Reason, Revelation, Tradition?
how about all three
Michael Anton — he of the Flight 93 Election of 2016 — and Paul Gottfried have been having a bit of a tussle over whether conservatism means natural rights or tradition. Anton is for natural rights and Gottfried is for tradition. Note that the Jews in Fiddler on the Roof are also for Tradition!
Obviously this is not just an idle intellectual cage fight. These chaps are fighting to see whose ideas get to drive The Next Regime.
I sympathize, and I am right now reading a bunch of books about Tradition, including the almost incomprehensible Revolt Against the Modern World by Italian Julius Evola and the argument for paganism by the chap with a 150,000 book library, Alain de Benoist.
I think that both Anton and Gottfried are good chaps, and may the best man win.
But my take is: All of the Above. I’m in favor of natural rights, based on reason. I am in favor of much more respect for Tradition! But I am also in favor of revelation and religious prophets.
Anton says that natural rights are based on reason, but Gottfried accuses him of a “deep, passionate belief.” Well OK. Anton uses “reason” 49 times in his article.
See, I believe that every guy that comes up with a plan to change the world is basically faking it. Nobody knows if the brilliant idea will work or not.
I’d say that “revelation” is a very priestly way of justifying an idea. And “natural rights” is something that comes naturally to an Enlightenment intellectual. “Tradition” is something that a conservative intellectual would prefer, if he thinks that, really, we don’t know the whys and wherefores of the meaning of “life, the universe, everything.”
Our lefty friends, of course, are all in favor of “rights,” which really just means “whatever we believe is just for the traditionally marginalized” this week.
I come at this, first of all, from Jung. He says that nearly all of what we think and feel and do is a product of our unconscious mind, that he symbolizes as programmed with “archetypes,” “individual unconscious” and “collective unconscious.” Then things get really complicated, with men having a female “anima” and women having a male “animus.” What all that means, in my opinion, is that it is foolish to think that we can change the world with reason.
Here is a piece I did on Science as Prophecy, and I write that experts agree that humans invented reason in order to manage their social relationships.
So I say that when an intellectual says that we must found our society on “tradition” he is also planning to be the guy that defines what our traditions are.
When an intellectual is telling us that we must base our political system on “natural rights,” he is saying that we should defer to the ideas about rights developed by him and his pals in the olden time.
My own ideas on tradition and natural rights and revelation are two fold.
First, I believe that it is best to consider our society as composed of Three Peoples. Creative People believe in a consciously created culture. Responsible People want a traditional culture. Subordinate People just want to hang on to a lord that can keep him in groceries.
Second, I believe that culture and norms and religion emerge as human adaptation to the world. The culture of pre-agricultural people is bound to be different from agriculturalists is bound to be different from people in the industrial era is bound to be different from people in the current online era. That adaptation, I believe, is partly conscious and partly unconscious; partly the command from the mountain top from a prophet, partly the ideas of writers and philosophers and scientists and inventors, and partly unconscious adaptation.
And I am right.