Saturday, November 09, 2013

"The Enlightened Conservative"

As you'll note, this blog has been languishing (how many first lines of blog posts are some version of that?).  What time I have for blogging is now generally spent at the Cardus Daily.  More significantly, I spend most of my off-the-cuff energy on Twitter (@james_ka_smith).  [If you're not on Twitter, do consider it.  I've found it to be a blast.]  My longer online reflections appear as essays for Comment magazine.

In the meantime, not wanting to abandon the Ruskinian legacy of Fors Clavigera, I thought I might use this space as a kind of tumblr, a place to collect and curate some choice quotes that double as "notes to self."

In that spirit, I was interested to see that the good folks at The Imaginative Conservative are republishing Russell Kirk's Prospects for Conservatives: A Compass for Rediscovering the Permanent Things.  Here's a representative quote:

The enlightened conservative does not believe that the end or aim of life is competition; or success; or enjoyment; or longevity; or power; or possessions. He believes, instead, that the object of life is Love. He knows that the just and ordered society is that in which Love governs us, so far as Love can reign in this world of sorrows; and he knows that the anarchical or the tyrannical society is that in which Love lies corrupt. He has learned that Love is the source of all being, and that Hell itself is ordained by love. He understands that Death, when we have finished the part was assigned to us, is the reward of Love. He apprehends the truth that the greatest happiness ever granted to a man is the privilege of being happy in the hour of his death. He has no intention of converting this human society of ours into an efficient machine for efficient machine-operators, dominated by master mechanics. Men are put into this world, he realizes, to struggle, to suffer, to contend against the evil that is in their neighbors and in themselves, and to aspire toward triumph of Love. They are put into this world to live like men, and to die like men. He seeks to preserve a society which allows men to attain manhood, rather than keeping them with him bonds of perpetual childhood. With Dante, he looks upward from this place of slime, this world of gorgons and chimeras, toward the light which gives Love to this poor earth and all the stars.