Friday, October 23, 2009

Lukacs the “Reactionary”

I've just re-read John Lukac's Confessions of an Original Sinner (1990), his "auto-history". This second journey through his book and life proved as interesting—perhaps more interesting—than the first, simply because (slowly) I'm beginning to get a handle on this man. He thinks of himself first and foremost as "a writer", and I find his style, his voice, quite engaging. Of course, I don't know that I agree with all of his perspectives, but I know that whatever his perspective, it will prove interesting and thought-provoking, if not downright entertaining. Thus, when dealing with someone who writes so well, I think that the best thing to do is to quote him, and so here begins what I hope will be a series of quotes from Confessions.

    "A reactionary considers character but distrusts publicity; he is a patriot but not a nationalist; he favors conservation rather than conservatism; he defends the ancient blessings of the land and is dubious about the results of technology; he believes in history, not in Evolution. To be a reactionary in the second half of the twentieth century has every possible professional and social disadvantage. Yet it has a few advantages that are divine gifts during this dreary decline of Western civilization. A reactionary will recognize how, contrary to Victor Hugo's hoary nineteenth-century cliché, A Idea Whose Time Has Come may not be any good. This kind of skepticism is, of course, a reaction to the largely mechanical propagation of ideas in the twentieth century, to their management and marketing through the crude machinery of publicity." (3-4)