Friday, August 15, 2014

avant-garde + retro-garde versus NOW!ism (aka conservatism)

"The real foes of conservatism are not socialism and liberalism, but the reactionary and innovating mentalities. Neither the reactionary nor the innovator share the joie de vivre of the conservative mindits natural inclination to rejoice in and savor what is. They are restless and tormented if things are not in a state of perpetual flux, if “progress” is not being made either backward toward an imagined age of innocence, or forward toward an imagined age of future liberation. If nothing is changing, then nothing is happening. Reactionaries and innovators eschew what Oakeshott calls the conservative mind’s “cool and critical” attitude toward change, advocating instead a radical overhaul of society and its refashioning in the image of a golden age which is either imagined to have existed in the past or lusted after as a possible future."
-- Aaron Taylor discussing Michael Oakeshott's almost-60 year old essay "On Being Conservative" (pdf)  - which defines conservatism “not a creed or a doctrine, but a disposition”. A temperament, a neurology almost.

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