There is a common trope in the far-right where people romanticize certain eras in history because of their malaise with the modern world. I often see propaganda from the 50’s featuring an idyllic couple with well groomed children, a manicured lawn, a beautiful home, and everything looks perfect. An vision of the American ideal, the dream, a normal life which seems so impossible now in the current economic and political climate.
The 50’s was an era of peace in America after decades of war and poverty. Everything seemed to be so wonderful – the economy was good, there was a solid culture based on morals and hard work, and having a family was easy and rewarding – really, everything we ask for now.
But it was a time when society was completely restructuring itself. It was not an era that could have been sustained for very long. There was new technology that was changing everything .The automobile became available to everyone. Cities began to be built for the car. Drive-through restaurants and theaters, suburbs, wider roads, levels of space and separation from your neighbor. The television became a staple in the home. Pills began to produced for every and any malady, new breakthroughs in psychological studies pathologizing things you never knew could be cured with drugs! The pursuit of “normalcy” became a glossing over of any spiritual infirmity. Children were sent to public schools, which by this point were formulated as training for factory work. They were taught to conform to the ideals of industry, to fit in with the norm and to suppress emotion.
Even the family structure was beginning to change. The nuclear family became the norm as old folk’s homes began to open to take care of the elderly, removing them much from the lives of their grandchildren. Without a sense of roots, the flower child generation began expressing their isolation by transgressing against the norms taught to them in school and home. Individuality and intemperance became an end of itself as a reaction to the uniformity and soulless consumer culture of the 50’s. Promiscuity and drug use were a reaction against sterile morality with no mysticism.
The flower child generation rebelled because of the shallow, neutered form of Consumer Christianity being practiced in the 50’s. They had no idea what real spirituality looked like; thus in reaction they sought out intense experiences and in doing so began an era of decadence. It was just another reaction to a reaction to a reaction.
History is a chain of reactions which has crescendo-ed into the age we are in now. Without speaking to the quality of life or the events befalling us today, we cannot be sure if it is any better or worse of a time to be alive as any other. The more prosperity a nation has, the more degeneracy comes with it, and with wartime comes certain virtues and courage, but also death and despair. No matter what time you live in, there are challenges and obstacles which can help you achieve salvation. No utopia has ever existed, and we would become tyrants trying to create one.
We are in a time in which we as traditional Christians do not have popular support. Even if we did, Christianity does not spread by ideology or revolution, (Saint Constantine is an exception, you LARPers) but through the saints and their sacrifices and humility. If we want to make a change in the world, we must first seek the Kingdom of God, acquire humility, and repent of our sins. If we pray, then we can build love and grow our communities from the bottom up. For anything we do to be lasting, we have to break the cycle of reaction, and start living by the principle of non-reaction. If we approach the world with dispassion, nothing will shock or upset our inner peace, and we will gravitate those toward us who have the same goals and intentions. If we have that stability within ourselves, we can establish it around ourselves too. From there, we can pass down a spiritual tradition in this nation and create a Christian culture that will last.
Traditionalism isn not a romanticization of times that have passed, but a recognition that God is supreme over all beings and that we must structure our society as such. Many people identify with this or that ideology but really all they seek is an excuse to live in a fantasy. It would be better just to call yourself a Christian, sometimes.