Not With a Bang, But a Duck Call

Rod Dreher today revisits the difference between paleoconservatives and everybody else:

“My conservatism is primarily cultural, social, and intellectual. Hers was also cultural and social, but it was more temperamental than intellectual… she had a reflexive disdain for intellectualism. She saw it as an effete indulgence at best”

I see this coming and going. Even people who have every cultural reason to be paleoconservative (traditional Catholics, for instance) enthusiastically support the establishment agenda because they, as Red once put it, don’t understand the philosophy behind what the brand of conservatism they have bought into.

Not us, though. We paleos are doomed to see and understand. What is our reward, Rod?

Hence the pathos of those intellectual conservatives… they encounter liberalism articulated with a cultural sophistication that, even if it doesn’t seduce them, amplifies the alienation they feel from their own tribe.

A very eloquent was of describing the red pill, isn’t it? He describes the consequences of those who have chosen to remain on the “blue pill” team eloquently as well:

And whether consciously or not, they embraced a right-of-center version of emotivism: the idea that feelings are a reliable and sufficient guide to truth and right conduct.

That is pure Palinism, yes? She has good “instincts”…

Dreher’s call to action, other than a generic recommendation to “engage”, is quite a decent idea…. one can look for ideological allies among the private Classical Christian schools that have begun to be crop up. Not a bad insight.

But for a really inspiring call to arms, for a true reminder of why we fight, I had to dust off the June 2006 issue of Chronicles, which is not available online. In it, Chilton Williamson Jr. writes:

“Whoever wishes to defend and preserve our disintegrating civilization ought to minimize his time spent with the news and devote the hours saved to reading poetry and literature; listening to the great composers and studying great works of art; filling his house with the finest furniture, china, silverware, and crystal he can afford; giving elegant dinners for his friends and other like-minded acquaintances in short, refining himself as a work of high civilization and establishing his household as civilization in miniature.

Better yet, he should set aside the propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies of which most of the news consists and turn his hand to painting a picture, composing a string quartet, writing a novel, and doing it without thought of fame, fortune, or influence. Good and honest work, like civilization itself, is its own reward, with effects that radiate, like an act of charity, infinitely through the universe.”



3 thoughts on “Not With a Bang, But a Duck Call

  1. weavercht

    Great post! I’ve been trying, when I can, to refine myself, and I’ve noticed that others are open to suggestions for what their children ought to read. Other Americans tend to be blank slates. One educated person can have a tremendous impact. A writer, likely Dr. Fleming, once wrote that Chronicles writers are like the Marxists of the Right, the anti-Marxists.


  2. weavercht

    “That is pure Palinism, yes? She has good “instincts”…”

    Dr. Fleming, at least at one time, used to say something of how society should think more like women. We’re in danger from the overly rational minds of men, the ideologues.

    I disagree with him, the male mind is needed to understand the unprecedented threats we face; but there’s something to be said for a woman’s instinctual love of her children and family, for particular ties and perhaps her more instinctive thinking in general. Our understanding of the world has become so complete that it’s almost as a basilisk, killing all that it gazes upon. We lose the mystery of life. And technology threatens to render old patterns of living outdated, the resulting changes might eventually be difficult to adapt to without a touch of instinct.

    So, there’s something to be said for anti-intellectualism… I’m intentionally being ambiguous.

    Unfortunately, Palinism allows one to fall victim to FOX News and similar wolves. Good traditions can of course protect one from such wolves when understanding is failing. Your thesis is that we stand on our complete, healthy, soulful, civilisation, and I agree with that. I’m just adding in extra relevant thoughts.

    Confucius wrote to be wary of strange foreign thinking. He pointed to a Book of Poetry as a proper guide, I want to say. He’s famous today for encouraging study, but I think his intent is misstated. Confucius wanted advances *within* Chinese thinking, not for Chinese thinking to cease being Chinese. Separately, the Japanese approach to new religions is said to be to embrace what’s useful. There might be some way we reject part of modernism via an insular approach. However, the Spartans supposedly developed great virtue within Sparta but were prone to corruption when outside it. I again don’t really have a point in this paragraph.

    I deleted my third reply and some other extraneous since it might discourage others from chiming in. This all grew longer than I intended.


  3. Steve_from_RVA

    Good post by Dreher, whom I usually can’t abide. The comments posted, though, are mostly depressing and a waste. I wasn’t previously aware that living in a large city made one brilliant; now I suppose I am.



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