How Policy Becomes Real

Rod Dreher describes how narrative storytelling can offer powerful insights into current events:

The thing is, stories — true stories — usually don’t offer us a neat moral or prescriptive plan of action. … [T]he other day in this space, a Texas reader wrote about the death of his Panhandle town, offering a tale that was politically ambiguous, in the sense that it tells a story about how federal policies, promoted by both the New Deal left and the Reaganite right, played a role in the doom of his town. What I loved about that story was how the facts failed to conform to ideology. It’s possible to have read that story and come away with different political and policy conclusions. The reason the story meant so much to me is that it incarnated policy debate in the lives of real people, people who suffered greatly in large part because of policy decisions made in Washington. You read things like that and something as dry as policy becomes real, and our ideological abstractions (of the left and the right) seem incapable of describing the world as it is.