The Thinking 

A Plan for Traditionalists

November 21, 2012


AT The Orthosphere, Kristor offers a reasonable guide to survival and affecting the culture. In the immediate future, he recommends:

  1. Resolve to pay no more PC jizya (beautifully spelled out in the Solzhenitsyn essay that has been discussed a lot lately in the wider orthosphere). Tell the truth, and call a spade a spade: calmly, politely, and without being obstreperous about it, but nevertheless firmly. Without making a big deal about it or calling attention to yourself, fail to appear for the public rites of Moloch. If you must thus appear, quietly fail to meet the requirements of the rite.
  2. Write, read, blog, talk: join a book club, an apologetics roundtable, a bible study group. Learn the arguments for reaction, for Christianity, for theism; learn the arguments against them, and how they may be defeated. Speak up: fearlessly, scandalously, but always humbly and politely.
  3. Live a virtuous, upright life, at home and in business. Speak the truth, and do the right thing. Whatever it happens to be, don’t let it be about yourself; let it be about the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
  4. Beware; and be prepared to move, quickly. Get rid of stuff that you don’t need or that is not positively beautiful to you in some way – especially debt and belly fat, which are likely going to cost you as the financial and medical sectors of the economy devolve over the next ten years.
  5. Maintain tradition in small things: e.g., dress more formally than is customary these days, practice old-fashioned manners, refrain from swearing; read old books, and then discuss them around the family dinner table; join together in regular and serious family prayer, if only to bless each meal; remember your family holiday traditions, and observe them gravely and with joy.
  6. Pray without ceasing. Pray whenever your attention is not wholly consumed with the task at hand. Work toward praying even when it is. Nothing is so convincing as sanctity, or so attractive, or so authoritative. Without it, personal rectitude can seem like Pharisaical arrogance (and risks becoming just that). You can’t push sanctity. But you can work at allowing it to happen.

Near term:

  1. Marry a chaste and virtuous person, have lots of kids, home school them, and read good books to them at bedtime every single night. Answer their questions as carefully, truthfully and thoughtfully as you can.
  2. Work in a small business that you own yourself.
  3. Live in the country far from the urban hellholes.
  4. Join the most old-fashioned church you can find and attend regularly, and live a virtuous, upright life.
  5. Buy, keep and renovate old things, particularly houses and books. Maintain fences and walls in good order. Preserve old arts and skills. Master at least one of them.
  6. Garden; farm to the extent possible. Apart from long, arduous sojourns in the wilderness or in a monastery, there is no better way to understand your very existence as integral, and good; as, i.e., sacramental.
  7. Arm yourself, and get training in a martial art; see that your kids do the same. Prepare for disaster by stockpiling supplies.
  8. Notice – don’t remark upon it just this once, but notice repeatedly, as a habit – that everything I have recommended so far falls under the heading of practical wisdom. It has always made sense to live this way, no matter what has been happening in the wider world.

Long term:

  1. Gravitate toward intentional communities of the right minded – i.e., of the orthogonally minded. Not communes, but towns or churches. Find other tradents online or through the grapevine, find out where they cluster, go there to live or worship. Don’t try to create a community from scratch – with no frontier any more, that’s no longer anything but gnostic utopianism. On the contrary, join an existing community with a surviving traditional life – if you have few prospects of marriage, consider a monastic community – and learn to love it. Make a point of participating; be a valuable contributor. Make yourself known first as a friend, and a quiet, respectable person. Then, in your casual interactions, share what you have learned, and you will nudge that community toward the Right. Be ready and willing, even earnestly happy, to be yourself thus nudged, in turn. This should be the focus of your political life. [As for national politics, the best thing you can do is write online. How many readers of these words became traditionalists on account of something they stumbled upon, online? I did.]
  2. Join and support community resources in such traditionalist enclaves. Nothing fancy: libraries, granges, things like that, to be sure; but also, mutual aid societies. Old-fashioned churches in rural communities are still doing this sort of thing.
  3. Marry off your children to the children of other tradents. If your children grow up in a traditional community – either a town, or a church (with activities for young people, such as retreats, pilgrimages, and so forth) – they will find attractive mates from among them.
  4. Maintain cultural traditions: traditional music, liturgy, dance, local folkways. Even such things as Civil War re-enactments can form the core of a local culture. Ritual is intentional anachronism, by which we reproduce the past in our present lives, to the mutual reinforcement of the causal efficacy, both of our present lives and the past speaking through them – the very definition, in literal terms, of “tradition.”What is the local tradition? Join it; enjoy it; ennoble it.


—- Comments —–

Jeff W. writes:

We should all be grateful to Kristor for his good ideas and practical advice. I would like to add one more recommendation:

To the extent possible, protect yourself from thieves. Live in a place that has low tax rates and low crime rates.

Today the Federal government is run by thieves, and the Feds will continue to victimize you in many ways.  They will continue to destroy the job market (open borders, open trade with Asia), inflate your savings into worthlessness, strip you of interest income from your savings by keeping interest rates artificially low, and harass you with regulations if you own a business.  You should think carefully about how you will protect yourself from the Feds.

There is a wide variation among state governments on thievishness, with Illinois, California, New York and New Jersey being among the most thievish. Stay out of high-tax states and refuse to do business there.

Whenever people are victimized by thieves, they must make a decision: fight, flee, or give in. When people repeatedly give in to thieves, it has a negative effect on their morale and self esteem.  Those who give in to thieves also act as the thieves’ enablers, which encourages even more thievery. It is the duty of good people to fight and resist thieves in sensible ways as best they can.

Consultus writes:

Thank you for posting Kristor’s lovely and rejuvenating piece. It fills me with hope to see there are other people who feel as I do.

We cannot change what is wrong with the Republic by politics alone. We need a cultural plan. So long as the Left owns the schools, universities, the entertainment industry, and the courts, we have no hope of turning the country back from the brink. Perhaps it is quixotic, but I do urge conservatives and traditionalists to help reform the culture by working to take back those institutions. (If this “Long Campaign” succeeds, the courts will be the last to be turned. And in the meantime, they will do horrid mischief.)

Initially, I had thought this would involve activism: running for school boards, letter campaigns, boycotts, and the like. Kristor’s post has shown another path: If everyone lived as he recommended, then the edifices of Hollywood, the music industry, and education would naturally crumble.

Now we have more than hope. We have a plan.

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