Politics is always downstream from the source of culture. By the time a law is proposed, the water’s already contaminated.
If you’re serious about changing culture, start with music. Its power is unequalled. That’s why I mentor musicians.
I read these together, as a syllogism, which I think is probably correct:
(1) If your goal is to influence national politics, (2) remember that culture is prior to, and more powerful than, politics. (3) Therefore, to change politics, one must change culture.
The law rarely leads. In most cases — like in desegregation — it lags far behind, waiting for the ascendancy of a newer and more progressive generation to write their lifestyle and beliefs into law. And when the law leads, even if it effects cultural change, it rarely prompts the kind of consensus that results from organic development. To that extent, the preacher is on to something, but for one serious problem: I don’t think it’s possible to affirmatively lead the culture in the top-down manner he assumes. Put another way, I don’t think one can countermand organic cultural change through the counseling of individual players, or even through aggressive activism.
This is the flawed background assumption of the “culture wars”: that leaders, or groups largely disconnected from the dominant popular culture, can arrest the pace of its change. To my knowledge, it’s simply never happened in human history — and certainly not in a free society — but for whatever reason, it’s still an act played out in every generation, the culture going in one direction, and some remnant of the old guard attempting to “stand athwart history” yelling “Stop!” Maybe the background culture comes from a more genuine place; maybe, as an amalgamation of multiple influences, it’s less susceptible to voices narrowly focused on a single theme.
Whatever the reason, I don’t believe that cultural conservatism, as an ideology, has ever won a battle, despite hewing to Warren’s playbook. Rome hellenized despite the Catos, and was later Christianized despite Julian & his elites; the Catholic church lost its temporal influence despite the Papacy; the Beatles drowned out Cole Porter; the South desegregated despite Thurmond & Helms; and America will come to accept gay marriage despite her Santorums. Who’s to say whether it’s good or bad, but it is the course of history. “Politics is always downstream from the source of culture,” and the current’s too swift to paddle backwards.