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4 Things You Can Do to Change the Culture in 2024

4 Things You Can Do to Change the Culture in 2024

Maybe I am on a new year high, but as I consider the West’s cultural renewal, I sense an optimism in the air I haven’t felt for years.

In 2023, we saw a growing public awareness about the dangers and futility of transgender surgery. Alongside that, many woke up to the hypocrisy of the climate alarmists. And building on the success of Roe v. Wade’s demise, many states have now passed heartbeat bills, providing robust protections for many of the nation’s unborn. Surprisingly, pollsters even picked up on a decline in support for same-sex relationships.

In fact, mere days after the ball dropped in Times Square, a symbolic—even historic—event took place: DEI champion Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard, one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Under her leadership, free speech on campus reached new lows, while racial essentialism and antisemitism thrived.

Maybe the downfall of Gay will be viewed by future generations as the high tide of wokeness—the event signaling the decline of a movement that beleaguered us for the better part of a decade.

Whatever the case, it is important that we begin 2024 with our feet firmly planted on the ground, even if our ambitions are still high up in the clouds. Victories for freedom, sanity, and cultural renewal surely lie ahead, but they must be won first at a local level.

With this in mind, let’s consider four things we can do to locally change culture in 2024.

1. Clean Up Your Room

Among the many maxims for which Canadian philosopher Jordan Peterson has become well known is his simple directive to “clean up your room.”

More clearly articulated by the sentence “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world” (rule number six in his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life), Peterson’s injunction remains as relevant as ever.

After all, national political debates are not the first or best place we can improve society. How we choose to live personally—whether in our relationships with those close to us, how we care for our bodies and our health, the way we conduct our finances, or our kindness to the people we encounter in our local community—is absolutely vital in renewing our culture, even if it is the road less travelled.

When Peterson says, “clean up your room,” he is using a metaphor. His message is that we must take responsibility for the small, manageable tasks in our own lives. These simple activities can have a positive, measurable impact on our immediate environment.

And as we gain a sense of control and accomplishment, Peterson suggests, we can then apply what we have learned to bigger challenges in life.

Fortunately, my wife and I have a tidy room (mostly thanks to her). But one thing we lost control of over the recent holiday season was our diet and fitness.

So, once Christmas was done, we got rid of the sweets and treats from our house, got back to healthy, home-cooked meals, and have taken out a three-month gym membership that will get us through to the start of spring when we can resume our outdoor fitness habits without risk of hypothermia.

I have noticed substantial benefits after just five or six sessions. I also came to the recent revelation that my health is not just about me: It makes me a happier and more energetic husband and father.

2. Self-Censor a Little Less

Self-censorship has probably always existed to varying extents in human society. But following the radical political movements of the 1960s and ’70s, it became far more commonplace in the Western hemisphere. By the 1980s and ’90s, we began using the term “political correctness” to describe this growing phenomenon.

The presumed virtue of political correctness is its protection of historically marginalized groups from offense or harm. However, by the late 2010s and early 2020s, the compassion of everyday people had been weaponized. No longer is our avoidance of saying what we really think merely protecting the vulnerable. Rather, it is shielding a corrupt new political movement from accountability—a movement that had crept its way into every major institution in the West.

Now that wokeness has an almost universal stranglehold on our culture and institutions, self-censorship has crossed the threshold from being a virtue to a vice.

So, here’s another piece of advice for 2024: self-censor a little less.

Of course, there’s no need to go out and deliberately offend anyone. But we should not feel compelled to use pronouns dishonestly, be frank about whom we plan to vote for and why, or leave the DEI dogma at our workplaces unchallenged.

There is no guarantee that we will always have free speech. Now more than ever, I’m convinced that we must use it or lose it.

3. Be Proactive in Your Child’s Schooling

Fox News recently reported that “universal school choice made significant gains in 2023 when a wave of red states passed legislation.”

They quoted American Federation for Children Senior Fellow Corey DeAngelis, who explained that, “A school choice revolution has unfolded because the teacher unions overplayed their hand and awakened the sleeping giant: parents—who want more of a say in their kids’ education.”

Altogether, nine states have passed universal school choice legislation, beginning with Arizona in 2022.

Meanwhile, homeschooling is undergoing a revolution of its own, with The Washington Post reporting in October that “Home schooling has become — by a wide margin — America’s fastest-growing form of education.”

Buoyed in part by lockdowns and school closures during the COVID panic of 2020 to 2021, homeschooling is now the education pathway of choice for parents of between 1.9 million and 2.7 million children in the United States.

So, if you are a parent to school-aged children—whether you homeschool or send your children to a public or private school—pursue proactivity in their education this year. Remember that school is not mainly an eight-hour break for parents, nor is it simply a means by which your child becomes an effective contributor to the national economy. Schooling is first the shaping of a young person’s mind and spirit.

Don’t let pre-set curriculum, secular narratives, or woke agendas determine who your child will become. Be involved in their schooling just a little more this year, ensuring that it’s your values that they ultimately embrace and live out.

4. Get Involved in Your Local Church

Many have pointed out that the cultural malaise of America is at heart a spiritual crisis. If so, there is no place better to be more involved this year than your local church.

If other things took priority during your college years or if COVID drove a wedge between you and your local congregation, it’s time to get back to church.

Be warned that not every church in your area is worth your time and investment. I say this reluctantly, but with the sober realization that some churches have given themselves over to wokeness as much as our secular institutions. Obvious signs will be rainbow flags out front, politics consistently in the pulpit, and sermons inspired more by cultural mantras than the book that shaped Western civilization.

This reality may even mean making the hard decision to change churches in 2024.

But wherever you go, get involved. Attend weekly, not just when it suits you. Serve as you are able, even with simple tasks like stacking chairs or holding the door open. Invite others from your church over for dinner so you can get to know them.

As the well-known pastor Bill Hybels has often said, the local church is the hope of the world. Local churches are more than a cultural frontline; they are a spiritual frontline—a vital outpost for spiritual nourishment in hostile territory.

In 2024, let’s channel the momentum we are beginning to see nationally to fuel local victories that will ensure ongoing cultural renewal.

Image credit: Pexels

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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  • Avatar
    Cadence McManimon
    January 10, 2024, 9:36 am

    Well written! These four pillars are the best place to start revamping our culture, from the inside out.

  • Avatar
    Beth Swan
    January 10, 2024, 12:16 pm

    1. I'm going to express love to the woke crowd. I will forgive and befriend the public librarian who screamed at my traumatized young son and me for not putting our masks on fast enough in the foyer. I'm going to see her as a cult member who needs love.
    2. I'm going to share my thoughts more. Always with kindness and clarity. But tell the truth.
    3. We are already homeschooling, but I might try harder to reach out to our neighborhood kids who used to come by for water, snacks, and to play. They don't come by anymore.
    4. We love our new church. They never fell for the Covid mess. In fact one of the elders is a doctor who treated over 2500 Covid patients using the forbidden protocols and had zero deaths. It isn't a fancy church but it teaches the Bible, has a community of honest and loving members, friends for my son, and do not treat music as entertainment in the church. Refreshing.

  • Avatar
    Jackson Pemberton
    January 11, 2024, 8:33 am

    Happy to report I have been doing all these for several decades – and I agree 100% that these are essential to a productive and peaceful life.

  • Avatar
    Linda Murdock
    January 14, 2024, 10:55 am

    Very well written and doable!


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