Monday, March 12, 2012

A Third Kind

An illuminating article in The American Conservative (March 2012) by Rod Dreher (link) brings a portrait of the Prince of Wales under the title, “Philosopher Prince.” Dreher describes Prince Charles as a revolutionary anti-modernist. Well worth reading. When classification time recurs, as it often does during the perpetual campaign which is American politics, I have a tendency of trying to opt out; thus I call myself a “royalist” which, it seems to me, describes correctly the stance I have—embracing elements both of the left and right but omitting major portions of both. Such, indeed, seems also to be Prince Charles’ view of things—so that Brigitte, when she came across this article, made quite a showy preparation before she settled me at table for my lunch before she began to read it out loud. We kept high-fiving across the table at right regular intervals.

The royal gentleman’s conservatism is of the third kind. The two well-known varieties are social and economic. For the first it largely suffices to be anti-abortion and pro-Israel; the second kind ranges from what I call country club republicanism to libertarianism. The last two are actually liberalism as it was once understood, but never mind. The third is a kind of traditionalism based on values—the commitment to preserve them. Yes. The underlying structures keep on changing rapidly under the dissolving acids of modernity—and what but time will stop that vast chemicalization fueled by oil? But values are always clearly discernible—and commitment to their conservation is a worthy stance.

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