I don’t know much about Andrew Klavan but he seems to be one of those mainstream conservatives who is wrong about most things. On the other hand he does seem to be right about at least one thing. He says
“Fight the culture wars in the culture. The culture wars are problematical because too often conservatives come across as anti-freedom or bigoted. That makes victory tough. I feel passionately about some cultural issues and indifferent to others, but I believe all of them should be fought on a cultural and informational level rather than a political one. For instance, I believe that abortion is the taking of a human life and that government therefore has a right to forbid it. But just speaking bluntly and honestly, I don’t think I can win that fight in the political arena right now. Happily, the truth may do what politics cannot. The truth is on my side and the more the truth gets out about what abortion looks like, how it’s done, and who the people who support it are, the more the public will know that it is unacceptable. Then we can win politically.”
There is at least some truth to this. The strategy of cultural marxism has been to change the culture first. The final political victories of the cultural left on issues like homosexual marriage have simply been mopping-up operations after the real battles were won. And the real battles were fought out in art and literature, in television series, in movies, in popular music. The idea of homosexual marriage had already been normalised in popular culture before to became a political issue. By the time it did become a political issue social conservatives had already lost.
If you look back you’ll find that the same method has been adopted in every major battle of the culture wars. The decisive battles are fought in Hollywood movies, on network TV series, in pop music.
When you can to a very large extent control what people read, what they will see on television, what kind of movies they will watch, then you have pretty much total control of that society. If you have the schools and universities as well then you do have total control. The political process then becomes entirely irrelevant. The cultural left has always understood this. Very few conservatives have had any comprehension of this. Conservatives unfortunately have shown zero interest in actually fighting the culture wars in the culture.
It has to be admitted that the overall strategy behind cultural marxism was absolutely brilliant and it has been extraordinarily successful.
Sadly conservatives have been unwilling to copy the successful tactics of the cultural left. The cultural left believes in winning at all costs. Any method is legitimate if it brings victory closer. When leftists gain a foothold in any organisation they start stacking it with their own supporters. It would never occur to them to hire on merit. If you have the correct political views you get hired. If you don’t have the correct political views you don’t get hired. End of story. Once cultural leftists gain control of an organisation they drive out their political opponents.
If conservatives actually want to win they need to be equally ruthless and equally indifferent to fair play.
Fifty years ago most of our cultural institutions were controlled by conservatives. Conservatives gave up their control through a monumental act of folly – they assumed that the cultural leftists were reasonable fair-minded people with whom it was possible to compromise and peacefully co-exist.
Amazingly, and tragically, most conservatives still accept that absurd assumption.