Dr. Helen asks about Conservative Culture. Her own answer explains much of my conservatism: I read science fiction and fantasy extensively. I especially gravitated toward the science fiction end of the spectrum (pun intended), and tended to reject the liberal-leaning SF&F because it tended to be fluff and less realistic. Good SF&F used the genre merely to posit a society or situation, and then explored. Good writers explored the society/situation with insight and rigorous interpolation.
I also went through a few years where I read all sorts of Louis L’amour westerns. In retrospect, much of it was self-aggrandizing crap, with Mr. L’amour fantasizing about being a western tough-guy (it was often the same character with a different name in every book, and pretty much clear it was modeled on the way L’amour saw himself).
But from those books, I learned quite a bit about self-reliance, making good choices, the selfishness/pettiness/jealousy/evil of some people that comes from the choices they make to achieve what they want.
What I didn’t learn was how much character matters. Books always gave facile explanations that justified wrong/stupid/selfish choices by the protagonist, and from that I learned to justify my own laziness and mental weakness.
But life has taught me the importance of character, filling in that void that books created.
But, interestingly, there are some liberal-leaning books that I like. One author in particular is very intriguing to me, because I love her writing and humor, and her protagonist/situation teaches a fairly conservative viewpoint…but I think it is mostly unintentional, because as the series goes on, the author lets slip lots of liberal views towards sex, sex education, feminism, gender, etc. And the most interesting part of this is that the more she lets it slip, the more her protagonists grow towards thinking it is okay to do harm to any who oppose them, because those who oppose them are impeding Progress! This author presents Conservatives as two-dimensional reactionaries, and completely fails to explore what they think and why. Still, the author writes good books that are among my favorites.
Another author, C.J. Cherryh, was portrayed in the novel “Footfall” (by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) as being an optimist, believing too much in the goodness of aliens. But I think Larry and Jerry were mad: Ms. Cherryh is more cynical about government intent and the way societal/govt structure and sub-par individual character combine to achieve their goals as any author I’ve ever read. She is, quite simply, the most realistic portrayer of human and alien thought and language that I’ve ever read. I didn’t like her much when I was younger. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to understand her writing, and it is, quite simply, the best. She’s my favorite author, bar none. She should be studied, especially by conservatives for that cynical view of govt and bureaucracy.
It is also quite possible that C.J. Cherryh has done more to prevent me from being a published writer than anyone alive. Why? Because I cannot accept writing anything less insightful, less realistic than her work. And I probably need years of polishing finished work before my writing could ever be that good: chicken/egg paradox.