Does 'Tradition' Even Exist Anymore?


For the past while now, a corner of what you might call the 'dissident right' have been moving away from Republican style American, corporate, Christian values and have been moving more toward flirtation with a watered down Traditionalism, a la René Guenon and Julius Evola.

Even putting aside the many conceptual problems one runs into with Traditionalism, the right's use of it is mainly posturing. There's a comical degree to which an entirely apolitical literary movement could have framed the window dressing for a modern political movement; as though our current rabid, inundation with politics, if just focused on a little more for a little longer, will somehow lead us away from politics.

Was it one of the features of the age of Kali Yuga that Kali Yuga itself would amount to little more than something to rage against in comment sections on the internet like hipster Marxists do with capitalism? Traditionalism, ultimately,  is doomed, not because the past should not be recreated, but because it cannot be recreated. One might argue that history is cyclical, but if this were the case, it's highly unlikely that it is such because people have come together and decided they wanted to frame things,  both good and bad,  in the same way they happened before.  No, it's a matter of entropy, agencies and motifs which move on their own through history, recycling old movements and events under new names.

While it would be fun to prophecy that Marxists and Traditionalists would likely get along okay in their respective post-captial/golden age, they will more than likely continue their cartoony ideological beef in new and creative ways if the opportunity permitted them to extend their them beyond the realm of the internet. By turning their ideas into ideological fashion statements, they will simply miss the chance to genuinely extract any potential for new, reified meaning from the traditions they have no direct link to, but will turn them into passwords to what would amount to one more subculture among many in the a la carte  narrative menu of modernity.

Tradition is good to the degree that it works, but it is only good if it selects for what is good. We will not see our way out of the current catastrophes of the world by shopping for the coolest Norse and Hindu gods (a wholly consumerist approach to spirituality), nor will converting to Catholicism perturb the process of wishy-washyness which that church has been undergoing for the past 100 odd years.

The future will have to have its own traditions. You don't get their by disparaging the 'modern world' in the present and hoping it will all even out when the right cycle comes around. New traditions, I suspect, will forge themselves precisely in the crucible of modern crisis.