“Typically, the conservative seeks to conserve, to hold on to the values of the existing society. But what if the existing society is liberal? What if the existing society is hostile to conservative beliefs? It is foolish for a conservative to attempt to conserve that culture. Rather, he must seek to undermine it, to thwart it, to destroy it at the root level. This means that the conservative must stop being conservative. More precisely, he must be philosophically conservative but temperamentally radical. This is what we quickly understood at the Review. We recognized that to confront liberalism fully we could not be content with rebutting liberal arguments. We also had to subvert liberal culture, and this meant disrupting the etiquette of liberalism. In other words, we had to become social guerrillas. And this we set out to do with a vengeance.”
▪ Dinesh D’Souza, cited in James Panero and Stefan Beck (eds.) The Dartmouth Review Pleads Innocent (ISI Books, 2006) at pages x through to xi.
Dinesh D’souza is not a palecon and is a fraud. A better source of American paleoconservatism would be Chronicles: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/
Thank you Svar for your comment.
You are of course correct that D’Souza is firmly associated with the established neoconservative lobby in the US. Nevertheless, please note that the “Quotes” page is just that: a place where interesting quotes from a variety of sources are published for comment, contemplation, reference and further research (which is why we also offer a proper “hard copy” citation for each). Since we live in an era where reading books is unfortunately on the decline (resulting in what we fear is a somewhat dumber, less patient society incapable of complex analysis) these quotes hopefully temp visitors to go against this unfortunate social trend and acquaint themselves with real literature. Of course, the “Quotes” also facilitates cross-posting among other websites.
Visitors at SydneyTrads will notice that we have quoted a broad range of individuals here, including politicians, academics, philosophers, authors, essayists, journalists, commentators, activists and others. Some are active in party politics, others would avoid it like the plague. Likewise, not all of these would call themselves conservative, let alone paleoconservative, or might even find the term offensive. But that is not the point. It is the substance of what they may have once said or written which may bear some relevance or be of interest to us today. It could lead to a reappraisal of current positions, allow a more honest and critical development of policy, and generally help in the process self edification.
Although we are a traditionalist paleoconservative leaning group in Sydney, we try to nevertheless avoid the ideological attitude whereby an individual’s entire body of work is disqualified because of an unfortunate thing he may have said or done at some other point in his professional or personal life. That can result in a willful ignorance of insightful observations by interesting people because it tends to narrow one’s scope of inquiry and lead to blindness on pertinent issues of the day. On the whole, this kind of “right wing political correctness” is a philosophically unhealthy disposition.
What D’Souza said in this particular quote includes advice that all self professed conservatives should consider and reflect on deeply (especially those in positions of institutional influence). Spinelessness and a willingness to accommodate or compromise with leftist or radical programmes and ideas, is one of the conservative establishment’s greatest defects today; it could be easily remedied should our political leaders develop the courage to actually argue, promote and fight for what they purport to believe in (or at least what their electros believe they believe in!). This institutional cowardice is why many thinking conservatives reject party loyalties along with so called “mainstream” conservatism.
D’Souza’s credibility may be damaged for being associated with “conservatives” who fail to reject the liberal essence of their liberal opponents, that is true. But keeping an open mind and shunning ideology also involves a reluctance to automatically reject anything a social or political commentator may have to say just because of that commentator’s own unfortunate affiliations, either past or present. D’Souza’s quote above has merit on its own, irrespective of its source.
Incidentally, we are familiar with Chronicles magazine and many of our associates are subscribers (although it is not ordinarily available for sale in Australia). We do not support all of the ideas and positions of its contributors, but we do see it as a valuable journal of dissenting thought on the cultural right; accordingly, we have had it listed on our page of recommended magazines since the inception of SydneyTrads.
Thank for your gracious reply. I understand what you are trying to say, Now. I am an American and a Texan and a Roman Catholic and my paleoconservatism obviously is more similar to the American magazine and less similar to say your form. What exactly are your disagreements and agreements?
Hello again Svar,
For what it’s worth, the founder and Convenor of SydneyTrads is a traditionalist Catholic, many of our regular supporters are a mix of Anglican and Catholic, and a few subscribe to the Traditionalist School (a la Guenon, Evola et al). We believe that all of these religious experiences ultimately share a common root, and the particular characteristics each has acquired throughout history can inform one another and enrich our understanding of “Tradition” and the human condition. Accordingly, we leave religious conviction to the personal conscience of each of our supporters and friends; it is encouraged that debates are carried out in an atmosphere is collegiality.
A very brief illustration of our paleoconservative disposition includes the following: an acknowledgment of an objective Truth which can manifest through life experience and personal contemplation, the existence of an inherent essence within individuals and distinct groups, an appreciation of identity as a complex matrix of voluntary as well as involuntary factors connected with this essence, an understanding that human purpose, value and self-worth is inextricably connected to factors that cannot be quantified in mere material terms, an understanding that individual happiness is closely related to the development and expression of essence and its place within natural hierarchies.
A rejection of many of these concepts by modern liberal society has lead to social atomization, moral anarchy, a sense of aimlessness and loss as well as the resulting suicidal implosion of Occidental civilization.
The above is of course just a cursory description, a mere summary and not intended as an exhaustive list. Much can be said on each of these points and we understand that others may wish to add to the above too. Suffice it to say, we are cultural particularists, which means we reject the universalist and abstract notions that rule liberal and neoconservative thought.
As for Chronicles, what was intended by our qualified support was simply an acknowledgment that over several decades of publication, two editors and many contributed to its pages, there will naturally be degrees of agreement and disagreement in relation to the various matters discussed and reported there.