Red Toryism: A Total Antidote to Neo-Conservatism

George Parkin Grant, the great Dread Tory of Canadian fame, noted in English-Speaking Justice that English and American thinkers had cut themselves off in a depressing parochialism when they facilely identified totalitarianism with Nietzsche, Rousseau, and the Continentals, and opted hands down for English liberalism rooted in Locke. Conservatives were also affected, being an offshoot of the classic liberal-democratic tradition. Although Conservative roots are sunk deep in the classically liberal tradition, that of (largely unknown) Swiss theorists like Vinet, English Whigs as represented by Lord Acton, and the latest American reinterpretations offered by men like Richard Weaver, they have gone along by degrees in accepting both John Locke’s “blank-slate” epistemology as well as his pared-down Kantian contractualism. Continue reading

George Grant and Red Toryism

rts21015“… One is the question of how the word ‘Red Tory’ can be used. Now, some in England have tried to reappropriate it to refer to something like David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, not so much big business or big government, but more the organic community driven control of technology. Now, Ron Dart, who is probably the leading scholar on Red Toryism in Canada, thinks that is an illegitimate use of ‘Red Toryism’. But, if it is a valid use of the term, perhaps it can be used to describe something like what Pope Francis has been calling for which is an economy governed not so much by big business or big corporations but by cooperatives.” Continue reading

George Grant and Radical Orthodoxy

G7492I remember, with much fondness, a lunch spent with John Milbank at Peterhouse (founded in 1284) in Cambridge in May 1995. I was doing, at the time, research on the Anglican High Romanticism of S. T. Coleridge and the Anglican High Toryism of T. S. Eliot. I was on my way to Little Gidding for a few days to ponder Eliot’s Four Quartets. John Milbank had published his innovative and plough to soil tome, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (1990). Radical Orthodoxy did not exist at the time, but the seeds of the movement had definitely been sown with Theology and Social Theory. Needless to say, we chatted much at Peterhouse (the definitive High Church college at Cambridge—Milbank made sure I realized this was Laud’s college) about Milbank’s demanding read of a book and how his challenge to secular reason opened up new yet much older terrain in which to do theology, philosophy, social theory and, in time, political philosophy. Continue reading