Stephen O’Kane 13 December 2011
I guess that most of what I’ve said over the last 30 years or so would suggest I’m not a romantic, although I do tend to scoff at the classical/romantic dichotomy, especially in music, as being a load of overblown nonsense. I do actually agree with those people who maintain our modern society lacks adequate discipline. But if only the thought would ever occur to them to look elsewhere besides history and tradition as a basis for the discipline! Nowadays, we are learning the hard way that, for example, children suffer with family breakdown irrespective of the disappearance of stigmas attaching to illegitimacy – pernicious just because they had no connection to responsibility for one’s actions. Again, they suffer whether they are poor or affluent. That is a lesson which modern experience teaches. No history or tradition could ever teach that, which is precisely why the permissives of yesteryear did not know or understand it.
So, I suspect the modern chaos will continue regardless until someone has the wit to link discipline and reliability with something other than traditions which all too often appear as mindless cheer-up rhetoric or as tourist attractions without actually influencing most people’s lives. Incidentally, a proper sense of history might remind people that the King James Bible did not unite the English even when first published; a generation later saw a civil war and republican dictatorship. No matter how often ‘conservatives’ win elections or even show the limitations of ‘progressives’ by argument modernity does not go away.