Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Faux-Aristocratic Posing

Alan Jacobs over at The American Scene had an interesting article on culinary conservatism, which provides food for thought for nostalgic posers rigidly bent on an idealized past:

The theologian Jaroslav Pelikan once wrote, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” The idea of “tradition” is a central one in the kind of conservatism that I am most drawn to — the kind that moves from Burke through Kirk — but it is a vexed notion. To use Pelikan’s language, one man’s tradition is another man’s traditionalism. Did Russell Kirk’s cultural proposals amount to a vibrant conserving of the best of the past, adapted to the modern world, or did they amount to little more than nostalgia? Was Kirk’s attachment to what he called his “ancestral homeland” in Michigan an admirable model of cultivated tradition, or, in this young country, a kind of faux-aristocratic posing?

Alasdair MacIntyre thinks that Burke himself had succumbed to a rigid traditionalism, adhering mindlessly and unquestioningly to an idealized past — which just goes to show that MacIntyre has not read Burke well, or at all. But MacIntyre rightly demonstrates (primarily in his 1988 book Whose Justice? Which Rationality?) that this moribund traditionalism is one of the twin dangers facing any Burkean conservatism. The other is the maintaining of a merely nominal connection with one’s tradition, using its language perhaps but losing sight of its core principles.
If most "conservatives" have succumbed to that last danger, would it be fair to say that we have succumbed to the first? Are we attempting to take the world back to an idealized place where it cannot go, instead of conserving the best of the past and adapting it to the modern present? It's a good question, but it assumes that there are still things worth preserving and that modernity is something worth adapting to.

We're not proposing that we should return to the idylic Tory fantasy of medieval England where jolly peasants, English minstrels and French troubadours supposedly dwelt in a cozy and spiritually happy Gemeinschaft world. Nor are we suggesting that it is even remotely possible to once again reach the Edwardian high watermark of aristocratic society (one must have goals), but at some point you have to take on the garbage culture and stand to retain some remnant of civilisation. I'm not even sure you can do Burke anymore.


Tweedsmuir said...

Faux-aristocratic posing is fun, and I'll be damn if I'm going to give it up.

Lord Tweedsmuir

Lord Best said...


Lord Best