Traditionalists can’t get no respect
The traditionalist blogger Bonald at Throne and Altar is in despair because of the untrue and denigrating way liberals and mainstream conservatives keep characterizing traditionalism—as a mindless adherence to the past. As he points out, the truth is just the opposite. The most important traditionalists, from Bonald’s namesake Louis de Bonald onward (see my article on Bonald’s On Divorce), have been intellectuals who come up with original critiques of liberalism and defenses of social order; furthermore, these intellectual works are not passed down, tradition-wise, but are disregarded and forgotten and have to be discovered anew by lonely seekers of truth in each generation. Yet the traditionalists keep being derided as people who mindlessly follow a mindless tradition.
It was good to see Louis de Bonald mentioned in VFR, as well as your article, which I had not previously seen. In case you or your readers missed it, a book with a collection of selections from Bonald’s writings was published somewhat recently (I believe the translations were new ones) and is still available. I recommend it.James R. writes:
Serendipitously I was musing this morning on how conservatives must be autodidacts because the educational-informational establishment won’t present their views fairly and engage in exactly the sort of exclusionary behavior Bonald describes (this before I read your post and followed the link to his). In schools and everywhere people are presented with the best of liberal-progressive theory, such as it is, and told conservatives just follow tradition; if they’re presented with any traditionalist arguments, they are weak and out of context. To learn what traditionalist views and reasons actually are, you have to be an autodidact, and since Sturgeon’s Law applies (“90 percent of everything is crud”), most people get a misrepresented sample (they learn the “best” progressive thought in schools, presented with varying degrees of dogmatism. Thus even when they encounter the shoddier reasons outside of school, they were informed of better ones. But they have to sift through everything to find the best traditional/conservative arguments on their own, and thus get the impression that on the whole liberals are more thoughtful than conservatives).
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 07, 2011 06:45 AM | Send