Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Golden Age vs Utopia Part 1A: Restoration vs Progress

The following is a comment I posted on Digby basically recasting the argument of Part 1. At some point I will try to provide a synthesis.
____________________
Conservatives don't believe in Progress with a capital P. I am not being flip, I have recently been examining Conservatism in its larger historical and cultural context and have convinced myself that the difference between Conservatives and non-Conservatives is not defined by capitalism, or authoritarianism, or even by religion as conventionally defined. Instead I see Conservatism as a continuum from pre-Christian European thought.

If you examine any of the mythic traditions of Europeans or better Indo-Europeans you see a clear pattern of devolution: in the beginning was the Golden Age of the gods, followed by the Silver Age of the heroes, finally terminating in the Bronze Age of mortal men. And even within the world of men there is thought to be a devolution, our grandfathers being more morally strong than us, and our remote ancestors even more so. It is also striking that these traditions are largely lacking in eschatology, there is very little sense of their being any kind of collective end times, and where you do see it as in Scandinavian Ragnorak it is seemingly imported from Christianity.

In this worldview everything good and true about the world is transmitted from the past to the present, and it is the paramount duty of man to conserve that transmitted truth and where practice has departed from tradition to restore it.

In contrast to conservatism is the Enlightenment. Some time during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries people almost abandoned the idea that all truth was to be found in Classicism on the one hand (Renaissance meaning literally re-birth) and folk knowledge and traditional law and ritual on the other (the Ancient Constitution) but that with Newton we could see farther because we were standing on the shoulders of giants. And with this came the idea of Progress and Utopianism that place the Golden Age in the future.

Utopianism is a mortal danger to Golden Age Conservatism, Change means abandoning the old and so tried and true, for the new which is inherently risky. From this perspective Conservatives are not worshipers of authoritarianism as such, only of that kind of authoritarianism that maintains the old order, which historically has manifested itself in the form of 'King and Church!'. Certainly they reject the kind of Utopian Authoritarianism manifested in Communism. Nor are Conservatives inherently selfish, within traditional structures they can be generous enough, it is just that their whole world view rejects the idea of progress towards Utopia via societal transformation. Which also explains their ambivalent relation to Christianity, it provides strength to traditional structure "Honor thy father and thy mother" while at the same time the Teachings of Jesus both challenge those structures directly AND point to an ideal future and/or end times in direct contrast to Conservative belief in a Golden Age in both the medium and long term past.

A lot of what seems like Conservative Evil to Progressives is simply a rejection of the whole concept of Progress to start with. Progressives look at the world and see it in dangerous need of improvement, Conservatives look at the world, see it as degraded and want to restore it to its past glories. Think of it as two people standing back to back each wondering why the other just can't see what they see so clearly. It is because Progressives are looking forward to a Bright Future and Conservatives are looking back at a Glowing Golden Past.

I am going to be developing this idea on my own blog, but I think it explains a lot about a whole range of Conservative thought from its strong attachment to partriarchy and traditional gender roles, to its acceptance of all types of traditional authority, to its resistance to the idea of drastic action on global warming. It is not just that they reject the slogan "Change we can believe in!", they don't believe in 'Change' to start with.

They are after all Conserve-atives.

5 comments:

pasqualetmccluskey said...

美女遊戲,情色a片,成人遊戲,上班族聊天室,巨乳,成人論壇,嘟嘟貼圖區,美女寫真,ut聊天室,同志聊天室,色情小遊戲,貼圖區,哈比寬頻成人,嘟嘟成人,玩美女人,視訊交友,自拍貼圖,正妹計時器,919sex成人網,免費a片觀看,jp成人,正妹牆,聊天室,ut聊天室,視訊聊天室,情色,微風成人,豆豆聊天室,視訊美女,85cc成人片,85cc成人片觀看,交友戀愛進行室,嘟嘟成人網,成人,色情,美女,色情小說,情色貼圖,情色小說,交友覓戀會館,情色文學,

said...

6k南部聊天室正妹電話551281正妹圖正妹圖片正妹裸照正妹寫真正妹影片正妹論壇正妹牆正妹牆成人視訊交友cleansing視訊交友lovelinessa片天堂台灣論壇成人a漫畫a片免費試看sogo色論壇sogo成人論壇383movie成人影城383影音live秀85cc成人片觀看交友戀愛進行室

Anonymous said...

Great post as for me. It would be great to read more about that topic. The only thing it would also be great to see on this blog is some photos of such gizmos as gps blocker.

Bruce Webb said...

It would also be great to see a big helping of spam, or maybe a plate of spam, eggs, and spam. Or spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon and spam. Yum, yum.

bio said...

Take away “moral progress” and there is nothing to prevent you from thinking that if men could slaughter and enslave men then, they could do the same today. The past was not only religion and the king. It was aristocracy and the masses suppressed in various forms. And conservatives aren't ignorant of this.