Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Friendship, family, community..."

A young traditionalist finds contemporary conservatism wanting—too libertarian and too materialist—and commends "The Radicalism of Russell Kirk." The essay is a very good introduction to the "Kirkian" variety of conservatism. The final paragraphs:
My generation has seen the West undone by consumerism, lax divorce laws, the Sexual Revolution, outsourcing, urbanization, and centralization. All are defended (even if only half-heartedly) by modern conservatives as “the price we must pay” to live in a free and prosperous country. They’re wrong. Liberty without morality is mere license; prosperity without charity is mere decadence. The traditionalist rejects both perversions while upholding the essential Good that they distort.

To quote Burke: “Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants.” And what is it that Millennial traditionalists want? Friendship, family, community, an honest day’s work, real music, good books, and above all God. Kirk summed it up very nicely when he said that “conservatives declare that society is a community of souls, joining the dead, the living, and those yet unborn; and that it coheres through what Aristotle called friendship, and Christians call love of neighbor.”

This is the radical vision he posited against the “dreams of avarice” shared by socialists, progressives, and libertarians. This is what conservatives once fought for. We’ve abdicated that duty in the decades since Kirk’s death, but a new generation of conservatives is taking up the fight again.

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