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LETTERS

Traditionalism can be desirable — unless it's employed blindly

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David Robertson

Monday, October 29, 2018

Traditionalism is a double-edged sword. Respect for traditional values can promote respect in general, but blindly following in the footsteps of one’s ancestors represents an abdication of personal responsibility, the ethical and spiritual principle from which all others ultimately derive their strength. 

Similarily, progressivism is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, but the idealistic mindset that drives it has a counter-productive tendency to blur the lines between means and ends. Is, for example, universal empathy the path to social justice, or vice versa? If you put the cart before the horse, you’re liable to never get to where you professedly want to go. 

The Enlightenment thinkers were right in believing that there needs to be an alternative to strict traditionalism. But in the first place, a rational appreciation of tradition is certainly possible and probably desirable; and in the second place, any philosophy which depends upon vagueness for its appeal won’t be treated kindly by genuine progress. 

David Robertson

Elizabeth City 

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