There are three take-aways from the Hobbit-like tale you have just heard.
One often hears the following complaint: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
To which Dennis Prager might answer with two of his more famous axioms: “Clarity over unity” and “First tell the truth, then give your opinion.”
In other words, “if you are going to argue, make sure both sides even know where the disagreement lies” and “report the facts and then give the opinion we’re all entitled to have.”
The reason Adam respects Dennis, despite disagreeing on huge issues like the existence of God, abortion, and gay marriage, is because he knows above all else he will be getting the, for lack of a better term, God’s honest truth. There is power in knowledgeably articulating your position in an entertaining, civil way. Carolla is living, breathing proof that conservatives can get through to younger generations of Americans. People are hungry for substance and ready to laugh. Those of us on the center-right who care about such things need to be thinking about how to achieve both without watering down either.
Get yourself an audio copy of one of the Prager-Carolla performances to learn how.
Making money is a good thing and it seems like a lot of conservative groups forget that. Generally speaking, the open marketplace of goods and ideas is an excellent identifier of what works and what doesn’t – what’s wanted and what isn’t. If we say we support the free enterprise system and then rely so top-heavily on others to pony up the cash for our pet projects, we’re in danger of becoming the PBS-loving, Big Bird-defending liberals we give such a hard time to.
Adam Carolla is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He started his own podcasting network. He etched out a place for himself in the stand-up comedy world. He cultivated his talents, which led to bigger audiences, which resulted in advertisers and sponsors wanting to partner with and pay him enough to keep what he affectionately calls his “Pirate Ship” afloat. He – as well as the Prager-Carolla tour itself – embodies the entrepreneurial spirit defended by learned scholars at conservative and libertarian think-tanks.
We absolutely need both, but it’s important to remind ourselves from time to time that every dime spent by a charity or organization in this country came from the sweat of someone else’s brow. When Adam and Dennis go on the road, the event is financially self-sufficient. Their talents are in demand, so they supply them. We’d all do well to remember this basic economic concept.
I hope you’re sitting down for the shock of what I’m about to reveal, but we conservatives – specifically religious conservatives – aren’t loved and revered by the creators of popular culture. To be fair, we don’t regularly do ourselves any favors in this department. Growing up the son of an Evangelical pastor, I saw first-hand how often American Christianity lamely attempted to mimic something much cooler that the secular entertainment industry was doing. No innovation, just oodles of poorly veiled imitation. Anytime a sentence describing a band or movie starts with “They’re the Christian version of…” I immediately tune out and begin thinking about what I’ll eat for lunch today.
So many talented people in this country embrace conservative values to one extent or another. And even if someone isn’t 100% onboard for every plank in Michele Bachmann’s political platform, we don’t have to reject them and rush to find “a conservative version of…”
While we will never appease everyone who might otherwise join our “side,” and although there will always be jerks among our ranks who turn people off to our worldview, we’re failing at the unavoidable (and critically important) task of making the case for the things we believe in the public square. If “politics” is downstream of culture, modern conservatism hasn’t been anywhere near a river of consequence since long before John Wayne died.
Granted, Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla doing a few dozen live shows around the country isn’t going to topple the Media-Hollywood Complex that has rebranded progressivism as the direct extension of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln for forty years. But it’s something. It’s more than something.
It’s really cool.
Related at PJ Lifestyle on Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla: