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  • Sean Gabb
    Oct 22, 2013
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      New Essays from
      The Libertarian Alliance
      Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
      07956 472 199, sean@...


      Britain and the Reversion to Ancestral Ways (2013), by Sean Gabb


      Britain and the Global Reversion to Ancestral Ways:
      A Speech Given to the Conference of
      The Traditional Britain Group,

      Held in London on the 19th October 2013.

      [What began as laziness, and then settled into method, is that I do not prepare speeches in advance. What I do is to prepare a mental list of the things I feel inclined to say, and of the order in which I might say them, and then to leave the manner of saying them to the inspiration of the day. If there is a written text, it is usually prepared after the event. After decades of practice, this usually works rather well. Because there will soon be a video of it on YouTube, you can judge for yourselves whether my speech to the Traditional Britain Group was any good. Here, for the moment, is what I probably said.] Continue reading

      Preserving the substance of a nation: the role of a traditional conservative counter-establishment

      by John Kersey

      This is the text of a speech delivered earlier today to the Traditional Britain Group conference. I am told that a video recording will be available in due course.

      I am going to begin with a simple thesis: the loss of the English nation has progressed to such an extent that ordinary measures will not be sufficient to restore it. I am going to propose to you that if we aim to see the restoration of traditional Conservatism in this country, we cannot rely upon the existing mechanisms of our society – its national politics and its institutions – to serve that purpose. I have two main reasons for proposing this theory, and after I enumerate them, I will then go on to explain their consequences for us and the necessity for a traditional conservative counter-establishment.

      The first difficulty we face is really more of a historical phenomenon than anything else. It is that where change of a widespread and fundamental nature has occurred, it is then near-impossible to return to the status quo ante. If we look to English history, there are events – such as the Restoration of 1660 – that may seem to look backwards, but in reality constitute the combination of elements of the past and present. The most usual pattern is that of thesis – which in this example is absolute monarchy; antithesis – the Puritan Commonwealth; and then synthesis – the constitutional monarchy that constitutes the Restoration. England is very good indeed at giving the veneer of continuity to what is in fact profound change. This can fool us into mistaking style for substance. I am going to suggest to you that we as conservatives are too often fooled in this way, and that we are sometimes satisfied with a change of style where in fact it is substance that needs to be addressed. Genuine change of substance – in this case reactionary reversion – is extremely rare, and will almost invariably be achieved at the cost of much bloodshed. We in Britain have not succeeded hitherto in turning the clock back in public life. I suggest it is unlikely that we can easily succeed in doing so in the future.

      The second difficulty is in our perception of the effects of change. We often see the results of change and we must then look for its causes. Sometimes this is uncontroversial, but often we feel sure that we can connect cause and effect in a straight line more because of our inner convictions rather than because of an actual and measurable connexion. Many of us believe that much of the blame for the problems that face our country can be placed at the feet of our current batch of elected representatives, or their immediate predecessors. But what if what we are perceiving is in fact a much more gradual and deep-rooted process working its way out, and with less to do with politicians than with social change that is the outcome of a variety of post-1945 factors? The root of conservatism is in an extremely guarded attitude to change, precisely because change has unpredictable, and sometimes unmeasurable effects. We should therefore be very careful not to assume that where we propose change we can predict its outcome. In particular, we must not assume that the solutions of yesterday can be applied to the problems of today with the same results. And we must be aware that anything we create will be at constant risk from both external opposition and infiltration.

      Conservatism and traditionalism are not ideologies; they are anti-ideological in that they rest upon a system of fixed, guiding principles rather than upon an agenda based upon change. As such, if we define ourselves as conservatives and traditionalists, we need to beware of ideologically-driven forces that oppose what we stand for. In our time the two most prominent ideologies that threaten conservatism and traditionalism are socialism and neoconservatism. Neoconservatism is the outcome of an attempt to apply Left-wing models of ideology and change to core conservative ideas. Continue reading


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