[Originally published at The Imaginative Conservative]
Should one generation ever consider itself greater than any other generation, past or future, Edmund Burke warned in his magisterial Reflections on the Revolution in France, the entire fabric of a civilization might very well unravel and, ultimately, disintegrate. Our modern ears have no right to discount Burke’s argument as simple hyperbole. What takes centuries to build and hone, however, can take moments to undo. We have witnessed numerous generations since Burke wrote this, and we have seen the arrogance of several, but most especially the Vatican II generation and the so-called “counter-culture” generation of the 1960s. To this day, we suffer from the arrogance of each. They each, in the name of toleration, progress, liberalism, and humanitarianism to submit to their teachings blindly. As one great Canadian and Stoic man of letters argued in the early 1980s, “They shout about love, but when push comes to shove, they fight for things they’re afraid of.”
Once a generation succeeds in separating itself from past and future, it harms not just civilization but the very dignity of man. The individual man, unanchored, becomes, Burke noted darkly, “would become little better than the flies of summer.”
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