[Part One is here.]
Recall from Part One that traditionalism reconnects man with the true order of being, an order that is systematically denied by modernity. To become an American traditionalist, you must begin to know the elements of traditionalism so that you can begin to see their value and be nourished by them. How is this to be done?
Start at the beginning. You cannot begin to seek the ways of tradition unless you know you need them to counteract the lies of the modern age. And you cannot know that lies are lies unless you know the truths that correct them.
But even if you don’t know the truth, you can often sense that lies are lies. So your traditionalism begins with a sense of discontent of the contemporary world in which you have been immersed. If you have been blessed with the gift of discontentment with the status quo, read on. Traditionalism has what you need.
[But let the buyer beware: Many charlatans know you are discontented. Learn to avoid their snake oil.]
Traditionalism is not simply following tradition, although the ways of our ancestors are an important part of it. Traditions can be corrupted, so you must know the truth behind the tradition. Traditionalism has value not because it is good to follow the ways of our ancestors (although it usually is), but because we Americans have become collectively foolish under the influence of modernity. We need to reconnect with the wisdom of the ages that our ancestors understood better than we. Traditionalism supplies this life-giving connection.
The most fundamental wisdom of our ancestors is that the God of the Bible (that is, the God who is described in the Bible, not some other god) does exist, and has endowed the world with an order that can be known and in which you can participate. Because God is who He is, the world is not what the contemporary authorities say it is, a place of fundamental indeterminacy where man alone defines reality and therefore can change things whenever he wants. No, there is an order of being that man did not create and that he can know if he pays attention to the world and does not falsely regard himself as the Supreme Being.
In the Bible God tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” [Psalm 14:1, ESV] and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10, ESV] Man cannot be wise if he regards himself as the measure of all things. Man discovers truth, but does not create it.
The existence of God does not just mean that each individual needs to be in proper communion with Him through repentance from sin and faith in Christ. Each individual does need to be saved from the wrath of God in this way, but God’s existence has consequences for all reality. And the simplest way to summarize the full significance of acknowledging God’s existence is by the phrase “order of being.”
That is, the things of the world do not exist in an unordered, value-free way. This is the basic thinking of the secular liberalism that is the officially-endorsed way of thought all of Western Civilization. Under this view, reality is and means whatever man says it does, even if he changes his mind and assigns a new meaning that contradicts the previously-held belief. But since God exists, all of reality has order and value that man does not create, and that he is not free to contradict without dire consequences.
Sex is a good example of this order. At the most basic level, the liberal view that man’s body belongs to him alone and that sexual activity unencumbered by any consequences is one of man’s deepest rights is to be contrasted with the correct view that man belongs to God and is therefore not completely free and that sex is intended to bond man and wife and to propagate the human race.
[Part Three is here.]