Mandeville, LA – Conservatism in a postmodern moment must therefore be different than the conservatism that motivated Burke or Taft or Disraeli or Reagan. The school of conservatism that might be most fitted for this moment, is paradoxically, the one that is the one least inclined to modernity. This would be a form of conservatism known as traditionalist, espoused most prominently by Russell Kirk. James Matthew Wilson has grasped the Burkean insight that to love our country (or our culture) one must first make it lovely. And making things lovely is at the core of conservatism and must remain at the center of any true conservative revival.
Because of this, there is, thankfully, little to nothing here about policy prescriptions or election prospects. If a culture is healthy, those things sort themselves; if it is not, those things do not ultimately matter. In years past, this has been the weakness of [the modern] school: other conservatives thought it fine to invoke the literary history of conservatism but preferred not to delve too much into what that might mean. At worst, these conservatives took the insights from the literary tradition and watered them down into a political program.
To move conservatism forward, we need to recall the centrality of beauty, and of the power of images to work with man’s reason to fashion again stories and a culture that is beautiful. Conservatism must find and create beauty there, too, as well as in other non-textual space such as the liturgy. As Eliot did with modernist poetry, conservatism must use our current fashions to rejoin a salutary populism with its higher transcendent ends, our mythos with logos once again. – Excerpted from Gerald Rusello’s, Beauty Is At The Heart of Conservatism