Friday, August 04, 2006

...the typical conservative assumption that man is fallible and not perfectible by human means is tied inextricably to the Christian understanding of the Fall. The skeptical man will say that this is not necessarily so, and that any fool can see that man is fallible without recourse to a doctrine of ancestral sin. But that doctrine is the only thing that makes sense of the predicament of man that preserves the possibility of true meaning. With the Fall, there is also Redemption. With mere fallibility, there is no remedy and so, ultimately, no hope in this world or the next. Further, the detachment of conservative thought from the Christian roots that nourished it in the first place is both a losing proposition and an abandonment of a sizeable part of the patrimony we have received from our fathers. Put simply, without a theological vision (and our tradition points us towards the theological vision of our civilisation's Faith) conservatives have no meaningful vision of the good life and can only cavil and harumph at liberal, meliorist plans on the grounds of their impracticability rather than for their fundamental spiritual error and hubris. Without such a vision of consecrated order, ordained by God, conservatism becomes obsessed entirely with what is immanent and cannot form any coherent statements about who man is or what his purpose is supposed to be.
Daniel Larison

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