Sunday, October 16, 2005

Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles, Part 1

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects.

The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

I hate to end with a fizzle, but all I can think at the moment to respond is, "Okay."

Fine, Progress should be tempered by the Good from the old. I have no problem with the concept. As always, the devil's in the details.

I mean, it seems to me, f'r instance, that we threw an awful lot away over these last 75 years by embracing the Petroleum Age. As I've stated before in this series, I believe, we've entered in to this dependence upon Petroleum in the evolutionary blink of an eye. Further, due to the peaking of oil and the continued rise in its use, the Petroleum Age will also be over in the blink of an eye.

Where I think a wise conservative (liberal, radical, etc) would have tempered these sweeping changes (Progress, some would say), we haven't. We haven't measured the results of this sweep and have failed to account for the damage. We just changed from sustainable to unsustainable. From organic to petroleum-based. From local to global.

I think Kirk - if I'm reading him a-right - would shudder with disgust in this abandonment of Permanence for the flashy convertible called Progress.

So, no, I don't disagree with this conservative notion, depending upon how you interpret and apply it.

Thanks for joining me in this journey in to the Conservative mind. We now return to your regularly scheduled Liberal madness...

(Just kidding, I'll have a debriefing next.)


Daniel Levesque said...

Actually, I have to say that I'm pretty much with you on this one. I have called for more resources to be poured into researching sustainable enrgy sources myself in my own blog. And I agree with what was said in this principle of conservatism.

Kevin Condon said...

Exquisite series, Danny Boy. I am contemplating a trip to Louisville. I'll save my comments for then.

Really great work.

Dan Trabue said...

My treat at the restaurant/bar of your choice, assuming you have a reasonable choice...

Daniel Levesque said...

Dan, someone left your address and other personal info in the comments section of my site. was this done withyour permission? If not I need to delete it immediately.

Dan Trabue said...

Yeah, I'd appreciate it. That is me but that wasn't me.

Thanks, Daniel.

Nightcrawler said...

Nice looking blog! Great post too. I think I'm gonna have to link you.

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks for visiting NC. I'll be sure to check your place out soon.

Nightcrawler said...

Sometimes I can go full-bore with my comments but I don't want to discourage you from debating me. I'll try to respect your viewpoints as long as you don't start quoting Marx and saying that it "just hasn't been done right".

I love friendly debates.

The Scrutinator said...

Thanks for taking the time to look seriously over the other side of the political fence.

Though it had its friction (doesn't everything?), it was good to hear the variety of critiques. I'm sorry I was sometimes too busy to follow as closely as I wanted.

Keep up the good work!

Dan Trabue said...

And thank you, all of you, for participating. 'tseems we all probably agree with one another philosophically more than we realize.

We just get in shouting matches when we try to act out those philosophies differently.