Saturday, April 08, 2017

Conservative principles

Worth pondering. Timothy Arndt writes (I admit I haven't read what he has):
The common principles of the early Conservatives of Western Europe (roughly, from Burke to Donoso Cortes) listed by Robert Nisbet in his foreword to The Works of Joseph de Maistre (Schocken, 1971).
  • 1. God and the divine order, not the natural order, must be the starting point of any understanding of society and history.
  • 2. Society, not the individual, is the subject of the true science of man.
  • 3. Tradition, not pure reason, is the only possible approach to reform of government and society.
  • 4. Organism, not social contract, is the true image of social reality.
  • 5. The groups and associations of society, not the abstracted individual, are the true seats of human morality — and also of human identity.
  • 6. True authority springs directly from God and is distributed normally among a plurality of institutions — church, guild, social class, and family, as well as a political state.
  • 7. A tragic view of man and history is required, one that sees the recurrence of evil and disaster in human affairs, not the kind of linear progress assumed by the Enlightenment.
Not libertarianism (although that is useful in America; it taught me to think critically about our political scene, left and right) and not the "liberalism a few decades ago" (exactly what American neoconservatism is) that passes for American conservatism (which isn't surprising since America was founded on the "Enlightenment") or, put another way, American "conservatism" as in mainstream Republicans is just social liberalism that plays the stock market (the dumbed-down, non-threatening to liberals "conservatism" of "Alex P. Keaton"). I do believe in capitalism/the market (better than any other economics man has tried), though, but the real reactionaries, and the best churchmen, are right that work is for man, not man for wage slavery, which is cleverly marketed as individual liberation from poverty and narrow old morals; among other evils it destroys families and communities. (Medieval life may have been hard and short but the church made sure you got your time off for festivals, etc., which the Protestants got rid of.) The worst churchmen mistake the ripoff of Christianity that is Western liberalism (only our apostates could have come up with it: for example, globalism and "it takes a village" are its false church; it includes feminism) for the gospel. My guess is Pope Francis is one of these suckers, which doesn't affect our teachings, because it can't, but he doesn't act like somebody owns him; he's unpredictable. Vatican II (policies, not doctrine) happened because too many of our churchmen forgot the seventh point: "Let's streamline the church for the space age, and as part of that, now that we've learned the history of the Mass so we know what we can take out, let's rewrite it."

I am a Catholic so unlike most Americans I believe a king or a caudillo is an option. The right thing to do in 1775-1783 was to remain loyal to George III (even though he was Protestant, which didn't affect us, and Burke thought the rebels had a point).

On paper Britain and Canada (partly the American Loyalists who rightly opposed the revolution) should have been a conservative high-Anglican ideal but aren't. (Many/most English Reformed Christians lost what was left of their faith at the "Enlightenment.") Of course we believe Anglicanism is fatally flawed — it's just Protestantism with bishops — but anyway. And, although semi-congregationism is worth looking at as a hedge against liberalism, Popeless "Catholicisms" eventually get owned.


  1. "On paper Britain and Canada (partly the American Loyalists who rightly opposed the revolution) should have been a conservative high-Anglican ideal but aren't. (Many/most English Reformed Christians lost what was left of their faith at the 'Enlightenment.')"

    How could they embody such an ideal? Both the American revolutionists and their "loyalist" enemies (and anglophone Canada originated as the "loyalist" counterpart to the independent United States) were witting and conscious heirs of the "revolution principles" of 1689 in England and Scotland.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Tighe. What passes for the current British "monarchy" are the powerless, ineffectual German usurpers placed there by the Amsterdam bankers as their puppets when they established the supremacy of Parliament in the so-called "Glorious Revolution." Where parliament is supreme, a monarchy is not. Britain will be a monarchy again when the Stuarts are restored, the current German puppets are sent packing, the supremacy of Parliament is overturned, and not until then. Until then, all sentimental attachment to an imaginary British monarchy is just plain silly.

    2. Yes; thanks. So why did America end up more religious than the white Commonwealth?

    3. Interesting read:

    4. Dr Tighe, yes and no. The New England Puritan immigration was most certainly exactly has you have portrayed, but the Southern and New York Anglican immigration, much of it indeed Loyalists who left after the Rebellion, would be hard pressed to place completely into an enlightenment orbit. In some manner the Virginian planters who supported the Rebellion were often more motivated by the royal proclamation of October 7, 1763 reserving most of the west for the Indians than by any enlightenment principals of fair-play and freedom (they most certainly were not willing to free their slaves).

      I think the fact that Canada did not become, as John mentions, a high-church society has many more explanations than enlightenment principals or the Glorious Revolution of 1688; one must also consider the fact that the British government was still in support of the Quebec Act and the need to keep French-speaking Catholics loyal, as well as their support of a fairly large Presbyterian Scottish immigration, since the loyalty of English-speaking Protestant Loyalists was never in doubt. Hence, the Establishment had a vested in interest in curtailing Anglican aspirations in Canada. Less so in regards to the loyalists who took refuge in the West Indies after the Rebellion, who often did become exactly has John as mentioned, "conservative high-Anglican[s]."

  2. Fogey,

    You answered your own question when you pointed to Anglicanism being fatally flawed. Unlike Anglicanism, other Protestant denominations were founded upon earnest pursuits of the truth, even if they ultimately ended in error. However, with Anglicanism, truth took a back seat to political expedience (i.e., all individuals must worship peaceably together no matter what their differences in belief, even if mutually exclusive). Only indifferent individuals would found such a church or any other church where truth takes a back seat to anything. And any indifferent church is ineluctably destined to produce indifferent worshippers. Hence the overwhelming indifference of English and Canadians today.

    1. Jacobite, I would sincerely recommend a visit to modern-day France or Quebec if you wish to see overwhelming indifference to religion. It is by no means limited to Anglicanism. Quebec, Catholic and French-speaking, has the lowest religious practice in Canada.

    2. Dale,

      I am well acquainted with both locations. However, I understood Fogey's point, as addressed by Dr. Tighe, to concern Anglicanism in relation to other Protestant denominations.

  3. One could also mention Fr, later bishop, John Carroll who as a Catholic priest was a major supporter of the Rebellion and had the support of the old English Catholic families of Maryland. He was actually excommunicated by the French-Canadian bishop of Quebec, Jean-Oliver Briand, for Carroll's support of rebellion against the British Empire.

    It is hard to imagine that Fr Carroll was a supporter of Enlightenment ideals or revolutionary principals of 1689, principals that were strongly attacked by the Roman Catholic establishment of the time.


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