Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
There is this idea out there that “Everyone is (more or less absolutely) a modernist”. Maybe instead you’ll hear it moaned that “Liberals won the culture war”. Closely tied to these is the idea that individualism, freedom, and a hatred of authority are the forces pushing evil social changes. But is it true?
Of two black “liberal” comedians I once wrote:
Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle traded their jokes on a conservative understanding of the world because they are (unknowingly) conservatives. So fundamental is their conservatism that as penance for causing whites to laugh at blacks they both took back-to-basics trips to Africa; that they might be cleansed.
Ethnic pride. Patriotism. Pilgrimages. Repentance. Those are traditional ideas. In the previous post I wrote:
What [sexbots and VRporn] will do is make homosexuality seem authentic. “At least,” they’ll say, “a man having sex with another man is natural.”
At the same time, robosexuality will make sexual perversion un-real. “It’s not really gay,” they’ll say, “to pretend to have sex with a pretend man.”
I imagine that many of those who agreed with me shook their head at such an impending liberal argument for more homosexual activity. But what I wrote was a conservative appeal. They have the shells of legitimate arguments, and so they will pass the muster for most conservatives.
Conservatism/traditionalism is essentially an aesthetic–an outward appearance–to control the pace of change; to establish our notions of legitimacy and authenticity. I may want it to be about conserving “bedrock principles” and “the wisdom of the ages” and so forth, but in practice it can only be about conserving establishment. Whatever is not established in my life or in the wider culture cannot be conserved. And a preference for establishment is not the same as a love of truth. If truth is roaming around unestablished (I mean not part of the culture) then acquiring it is not a conservative act.
Let me cite some other current examples of misleadingly conservative trends:
- Egalitarian couples wandering around flea markets, plotting to “distress” rocking chairs with chalk-paint, and mooning over organic vegetables.
- Hipster men of all colors dress in slacks, loafers, boat shoes, Chuck Taylor’s, button-up shirtsleeves, belts, suits, briefcases, cardigans… It’s Mr. Roger’s Catwalk out there.
- Big-name pop-rock bands have that clean-cut, high-and-tight-with-the-combover hairstyle; as if Harvard’s championship rowing team from 1918 just took the stage. With mandolins.
- The acceptance of gay marriage among Most People is, I believe, not about homosexuality or marriage, but about establishing tradition so they can stop talking about homosexuality. There are villains and vandals who savor the destruction of marriage and family, but Most People believe that the topic of sexual deviancy will disappear under a license.
- Individual liberty is on the wane nearly everywhere but inside churches. There is a direct correlation between the (naturally conservative) desire for more regulation, and the importance of the institution.
The beatniks, hippies, cross-dressers, crips, bloods, and all the rest lost the aesthetic argument. So if we are unhappy with the state of life and culture then part of the solution will be to address our complacency in regards to the inside of the cup.
 It must work because chalk-paint distresses me.
 That aren’t.