Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jim Kalb asks "Why Radical Traditionalism in Politics?"

Because conservatism as normally understood is not possible in America today. Conservatism stands for loyalty to what is settled. It presumes that one belongs to a culture and civilization that is basically well-founded and coherent, so that it will return to type if a few errors are debunked and excesses suppressed.

None of that makes sense today. All authoritative American institutions are left-liberal in their principles. As such, they are profoundly at odds with the implicit habitual goods fostered by tradition and with any orientation toward the transcendent...

the principles needed today must be radical, because they must be in sharp opposition to the leading principles of public life.

What we need are principles that go deeper and say more than simply announcing that they are "conservative" in some generic sense. They must catch hold of something that is sufficiently fundamental and all-encompassing to ground and provide a standard for social and political life. They must therefore be religious. It is the lack of such principles that has made it impossible for conservatives effectively to contest liberalism.

Further, the principles we need must be sufficiently concrete to give answers, and sufficiently anchored in experience to avoid utopian fanaticism. That means they must be principles supported by some particular political and religious tradition...

Read the rest of his post here.

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