T. S. Eliot used another term for what may be a companion description worthy of examination here.
Now might be a good time for conservatives to read Dr. Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind, which can be read online, by the way. In it, Kirk cites Eliot's description of "a new kind of provincialism." See what you think.
In Kirk's last chapter he reviews the works of poets and writers, quoting lines which now seem to bear a striking resemblance to the players on the stage in American politics today.
For instance, in Robert Frost's "A Case for Jefferson," Frost writes of the character Harrison:
"Harrison loves my country too
But wants it all made over new.
. . . .
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens.
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it made over new."
So-called "progressive" leaders in the Administration, the media, and much of Congress fancy themselves "intellectuals."
By their words and actions, however, they display a provinciality reminiscent of that Dr. Kirk recalls from an essay by T.S. Eliot on Virgil:
"In our time, when men seem more than ever to confuse wisdom with knowledge and knowledge with information and to try to solve the problems of life in terms of engineering, there is coming into existence a new kind of provincialism which perhaps deserves a new name. It is a provincialism not of space but of time--one for which history is merely a chronicle of human devices which have served their turn and have been scrapped, one for which the world is the property solely of the living, a property in which the dead hold no share."(Bold added for emphasis)In today's case, the "provinciality" seems to be limited to the "progressives'" dabbling in and discussing the ideas of Mao, Marx, and other theoreticians and believing they can impose those ideas on a free people.
America's written Constitution deserves protectors whose minds are out of "their teens" in terms of their understanding of civilization's long struggle for liberty.
It certainly deserves protectors who do not consider it a "flawed" document because it does not permit the government it structures to run rough shod over the rights of its "KEEPERS, the People" (Justice Story).
Blasting it "all to smithereens" seems to be the goal of the current Administration and so-called "progressives" who control the Executive and one-half of the Legislative branch of government.
The Founders' Constitution's strict limits on coercive power by elected representatives are being ignored and disavowed; the free enterprise system which allowed individual citizens to achieve and excel in their chosen pursuits is being co-opted by elected and unelected bureaucrats; and the rights of conscience, speech, and religion are being trampled as we post here.
"The People" should be debating great ideas such as how to preserve liberty, or, in economic matters, the wisdom of the great moral philosopher, Adam Smith's "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations." Instead, they are being hoodwinked by a president who believes they are ignorant or foolish enough to believe that deficit spending, debt, and government control will lead to prosperity.
When, in 1776, our ancestors felt the heavy hand of the British government "taking" their earnings, regulating their lives, interfering with their beliefs, and asserting coercive control over their actions, they did not waste their time on such trivia.
They wrote great treatises such as "Thoughts on Government" and "Common Sense." They educated their young on the merits of liberty, as opposed to slavery to government, and they did the groundwork which allowed for a written Constitution for self-government to be ratified in the states only eleven years later.
America is about to be bankrupt, both financially and philosophically, and those who have benefited from the Founders' ideas, who call themselves "conservators" (conservatives) of those ideas, should come together to place those ideas before millions of young people who must participate in voting in November on whether they desire liberty or slavery. Women, youth, men, so-called "seniors"--all need to have the choice presented clearly that this election pits the ideas of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and America's other Founders against the ideas of Marx, Lenin, and Keynes.
There are always "useful idiots." That's what every oppressive regime has relied upon. A "useful idiot" with a big megaphone is more dangerous to liberty than millions of ordinary ones, because of the ability to lull more people into a sense of complacency.
America, awaken! This decades-long battle for your liberty has been engaged. But, for decades, you have allowed the ideas of your liberty to be censored from your nation's textbooks and public discourse.
Our best weapon is contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which leaves all the power in "the People's" hands. Read them, amplify upon their principles and ideas by accessing the Founders' writings and speeches.
For a quick review of those principles and the nation's first 50 years under its Constitution, consult John Quincy Adams' "Jubilee" Address here, or a recent reprint of a 1987 Bicentennial collection of the Founders' principles, here.
James Madison stated: "Although all men are born free, slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorantthey have been cheated; asleepthey have been surprised; dividedthe yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? ... the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government, they should watch over it ... It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently free."
It should be noted that this is exactly what Jefferson believed.