Monday, April 1, 2013

A Fine Point by Harry Crocker...

...writer of Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church, in a Youtube video on what books conservatives should read. In his discussion of Burke, he says:

A lot of the principles that Burke lays out, which seem to me vital and crucial and true, are things that I think rub a lot of people today in a kneejerk way. We have the famous line, “The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded.” How many conservatives today actually have no problem with that?

How many indeed? I am not a Burkean, nor do I even think of myself as a conservative anymore, since the term has so many meanings it is essentially useless. But if conservatism is to signify anything worthwhile, surely it should be a defence of noble, fragile and vulnerable things-- like chivalry, tradition, courtesy, civility, culture, and community. Instead, it seems to me that plenty of people who would style themselves "conservative" are more in the business of glorifying power and success-- identifying with big business, technological progress, military power, hustle and spin and go-getting, and the gratification of every appetite whatsoever.

Here is the video, in case you are interested.

And if you want to know why I'm not a Burkean, Edward Feser explains it all here. Edward Feser is right about everything. Except dorky superhero comics, that is.


  1. That's an interesting look on conservatism. From my experience, the "hustle and spin and go-getting" is more of a shared attribute of any -ism despite popular beliefs of conservatism.

    I don't know what your experience has been, what your television and Irish newspapers have been feeding you, but I sense you're talking about America's current (I say current because it could well develop into a more European style market) market system. Right? Kinda right?

  2. Absolutely. And not just the market system, but the whole approach and preoccupations of so many American conservatives, where the emphasis seems to be entirely upon fiscal conservatism, productivity, the work ethic, etc-- with maybe a little social conservatism tacked on. In Europe, of course, the situation is even worse.

    Surely it is uncontroversial that the traditionalist conservatism of Russell Kirk and his ilk has been superseded by a conservatism whose focus is almost entirely economic and libertarian?

    For instance...I remember, some years, when I marched against the building of a motorway right past Ireland's ancient Hill of Tara, a very important historic landmark in Ireland. (I've been on three demonstrations in my entire life.) The few "conservatives" I heard commenting on it were all in favour of the motorway, since (as I believe; obviously imputing motives is always rather presumptious) they had such a bias in favour of cars, development, productivity, and business. The people who took up its cause were dismissed as tree-hugging hippies. Maybe some of them were, but surely in this case they were the conservatives.

  3. Is the motorway actually on the Hill of Tara, or is it on the edge? How big is the motorway? Does the landmark have any designated territory perimeters?

  4. From Wikipedia:

    "The M3 motorway, owned by Siac Construction and Cintra, S.A., which opened in June 2010, passes through the Tara-Skryne Valley - as does the existing N3 road. Protesters argue that since the Tara Discovery Programme started in 1992, there is an appreciation that the Hill of Tara is just the central complex of a wider landscape. The distance between the motorway and the exact site of the Hill is 2.2 km (1.4 mi) - it intersects the old N3 at the Blundelstown interchange between the Hill of Tara and the Hill of Skyrne."

    I don't think a motorway should pass anywhere NEAR such a historic site.

  5. >>I don't think a motorway should pass anywhere NEAR such a historic site.

    Ah okay, then I understand your dissent for the project.