Traditionalist architecture in Britain

The forces of built tradition are rallying in Britain and making headway against modernist tyranny: All the King’s Architects: The surprising success of Prince Charles’s anti-modernist crusade. Unfortunately, there are no pictures in the online version of the article, so unless you’re unusually good at visualizing buildings from lists of details you’ll want to skim over a lot of it.

Prince Charles seems to have been essential to the traditionalist turnaround, a demonstration of the value of high aristocracy in providing material and social support for individual points of view at odds with bureaucratic orthodoxy. (It was presumably the independence of hereditary peers that led Tony Blair to kick them out of the House of Lords.) It’s not clear what that means for us here in America. We have no aristocracy and so need other things to help us resist modernist Gleichschaltung. Tocqueville mentioned religion, the law, and strict sexual morality as influences restraining the effects of secular egalitarianism. The first two, at least in their mainstream forms, have now been captured by the radical left, and the last is mostly considered pathology today. Hence the alliance of the American Right first with business, then with populism, and finally with increasingly extreme forms of libertarianism: if there’s nothing within our authoritative public order that permits resistance then we’ll go outside that order or oppose it as such. That response may be unavoidable. A troubling feature is that it tends to deprive American conservatism of any coherent intellectual component.
Posted by Jim Kalb at September 12, 2002 10:37 AM | Send


Prince Charles represents ‘the unchangeable’ in the British State. He cannot be voted out of existence. He represents a Moral Majority of one.

He then, becomes the moral standard regarding adequacy, correctness, of Architectural Expression. The problem is, he, as the authority, doesn’t have the ‘charism’ to pass his authority on or to maintain ‘orthodoxy’ of judgement, if he decides, sometime in the future, to favor, say, ‘deconstruction’ over ‘traditionalism.’


Posted by: Carl Jahnes on March 10, 2003 10:16 PM
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