Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adieu, Culture 11

Rod (good newspaperman that he is) broke the news yesterday, and it became official last night: the brief, fine run of Culture 11 has ended. It's a pity: it filled a unique niche in the world of political/cultural/intellectual discussion on what might yet be a new Right. It was an effort to do for a new generation what "National Review" sought to achieve about half a century ago. Its financial problems - immediately a casualty of the economic crisis - I suspect would have been nonetheless perennial, since it sought a new direction for (or dare I say a rediscovery of an older, truer form of) conservatism, and not one that necessarily was going to be embraced by the financial powers in the Republican party. So, now the question still remains: is there a venue for new thinking, a deeper rethinking - or rediscovery of - conservatism that does not begin with trying to put together the ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle of Reagan's coalition? Is the a place for conservatism that is particularly attentive to the role of culture in fostering a good society, and in conserving traditions that are otherwise everywhere under duress in modernity? A conservatism that places front and center concerns for the local and the particular in this age of globalizing homogeneity? What of a new "green" conservatism that embraces the core ideal of "conservation" that ought rightly to lie at the heart of conservatism, that emphasizes the rightful place of "nature" in contrast to the human-centered emphasis on "environment"? And a place for religion that orients us away from the insistence of the things of this world to a priority of the eternal, and which rightly moves us away from an emphasis on self and urges the most difficult of the virtues - faith, charity, humility? Ironically enough, the internet still seems the likely "place" where to bring together a thoughtful group thinking through to a different and new direction, but perhaps a smaller outpost that will - in the best conservative sense - grow organically. Let's hope.

As for me - I return here to my modest outpost on the internets. I'll be posting here again occasionally. Welcome back to me.


Anonymous said...

Professor Deneen,

I have long enjoyed "What I Saw in America" and regretted the fact that it was relatively inactive while you sojourned at Culture11. Mightn't you consider giving it another go?

Why not follow the plan you had in mind at "Postmodern Conservative" and post one major piece a week? Any academic materials that you would care to make available here, as you have in the past, would also be greatly appreciated.

In any case, I applaud your effort as a thinker to critique American civilization from the standpoint of classical political philosophy and Christianity. I've read your blog from the beginning and feel I've learned a great deal.

Please know that you have at least one faithful reader (though surely many more).

Patrick Deneen said...

Thanks. That's pretty much my idea, to take up writing here a weekly essay, though I may not be self-disciplined enough to write on a specific day or solely once a week, as had been my plan.

I appreciate your kind words, and must admit that I'm glad to be back at my little site. Something of an interesting "community" has developed here and between a few other sites, and I hope it continues. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

That is most unfortunate.

A reworking of conservatism -or, rather, its rediscovery- is much needed. Though this movement has yet to find a leader in America, there are many elements of this conservatism to be found emerging in England with David Cameron's emphasis on localism.

F. Ames