Monday Motivation – 1/14/13

There is nothing better than starting off the week with a quote, a story, or something which drives you to perform at your highest ability or to make real changes over the upcoming days.  With that in mind, I will be attempting to regularly post quotes and other motivational material on Mondays.

I can think of no better way to start off than with this fantastic excerpt from a Russell Kirk article entitled “Enlivening The Conservative Mind”, published in The Intercollegiate Review back in 1986.  The entire article can be found here.

“All large-scale political movements of reform, in the beginning, are alliances of various groups and interests that have in common chiefly a dislike of what has been the dominant political power. Journalists, for their own delectation, invent or cry up such labels as “Old Right,” “Traditionalists,” “Neoconservatives,” “Libertarians,” “New Right,” “Fundamentalist Right,” and the like. But these groups and categories overlap and intermingle. The more eccentric members of this loose conservative coalition may be expected to fall away gradually into fresher eccentricities—and no great loss will result. Varying emphases upon this or that aspect of public policy will remain among the several conservative groupings; but enough common ground can be cultivated to maintain a useful unity on certain large questions—supposing we abjure narrow ideology and condescend to think. If, on the contrary, conservative leaders complacently fancy that guessing and muddling through will suffice—why, future historians may describe the attempt to wake conservative minds and hearts during the latter half of the twentieth century as an intellectual Mississippi Bubble.

The principal demarcation among American conservative groups today, it seems to me, is the gulf fixed between (on the one side) all those conservative men and women who, taking long views, argue that intellectual activity and rousing of the imagination are required urgently; and (on the other side of the canyon) all those professedly “pragmatic” persons who think of a conservative government as one that keeps in office by serving or placating certain powerful interests—and so prevents worse from befalling those in the seats of the mighty.

The ideologue cannot govern well; but neither can the time-server. Conservative people in politics need to steer clear of the Scylla of abstraction and the Charybdis of opportunism. So it is that thinking folk of conservative views ought to reject the embraces of the following categories of political zealots:

Those who urge us to sell the National Parks to private developers.

Those who believe that by starving South Africans we can dish Jesse Jackson and win over the black vote en masse.

Those who would woo the declining feminists by abolishing academic freedom through a new piece of “Civil Rights” legislation.

Those who instruct us that “the test of the market” is the whole of political economy and of morals.

Those who fancy that foreign policy can be conducted with religious zeal, on a basis of absolute right and absolute wrong.

Those who, imagining that all mistakes and malicious acts are the work of a malign or deluded “elite,” cry with Carl Sandburg, “The people, yes!”

Those who assure us that great corporations can do no wrong.

Those who discourse mainly of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderburgers, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

And various other gentry who abjure liberalism but are capable of conserving nothing worth keeping.

Is anybody left in the conservative camp? Yes.

There survives, even unto our day, a conservative cast of character and of mind capable of sacrifice, thought, and sound sentiment. That sort of conservative mentality was discerned in America by Tocqueville a century and a half ago, by Maine and Bryce a century ago, by Julián Marías twenty years ago. If well waked in mind and conscience, such people—really quite numerous in these United States—are capable of enduring conservative reform and reinvigoration. But if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall go forth to battle?”

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