The Counter-Revolution and the Craving After Novelties

February 6, 2020



The tendency of so many of our contemporaries, children of the Revolution, is to unrestrictedly love the present, adore the future, and unconditionally consign the past to scorn and hatred. This tendency gives rise to a series of misunderstandings about the Counter-Revolution that should be brought to an end. Above all, it seems to many that the traditionalist and conservative character of the Counter-Revolution renders it a born enemy of human progress.

1. The Counter-Revolution Is Traditionalist
A. Reason

As we have seen, the Counter-Revolution is an effort developed in terms of the Revolution. The Revolution constantly turns against a whole legacy of Christian institutions, doctrines, customs, and ways of being, feeling, and thinking that we received from our forefathers and that are not yet completely abolished. The Counter-Revolution is therefore the defender of Christian traditions.

Strangler Fig, wrapping itself around another tree.

B. The Smoking Wick

The Revolution attacks Christian civilization in a manner that is more or less like that of a certain tree of the Brazilian forest. This tree, the strangler fig Urostigma olearia, by wrapping itself around the trunk of another tree, completely covers it and kills it. In its “moderate” and low-velocity currents, the Revolution approached Christian civilization in order to wrap itself around it and kill it. We are in a period in which this strange phenomenon of destruction is still incomplete. In other words, we are in a hybrid situation wherein what we would almost call the mortal remains of Christian civilization, and the aroma and remote action of many traditions only recently abolished yet still somehow alive in the memory of man, coexist with many revolutionary institutions and customs.

Faced with the struggle between a splendid Christian tradition in which life still stirs and a revolutionary action inspired by the mania for novelties to which Leo XIII referred in the opening words to the encyclical Rerum Novarum, it is only natural that the true counter-revolutionary be a born defender of the treasury of good traditions, for these are the values of the Christian past that remain and must be saved. In this sense, the counter-revolutionary acts like Our Lord, Who did not come to extinguish the smoking wick nor to break the bruised reed.39 Therefore, he must lovingly try to save all these Christian traditions. A counter-revolutionary action is, essentially, a traditionalist action.

C. False Traditionalism

The traditionalist spirit of the Counter-Revolution has nothing in common with a false and narrow traditionalism, which conserves certain rites, styles, or customs merely out of love for old forms and without any appreciation for the doctrine that gave rise to them. This would be archaeologism, not a sound and living traditionalism.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution(York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part II, Ch. III, pp. 77-79. rcr-p2-chap3

39. Cf. Matt. 12:20.


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