Tradition and Conservatism
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
English author & mystery novelist (1874 – 1936)
What we have going on here at RedState this week reflects the Gramscian crisis in the general culture. “The long march through the institutions” begun by the progressives about five generations ago is reaching the high point in the road. Institutional memory, passed down for literally thousands of years as Judeo-Christian “Tradition,” is obscured, confused, diluted – even villainized – by the very caretakers – the schools, churches, the governments – in which western society had entrusted it.
If Conservatism is tied to Tradition, it’s no wonder it is in turmoil. Where are Christian Traditions to rest their head when most every gathering of Christians calling itself a “church” today takes upon itself to undergo mitosis and split over arguments of biblical interpretation? How can adults raised in the Tower of Educational Babel that were the 1970’s forward be expected to respect what they consider to be the alien social norms of those raised in something so innocuous (to us) as a two parent home? How is the very tradition of procreating to be respected when it has been contracepted out of Western Civilization’s middle class and exterminated out of its poor through an ongoing holocaust called abortion? I could continue this litany from marriage to sports competitions to national holidays… their definitions all being having been changed by the Marxist/Gramscian usurpers of our greater institutions.
So here we are. Good people, many new, among us here at RedState have been formed minus any internal instrument by which to know, understand, or value “Capital T” Tradition. And because every definition of every concept was taught to be amorphous and malleable in their formation, we find ourselves in contention with them over Tradition’s meaning, and thus the meaning of Conservatism. For what are we to conserve if Tradition – the continuation of operative, normal ideas, practices, and memories attached to cultural survival – are optional?
With a h/t to Socrates, whose diary of this mornng prompted this little essay, here’s what’s not Conservative: To debate “what’s Conservative.” To argue with social liberals, atheists, passivists, hedonists, and sodomites over “What is good” is to agree to their terms that “what is good” is up for argument. No, that’s decidedly not being Conservative.
To wit. There are pro-abortion liberals attending Catholic mass every Sunday, taking part in Holy Communion while eschewing the sacrament of Penance and selective dogmatic teachings of the faith. They call themselves Catholics. They would vehemently disagree that, by their own beliefs and actions, and Church teaching itself, they have excommunicated themselves from the Church. The Church today, however, in its wisdom, chooses not to prosecute the Culture Wars in its own sanctuaries and leaves its 2000 year old teachings intact for those who would respect them and carry them forward. It’s the mark of good Catholics to make more good Catholics. So it is with Conservatism. Good Conservatives will – must – make more good Conservatives. Those practicing socially liberal, atheistic, hedonistic, non-procreating lifestyles will not. It’s that simple.
If liberals want to argue their way into the Conservative tent, they will not thrive where real Conservatism bound by Traditions is present. They will do what they always have done, they will split off and go their own way. It will be up to the Conservative bound by Tradition, then, to hold on and preserve that which it values, Life being the greatest of these things.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.(John 10:10 KJV)