Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Capitalism Undermines Conservatism

Conservativism, according to Russell Kirk, is not the same as Capitalism; nor is it compatible with unbridled Capitalism. Capitalism is one of the forces of modernity, arising out of the Englightenment, which undermines the conservative order. He writes:

"The Industrial Revolution seems to have been a response of mankind to the challenge of a swelling population: 'Capitalism gave the world what it needed,' Ludwig von Mises writes sturdily in his Human Action, 'a higher standard of living for a steadily increasing number of people.' But it turned the world inside out. Personal loyalties gave way to financial relationships. The wealthy man ceased to be magistrate and patron; he ceased to be neighbour to the poor man; he became a mass-man, very often, with no purpose in life by aggrandizement. He ceased to be conservative because because he did not understand conservative norms, which cannot be instilled by mere logic - a man must be steeped in them. The poor man ceased to feel that he had a decent place in the community; he became a social atom, starved for most emotions except envy and ennui, severed from true family-life and reduced to mere household-life, his old landmarks buried, his old faiths dissipated. Industrialism was a harder knock to conservativism than the books of the French egalitarians. To complete the rout of traditionalists, in America an impression began to arise that the new industrial and acquisitive interests are the conservative interest, that conservativism is simply a political argument in defense of large accumulations of private property, that expansion, centralization, and accumulation are the tenets of conservatives. From this confusion, from the popular belief that Hamilton was the founder of American conservatvism, the forces of tradition in the United States have never fully escaped." (Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, pp. 228-9)

The conservative order is the one that Capitalism destroyed. Capitalism and its evil twin, Socialism, are both anti-conservative and modernist in spirit and both of them encourage human beings to create themselves and their environment instead of understanding themselves as God's creation and stiving to accommodate themselves to His order. The place of the ordinary man in a society dominated by collectivist socialist statism is little different from his place in one dominated by monopoly capitalist statism. The two forms of statism ever draw closer together in the ever-expanding, infinitely voracious, Western, welfare state.

Conservativism as a political force today is nearly dead in Canada. The Conservative Party is a strange admixture of philosophies ranging from neo-conservative to libertarian to traditional social conservativism. In the Unites States, conservativism is a stronger force, capable of waking up from time to time and shaking the new order to its foundations, constantly exercising a restraining force upon the spirit of the age, the spirit of collectivism and statism. It is embodied in the Evangelical and conservative Catholic and Protestant Churches, the middle class and the Midwest and South. It is the last remnant of conservative culture that has yet to be eradicated by the modern, rational, utilitarian forces of levelling and egalitarianism. It will need to be crushed before soft totalitarianism can reign unchallenged in the United States.

1 comment:

Calvin said...

Forget, please, "conservatism." It has been, operationally, de facto, Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor,
Recovering Republican

PS – And “Mr. Worldly Wiseman” Rush Limbaugh never made a bigger ass of himself than at CPAC where he told that blasphemous “joke” about himself and God.