A major problem facing traditionalists today is that we naturally tend to regard the past fairly favourably, but liberals and the cultural left have had a century or more in which to paint the kind of distorted picture of the past that suits their agenda. The Narrative applies as much to the past as it does to the present. And a negative view of the past has now been well and truly ingrained in the minds of most people.
That negative view has been propagated through schools and the news media and through books but most of all through movies and TV programs. It is important to remember that most people do not distinguish between fiction and non-fiction. If they watch a movie they might understand that the actual story itself is fiction but they assume that the background to the story is basically factual. If the movie is set in the 1930s then they assume that it’s giving them an accurate and faithful picture of life in that decade. Of course nothing could be further from the truth but the average person has a touching belief in the basic honesty of people who make movies and TV shows.
This makes it incredibly difficult to persuade people that perhaps the past wasn’t so bad, that perhaps the beliefs and values of the past were as valid as the beliefs and values of today, and most of all it makes it near-impossible to persuade people that life in the past may actually have been pretty good, and even fun.
If you suggest to anyone under the age of 40 that maybe life was a lot more pleasant in the 1950s they’ll look at you as if you’re mad. They know that in the 50s in the American South blacks were being lynched by the hundreds every year, they know that homosexuals were brutally persecuted, they know that women were not allowed to leave the kitchen, they know that liberals were thrown into prison just for being liberals, they know that teenagers were forbidden to have fun, they know that life was grim and miserable and oppressive. They know all these things because their teachers have told them that’s how it was and they’ve seen modern movies set in the 50s and those movies have confirmed everything their teachers tell them. The fact that none of these things are true makes no difference. The cultural left controls the megaphone and their view of the past prevails.
If you try to suggest that perhaps the Victorian age wasn’t so bad and that the Victorians weren’t all vicious capitalist robber barons, that not all eight-year-olds were sent to work in coal mines or that the Victorians were not hopelessly sexually repressed you just are not going to be listened to.
If you’re unwise enough to put forward the notion that the Middle Ages might not have been a constant nightmare of filth, squalor and violence then again you’re not going to be believed. People today know how brutal that era was, they’ve seen it in movies. They know for example all about the droit de seigneur, the right of the local lord to have sex with any young unmarried girl under his dominion. The fact that this right didn’t exist doesn’t matter – their teachers will have assured them that it was true.
If we are to have any success in promoting the idea that traditional values, traditional lifestyles, traditional sex roles, are worth emulating we have to be able to sell those ideas. We have to make such ideas sound not just reasonable but desirable and attractive. We have to convince people that traditionalism isn’t just good for society but that it promotes individual happiness. We need to sell the idea that traditionalists have more fun. That’s very difficult to do when the megaphone is in the hands of those who are determined to convince people that the past was a horrible nightmare and that today we live in the happiest most enlightened period in all of human history.
We also need to distinguish traditionalism from puritanism. Puritanism was a destructive religious heresy and, in a mutated secular form, it is very much with us today. It still exists to some extent as a religious heresy. Puritanism has always been unhealthy. The Cultural Left never misses an opportunity to paint traditionalists, and especially Christian traditionalists, as grim humourless puritans.
In fact puritanism has been a major strain in many destructive leftist ideologies, especially feminism. And the mindset of the modern SJW is to a large extent a puritan mindset, obsessed with sin.
Given that traditionalists are not likely to be granted any access to the megaphone I really don’t know how we’re going to promote the idea of traditionalism as the secret to happiness. But I do know that our biggest problem is that it has been so easy for our enemies to portray us as miserable oppressive killjoys.