October 12, 2011

Great Conservative Writers

Too Involved for a Comment, But There's No Money for Comprehensive Research. And "No money for comprehensive research" is where a lot of these posts are going to stop.

I'm trying to think of great conservative writers in English: Churchill comes to mind, and a limitless fucknut on India was he, but he was also conservative of liberal democracy at shall we say a key moment.

Some I can think of many would be conservative if transplanted in time, but absolutely not relative to their time: say Kipling. I've heard puddingheads argue, quite stupidly, that Mark Twain was conservative. Shakespeare- Liberal catholic, I suppose by modern standards.

Now Patrick O'Brien comes to mind- a shelf of books in love with the British navy of 1810. He's anti-revolutionary as far as Napoleonic France; but that doesn't qualify you as a modern right-wing conservative. With his unflattering portrayals of aristocratic privilege, at best, he's basically Whigish- and approving of the need of defined social roles. He's conservative in the long-gone literal sense of conservation- the slightest reading of Maturin shows no possible love of anything in the GOP.

Here's your test: would Patrick O Brien have voted for George W. Bush? How about Winston Churchill? No? How about Ezra Pound?

People argue Shakespeare was essentially conservative because he did not challenge the state. But of course he did: he presented kings as flawed, doubt-twisted human beings, as something far, far short of the divine.   Radical really, and beloved of Elizabeth I suspect for that deniable but humanizing recognition.   People also argue he was secretly another man, an aristocrat, because a commoner could never be that educated.  People say all kinds of self-inflating things. And by people I mean actual elitists.

Great writers do not idolize wealth and power - that's as dull as the souls of the saved praising God all day forever. Great writers attempt universal empathy. That's pretty well it. When they don't, they aren't great.  I mean that literally- their ideas and stories and subjects are not large, lasting, in-depth or encompassing, nor are they potentially valuable to any reader that might come along.   If you are short of some form of attempted universal empathy, your concept is going to be small and forced and limited. Even Homer, HOMER, covered both sides of the war with empathy.

There are of course exceptions, no doubt you can think of some- in the same way there are Vatican Astronomers.  Maybe the guy that wrote all those "Left Behind" books.


Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Mark Helprin.

October 12, 2011 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger First Sea Lord said...

Yes, is he working for the Vatican now?

October 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger First Sea Lord said...

PS, anyone who suggests Ayn Rand gets a cap in their ass.

October 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger First Sea Lord said...

A couple I want to rule out right now: Edmund Burke (Brooks loves Burke, in a huggy, kissy way), and George Orwell. The recent flurry of love for Orwell on the right is like hearing a Republican go on about how great John Coltrane is.

October 12, 2011 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger First Sea Lord said...

David Mamet does count. But that doesn't mean he's not a fucknut.

October 12, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 13, 2011 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

I have one word for you:
Robert Nozick

October 13, 2011 at 6:33 AM  

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