Politics and Cultural Pessimism

Nice point from Tyler Cowen’s In Praise of Commercial Culture, (p. 206):

The partisan motivations behind cultural pessimism, whether they serve right or left wing interests, all share a common fear. Culture holds an enormous and sometimes frightening ability to affect our worldviews. The culture we consume is arguably more influential than the history we read or the politics we hear. Yet the influence of culture, which is inherently dynamic, surprising, and revolutionary, cannot be steered or managed in any particular direction. Culture is therefore feared by individuals with a vested psychological or material stake in particular ideas. Those who place politics above art do not wish to come to terms with the defiant and open-ended nature of the human creative impulse. The aesthetic, drive, and insight behind creativity dwarfs partisan battles, thus drawing hostility from those who invest their primary energies in politics. 


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