This video and the lyrics that go with it nicely summarize the paleoconservative world view and its critique of modern society. The featured song, “The Way,” paints a disturbing allegory of a boomer generation deserting its children for the pleasures of the flesh and the illusion of endless adolescence — what the composer acidly describes as their “eternal summer slacking.” In the video, the adults drink their wine and simply walk away from their children, their greatest responsibility, and their real attachment to the future:
They now had more important things to say
And when the car broke down
They started walking
Where were they going without ever knowing the way?
What can children do without their elders to provide a bridge between them and their past, their heritage, and to their own journey? Life must go on, so on they go — but like their faithless elders, they have no idea what they’re doing:
The children woke up
And they couldn’t find ‘em
They left before the sun came up that day
They just drove off
And left it all behind ‘em
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?
We, as a society, have convinced ourselves we no longer need traditional roots, and many even shun them as unenlightened and discriminatory. But the accumulated wisdom of inherited experience is far, far greater than the imagination of even the most proud philosopher. The human need for belonging, purpose, and a sense of continuity and direction cannot be ignored. Substitutes will be found, whether in the seductive form of the shared victimhood of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance, or the maniacal, bogus fraternity of the Skinheads. It’s just one more consumer choice. And choice is a good thing, right?
Not always. There are the real things in life, those essentials that make us who we are and link us to a greater community. We are social beings, and our active participation in an historical society not only preserves humanity, but fulfills the individual.
As Edmund Burke observed, the proper balance of liberty and order can only be maintained if â€œ… the whole great drama of national life [is] reverently received as ordered by a Power to which past, present, and future are organically knit stages in one Divine plan.â€ He also wrote, “Society is a contract between the past, the present and those yet unborn.”
We have broken that contract, and have looted the storehouse of our inheritance, thinking it’s boundless. But now the party’s over, and we’re beginning to see the consequences of abandoning the wisdom, the meaning, and the guidance of our own heritage.
Where are you going?