While conservatives are leading in the battle of ideas, they have all but surrendered the culture war. Academia, entertainment, and high- and low-culture are completely dominated by liberals. Conservatives must enter the cultural fray if they're going to expand their base.
When it comes to Hollywood, which is my domain as a filmmaker and actress, the story is more nuanced. Sure, movies push the latest PC claptrap, universally depict shrewd businessmen as bogeymen, and treat conservative characters as dweebs or worse. But the fundamental and time-honored Hollywood themes remain essentially conservative.
Even movies that ostensibly espouse liberal values are usually undergirded with conservative concepts, because audiences still root for good values and right over wrong.
Audiences still root for good values and right over wrong.
Such common themes include using ingenuity to overcome obstacles to achieve dreams; taking responsibility for actions that have consequences; and the importance of character over situation. Until there's a summer blockbuster where characters laze around performing self-destructive behaviors without consequence or a motivation to better their circumstances, the Hollywood product will never be truly liberal.
Other inherently conservative Hollywood themes include the importance of family; the glorification of the American Dream; and rewards for hardwork and sacrifice. Masculinity, freedom, and a willingness to fight in self-defense are also almost universally glorified. Even the common Hollywood critiques of capitalism – warnings against consumerism, corporatism, cronyism – are ones with which most conservatives would agree. Imagine the cultural influence if conservatives seized this opportunity by creating and promoting conservative storylines to match these universal themes.
I will make this case to conservatives at the annual State Policy Network conservative think tank confab in Colorado Springs this month. I will ask attendees to focus a little more on entertainment and a little less on Excel spreadsheets.
What does this look like in practice? At the most basic level, this simply means conservative think tanks supporting the conservative offerings that come out of Hollywood by highlighting them to their audiences in blog posts, newsletters, and op-eds. Who doesn't like a good movie recommendation?
More ambitious think tanks should offer a film festival like The Steamboat Institute does every summer in Colorado to highlight the latest and greatest in conservative cinema.
Ultimately, conservatives must build up their creative content. This doesn't mean starting with a full-length feature. But it does mean expanding video departments and providing them with the decision rights to pursue their creative visions. In addition to tapping into their followers' emotions, these organizations will expand their audience to demographics that traditionally don't care about public policy.
Until there's a summer blockbuster where characters laze around performing self-destructive behaviors without consequence or a motivation to better their circumstances, the Hollywood product will never be truly liberal.
There's a market for such conservative content. My husband Kevin Sorbo, well-known from “Hercules” and “God’s Not Dead,” and I have recently produced the conservative film “Let There Be Light,” and his career spans several other conservative offerings like “What If" that have clearly tapped into latent demand. Our newest film, “Miracle in East Texas," due out next spring, tells the true story of the world’s biggest oil strike, highlighting entrepreneurship, conservative values, and freedom as themes.
By supporting such conservative films and engaging in the culture wars, conservatives can reverse their dwindling population. It's time for conservatives to trade their green eyeshades for purple eyeglasses.
This article originally appeared on Fox News. It is reprinted with the author's permission.
Sam Sorbo is talk radio host and the author of “They’re YOUR Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate.” She produced Let There Be Light (October, 2017, exec. prod. Sean Hannity, now available on DVD) with husband Kevin Sorbo, and “Share the Light” is their companion devotional for the film.