Three strategies

  1. Being an adherent of traditionalist conservatism doesn’t restrict one to any particular position on a number of issues, including most aspects of economic, health, foreign, and environmental policy.  Therefore, we should not risk being wrong or making enemies unnecessarily by taking any positions on these matters qua conservatives.  Let’s stick with what we know, and for the rest just enunciate general principles, leaving the applications to others’ imaginations.
  2. The fact that traditionalist conservatism doesn’t yet have a well worked out agenda for economic and foreign policy (and whatever else) is an embarrassment.  It’s the job of a political philosophy to tell rulers how to rule, and we’re not doing that.  We need our own army of experts who can take our basic principles and work out their applications for the various specialties/policy areas.
  3. Our job is to fight liberalism on every front and provide a platform for those marginalized by the Left.  Under the assumption that the Left generally operates against our goals, if they say A, we should usually say not-A.

Did I leave anything out?  I vacillate between 1 and 2 myself.

14 Responses

  1. What you left out is the strategy of ignoring politics and focusing on the culture war instead. I think politics is hopeless given the current state of our culture. The culture war should be fought in churches and synagogues to try to get the members to embrace the conservatism found in the Bible. How many people can even list the ten commandments? Churches should encourage members, both men and women, to dress modestly and respectfully. Churches should encourage members to take the Sabbath seriously and use this free time to actually read the Bible. And Churches should segregate people by gender in service to show that they won’t bow down to feminism. These are the kind of cultural changes that may eventually make political conservatism possible.

  2. I’d definitely find my self affirming 2. I don’t think we can ignore politics. Why? Well, that’s how the lefties assert their will. Unfortunately, no matter how contingent, it’s a simple fact that if the lefties continue to hold power in government they will continue to be successful in their agenda. Even if we could get the mostly nominally-religious folk of the country to take their kids to church on Sunday, the liberals have them the other 6 days of the week, K-12 and beyond.

  3. The way one must behave in order to take power is not always the way one promises to behave once one has taken power. The great problem is that its hard to shake habits developed during one’s rise to power, so that regimes that rise ruthlessly tend to rule ruthlessly, their original intentions notwithstanding.

    Traditionalists wish to live in a world governed by tradition, not theory. But it sometimes seems they need to generate theory in order to gain the power to do away with theory. This is a poison chalice.

    If we are right about the nature of the world, our goal is not to take power or formulate policies. Our goal is to create enclaves of traditionalist counterculture. The best argument for traditionalism is not an argument, it is an example.

  4. @ Bonald

    How can you access the archives in order to find older posts?

  5. Under the assumption that the Left generally operates against our goals, if they say A, we should usually say not-A.

    Think before you speak. If the Left says A, we should try to determine if A is intelligent or truthful, because if it is then saying -A reflexively makes us say something stupid.

    The tragedy of conservatism is that it have been defined negatively as a reaction to things instead of positively as affirmative set of beliefs. There needs to be a conservative intellectual revival which would serve as a wellspring for cultural change.

  6. The tragedy of conservatism is that it have been ….

    should be

    The tragedy of conservatism is that it has been……


  7. Hello Svar,

    I’m flattered someone wants to know. I’ve just added my archives to the left bar so that they can be broused by date. Also there’s the search engine.

  8. Thank you for adding this. The only way I was able to access the oldest posts was to scroll way back in time in my Google Reader. This is much more convenient.

  9. I don’t think traditionalist conservatism is possible from here; because the tradition is bust and has lost credibility.

    Nobody will sacrifice, face persecution, go to the barricades to sustain tradition.

    We are therefore faced with the choice between secular common sense Rightism plus/ minus nationalism (aka fascism, as the Left calls it); and Religious Rightism – for us, a politics of Christian Rightism.

    For the latter, it is the Christianity which is feeble and needs work, not the politics

  10. I agree with fschmidt and bgc. “Politics” as we understand it is inherently a left-wing process. The very language used in points 1 and 2 presupposes liberalism.

    Conservatism won’t win against liberalism in a game of liberal politics. That might mean it won’t win at all, but I am not certain.

    Which is more probable: that the Chinese Communist Party will be overthrown by a conservative opposition, or that the CCP will itself become conservative? I’m not claiming that either is likely, but I see the latter as more of a possibility. And the west is not China, but the same mechanisms could apply one day.

    My wild claim: If conservatism is to succeed, it will not be in a struggle against liberalism, it will be by default after liberalism defeats itself. That is not a process we can, or necessarily would even want to accelerate, but we can prepare for it.

    In the words of Mencius Moldbug:

    I. Become worthy.
    II. Accept power.
    III. Rule!!1!”.

  11. 1 and 2 are not inconsistent. We can adopt positions on non-essentials to maximize the power of whatever coalition we are in.

  12. Thank you, Bonald.

    Well, I am impressed by your work. You and CatholicKnight may not have been the men who made me realize the folly of Democracy(it was actually Brett Stevens of Amerika who helped me realize that), but you guys helped set me towards the path to Monarchy.

    Btw, Alte was talking about Bavarian Königstreuen over at TC and when I looked it up on Google I found this gem:

    Just look at all the countries and regions.

  13. I think the following is possible, although I have no idea how probable:

    What if the present trends continued and the Chinese Empire (like the Roman Empire under Constantine) reached a tipping point and became Christian?

    (This *will* happen on present trends – the question is whether or not these trends will continue.)

    Christianity might (as a by product) be expected to cure many of the the deep deficits of Communism and dynamically-transform China with a new missionary/ colonizing zeal.

    Then a Chinese elite, unaffected by PC, might take-over and rule the West – whose exhausted and self-hating rulers might by then be happy to hand over power to (or be unable to prevent the taking of power by) the large numbers of elite Chinese in key positions who are already located in the West.


  14. Actually, I should add that there is one current example of a country that has transitioned smoothly from mass-party socialism to hereditary divine-right monarchy. The results thus far haven’t been all that great, though, to be fair.

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