Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Next Conservatism

The lead article in the February 12th issue of The American Conservative is entitled The Next Conservatism. I found it well worth a read, and believe it will appeal to those with Orthodox sensibilities. The authors contend that what passes for American conservatism today has run its course, is dead intellectually, and would be unrecognizable to the fathers of historic conservatism. They posit a rejection of ideology, as true conservatism is not an idealogy, but a way of life. They advocate a return to "retroculture."

Some excerpts:

Real conservatism rejects all ideologies, recognizing them as armed cant. In their place, it offers a way of life built upon customs, traditions, and habits—themselves the products of the experiences of many generations. Because people are capable of learning over time, when they may do so in a specific, continuous cultural setting, the conservative way of life comes to reflect the prudential virtues: modesty, the dignity of labor, conservation and saving, the importance of family and community, personal duties and obligations, and caution in innovation.

If the next conservatism is to reverse this decline and begin to recover the America we knew as recently as the 1950s...It must lead growing numbers of Americans to secede from the rotten pop culture of materialism, consumerism, hyper-sexualization, and political correctness and return to the old ways of living. The next conservatism includes “retroculture”: a conscious, deliberate recovery of the past.

So the next conservative movement is just this: a growing coalition of people who are committed to living differently. They share a common rejection of the popular culture, of a life based on wants and instant gratification, and of the ideology of multiculturalism and political correctness. They seek to work with other Americans, and perhaps Europeans as well, who know the past was better than the present and are committed to living as their ancestors did, by the rules of Western culture. They carry their quest into the political arena, lest their enemies mobilize the power of the state to crush them. But they look beyond politics to lives well lived in the old ways, as lamps for their neighbors’ footsteps, as harbingers of a world restored, and as testimonies to the only safe form of power, the power of example. We might add, as gifts to God as well.

Count me in. But if you think that Weyrich and Lind go too far in their nostalgic pining for the 1950s, you'll appreciate John Derbyshire's "yes, but" respose in the same issue, here.


Mimi said...

Now, I'm reaching back into the fuzzy recesses of my brain, but didn't Weyrich convert to Orthodoxy?

Terry (John) said...

I did a little checking--seems he is a Melkite Greek Catholic, see

Mimi said...