Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoughts on Kirk

Read Redeeming the Time at my father's house lately - an interesting thought that occured to me while going over Kirk was that he is something of a man of "Tradition", yet never makes it more than implicit. That is, Kirk (with Burke) thinks that man is not made for absolute liberty. Being magnanimous at heart, Kirk is not willing to say this openly. That is, neither he nor Burke are willing to proscribe man & give definite limits or bounds to what man can or cannot do - for one thing, this is against their ideology - they both believe that man can, under circumstances that are favorable, attain to certain concrete liberties. So, the "conservative" position based on historical "custom" is left in somewhat of a quandary. Having arisen in the prosperous, Christianized countries of the West, & being committed by definition to preserving that benefice and patrimony in the favorable conditions the long process of Christianity created, and being gentlemen, it behooved neither of them to make explicit the idea that is latent within their thought - that Man, at some point, might have to suffer hard constraint of political liberty for the common good. Charles Maurras is more explicit - if (in a crisis) you can command, you are obligated to do so. Also:
All liberty is not suitable in every State; each State depends on its historic antecedents and it geographic position like each man on his ancestors and his country. Salutary and tutelary dependencies, since they gave life, sustain it, and conserve it, and whoever rejects it, dies. Liberty varies with time and place, but this is no State which can last without a sovereign authority.
This is more clear. But I think it could be made more clear even yet. Man is like an electric filament, stretched out between the gap in a divine current. Our politics and history and art, far from being subjective creations, are actually transcendent and divine, and carry this weight and karma. To pull too much power into the filament, or to burn for too long, is to invite destruction, to guarantee it. In fact, some men are incapable of serving as filaments at all. However, by careful re-compositioning over centuries, by learning the current through generations and modifying one's nature and becoming stronger, some filaments can burn almost indefinitely, like a candle that is at the end of the wick, but is only burning the wax, rather than itself.

The flame is liberty and knowledge of God. Very few are capable of having "absolute" anything, let alone absolute God (liberty & God are the same condition). Thus, from a conservative point of view, the idea that man has an abstract, absolute liberty by his nature that is not "latent" but "actualized" by political decree despite the existence of his passions, is sheer madness.

Those who hold this position are therefore, literally, insane. 

Kirk & Burke are too charitable to point this out; in my day and time, I think we have an obligation to do so. Obama and Romney are both equally deluded and mad. The King is not only naked, but mad. True conservatives will look for the man who can burn in the flame of God without being consumed, and will bow the knee to him as their sovereign.

Clearly, circa 1900, it was not obvious that most Americans were incapable of self-government, living as they did in a society still utilizing old instruments of production and adhering to older models of thought and worship. A great many people had what we would call "moral fiber". This is no longer true, and the stakes have risen. Few, if any, Americans are qualified to vote on anything other than the placement of their local street signs.

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