Saturday, November 03, 2012

Randian? Not Conservative, Period.

Russell Kirk:

By the conservatism of desolation, I mean the forlorn en­deavor of certain persons of conservative instincts to convince themselves that they are "individualists"—that is, devotees of spiritual and social isolation. The dreary secular dogma of in­dividualism is the creation of Godwin, Hodgskin, and Herbert Spencer, and it progresses from anarchy back to anarchy again. Any thinking conservative knows it for a snare and a delusion. The real conservative is all in favor of sound individuality; he is all against doctrinaire "individualism," the belief that we ex­ist solely in ourselves, and for ourselves, so many loveless specks in infinite time and space, like the unfortunate youth in Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger to whom Satan reveals that noth­ing exists except the boy and empty space, and that his very informant is no more than a random thought of the desolate Self. La vida es sueño, y los sueños sueños son. Whatever we may say to Calderon, it is well to remember that the emanci­pated critic of Twain's novel is the Devil, or at least the Devil's nephew. Individualism was born in the hell of spiritual solitude. The conservative knows that he is part of a great continuity and essence, created to do unto others as he would have others do unto him. Godwin's and Spencer's individualism, literally applied, would destroy the whole fabric of civilization. It is nonsense in any age; but in our complex age, with all its appa­ratus of industry and urban life, it would bring a very speedy and very unpleasant death to almost all men.

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