Sunday, 13 May 2012

We are all progressive now

De Maistre was not a conservative but a reactionary, a product of the French Revolution to which he reacted. Metternich, who had none of De Maistre's romantic ideas about the past and simply missed la douceur de vivre of the  ancien regime, was another reactionary, who hated (as I do) having to change the year every January 1.  A De Maistre or a Metternich is simply unimaginable today outside Bhutan and some other remote outposts. Instead everyone is a progressive now. This may be a good thing or not but it deserves to be thought about. 

Everybody that is apart from, for example, people who want to kill other people in the hope of restoring the Caliphate.  Terrorists, the IRA are another example, usually seem to be reactionaries. 

It was more comfortable when reactionaries were people like General Franco who was a brutal, bad man but did not blow up British subjects and at least saved Spain from abortion and divorce. Dr. Salazar was a much less brutal reactionary, a highly intelligent and idealistic man, whom I esteem for one thing at least, personally preventing Coca Cola from selling their revolting drink in Portugal. He would not have fitted well into our age of free trade, globalisation and women's rights, although he allowed the Church to persuade him not to make it illegal for married women to go out work.

But of course one should not do evil that good may come of it and Franco certainly  did much evil (I know much less about Salazar who I think was in many ways benign). Freedom is not an idea of the wicked French Revolution but a principle implicit in human nature and free will. Physical force, on which state power relies, is the opposite of love.

The Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov put it thus: "We must respect the other one's freedom. Nothing that happens by force will last - neither in time, nor in eternity."

1 comment:

  1. "The wicked French revolution" - I like that.