MANY readers of this site have described their sense of isolation in a society that seems bereft of wisdom, decency and common sense. Whether it be a college student disgusted by her courses, a young man looking for a wife, a new mother who wants to remain home, a white man whose career has been derailed by affirmative action, an elderly bachelor in a once-thriving community now brutalized by black crime and vandalism, or a Marine in the feminized military, these readers share the feeling that they do not belong. They reject the lunacy and decadence around them.
So many feel this way, and share a common understanding of what is missing and what is needed to reverse this decline, that it makes no sense for them to remain as scattered isolates. They should join together and seek others to join them. They should collectively respond to the evil around them.
To this end, a new organization, the American Traditionalist Society is now in the serious planning stages. The purpose of the American Traditionalist Society would be to spread proper —that is, traditionalist — conservatism. As Alan Roebuck, who proposed the idea and who has written a manifesto, puts it, “Traditionalism restores the life-giving ties between a man and his people, their past, and his God.” Traditionalism restores wisdom and common sense. Whereas contemporary thinking is fundamentally unwise outside of the procedures of the natural sciences and technology, traditionalism seeks to fill this void and strives for justice, truth, beauty, and the proper ordering of society.
Traditionalism is not just about bringing back the good things that have been lost. It is not backward-looking, although it admires the best in the past. According to Lawrence Auster, “The past, ‘tradition,’ is but one dimension of traditionalism. Traditionalism is, first, an orientation toward the transcendent structure of the universe–the natural, social, and spiritual orders that make us possible. Each society orders itself uniquely according to those orders. So traditionalism is not just the past tradition, it’s our active relationship and tension with the order of the world, but always grasped and done uniquely and newly in each time and society according to the particularities of that society.”
So far, the American Traditionalist Society is just an idea and has no organizational structure, funds or staff. But in the weeks ahead, a fuller statement of its founding principles in the lengthy manifesto will be posted here, as well as at The Orthosphere and View from the Right. The first step is to define the intellectual parameters of such a group. In the meantime, here is a formal introduction.
THE AMERICAN TRADITIONALIST SOCIETY: OUR RAISON D’ÊTRE
Since roughly the 1960s, America has pursued a determined course of self-destruction in the name of liberalism. Our nation is now in a state of undeniable crisis. The federal government, close to insolvency, openly defies the Constitution and asserts its increasingly unaccountable and tyrannical power over the states and over the life of every individual. Our borders have been effectively erased, our language weakened, and our cultural foundations overturned. Our major institutions have been undermined from within. The media and popular culture have marginalized decency and virtue and made filth, transgression, and every kind of nastiness the new norm—a norm unquestioned by anyone in the mainstream culture, including conservatives. Our leaders pontificate that we must be tolerant above all else, and so many draw the natural conclusion that life is absurd. With the official-in-all-but-name denial of the God of the Bible and of any transcendent truth, many young men and women have become demoralized, leading lives that are amoral, selfish, and dissipated.
The response of institutionalized conservatism to this catastrophe has been wholly inadequate, for it has assumed that our nation is fundamentally sound and that we need only oppose the latest liberal initiatives. Failing effectively to challenge the false and evil premises of liberalism or even to acknowledge that these premises now hold effective control over all aspects of American society, the organized conservatism of our day has, at best, only slowed the rate of destruction. It is therefore time for a new, traditionalist, conservatism which recognizes the dominance and falsehood of liberalism and the need to restore the traditional American way of life, yet updated to suit the times. It is time for men and women of good will to stand together before God, repent of their liberalism, and turn their hearts and minds toward the formation of a new social and political order, an order based on God, the wisdom of the ages, and that which is enduringly true in the American and Western tradition. We seek to foster a better order through the spiritual, moral and intellectual renewal of individuals, families, churches, and other fundamental units of society, leading naturally to an organic renewal of American society.
To this end, ever in debt to our forebears and beholden to posterity, the American Traditionalist Society is devoted.
— Comments —-
Just wondering, will the general membership of the American Traditionalist Society have any opportunities to meet one another face-to-face or will this be a “virtual” and mostly anonymous community?
It would not be a virtual organization. Personal, face-to-face contact would be essential. There would be chapters across the country and regional groups could take up regional concerns.
Jeanette V. writes:
This is exciting! Count me in.
John G. writes:
I am thrilled to read about these plans. When the time comes I will offer whatever support I can.
Jenny in Idaho writes:
After reading your post about the American Traditionalist Society, I have more hope than I have had in a long time. I look forward to learning more about it. Thank you.
Fred Owens writes:
Count me in — just don’t try to “fit” me in.
Terry Morris writes:
The statement above mentions: “…the organized conservatism of our day has, at best, slowed the rate of destruction.”
To which I answer amen, and Amen! Or to put it another way, as I wrote in 2009, “What possible usefulness is the Republican Party to the preservation of limited, Constitutional government…when everything we hear from it…amounts to no more than the equivalent of “We’re moving too fast in the right direction?”
David C. writes:
I wonder if it would eventually be possible for participants of the American Traditionalist Society to live in the same area. I belong to a Catholic lay movement that has members throughout the world, and we often do our best to live near each other. Some have even bought houses or apartments on the same street so they live within walking distance.
My community is a small one based in New Bedford, MA. We have a few people, mostly families, who all live within fifteen minutes of each other, as well as another family that’s about a half hour away. Most of the mothers are housewives who stay at home to take care of the children while their husbands work, and these women have formed strong bonds with each other. All of us try to spend time together during the week, and although each of us still spends most of his daily life facing the secular environment alone, it is a great help to be able to continually return to a community of people who are all following the same charism. Right now, three of us are looking at the possibility of buying an three-story apartment building and living there together, each family to his own floor.
Art from Texas writes:
I have set up a student affiliate of the ISI, even though I am not sure how much success we will have. There is definitely room for an organization like this in broader American society, and it could fulfill a similar function.
I am excited by the prospect of an American Traditionalist Society. My concern is: just how traditionalist is the new society to be? Will it champion the traditional right of peoples to self-determination, free association, and self-awareness? Or will it, as so many “conservative” organizations do, hold forth the Enlightenment view that “we are all the same under the skin” and that race and ethnicity do not matter?
If the latter is the case, I’ll have to pass on supporting the new Society. Any society claiming to promote traditional, organic society while hewing to the multicultural, multiracial Gospel. According to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior (pbuh) is not playing with honest cards. The things that are traditional for European people and people of European ancestry are in many cases not traditional for blacks or Asians. Whose “tradition” is the Society going to honor?
I don’t mean to be contentious, but I do insist on honesty. If the new Society is going to be a force for the re-establishment of white, Christian, pre-Enlightenment culture from which all civilization in the West is derived, I’ll be happy to sign on. But if its purpose is to promote some sort of small-world-after-all monoculture, I will take a reluctant pass.
The society will be explicitly race conscious and defend the white race. If it did not espouse racial conservatism, I also would not be part of it. The society will be unique in placing race in the context of other important issues.
What a wondeful idea! I cannot tell you how happy I was to read of this proposed idea when browsing your site today. I will most assuredly be checking back for further information, and am very much looking forward to having a chance to participate. Thank you so much for sharing this most welcome news.
Roger G. writes:
Doggonit, Fred, you’ve been around here long enough to know that Everything Not Forbidden Is Compulsory. Just what is it about “lockstep” and “collective” that you don’t understand?
If Larry says it, we have to believe it. If Laura says it, we have to do it. I at least, for one, know my place.