Friday, January 9, 2009

The proper role of tradition in Civil Society

John Fox

Studying for a Masters in English at the University of Auckland. He studied at the University of Canterbury, graduating with a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in English, History and Biological Sciences. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Literature in 2005.

  • A proper appreciation of tradition, heritage and historical institutions is a vital part of the foundations and maintenance of Civil Society. Recognising the role of tradition in the creation of institutions that maintain social order is tremendously important. Civil Society plays an important role in the preservation of heritage; by heritage virtue; and by virtue, true progress. I shall briefly examine the importance of tradition to Civil Society: as a source of experience, as a creator of institutions, and as a source of inspiration.
  • Civil Society has always recognized a life well-lived when it saw one; it has been left to the cynicism of our modern age to turn from praising exemplars of faith, courage and fortitude to cynicism and sniping.
  • It is the business of a Civil Society to transmit virtue to its citizens, to encourage them to conform their conduct to the moral law. This is done in all three spheres of traditional institution—namely, in the civil government through the law and education; in the family through the transmission of values and modelling of standards of conduct; and in the religious sphere. When all three institutions work in harmony, the moral law is tied into a coherent values system. The weak are protected. The strong are restrained. When they are in competition, the moral fabric of Civil Society begins to unravel.

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