October 10, 2013 | Category: Blog | Author:

Conservative storytelling

Illustration by Michael Hogue, accompanies linked article

Are progressives any better at telling stories—or driving a political narrative—than conservatives? The answer in this political moment would seem to be yes, at least according to Rod Dreher in his July 10, 2013 article in the American Conservative called “Story Lines, Not Party Lines: Why Conservatives Must Master the Narrative Art.” You don’t have to agree with that notion to agree with his basic premise about storytelling, which he articulates this way: “To recognize that worldviews inhere in stories is not the same as believing that they simply determine anyone’s worldview. This is because stories work by indirection: not by telling us what to believe but by helping us to experience emotionally and imaginatively what it is like to embody particular ideas. … Stories work so powerfully on the moral imagination because they are true to human experience in ways that polemical arguments are not. And because the moral imagination often determines which intellectual arguments—political, economic, theological, and so forth—will be admitted into consideration, storytelling is a vital precursor to social change.”