Those who advocate for traditional lifestyles and respect of heritage will find themselves at odds with the globalist and modernist school of thought. The opposition will accuse you of living in a fairy tale, or trying to escape the world of reason.
By their standards of judgment you’re a lunatic, old fashioned, or possibly pining for the feminist narrative of days when women were locked in dungeons and visited only when a man’s desires for procreation strike. If that were tradition, then I’ll help you bury it and gladly buy into that dream of happy modernity.
Fundamentally, the traditionalist school of thought is about saving each other from reinventing the wheel. We already have a wheel, and we already have our folkways and habits that are peculiar unto each people. Attempting to rewrite what it means to be traditional is the same as erasing your ancestors and their identities from the books of history.
Christian writer G.K. Chesterton explains that tradition is contrary to reason and justification, and is instead the voice of those not present.
“It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human choices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record,” Chesterton said, “tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.”
It is lunacy to believe that we can understand all of the rules and ways of our ancestors, but so much easier are they to obey when we do not understand their reasons and motives as if they were written law. Then again, it would be more fantastic to suggest that anyone could comprehend the laws we already have. It is sufficient that we simply heed the demands of our ancestors and their laws, and then reap the happiness of observing them.
For Chesterton, the traditionalist lives in “fairyland” where the laws of legalistic modernists do not apply. The mind numbing constraints of modernity are as a sickness of rationalization which invites one to reject all but the modern.
The essence of this notion is given as Chesterton rebuked one of his strident critics, saying, “[W.B. Yeats] is rebelling against something he understands only too well; but the true citizen of fairyland is obeying something that he does not understand at all. In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition.”
Thus it is made clear. The secret to happiness is knowing that not all things can be explained, nor will they be compelled to make themselves as such. It is the mystery of the inner workings of tradition and history which makes life satisfying, and so as not to be a cancer upon the world, a healthy sense of humility is what keeps us all sane.
The moment that we are able to conceive a complex thing as whole, complete, or fully within reason is the same moment that we are able to make it in a smaller size.
Chesterton talks about this rejection of humility and self aggrandizement, saying, “The reason is, that anything, however huge, that can be conceived of as complete, can be conceived of as small. If military moustaches [sic] did not suggest a sword or tusks a tail, then the object would be vast because it would be immeasurable. But the moment you can imagine a guardsman you can imagine a small guardsman. The moment you really see an elephant you can call it “Tiny.” If you can make a statue of a thing you can make a statuette of it.”
That’s what the problem with modernity is. The insanity of requiring well reasoned positions or beliefs for anything at all constrains and limits the way a person can think or imagine. It’s the same as being bound with a million laws for everyday life, and then lamenting the poor state of freedom in America.
Yes, traditionalists live in a fantasy land, and we have a freedom and joy which the modernists will never know. It’s not too late to join, and you may escape to this land as well.