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The Culture: Upstream from Politics

Culture is upstream from politics. In other words, government is like a giant mirror reflecting the soul of the nation. While the clarity of that reflection will shift from administration to administration, we generally get the government we deserve. As Plato argued, the state is the soul writ large. What we love and what we hate are shaped less by laws than by our habits of the heart. And those habits are shaped far more powerfully by the songs we sing, the movies we watch, and the books we read. It’s been wisely written, “Give me the songs of a nation, and it matters not who writes its laws.” This reality has important implications for how we pursue cultural change.

Bill Wichterman was Special Assistant to President George W. Bush in the White House, Policy Advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Chief of Staff to Congressman Joe Pitts and Congressman Bill Baker. He has been a senior advisor on several Presidential campaigns. Bill is the author of the book, Dying to Live: Finding Joy In Giving Yourself to God (Oakton Foundation Press, 2014), and he authored an influential essay entitled, “The Culture: Upstream from Politics,” which appeared in the 2001 Eerdmans book, Building a Healthy Culture (ed. Don Eberly). He co-authored an essay entitled, “Making Goodness Fashionable” in the Stroud & Hall book Creating the Better Hour: Lessons from William Wilberforce (Ed. Chuck Stetson, 2007). He is co-founder of Wedgwood Circle, channeling investments into mainstream arts and entertainment that tells the truth about the world. Bill is President of the Board of Faith & Law. He holds an M.A. in Political Theory from the Catholic University of America, and a B.A. from Houghton College.