The Tory in the Face of Modernity

Gerry T. Neal outlines classical traditionalist positions contra modernist ones in a series of articles, selections from which appear below:  

The Tory and the Individual, 31 July 2015:

‘…Since what classical liberalism asserts about the individual is observably not true about any actual person, the individual of whom liberalism predicates priority before society, must be a generic figure who exists only in the abstract. Indeed, everything that liberalism asserts about the individual, such as his possession of certain inalienable natural rights and his sovereign ownership of his self, is asserted of the individual in such a way as, if true, to be true, not just of specific individuals, but of every individual equally. What this tells us is that in classical liberalism, individuality is defined by what makes us all alike. This, however, is a serious flaw in liberal thought. …’

The Tory and the Collective, 2 August 2015:

‘…Toryism, however, can also be legitimately described as collectivist. … The Tory believes in a plurality of collectives, each with its own sphere of influence, starting at the local level with examples such as the family, the local neighborhood, and the church parish. We could call this the horizontal plurality of collectives. The Tory also believes in a vertical plurality of collectives, which means that at the higher level of the national society he sees collectives of collectives, rather than merely collectives of individuals. …’

The Tory and Democracy, 6 August 2015:

‘…The Tory, being a traditionalist and a royalist, does not share the liberal and leftist belief that democracy is the best form of government … This is because the Tory knows that authority is not something that flows upward from below. The only thing a politician gains by convincing the masses to support him, is power. Authority is the right to command, power is the ability to coerce, and in a civilized order authority must always take precedence over power, relying upon power to back it up only when necessary. The modern theory of democracy, however, sees authority as a fiction and power as the only reality of politics. While the power represented by the majority vote in a plebiscite may be preferable to the power represented by the armed force commanded by a military junta, the Tory knows that unless it is made subordinate to the authority conveyed by tradition and prescription, that is to say, stability and order that transcends the present being ancient and established, power of any sort is a destabilizing threat to civilization. …’

The Tory and Freedom, 8 August 2015:

‘…Toryism, by contrast with the neoconservatism of the last four decades which is actually a form of liberalism, does not march under the banner of freedom but seeks stability and continuity in order established in tradition. These, however, are not hostile to freedom, as liberalism so often has assumed they are, but are the very things which make freedom possible. The Tory, therefore, is, albeit in an indirect manner, the more consistent supporter of liberty. In saying that freedom is made possible by a stable, order, established in tradition, the Tory expresses a different view of the nature of freedom, than that espoused by the liberal. …’

The Tory and Capitalism, 12 August 2015:

‘…The market, the Tory maintains, works the way liberal economists describe it, but only within the context of a stable and secure social and civil order, and especially one whose culture has been shaped and continues to be influenced by the classical and Christian moral traditions … Without these moral and cultural restraints, the Tory insists, market capitalism becomes a force that erodes the very social and civil order that provides the context that allows the market to function. …’

 The Tory and Socialism, 14 August 2015:

‘…In the nineteenth century a rival to liberal capitalism arose in the form of socialism and the rivalry between the two systems soon came to so dominate the field of economics that one could hardly express an economic thought except in terms of either capitalism or socialism. If the Tory’s attitude towards market capitalism is one of a heavily qualified acceptance, his attitude towards socialism is that of a lightly qualified rejection. …’

The Tory and Social Legislation, 23 August 2015:

‘…In Disraeli’s “one nation conservatism” we see the fundamental difference between the Tory and socialist arguments for social legislation. The Tory and socialist both have additional motivations to pass social legislation apart from its internal purpose of alleviating human misery. These motivations are diametrically opposed to each other. The Tory introduced such legislation to unite the country. Socialism, however, wants to level the classes and create social, political, and economic equality. This is not a unifying doctrine, but a divisive doctrine, aimed at organizing the masses of “have nots” against the hated “haves” class. For socialism, social legislation is a weapon of aggression in its war against the “haves”. …’

The Tory and Globalization, 26 August 2015:

‘…That which unites the liberal and the socialist, separates both from the Tory, who is not a progressive. Canada’s most distinguished Tory thinker, George Grant, explained how the modern concept of progress was a secular mutation and perversion of the Christian doctrine of the Kingdom of God … In his best known book Grant described this Kingdom of Man, the end to which the age of progress is moving, as a “universal and homogenous state” . …’

The Tory and Patriotism, 3 September 2015:

‘… Although many confuse the two, nationalism is not patriotism. Nor, for that matter, is it right-wing in the historic and traditional sense of this term although it is widely thought to be so today. The historic right is identical with Toryism and stood for royalty, nobility, the established church, organic community, tradition, and a concept of the common good that encompassed all of these things. Nationalism, from the French Revolution through to the Third Reich, was opposed to all of these things and allied with democracy, revolution, totalitarianism, and in the case of the Third Reich, socialism. …’

Selections from articles originally published on Throne, Altar, Liberty between 31 July 2015 and 3 September 2015.