector? Watch

Image of Michael Sandford attempted to kill Trump because he felt someone needed to stand for America (Polaris).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mentally handicapped or a vigilante? Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's would-be assassin may have been on to something. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Less than two weeks ago, 19-year-old Michael Sandford attempted to steal a police officer's gun ... continue reading


Tyranny by Obama's hand? 18.7 million immigrants not required to take Oath of Allegiance Watch

Image of Obama allows immigrants to forgo the Oath of Allegiance to defend America (crhphotos).

By David Drudge & Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under Obama, immigrants are now exempted from joining the military in the event of a draft. Until now, legal immigrants have been required to pledge to serve in the military if needed, like any other citizen must do. Now, they no longer have to do so, or even state ... continue reading


Clinton is a criminal or a fool, both of which disqualify her Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton knew the risk, as one email reveals. She took it anyway, and has played dumb ever since.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

By virtue of her own criminality, or at least ignorance, Hillary Clinton should be disqualified from the office of President. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Hillary Clinton withheld several important work-related emails. She was ordered not to delete or ... continue reading


Here are some of the federal agencies that have spent millions on GUNS and AMMO. This will surprise you Watch

Image of Military grade weapons are just one way the IRS helps you to pay your taxes on time. And with those payments, they can buy more weapons.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There are now more armed federal agents and bureaucrats than U.S. Marines, a study has found. A taxpayer watchdog organization has shed new light on the militarization of our nation. According to "Open the Books," a taxpayer watchdog organization, there are over ... continue reading


Did Bernie Sanders win California? Watch

Image of Sanders' rallies packed in tens of thousands of people, while Clinton could barely fill a room. But is this evidence of something strange?

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

Did Bernie Sanders win California? According to many Sanders supporters the answer is yes, and it was stolen away by a corrupt election apparatus bent on suppressing votes for Sanders, and aided by a news media that was quick to call the race for Clinton in the crucial ... continue reading


Trump delivers EPIC takedown of Hillary Clinton, 'She gets rich making you poor' Watch

Image of Sorry Hillary, It's all over except for the crying part.

By David Drudge (California Network)

"All of the money she is raising is blood money," Donald Trump correctly pointed out about Hillary Clinton. Trump intends to regain control of his campaign following a shakeup as he begins to speak to the public about Hillary Clinton's hypocrisy and lust for power at ... continue reading


Obama administration rules California churches MUST pay for elective abortions Watch

Image of In California, churches must provide abortion coverage under the state's bizarre law which classifies ABORTION as a basic health service.

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

The Obama administration has insisted that churches will pay for elective abortions after rejecting a "right of conscience" petition from pro-life groups. The Department of Health and Human Services has ruled that an amendment to the law, known as the Weldon Amendment, ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'Stop shying away from death': Researchers claim dying patients ...
  • Sister Cecilia Maria's smile stuns
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • Fatima Morning Offering HD Video
  • St. Peter: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • 'Your goodness is a place where I feel protected': Pope Francis ...
  • A Prayer for the Departed HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
1 Listen, Israelites, to this prophecy which Yahweh pronounces against ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 5:4-6, 6-7, 8
4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, no sinner can be your ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat followed by his disciples.24 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 28th, 2016 Image

St. Irenaeus
June 28: The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a ... Read More