The following is a cross-post written by David Lyndsay who to be honest – if you spend time following his blog – strikes me as a polymath. On top of that he has the ability to wax lyrical on topics he chooses in a manner that makes me quite jealous.
Anyway, here’s a recent blog post of his that I reproduce here in full, with kind permission:
Like Rod Dreher, I stand outside the conservative mainstream, and can therefore see more clearly the things that matter. That “modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character”. That “big business deserves as much scepticism as big government”, to say the very least. That “culture is more important than politics and economics”. That “a conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship – especially of the natural world – is not fundamentally conservative”. That “Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract”. That “beauty is more important than efficiency”. That “the relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom”. That “politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives”. And that, with Russell Kirk, “the institution most essential to conserve is the family”.
Ah, yes, Russell Kirk. The transcendent order, based in tradition, divine revelation, and natural law. Joy in the “variety and mystery” of human existence, including “natural distinctions”, with property and freedom closely linked. And faith in custom, convention and prescription, recognising that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, out of respect for the political value of prudence. With Taki, I prefer “peace with honour to proxy wars, Western civilisation to multicultural barbarism, Christendom to the European Union, and Russell Kirk to Leon Trotsky”.
So I believe in national self-government, the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts. In local variation, and historical consciousness. In family life founded on the marital union of one man and one woman. In the whole Biblical and Classical patrimony of the West. In agriculture, manufacturing, and small business. In close-knit communities, law and order, and civil liberties. In academic standards, and all forms of art. In mass political participation within a constitutional framework. In the absolute sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death. In the constitutional and other ties among the Realms and Territories having the British monarch as Head of State. In the status of the English language, and the rights of its speakers both throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere. And in the rights of British-descended communities throughout the world.
Economics is about means to those ends, and to define politics in terms of economics is not to be a conservative, but to be a Marxist. I am therefore opposed to the “free” market, which, as the great anti-Communist Whittaker Chambers pointed out, corrodes all conservative things to nought. And I am therefore opposed to the neoconservative war agenda. Instead, I fight for the universal and comprehensive Welfare State. For the strong statutory and other, including trade union, protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment. For fair taxation. For full employment. For the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government. For co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies, mutual building societies and similar bodies. And for every household to enjoy a base of real property from which to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State.
If “there is no such thing as society” (and yes, Margaret Thatcher really did say that), then there can be no such thing as the society that is the family, or the society that is the nation. There cannot be a “free” market generally but not in drugs, prostitution or pornography. There cannot be unrestricted global movement of goods, services or capital but not of labour. American domination is no more acceptable that European federalism. The economic decadence of the 1980s is no more acceptable that the social decadence of the 1960s. The principle of the planned economy came down to the Attlee Government, via the Liberal Keynes and via Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from an ultraconservative Catholic, Colbert (nothing to do with The Colbert Report, for the benefit of “Break Dancing Jesus” who once left a comment assuming that to be the case). The principle of the Welfare State came down to the Attlee Government, via the Liberals Lloyd George and Beveridge, and via the Conservative Governments of the Inter-War years, from an ultraconservative Protestant, Bismarck.
The book is at the publishers. The next one will include a review of Crunchy Cons.