The Radical Tradition
edited by Troy Southgate
186 pages, Primordial Traditions, $33
It was probably stupid of me to submit a piece for inclusion in this book, because (a) the other pieces are so good I’m now wondering if I look like a moron and (b) it kept me from reviewing this for some time. With my participation disclosed, however, my ethical self rests if I write about what others wrote, which is the better part of this book anyway.
Tradition is hard to define for many, but can be revealed in a simple confluence of thoughts. First, the order of this universe is not found in its parts, but enclosing its parts. Second, in reverence to this metaphysical or non-visible order, people have found eternal ways of life — not only are they functional strategies, but they bestow to life reverence, grace, transcendence and other intangibles. Finally, Tradition is a lens through which we can view history and thus understand our modern time in context.
The radical tradition is for those who recognize that we are in a stage of Late Empire, or part of the historical cycle by which civilizations are born, thrive, age, and finally, collapse inward. Radical Traditionalists recognize that our day-to-day life is out of sync with the natural order, and as such, constitutes a “radical evil” — a commonly accepted process that is nonetheless a path to the death of all good things. Radical Traditionalists are staging a conservative revolution that shames our media-fed “conservatives” and shows us not just a set of issues, but an entirely better way to live.
In this short volume, writers tackle explaining all that heady stuff, but they do it in a way that all of us can understand: through example and discussion of vital points that exemplify the belief. This spares us the stormy manifestos and grand unification theories of other manuscripts; instead, we get an accessible view into the mentality of Radical Traditionalists, through topics that are both bite-sized and familiar to us.
Looking at the submitters, barring the incoherent ramblings I submitted, we see a vanguard not of the old conservative order but of a new one. These writers are not content to duke it out with surface issues, but are interested in conservatism as an order that renews the soul, and avoids the lugubrious mental instability and corresponding bad behavior of the modern time. A brief list of highlights:
This is but a sampling of what is offered; in the interests of keeping this piece short, I will not explore each of them, but suffice it to say that this brief description reveals less than half of what you will find in this short but on-point work.
As a companion to another Primordial Traditions release, The Northern Traditions, this book serves as both an excellent introduction and a work of frequent reference, as every aspect of life is touched on in some way or another, in text you would find at home at the modern University or think-tank.
While right now most people would find this radical in the sense of being a sudden re-introduction to common sense and high expectations from one’s own mortal time on planet earth, it represents a philosophy of the near future — a philosophy of renewal. No words are minced on this account.
As Toynton writes in the introduction:
Our civilization is dying. I make no atonement and pull no punches for this dramatic and bold opening assertion. Our day is gone, the empire has fallen — may its death knell awaken the survivors from their slumber. Amongst the ruins of an empire toppled, a world in tatters awaits our rebirth….This is the true crux of this issue: the chasm of oblivion looms deeper than even Spengler predicted for the West. What serves to tie our community together? There are no ties of kindred, no bonds of affection betwixt the masses of faceless individuals that compose our cities — the average man can barely stand to look his neighbor in the eyes…[The Radical Tradition] is radical not by being part of any existing political framework, but rather because it dares to question the authority of the status quo. The current models of contemporary political discourse are dated, based on paradigms which no longer merit society or attribute to any structures of true value. We are ruled by greed, and greed alone. The only route to bypass this rule of the almighty dollar is to transcend its value, to enact the transubstantiation itself and create gold from the plastic which is the soul of this era.
This book is radical not by extremism, but because it encourages thinking that is honestly “outside the box,” and thus without the comforting talking points that are beaten into our heads by rote through government pamphlets, advertising, and the social chatter of others. These are uncharted waters for most of us.
Luckily, this book offers a guiding light through the fog, and by tackling some of the largest issues in concrete example form, gives us a channel into this potent philosophy that no other single venue can offer. In many ways, it is the book one should read before delving into extensive political and philosophical “big picture” works. It is a big picture made from familiar elements.
At just under 200 pages, The Radical Tradition is a fast read that will leave you chewing over its concepts for weeks, months or years. Lucid and digestible, it offers a pathway through darkness, even as all of those around us chant in unison a denial of darkness itself.