Two Insightful Insights

An old article I was going back over had two insightful, um, insights:

If you ask Hollywood liberals themselves about the liberalism of their work, the answer generally depends on how you pose the question. If you frame it in terms of social responsibility, they will happily boast about using their platform to raise their audience’s consciousness about racial tolerance or the environment or distrusting government officials. Pose the same question as an accusation of ideological or partisan bias—those are, after all, liberal values—then they will more likely deny it.

The denials generally take the form of a simple economic aphorism. The entertainment business is a business, so if its product leans left, it must reflect what the audience wants. One oddity of the Hollywood-liberalism debate is that it makes liberals posit the existence of a perfect, frictionless market, while conservatives find themselves explaining why a free market is failing to function as it ought to. (Here is the rabidly conservative Shapiro, sounding like Ralph Nader: “The market in television isn’t free … The issue is one of control. The corporations have it. The American people don’t.”)

Paragraph 1: Take that, liberals.

Paragraph 2: Take that, conservatives.

Now, what I take to be the Christian view:

1) It’s fundamentally good to use various media to serve your ends. We can’t help doing it, in fact. It’s just bad if the ends are bad (like promotion of immorality), or if the media are in some way inimical to the ends (like reggae at a funeral), or if the means are used poorly (like a lot of Christian films).

2) The pure free market system can’t be trusted to regulate itself when the whole system is run by the individual choices of fallen (and limited) humans. Some intervention, some checks and balances, will be necessary.

HT: Ross Douthat

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

1 thought on “Two Insightful Insights”

  1. Interesting points. I’d take it a bit further, though.

    Even more than most market systems that need regulation due to depravity, the entertainment industry can never truly operate according to free market principles because of their role in informing the market of what they really want. And because the subculture of the entertainment community is generally liberal (for a variety of reasons), inevitably their product ends up skewed to the left, whether intentionally or not.

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