The Seedbed of Renewal

Many people who consider themselves conservative are woefully ignorant of the culture they claim to defend.  The list of causes is long: Television has largely destroyed storytelling, public school denigrates the idea of a common culture, and the internet has killed off lingering remnants of community.  The music industry has replaced popular songwriting and songmaking with prepackaged “pop stars.”  In response, too many conservatives cling to talk radio and conservative “best of” lists, cursing the darkness.

Gregory Wolfe is not among them, a youthful sojourn among the right-wing chattering classes notwithstanding.  He has been the editor and driving force for two decades behind Image, a journal devoted to contemporary art and literature that draws upon the Western religious tradition.  This is a quixotic project, to say the least, in a political culture dominated by economic ideologues of left and right.  But, unlike many projects on the establishment right, it is devoted to creating the seedbed of cultural renewal rather than political victories.

In the arts the progressives have too often seized the high ground, claiming the purpose of art was épater la bourgeoisie, yet ignoring “the deeper wellsprings of human and divine order” that give rise to lasting art.  Instead, contemporary art succumbs to fad and ideological fancy, and so...

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