Whatever Happened to Tradition? History, Belonging and the Future of the West by Tim Stanley - review by Jonathan Sumption

Jonathan Sumption

What Did Liberalism Do for Us?

Whatever Happened to Tradition? History, Belonging and the Future of the West

By

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A traditionalist is a person who believes that although we know more than our forebears, we are not necessarily wiser than them. The world was once populated by traditionalists. They placed the golden age in the past and regarded decay as the natural fate of all human constructs. The modern West has placed its own golden age in the future, at least since the Enlightenment. It is far from clear that this has made mankind happier. It has meant a world of frustrated optimism, of unending and disruptive change as men and women try to perfect an inherently imperfect world. At the root of this fundamental change in our outlook is an innate confidence in our ability to invent a future for ourselves so that we no longer need a past to instruct or inspire us.

Tim Stanley is a traditionalist. He is not an opponent of change or progress, but he believes that they should occur within a framework of values derived from the past. This is not only because these values are the fruit of experience extending over generations and are therefore likely

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