The Paradox of Western Traditionalism
The case often made for the nationalist conservatives—by themselves, of course, but also by some who are sympathetic to them or who are at least attempting to explain their appeal—is that someone has to defend Western traditions.
It is true, of course, that someone has to defend them, though I don’t think that’s what the natcons are actually doing.
I recently participated in a Clubhouse discussion with Richard Salsman on nationalism and conservatism. It’s a good conversation, and on this issue he and I get along well. One of the main things I talked about is the paradox of American conservatism, which is that if you set out to conserve our traditional way of life and system of government, what you are conserving is actually liberalism (in the proper sense of the word). You are defending a tradition that was, in its day, a radical new idea.
I want to expand on that by examining the wider paradox of Western traditionalism. To defend the “Western” tradition—the unique culture of Western Civilization—is to defend a tradition that consists of constantly questioning tradition.