Sunday, October 08, 2006

Russell Kirk: "No" to Falwell & Co.

As always, Dreher provides the outstanding citation:

The twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character -- with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living if sounded. This is conservatism at its highest; but it cannot be accomplished as a deliberate program of social reform, "political Christianity." As Christopher Dawson observes, "There is a tendency, especially among the English-speaking Protestant peoples, to treat religion as a kind of social tonic in order to extract a further degree of moral effort from the people." If the conservatives' effort comes to no more than this, it will not succeed. Recovery of moral understanding cannot be merely a means to social restoration: it must be its own end, though it will produce social consequences. In the words of T.S. Eliot, "If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin."

...which goes to the necessity of an understanding (and acceptance) of Natural Law.

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