One of the stark contrasts between “Left” and “Right” is the question of tradition. This is often simplified as “looking in the future” while “living in the now” in contrast with “being stuck in the past”. Such simplicity makes the brave new world of the future, built upon the scientific reasoning of today, seem so much more attractive than the backwardness of the past.
Such a choice is a false one, however. The veritable R. Stacy McCain describes that choice far more aptly:
“We are heirs of a tradition. Each of us is born into circumstances that were created by our parents, by our grandparents, by our ancestors, and by the civilization in which they lived. Human life existed before we were born and will continue after our deaths. As children we inherit the past. As parents we create the future. Wisdom requires us to understand ourselves as a single link in an infinite chain of human existence, rather than to imagine ourselves as free-floating atoms unconnected to others.
“Popular ideas of ‘democracy’ — the modernistic idolatry that speaks the language of ‘rights,’ ‘choice’ and ‘equality’ — obscure the truth of human existence, trapping us in the present tense, isolating us as rootless individuals removed from the authentic traditions of our inheritance. Children are taught that the past is not merely useless, but actually harmful, because human history is nothing but a catalog of oppression, atrocities and victimhood. Thus, the modern child cannot be allowed to believe that his grandparents were wise or virtuous, that the great achievements of our civilization are worthy of respect.”
The irony, of course, is that those “Progressive” ideas of democracy, rights, choice, and equality were derived from a society that evolved over centuries. These were not abstract constructs, but the distilled wisdom of millions over centuries, and even mellenia. They were not the starting point, or even the intent of society (for society has not “intent”).
The idea that we face a manichean choice between the bad old ways and the glorious Progressive future is a false one. Society evolves. The mores, folkways, an customs either serve to bolster and thus perpetuate society, or they serve to destroy them. The collected wisdom of the ages serves as empirical evidence of what does or does not work.
Change happens, as it always does, but this is the natural evolution of society. By applying tried and true principles, we can allow greater freedom of experimenting in new ideas and new ways, while retaining a strong society to fall back upon if new ideas fail by demonstration.
Perhaps the Kinks said it best:
“Preserving the old ways from being abused
Protecting the new ways for me and for you”
In contrast, there are those on the Left who believe in Intelligent Design, abet with themselves as the perpetual creators. Invariably the limited, untested, and invariably wrong musings of those who with to birth society in vacuo et ex nihilo, are but destined to fail.
“The great idol of modernity is Progress. Everything that happened prior to today is “old-fashioned” and obsolete, and nothing is more obsolete than yesterday’s ideas. Whatever your parents or grandparents believed in 1980 or 1950 or 1920 is presumed to be wrong. Your ancestors were all racist sexist homophobes enslaved by patriarchal religious bigotry. Never mind that their beliefs enabled your ancestors to survive hardship that would be unimaginable for most Americans in the 21st century. In a remarkable span of six decades, America survived the Great Depression, triumphed in World War II and destroyed the Evil Empire of Soviet tyranny. Yet the American child today is taught to despise the values of the people who accomplished all that. The child cannot cherish his own inherited tradition or respect his own ancestors, and is instead commanded to bow down at the altar of Progress.”
It is the ideology of NOW. It is the ideology of reinventing the wheel… and getting it more successively wrong each time.
The ideology of the Left is one of perpetual revolution. This is necessary because the Left’s utopia can not be created, simply perpetually striven for while blaming some boogie-man for the eschation being un-immanetized.
Ultimately, it is a nihilisic ideology: The “new” ideas of today which triumph over the errors of the old soon in time become one of those errors of old, and are tosses aside. Why even bother immanetizing the eschation, when it will invariable become an evil thing of the past, to be replaced by the immanetized eschation of a future generation… which will then itself be tossed on the ash heap of history?
A little mood music: