A clarification on my own behalf: “We do not want to set the clock back; we want to set it right.”

Reading some of my recent posts, one might, justifiably, incline to believe that I am, at best, a deluded romantic, aching and yearning for an epoch long since disposed of, and, less charitably, a fatuous, mayhap disingenuous, revisionist, casting in-accurate aspersions upon the contemporary world whilst painting the past in hues and shades far brighter than reality permits. Sparing the reader the unmelodious tune of my own words, I shall, once more, perhaps tiresomely, allow Röpke to speak at my behest: first, in indictment of the modern world, and, second, eloquently describing where, in contra-distinction to delusional romanticism or asinine revisions, I, in sooth, stand.

The modern world of concrete, gasoline, and advertising is peculiarly apt to deprive our souls of certain indispensable vitamins — Burke’s unbought graces of life again — and it does so in the name of a technological and social rationalism which has no use for anything that just happens by itself or that is not planned, that grows wild in picturesque confusion, and whose effects defy measurement. – Wilhelm Röpke, A Humane Economy, pages eighy-three and eighty-four.

One final word to those whose retort to everything we have said in this chapter is the reproach of romanticism. It certainly is romantic, if by that term we understand resistance to the destruction of dignity and poetry and the “unbought graces of life.” [What Burke calls the “unbought graces of life” — nature, privacy, beauty, dignity, birds and woods and fields and flowers, repose and true leisure] If this is romanticism, we profess it unreservedly and proudly, and we will not allow ourselves to be intimidated or abashed by these would-be masterminds. We do not want to set the clock back; we want to set it right.” [My emphasis. – NPO] – Idem, page eighty-eight; bracketed reference, idem, page forty-nine.

To accuse me of wishing to re-instate the Inquisition, in all of its alleged past severity, or to restore to popularity the theory of the divine right of kinds, then, is fundamentally to mis-understand my tilting at windmills. I desire simply to see restored the values, lost amidst the rapidity of progressive growth, of tradition, family, communitas and res publica, of Faith, true leisure, intellectual pursuit, and high-brow art and culture, of appreciation for the “Small, Local, Old, and Particular”, rather than “Big, Global, New, and Abstract”. All of this, and the restoration of the Stewart line to the throne of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales (perfidious Albion be damned!).

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