Dwight Longnecker explores the essence of conservatism—rediscovery, remembrance, reverence, recovery—the true conservative principles that will ultimately lead to reformation and reconciliation. His article shows how Lewis and Eliot set forth this “the sense of longing for a lost Eden and the joy that whispers of fulfillment.”
There is an open space in the human heart–a void that seeks fulfillment and a hunger that longs for satisfaction. For the progressive this longing looks to the future. A brave new world is envisioned, an ideology is espoused and an action plan that brooks no dissent is put into place.
For the conservative that same longing is not for a brave new world, but for a serene, old world. The progressive yearns for utopia. The conservative mourns for Eden. The progressive works for a revolution. The conservative seeks a resolution. The progressive destroys the past to build the future. The conservative restores the past to build the future.
The driving motivation for the progressive is a gnawing unhappiness he wishes to placate by fabricating an untried recipe for happiness, while the conservative longs for a tried and true happiness he has lost and wishes to rediscover. This longing for a good that is gone or a bliss that can be faintly remembered is the beating heart of conservatism and the motor of its creativity.
The nostalgia of the conservative is more than a reverence for past wisdom or an immature desire to return to the comfort of the nursery. It is more than the antiquarian’s interest in the artifacts of a bygone age. It is instead an intense bittersweet emotion that lifts and unlocks the heart and motivates creative and positive change.
Read the entire article at The Imaginative Conservative