There’s an old joke that goes: God appears to the Pope, the Grand Mufti and the Chief Rabbi and tells them, ‘I find nothing good in the world any more. I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but I’m sending another flood in three days.’ The Pope and the Grand Mufti go to their followers and tell them to prepare for the next life with their loved ones. The Chief Rabbi sends out a proclamation to the Jewish people: ‘Ok guys, we have three days to learn how to live under water.’
The joke is of course a commentary on the Jewish ability to adapt – an ability that has allowed the Jewish people to preserve their traditional culture for 6,000 years even when driven far from their homes, which is no mean feat. But in an age in which our culture is being devastated, it also serves as a useful lesson to conservatives on how we might overcome those who seek to destroy the West, and preserve our culture in the process.
I’ve been watching Jordan Peterson’s lecture series on YouTube (essential viewing for anyone interested in truth and moral living, by the way). Into a lecture entitled ‘Twelve principles for a 21st century conservatism’ he drops the following, delivering the key which can unlock the whole problem:
Political belief is determined in large part by temperament and personality, and that’s very strongly biologically influenced. Conservatives tend to be lower in openness, which is a trait associated with creativity, and higher in conscientiousness, which is a trait associated with industriousness and orderliness.
They tend to make good managers, administrators and lawyers. They tend to make good conservative business types. That’s their forte. That’s their niche. And that’s a valid place to be and a valid thing to be. Conservatives aren’t so good at being entrepreneurial, and they aren’t so good at being artistic and creative. That’s not their niche. That’s more the niche of the liberal end of the spectrum.
When I heard that it set bells pealing in my head. I’ve long wondered why the first response of conservatives to a threat is to write a think-tank paper, and why we have been so willing to cede every point in the culture wars, whether in art, architecture or the liberalisation of church and society.
It is no coincidence that Jewish people tend to the Left of the political spectrum – adaptability is closely associated with creativity. But no one is a slave to their biology. If we are to turn the tide, conservatives must dig deep and access our latent creativity, to adapt to the new landscape we find ourselves in and to reclaim the arts and culture.
Peterson himself has already shown how this can be done. His videos (an outstanding example of a modern creative enterprise) have gained more than 50million views on YouTube, and as the infamous Newman interview proved, he is winning.
It is time for the rest of us to find our own ways of striking back. It is time to learn how to live under water.