Britain

What Is Tradition ?

What Is Tradition  ?

Today, the march of globalisation and progress act as forces of entropy to homogenise culture and identity. This is the “air that kills” that is blowing incessantly in the modern world. These forces cannot be indefinitely resisted, which is why conservativism is an inherently pessimistic ideology. As Lord Salisbury said: “Politics is delay”. Tradition is the tool we use to inject social capital on the local level to delay cultural entropy, in the doomed hope of resisting it on a global level. I take traditions to be activities that are performed collectively by civil society or (occasionally) the state that are repeated over time, treated reverently, reinforce a sense of place and have no immediate useful purpose. They might be the State Opening of Parliament, country shows, church services, marriage, curious uniforms and manners and etiquette, to name some randomly.  They are a secular communion that reaffirm the values and social connections within a country, community and family. Tradition is a therefore a conservative state of mind and evokes the same ideas of habit, settlement, inheritance and membership that we can also see in Houseman’s poetry.