Good and Bad Tradition
If you can’t think for yourself (or believe that you can’t) you prefer to leave the thinking to the traditions into which you were born. If those traditions are well-balanced, you and those around you may benefit from them. But how can you know if they are actually good traditions if you forfeit your ability to think like a smart human and instead live the instinctive life of an animal that lives its preprogrammed life? Don’t you throw away the greatest gift of humanity, the ability to evaluate, analyze, and improve things?
The theme I am discussing in this short piece is one of the two main pillars of Republican-co-opted conservatism: the placement of tradition over thinking. (Blind faith in authority is the other.) I am not saying that conservatism is bad. Good things deserve to be preserved. But do bad things deserve to be preserved, too? I don’t think so.
The good thing we should preserve above all is the ancient commitment to goodness, the dedication for a good life for all, at least all who don’t act against this principle. This principle of cooperation, community, and camaraderie is what allowed humanity to survive in a hostile wilderness world of eat and be eaten. It also allowed it to gradually develop a world more suitable for human survival: a world where dangerous animals are kept in check, a world of clean running water and sewage systems, reliable food production, comfortable housing, powerful medicine, information technology, and many more useful things. This human-made world even sports automation which could free us all from unpleasant chores instead of casting many of us into unemployed poverty — if only we still lived by the ancient human covenant, the principle of cooperation, justice, fairness, participatory decision making, or – simply put – a good life for all.
This principle has however been thrown out of the window by “conservative” political parties and their followers, and by so-called liberal parties and their followers as well. Therefore, the goal to create a world that is committed to a good life for all is both the ideal conservative AND the logical progressive goal: the goal to conservatively preserve what little is left of it and progressively restore and improve on what has been lost of it. It’s the natural main goal for all decent people. It’s the principle around which a sensible people’s party or people’s coalition and a people’s movement can form, putting aside restrictive labels like conservative and progressive and focusing on what makes sense.
The one thing we should honor and follow as a tradition is the ability of Americans to challenge old notions, reject evil systems, and fight for a good one, like our founding fathers did. Is there anything more American than this? Aren’t we proud of this heritage and haven’t we been admired by the whole world for this for many generations following the American Revolution whose slogans are repeated worldwide to this day? Americans like Mark Twain used to travel the globe, spread the American notion of liberty by democracy, and be welcomed everywhere with open arms and loving hearts. We were the freethinkers of the world which made us the Shining Beacon of Hope.
We now live in an age where traditional political parties have become corrupt tools of a horrid global ruling class of oligarchic plutocrats (called robber billionaires by me) who eat democracy for breakfast and rob us all blind, out of a tradition of unfettered greed which developed in their aristocratic predecessors’ past. It is high time to replace those corrupted parties (and their awful tradition of callous and destructive avarice) with a people’s unity formed around the profoundly human and time-honored principle of a good life and voice that matters for all, a concept not unlike the founding principles of our nation.
Dirk Droll is the publisher, main writer, and senior editor of Beanstock’s World.