Moving in the Right Direction (Albeit Gradually)
I’ve got out of the habit of doing a retrospective look at the month that has passed. I think this was a good discipline, so I am going to practice the highly godly art of reform and retrieval.
Books - Conservatism; Pride and Prejudice; The Road to Serfdom; Christ, the Christian and the Church
I will eventually do a longer piece on Yoram Hazony’s new book Conservatism: A Rediscovery but just briefly I will say that it has given me an understanding of conservatism - particularly in contrast to liberalism - that I didn’t have before. More importantly, it has also given me the confidence to hope for not just a revival of Christian faith in our nation but for a revival of a Christian nation. I’ve known for a long time that the neutrality of the secular liberal political sphere is a lie, but I have never seen it so clearly for what it is. It is hard to put it into words but I think it is essentially a way of the state promoting an atheistic vision of the world whilst claiming that what it is in fact doing is nothing of the sort. If anybody objects to this from a Christian viewpoint, that person is then told that religion should not be promoted within the public sphere because people need to be free to make up their own minds and live their own lives. Hazony (who is Jewish and not Christian, by the way) points out the duplicity in all of this: that which is not honoured by the government and figures of authority will not be honoured by those over whom they rule. Governance without reference to God and the Bible is not neutral. It constitutes the intentional rejection of those things from the public square. It is a value which is communicated to the nation by their absence. I am seeing more clearly that a robust Christian response to secular modernity is not only the recovery of an orthodox Christian proclamation from the perspective of the Church but also the promotion of a Christian nation in which our political leaders and figures of cultural and societal influence promote a Christian view of the world, and this not only through the public honouring of God and the Bible but by their actually being Christians and living out their Christian faith in full view of the public. Anyway, perhaps more on that soon.
I’ve just started The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, the central argument of which is that the very socialism that was being ubiquitously promoted at the time of writing (1943) was the same political philosophy that led to the rise of Nazism. Hayek was a true believer in liberalism and he believed that the notion of centralised state planning was a disaster. Hazony talks a lot about this book in Conservatism in the twentieth century context of the alliance between liberalism and conservatism against Marxism and socialism. He is surely right to say that this is the reason that people are so confused as to there being a difference between liberalism and conservatism. They were, as it were, allied together during a substantial part of the twentieth century and for many people they have become ideologically intertwined. Hayek is most certainly a liberal and not a conservative. But he nevertheless has a clearly devastating critique of the follies of socialism. I am assured by the back cover that this is one of the intellectual masterpieces of the twentieth century, so I am looking forward to more.