Tue, Jul 13, 2004 - Page 9 News List

Traditionalism harbors a special hate for the modern world

By Edward Rothstein  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE

This doesn't mean that all traditionalist belief is fascistic or that its restless quest for lost religious truth is inherently problematic; indeed, much of value has come out of traditionalist examinations of art and religion. But its anti-modern and anti-democratic polemics can have disturbing consequences. And Sedgwick shows that inscribed in its origins is the belief that truth could only be attained by overturning the modern world and its Western host; moral considerations and human consequences are treated as irrelevant.

Traditionalism declared a war in which modernity itself was the enemy. Only in the total destruction of democratic individualism and liberal humanism could the lost wisdom be restored. In some arenas, that is the battle still being fought.

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