In high school and college, I had an aversion to G.K. Chesterton. His style was grumpy, critical, and, as I put it, snarky. As you read him, you could almost hear the sarcasm and disdain dripping from his corpulent lips. In recent years, however, I have learned to look past his penchant for looking down his nose at people he disagreed with to find the wondrous nuggets of wisdom.
“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”
Either Chesterton had some prescient knowledge beyond the ken of mortal man or modern society hasn’t changed in several decades; regardless of which is true, Chesterton accurately describes the current political crisis in America and the reason someone like Trump could become the nominee of a party that once prided itself on its stances on life, free trade, quiet jingoism, and other “conservative” principles.
But the old conservatism is dead and a new conservatism has arisen from its ashes, just as Chesterton said it would. 30 years ago, the GOP would have never nominated someone with such an undefined stance on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, or gay marriage. George Bush I and George Bush II, for example, were both criticized for their stances on these topics as not being pro-life enough. Romney was the same way and it actually hurt the generally pro-life and Catholic Paul Ryan in the VP debate during that election. In other words, in those 30 years, pro-life moved from opposing abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, and the death penalty to being sort of against abortion…maybe. In fact, it could be said that progressives are more honest than conservatives because they are willing to abandon previously held beliefs without much argument while conservatives dither about for 30 years before gradually coming to the same position.
Instead of calling them the party of no, it is more accurate to call them the party of not yet. Thus, the political dichotomy is not between progressives and conservatives, but between progressives and not-as-progressives. What is someone who is actually conservative to do? We cannot pin our hopes on Reaganism; it has died with Reagan. Instead, a true conservative would look back on the centuries of tradition, custom, and wisdom from the ancients. This goes against the principles of modern conservatism because modern conservatism is modern. Apart from emotional appeals to the founders, their connection to the past is limited to about 30 years.
The American Solidarity Party looks back in this way upon the treasure trove of wisdom and experience human history and philosophy give us. We are not conserving just the last 30 years or even the last 3000 years. We are conserving what it means to be human; we are conserving the Truth. For example, our most basic principle, Solidarity, has been around since the first humans banded together for warmth and food. The very foundations of our party are based in the real human experience. We are called idealists and unrealistic by critics, but those critics are the same that often deny the metaphysical or spiritual realities of man until they have to get votes. I do not believe that we are doomed and that the efforts of the American Solidarity Party are in vain. Rather, like Chesterton, “I do not believe in fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”
As the above meme outlines, our failure to act for the common good, to honor the tradition and wisdom of the ancients, to give a vote to the departed is what gives us the progressives and the not-so-progressives. It is is what stagnates true progress and increases national disunity and partisan antagonism. The odds are daunting indeed, but as Chesterton said, “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exists, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Fight the dragons in American. Vote Solidarity. It worked for Poland.