I sometimes read a little group blog called The Orthosphere. It’s run by a bunch of conservative men who seem really sincere about promoting traditionalism. The problem is that they profoundly misunderestimate what kind of polemic would serve to promote traditionalism as an abstraction. A recent post there is a case in point, but what this post is about is not the abstract, overlong attempt at conversion rhetoric, but a comment following the post about living more normally/traditionally.
Here’s the relevant half of the comment:
“…living correctly is not currently allowed. It’s politically incorrect. But individuals can score small victories in their everyday lives. They can refuse to agree with what they know is wrong. They can act rightly in their own lives or, when forced by overwhelming power to act wrongly, they can do so minimally, under protest. Perhaps we should open a new thread where people are invited to share the ways they resist the current order, act rightly, and maintain their sanity. We must not lose heart because our ideals have been declared thoughtcrime. Current conditions will not last.”
This assertion is correct in that living correctly in a piecemeal, cafeteria fashion is policed and getting increasingly difficult to do if one is conservative. But this commenter misses the observed reality that doing so in a complete fashion, with a real parallel system is still on the table. That is the gist of my post here.
Serious conservatives could be buying properties like this with a few other families and setting up a practical agrarian/distributist lifestyle and even potential spouses for their children and a real possibility of grandchildren and future inheritance. That property has multiple single family homes and enough acreage for each family to “own” one of several crops (livestock is a potential crop, not just plants) and use that specialization opportunity to maximize returns. Also, with several families living near each other but having their own homes, household tasks could be split up and rotated in traditional agrarian fashion so that nobody was overwhelmed.
Since the property is located in the super-boonies, living near several like-minded families would make the stresses of driving 2-4 hours to the “big cities” to sell the farm products a great deal more tolerable. And the small core of families could still build relationships and friendships with the locals, but wouldn’t be demoralized if those social ties never formed to a deep extent (which is sometimes the way of things in isolated rural areas). Living far away from one’s biological relatives would have a lot of the sting taken out, as the redundancy of multiple families means it would be possible to maintain regular visits and contact without the problems that come from leaving crops to do family visiting. And financially, the property doesn’t require each individual family to have a huge income to pay their portion of a mortgage or massive savings to buy outright.
This is one path to “having all things in common” without ignoring the importance of access to private property and individual opportunities to build wealth and inheritance long-term. I would also note that there are dozens if not hundreds of these sorts of properties for sale right this very minute, all over the United States. The work would be hard and challenging, and certainly people have to save up something first, but this is on the table as an option instead of laments about being priced out of the suburbs, where one would have to struggle in a very different and more risky way with a piecemeal approach to living normally.
One doesn’t have to go full Amish, but one does have to set up a lifestyle that lays groundwork for restoration of healthy social structures and institutions by starting with a small group of like minds and branching out from there. The barnacle approach of continuing to cling to the pieces of liberalism that appeal to you while rejecting the pieces that don’t is not going to continue to be a path for conservatives going forward. Just as the True Way of faith in Christ is narrow, so too is the list of viable options for preserving normal life for future generations.
Them’s the breaks. Industrialization and modernity mean we just can’t rely on the old dividends of traditional living. They’re spent up and we have to just grit the old teeth and give up some precious temporal things now or see our children lose them all.