Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Traditionalism and Worldview

Often I wonder whether 'worldview' gets its due consideration when we discuss the ways and means of correcting and rectifying some of our most egregious mistakes over the last, say, 140 years. I would even go further back in time, but to date it back to the 'constitutional' overthrow of some of our more vital foundational constitutional principles seems to me a good place to look.

As I make my way around the 'traditionalist' blogosphere I often note what seems to me a tendency to long for days-gone-by that really weren't that long ago, and may not have been as good as they could have been, or as good as we perceive them to have been; or as 'traditional' as we think them to have been. Often these longings are for times which fall within the span of our own lifetimes, which is natural I suppose, given that we're most acquainted with, and attached to that which we've actually witnessed and experienced and feel a personal connection with. And I'm probably as guilty of this as anyone.

Indeed, I can remember when I was still in H.S., and even in grade-school -not so awful long ago- and I often fondly reflect upon those times as something of an 'age of innocence.' Much of that reflection has to do with the relative innocence of my mind at that age, of course, and the way that this youthful innocence of mine perceived the world around me. Much of it has to do with the environment I was raised in as well - a good, moral family and community structure with much emphasis placed on being good and doing good, as opposed to the self-indulgence and the materialism that seems to rule now. I was also raised in 'small-town-rural-America,' and that in itself had a profound impact on the way I viewed the world around me, as well as the way I remember that time, not so long ago...

During the early part of the 1990's I was serving in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK. At that time there was a nation-wide effort underway among the homosexual community to have the words 'sexual orientation' entered into all the 'non-discrimination' laws of local governments, and Anchorage was one of the cities wherein this push was happening in full force. I remember it well because as a completely committed member of the opposition to this movement, I counted it my duty to brave sub-zero temperatures and adverse weather conditions to make sure I had done all I could possibly do to stop the progress of these measures. In the end, as I've related before at the AFB, these initiatives passed, but the very next election cycle literally every member who had voted for them was summarily removed from his/her seat and replaced by new members who repealed those laws. Those were the 'good ol' days.'

That battle was won, but the larger war is ongoing and we traditionalists have incurred some significant losses along the way. I look back on those days, as well as the days of my childhood and think to myself how wonderful those times were given that abjectly immoral behaviorisms were not only not encouraged, but they were put down by an overwhelming display of moral rectitude from the vast majority of Americans when the time came. One of the faults we seem to have, though, is that the 'goodness' in us seems to supercede our instinct to survival once a movement like that is perceived to have been effectively put down. And in the end, rather than to go that 'extra mile' making certain that these things will not arise again anytime soon, we tend rather to have sympathy for those we've defeated, and to even help them back up. I often think of it in terms of a fist-fight wherein having neutralized your opponent's ability to cause you harm at that moment, conscience (or something) convinces you to let the poor soul up; often even to help him up, brush him off, and send him on his way. And I cannot help but to think that often this is a huge mistake. And yes, I've had the misfortune of having to do it all over again.

We look back with fondness to yesteryear because relative to today it was a fine, one might say even an 'innocent' time. Yesteryear was a time when we seemed to have possessed more grit, more determination, more goodness, more everything that may be said to be good and wholesome, and 'American,' and of course, less of everything else. The America of yesteryear would not have allowed the moral degeneration and degradation we see today to have occured. No; it would have put it down thoroughly, convincing the licentious movement that it had better not come back for more if it knew what was good for it. And there is a great deal of truth to that.

However, when we traditionalists long for days-gone-by we should not fail to recognize that those times and those generations we generally laud as better than ours are partly responsible for what we're experiencing today. I have always thought of the 'greatest generation' label put to the WWII generation as extremely misplaced. It was this generation, was it not, that effectively brought in 'social security,' and the 'welfare state?' I don't concern myself with whether their intentions were 'noble' in this cause; the effects are what they are, and in my opinion they speak poorly of themselves. And certainly there must have been those 'traditionalists' who were absolutely opposed to these measures, longing themselves for 'days-gone-by' when Americans were more self-reliant, and when they had rather starve than to take a government handout.

In another time traditionalists rose up and vehemently opposed the proposal and ratification of the 13th, 14th, and the 15th amendments following the war between the States, warning that the effect would be detrimental to all this nation was founded on. And it was traditionalists who shouted in opposition to the introduction of progressive education in America, raising cautions themselves against the probable and long-term effects this 'new deal' would have on this country, her laws and institutions, and on the minds and hearts of her people.

Nevertheless, here we are in the year of our Lord, 2007, and of our nation's 'independency' the 231st, and progressive government education of our impressionable youth, once just a fancy of some obscure group of liberal minded nobodys, is now just an accepted norm with majority America. Indeed, I would venture an 'educated' guess that in stark contrast to this once 'unAmerican' style and methodological approach to education in this country, the American psyche has now been thoroughly indoctrinated to the supposed 'superiority' of this thoroughly liberal educational philosophy. But this is not enough, the march must go forward say the liberals. Indeed it does, for how many of us have witnessed the disgusting rise of government funded 'early childhood development centers' across the fruited plain?; and even in small-town-USA, accompanied by the happy consent of the parents and grandparents of these helpless two and three year old unformed and uncultivated minds.

It's a tragic set of cause-effect events which have happened in our nation over the last 160 years or more. Traditionalists have been there all along like 'voices crying in the wilderness': "repent, repent!," but to no avail. The most that traditionalism has been able to do, it seems to me, is to slow the progress enough to avoid all-out armed conflict between the warring factions...most of the time. But the march of progressivism; of liberalism, and of abject moral and cultural degradation seems to have moved forward pretty well unimpeded to this point. We find ourselves in a nation, as well as influenced by its socialist tendencies, that our founding generation simply would not have recognized in any meaningful way. And it seems we must ask ourselves how much further we may stray before we reach the point of 'critical mass'?

The 'worldview' of our founding generation -that which is responsible for the creation of this nation in its pure form- was much, much different than is ours. Today worldview seems to get little direct notice even among 'traditionalists.' At least that worldview of the nation's original creators gets little direct attention. Often it seems that the worldview of the generation of my grandparents is equated with that of the founding father generation. But is this true? Is this consistent with the facts? We may say with little reservation that the worldview of my grandparents' generation was certainly closer to that of the founders' worldview than is ours. But still it can be shown that there was already a wide gulf between the two. And in fact, were the founders capable of transcending time and observing the two, they would probably recognize little in either largely consistent with their own. Just as we look back to those days of our youths with such a longing that 'if only things were that good today,' and so we should since it is the 'good' of those days we so long after, we should as well look past those days to the days before them, and the days before them, and so on until we arrive at the time when the pureness of this nation, of its laws and institutions; of the very worldview of its people reigned supreme.

In the year of our Lord, 1833, and of this nation's 'independency,' the 57th, "America's Schoolmaster," the honorable and learned Noah Webster, published these words in the preface of his work: "History of the United States":

The brief exposition of the Constitution of the United States will unfold to young persons the principles of Republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct Republican principles is the BIBLE, particularly the New Testament or the Christian Religion.

Later in this little volume Webster makes these equally remarkable assertions:

Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian Religion. Men began to understand their natural rights as soon as the reformation from Popery began to dawn in the sixteenth century; and civil liberty has been gradually advancing and improving as genuine Christianity has prevailed....the religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government...

Certainly we must look to our government as well as our churches and note a marked movement away from orthodoxy in both. We may look back twenty, thirty, even to fifty years ago and wish that our churches were now as uncorrupted as they were then. But do we not recognize that 'uncorruptedness,' that 'pureness' in them only as we contrast it with the corruption we see and witness today? Might we not travel back to Webster's time and truly find that 'almost all the losses to civil liberty in this country owes its origin to the prostration of the Christian Religion?' May we not further conclude that 'Americans first began to lose sight of the true origins of their natural rights as soon as the movement away from orthodoxy began to dawn in the 19th century; and civil liberty has been gradually diminishing and deteriorating as prostrated Christianity and other religious impurity has prevailed.'

It may not be popular to say these things in today's pc dominated America, but since I'm not one to toe the pc line, and since I am definitely one to strongly resist further advances of this pc dominated culture we find ourselves in, I'll say it, and let the chips fall where they may. My friends, there is a unique worldview that has always been consistent with genuine American traditionalism, and I think we should probably reach back further in time to discover it in its purest and its simplest form. For I think that therein lies the very key to our salvation.

As has been said before: "Worldview is everything!"


Michael Tams said...

Indeed, worldview is everything.

Your comments about the "good-old-days" got me to thinking. Liberty, I've come to realize, isn't something that can be passed down. No; each and every generation has to struggle mightily for it, and some generations do a better job of this than others. That Americans today are unaware of this fact (or maybe choose not to admit it to themselves) doesn't make it untrue. I think back to my own good-old-days and I think in some respects it was enjoying (unawares) others carrying the battle for Liberty.

So, this is our duty, and I'm glad we're in it together. We may have more work to do than past generations; after all, if a generation goes by and doesn't hold up its end of the bargain, the next generation has their fight, and the preceding generation's fight to wage.

But God willing, I think we'll be just fine.