Tradition is the protector of real progress

When we talk about tradition, many people think of England, the Queen, the House of Lords, Rolls Royces, top hats and British poise and poise… All these impressions, taken as a whole, evoke divergent reactions in people’s minds.

Fascination for modern times

Many see tradition in different colors as time goes by depending on the different impressions that the current lifestyle successively makes on them. Sometimes they are fascinated by the hustle and bustle of big modern cities. They get excited about the colossal organizations, the gigantic plans and the technology of today, all of which make science fiction a reality. At these moments, tradition looks to many of our contemporaries as a sad backwardness.

Tradition as a sublime resting place for the soul

In the midst of the whirlwind that overturns all hierarchies and blows away all clothing, tradition feels like a suffocating yoke. But when the triumphant vulgarity of an increasingly egalitarian world, the noisy, hectic and frantic rhythm of everyday life and the instability that threatens all institutions, all rights and all situations, causes neurosis, anxiety and stress in millions of our time, then the tradition. appears to them as a sublime resting place for the soul, common sense, good education, good order and, in short, the art of sensible living.

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How should we think about tradition?

The question then is what to think of tradition. What are we to make of the moments of excessive desire and the long days of excessive aversion which are so similar to the hunger and loss of appetite of some patients?

Flights from the subject

There are many who do not know how to resolve the fleeting and subtle spiritual dilemma that sometimes tears their souls apart over this question. And then they run away from the subject. This flight undoubtedly causes a wall of silence in this matter. In general, however, this silence does not mean indifference. Rather, it is a result of both confusion and hypersensitivity. The subject is too painful. Wouldn’t it be better to avoid it and have a drink?

Read also: What does the Christian tradition actually say about immigration?

Red standard with golden lion

The crimson standard with the golden rampant lion, like the TFPs [1] in so many cities around the world invites us not to become discouraged and weakly withdraw from the subject, but to dissolve it and thus achieve an inner peace which only the truth gives completely and which all the drinks in the world cannot give .

Harmonious continuation of the past

Tradition is the sum of the past plus a present related to it. The present should not be the negation of the past, but rather its harmonious continuation.

Read also: What do the symbols on TFP mean?

Lively reactions

Why does our standard evoke reactions that are much more lively than the emblem of a party or an association? Why does he arouse all kinds of likes and dislikes, from people kissing him adoringly, staring at it as if singing a hymn, to hatefully trying to tear it apart and throw it to the ground? In large part, I think, precisely because it raises that issue. So what does this standard mean? That the past should stand still? That all the present must be accepted?

Neither past nor present

The TFP standard does not escape the problem. He denies it. She rejects that tradition is only the past and therefore does not fit into the present. True tradition is basically neither for the past as such nor for the present as such. It presupposes two principles: (a) that every authentic and living order of things has in itself a constant impulse to improvement and perfection; (b) That true progress, therefore, consists not in breaking, but in moving upward.

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Christian tradition is an incomparable value

In short, tradition is the sum of the past plus a present related to it. The present should not be the negation of the past, but rather its harmonious continuation. More concretely, our Christian tradition is an incomparable value that must dominate the present. For example, it ensures that equality is not perceived as the annihilation of the elites and as an apotheosis of vulgarity; that freedom is not a pretext for chaos and corruption; that dynamism does not become a frenzy; that technology does not enslave people. In short, it will prevent progress from becoming inhumane, intolerable and hateful.

Organized barbarism

The purpose of tradition is therefore not to stifle progress, but to prevent it from drifting absurdly far into organized barbarism. The barbarism against which another barbarism rises, disheveled and furious: that of Marcusianism. [2]

The previous article was originally published in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. It has been translated and adapted for publication without author revision. – Red.


[1] ‘TFP’ stands for tradition, family and private property. These are the fundamental principles of Christian civilization. Around these principles, through the influence of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, an international movement of associations and foundations has arisen, to which the Culture under Fire campaign is also linked.

[2] The ideology of German sociologist Herbert Marcuse, influential thinker of the Frankfurt School and of the cultural and sexual revolution that swept the world in the 1960s.

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