AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

29 August 2017

Sacred.


If conservatism is based on a disposition, on a reality that transcends en vogue realities, on the notion that man always creates something out of another something (since only God creates out of nothing), then conservatism is not a movement. The instant conservatism becomes a movement, it ceases to be conservatism. A conservative must be in order to do.

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne. We become fully ourselves in an encounter with another. However, despite the fluidity of thought and being, there must be a set of principles we live by. For me, they involve individual freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They involve a recognition of our Creator and giving thanks to Him. They involve being charitable toward others, in whatever form we may choose. They involve a recognition of my own humanity as well as the humanity of another — only then can we truly talk about rights. And they involve creating a community, rather than a collective. These are the principles that shape the character of America, this place I have come to call my home.

Although we are finite beings, we have the capacity to move toward the infinite. Buckley, I think, knew this quite well. He writes: “Conservatism must insist that while the will of man is limited in what it can do, it can do enough to make over the face of the world; and that the question that must always be before us is, What shape should the world take, given modern realities?” In other words, the question is what must we do to defend the sacred from the assault of the profane? Let us not be na├»ve: Various vulgarities have existed in the very far and recent past. Today, however, we have ceased to recognize the difference between the sacred and the profane. Buckley not only understood the difference, he also enacted that understanding through an authentic intellectual life.

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