The long history of professional reactionary hucksters

“When a society renounces politics,” the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote, “it can find other ways of expressing its identity.” Despite the infinite variety of the human imagination, these ways are remarkably few. When a political or social cause — the Stuart claim to the crowns of England and Scotland, the Confederate States of America, the use of Cranmerian English in public worship — is effectively defeated, it lives on as the Order of the White Rose or the Daughters of the Confederacy or the Prayer Book Society. Such nostalgism (to whose charms I am not entirely immune) is wholly lacking in vitality and initiative.



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