Furthest Right

Reading Literature Will Make You A Conservative

Despite the sheer weight of hippie-fash in academia, especially the liberals arts, the roots of the liberal arts are based on an idea: to study human history through the unbroken line of ideas, bypassing details and material methods in favor of understanding concepts and spirit. It is a study of ourselves through our interaction with our world.

Currently, the great fad is to bang the tin drum of STEM, but mostly this is an offshoot of the latest Great Hope which is that somehow the dying internet economy will support us. Alas, no: cell phones are selling less, as are tablets and apps, and ad revenue from online sources continues to fall. The internet has become daytime television but with less power of influence because it is an interactivity product, not a message. As it falls, the STEM fetishism will as well.

But a liberal arts education has much to offer. First of all, it is a study of stories: how characters faced a problem, took different approaches, and what the result of each one was. This consequentialist approach shows the basic method of conservatism, which is to look at past activity and see what produced golden excellence, and what merely made mediocrity.

Further, the liberal arts is a study of history as a progress of ideas, not random events of a purely material cause. We see in literature how single people, committed to a vision, can change history — and how always the herd opposes them for rising above, and tries to tear them down.

Finally, the liberal arts — philosophy, history, literature, art — teach us to view life as more than a duty, but a change for beauty, joy and pleasure. This is the pleasure one takes from a task well done, or a hard realization after a sleepless night; it teaches us transcendence, to value achievement of mental clarity and effects on the world over sensation. In this it teaches us how to live.

Reading the great books of history as literature, including the Bible, shows us how we cannot cut and paste a small segment of a vast story and treat it as ideology. Instead, we must trace the paths through history of what people thought, what challenges they faced, the actions they took and how they worked out. Through this, literature will make us all conservatives, if we open our minds to its meaning.

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