The entire time I was growing up, I sat through sermons and alternate sermons in church about the evils of TV and movies. I had a visceral reaction to it every time. I was hoping my parents weren’t swayed because I didn’t want them to take away my entertainment. By the way, my parents were already hyper-vigilant. My mom once told us we weren’t allowed to watch “Nova” on PBS because it “wasn’t fit.” She apparently thought it was a superhero show of some kind.

But now I am the parent, and it is my turn. A few nights ago, we decided to rent a movie at home to watch with our 14-year-old son. I chose the John Grisham thriller “Runaway Jury” from 2003 about a nutjob who murdered a bunch of people in his office. One of the widows sued the gun manufacturer. Shortly into the film, it became very clear that the movie had anti-gun agenda. They weren’t exactly subtle about portraying the executives of the gun companies as the definition of pure evil.

The reason I am writing about this is because it is such a good example of what we are up against in the culture war. We, along with our kids, are being entertained with an enjoyable-to-watch, exciting movie. What could be wrong with that? As it turns out, plenty. The entire premise of the story was false. And unless we recognize the manipulation and stop to analyze it, we literally will continue to lose the culture war.

I ended up pushing the pause button to have a mid-movie discussion with my son. I explained to him that the movie makers had an agenda, and I asked him if he knew what it was. I told him the rest of the story, including the fact that there are huge numbers of people who have saved their life and the lives of others because they owned and were able to use guns to stop evil people.

I asked him to imagine living back in the day when the main weapons were swords and knives. I asked him how much of a disadvantage it must have been for women and girls. Then I told him about how Samuel Colt’s handguns were advertised as the “Great Equalizer,” specifically for women, because they could use it to protect themselves. I said it is awesome that a woman with a handgun can stop an evil man in his tracks. 

The movie maker left out that part of the narrative because their agenda is itself evil. I told my son that we were the ones who are trying to protect innocent lives.

I told him I was hoping to train him to be able to recognize the attempted manipulation of his feelings and opinions by movie makers. In the future, it is my hope that he will be able to evaluate these things on the fly while he is being entertained and while I am not there.

The truth is that the kind of manipulation by those who consider themselves to be our betters in Hollywood is despicable. Our collective guard is down, and they know it. It is exhausting as a parent. They know that, too. The sad reality is they have been manipulating the culture for decades, and it has been working.

The only way to stop it is to become aware of the manipulation and to teach our kids how to spot it. We must train our kids. Because—I can assure you—the left is training your kids. If we don’t counter their attack (and it is an attack), then they will continue to win the culture war. 

Keep in mind that politics is downstream from culture. If we allow them to change the culture, you must know that politics and law will follow. This is true every single time. We are losing politically because we first lost the culture.

In a perfect world, we could completely eliminate the narrative of the left and eliminate their influence, especially among our young people. But we don’t live in a perfect world. It is impossible to eliminate the bad influences.

What isn’t impossible is training our young people to spot the manipulation on their own.

This is a commentary republished with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.