Ancient conservatism centers on the idea of remaining static. Things in society are the way they are and they need to remain that way. This transitions into another idea of both classical and modern conservatism — tradition. Conservatives value tradition. As Edmund Burke said, “I put my foot in the tracks of my forefathers where I can neither wander nor stumble.”
Hannah Moore, a fellow conservative, believed there was an elite class and a working class and tried convincing the working class that they needed to remain as part of the working class. She wanted to maintain political and social stability. Essentially she, too, valued tradition and wanted England’s ways and norms to remain.
This all brings me to my point. Recently, a Grand Valley University (west coast of Michigan) student wrote an article for that school’s newspaper. The article revolved around the idea of tradition just like conservatism does. Click here for article. The article is titled There is Only Room for One Holiday. The author argues that, in America, there is no room for any winter holiday except for Christmas. He bases his argument around a Facebook status post that includes phrases like “If you don’t like our “Customs” and it offends you so much then GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY… They are called customs and we have our traditions. Don’t Like It…. PISS OFF!!!” Personally, I wouldn’t use some of the same colorful or hostile language as the person that wrote this post, but I think he nailed it. America does have certain customs and traditions that I believe are being jeopardized. We risk losing our identity when people fight for the right to maintain America as a one-religion nation and that we should only celebrate certain holidays or practice certain customs.
If it wasn’t clear for those of you reading the article, it’s a satire. Some think it’s too satirical and offensive. I, however, do not. The notion that there are actually people in our country that are upset by customs and traditions (whether it is in reference to winter holidays or just in general) different than their own are ludicrous. People that claim that American traditions are solely that of Christian traditions do not understand the premise of America’s foundation. America was founded, among other reasons, with the intent to escape religious persecution and the right to believe what one chooses and celebrate how one chooses. These freedoms and rights to celebrate Hanukah, Kwanzaa, something else, or the right to celebrate nothing at all is a true American tradition that this country has maintained since before it officially became a country.
In an ancient conservatism sermon, it states, “…the earth, trees… and all manner of beasts keep their order…” Professor Lavaque-Manty summed up that sermon with, “The whole world is in a perfect order.” I acknowledge, along with Edmund Burke, that the world cannot remain static but tradition can remain constant. The “perfect order” we have in this country is our tradition of constant freedom to make our own decisions. Those decisions entail anything from which religion one wants to practice to customs and holidays one celebrates.
Do you agree with the idea that, like conservatism stresses, tradition is vital and we must abide by it? And do you think that tradition in America includes the freedom to choose which holiday or customs or what not to participate in? The multitude of diverse traditions in America is one of our greatest traditions.