U2: A Window Into Conservativism



A mini-brouhaha over Bono's recent video appearance at the Conservative Party Conference led to this Telegraph column by Neil McCormick about how U2's lyrics could conceivably represent a conservative worldview. McCormick was inspired by a talk he heard at an academic conference devoted to the group, where Stephen Catanzarite, director of Pittsburgh's Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, argued for U2's moral conservatism:

Here’s some of what Catanzarite had to say about why U2's lyrics appealed to his brand of moral conservatism: “U2 has made it possible for at least two generations of fans of contemporary popular music to expect more from the form than the dead end credo of ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll.’ Here was a band born in the ashes of 70s punk nihilism, singing songs with a distinctly evangelical Christian flavor; songs with choruses proclaiming, in Latin no less, ‘glory in you, Lord’ (‘Gloria’); songs with lyrics based on the 40th Psalm (‘40’); songs which celebrated pride in the name of love, rather than solely in the connubial act of love. In an age when moral relativism, scientific materialism, and biological determinism seeks to consign the idea of objective reality to the ash heap of history, U2 has had the audacity and simplicity to proclaim its belief in ‘three chords and the truth.’ Armed with this belief, U2 frequently finds itself in the arena of debate and action on some of the most important humanitarian issues of our time.”