Monday, June 25, 2007

Films & crisis

Is there a brief way to describe the problem of modernism? Spencer Warren has made a good effort to do so, in an article on film director Martin Scorsese. He writes:

Scorsese's more than three decades of such expression ... embodies the moral crisis of Western popular culture today and, indeed, of Western society: making a god of oneself in the name of "freedom", substituting the unfettered self for higher, transcendent truth, and utter disregard for thousands of years of civilized tradition based on moral and social self-restraint. (Hat tip: Lawrence Auster)


It's what I've tried to explain at this site, but perhaps Warren has put it in a way which works better for some readers. I don't believe Warren has his own site, but some of his work is available here.

Jim Kalb, meanwhile, has briefly defined the role of conservatism:

The role of conservatism is to maintain connection and continuity, between the past and future, the formal and informal, the explicit and unspoken, the secular and transcendent.


I hope this definition doesn't slip away; it seems to me to capture, at the very least, an important facet of the meaning of conservatism.

5 comments:

  1. "The role of conservatism is to maintain connection and continuity, between the past and future, the formal and informal, the explicit and unspoken, the secular and transcendent.",

    Yes, a very apt definition.
    I agree.

    Bobby.N

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  2. the secular and transcendent? What does he mean? I'm just asking for clarification here.

    secular = godless? or temporal? or what?

    "secular" has come to mean something quite different than it's original meaning, I think.

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  3. Well, I'm a practicing Catholic, but I avoid using religious arguments for my traditionalist convictions only because Western culture is rationalist and doesn't respond well to theological discourse as such.

    An irreligious society will whither as it is devoid of faith, no matter how technologically advanced it may be (eg the West); a society with high levels of faith will be culturally powerful, irrespective of its scientific backwardness (eg Islam).

    Having said that, my religious faith is intertwined with my socio-political outlook, but my rhetoric is rationalist.

    I find it quite easy to find a rational argument to support any a priori Church inspired position. In my experience, the two, far from being contradictory, actually co-complement each other very well.

    Does this make me secular or "religious"? I don't know. Most of the leftist Christophobes I have encountered seem to think secularism is defined by a complete lack of religious or spiritual tradition. If this is so, I am not secular.

    Nor do I think secularism under this definition is particularly human. If anything, it is a return to barbarism.

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  4. I find it quite easy to find a rational argument to support any a priori Church inspired position.

    That's because faith and reason aren't opposed.

    I agree with you, Kilroy, that we can certainly explain the Church's position on any moral matter by reasoned argument.

    I was just wanting to know what this gentleman meant by "The role of conservatism is to maintain connection and continuity, between ...the secular and transcendent."

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  5. Hello Lyl,

    Perhaps he means, and I am only speculating here, that conservatism is the one truly moderating philosophy not prone to the excesses of either religious fundamentalism on one side or secular extremism on the other; that the conservative mindset understands the connection between (a) the mundane aspects of the State, and (b) the esoteric aspects of the Nation.

    But perhaps I'm reading too much into it, or beyond it... I think we'll have to ask Mr. Richardson to give us his reasoned opinion on this one.

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