Thursday, November 06, 2008

On Hope and Change

I had the same feeling yesterday that I did the day after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl last year. Kind of a bewildered depression, a stunned confusion. One difference is that I expected the Patriots to win, but in any case hopes were high.

On a forum discussing the impact of the election, a commentator put forth the proposition that the loss to Obama was an opportunity. He kept using the word “principled”, that we need principled conservatives.

I have been reading Hillaire Belloc’s classic work, Europe and the Faith. I highly recommend it. In it, Belloc speaks against the idea, popular in the early 20th-century, that the fall of the Roman empire was a triumph of Northern barbarians over the civilization of Rome. Instead, he proposes that the barbarians were civilized by their interaction with Rome. For Belloc, it is impossible that something lesser is conquered by something greater. The Roman Empire was ordered and reasonable and chaos could not conquer it.

We live in a time of great intellectual squishiness, much of it associated with liberalism. Theirs is a soft ethos, given to comfort and uncertainty. It is, often, given over to evil as in the case of abortion. These factors all make it a weak opponent, hesitating and without direction.

There is something different. There is a principled conservatism that is based on the Classical traditions and rooted in religious belief. It believes in reason and virtue, and it is embodied in individuals willing to live out its precepts. There are many young people who are just discovering the strength and challenge of the Conservative Tradition.

The ideas of the Conservative movement have barely penetrated into the Universities and Colleges of this country. But wherever they do, they leave civilization in the place of chaos and strength in the place of confusion.

I very much like the idea of principled conservatives working from within to change our culture. It is a personal phenomenon, requiring a resolve and dedication from each and every one of us. Now is precisely not the time to give in to despair.

Now is the time to get tough. Very tough. Civilization may depend on it.

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