Chuck Colson explains that we disregard the past at our own peril.

One of the best exponents of [the role and importance of tradition] was G.K. Chesterton. In his book Orthodoxy, he wrote, “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.” And he wrote that “tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”

It’s not only respect for tradition that’s involved here—it’s prudence. These institutions and arrangements have helped to preserve the moral order, which is our first duty to maintain. They have been shaped by people who took into account the world as it is—filled with fallen human beings—instead of an imaginary utopia filled with perfectible people.

This respect is why true conservatism is a disposition, not an ideology. It doesn’t seek to reinvent man and his world—its concerns are about what T.S. Eliot called the “permanent things.”

In contrast, perverted modern liberalism, which includes many who call themselves “conservatives,” is about innovation, breaking from the past, upsetting the established order, and maximizing individual autonomy.

Colson is responding to the liberalism that is being taught in our universities, as exemplified in a quote from a Harvard faculty committee.  Read the whole thing.

Filed under: ConservativeCultureDougEducationLiberal

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