Why do liberals think conservatives cannot produce good art work?

A funny thing happened to me in my first semester of grad school last fall. I was taking a drawing seminar and the teacher (a very liberal feminist) commented on a painting I made for a painting class. She was truly amazed that I (a conservative male) had the capacity to produce something so “original,” something that “no one else in the school is doing.” In fact, she could barely contain her incredulity at this ability I showed. It was almost as if some astronomer had discovered the earth has two moons instead of one.

Now, we both knew each other’s political vantage point from numerous discussions we had had. She regaled me with her sexual orientation, her support of the current president, and how different we were in our belief systems. I thought we had waded into some pretty deep waters, and we still came out courteous, if not friendly. How was it, then, that she was completely flummoxed by my having an imagination? I found my answer while surfing the web for conservative art groups. Liberals actually believe that conservatives do not have the capacity to be artistic.

The reason for my teacher’s amazement became clear to me then. As did the reason for many other curious or odd responses to my work. Like, for example, why some fellow students acted frightened when I described the concepts behind my work. They acted frightened because they were! Many of them didn’t expect to come across a conservative in graduate level art school, almost like someone had let a bear loose in the room.

However I am content to do as author John Eldredge wrote in his book, Wild at Heart: Let the world feel the weight of who you really are, and let them deal with it.

2 Comments

  1. Tony Harris

    I’ll post the same thing I just posted on Facebook:

    I don’t know about art in general, but perhaps my thoughts about fiction writing could be helpful here.

    One struggle I have when writing fiction is avoiding embellishment. I reflexively avoid over the top story lines that make my characters absolute underdogs, and their antagonists complete villains, because that’s just too over the top for me. Yet this limits what I can do with fiction. It keeps me working in between the 30 yard lines, leaving most of the field untouched.

    I think this is related to the conservative impulse to demand perspective when discussing issues such as women’s rights. The left uncritically accepts the claim that women are paid xx cents to every dollar, while the right is more likely to argue, “As a matter of fact, when you control for variables such as relevant experience…” It’s much easier to build a story around (1) a group of people who have been unjustly wronged by society for centuries, than (2) a group of people who have surely been wronged, but may not be as victimized as others are led to believe, and may even have some agency to change things right now, without any dramatic struggle.

    The question for conservatives who want to move people is how to keep our reader’s interest without being manipulative and dishonest. We can’t be purely rational, because a purely rational perspective is an incomplete one; that’s the problem with positivism. So how do we appeal to our audience’s emotions without succumbing to base emotional appeals? Is there even a difference?

    This may be a self-serving analysis, but I don’t believe it’s inaccurate.

  2. Christopher Cook

    Great post, Taylor. Really, it’s not just that they believe conservatives are incapable of producing good art. Because we do not share their belief that it is possible to build paradise on earth via the all-caring, all-powerful mega-state, they also believe we are not capable of true compassion. They believe all sorts of terrible things about us.

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