....vs. pop-culture, the infatuation of the hour.
"Burke’s affection for prejudice and prescription was not new in English thought. Chesterfield had written, “A prejudice is by no means (though generally thought so) an error; on the contrary, it may be a most unquestioned truth, though it bestill a prejudice in those who, without any examination, take it upon trust and entertain it by habit.... The bulk of mankind have neither leisure nor knowledge sufficient to reason right; why should they be taught to reason at all? Will not honest instinct prompt, and wholesome prejudices guide them, much better than half reasoning?”
This is precisely what Burke meant. [...] Courage was required to make declarations in defense of prejudice; in a lesser man, such an attitude would have met with the contempt of the literary public. Burke they could not scorn, however; for reason was as conspicuousin him as in any man in England. [...]
Does the observance of prejudice and prescription, then, condemn mankind to a perpetual treading in the footsteps of their ancestors? Burke has no expectation that men can be kept from social change; neither is rigidity of form desirable. [I.e., the Amish, etc.]
Change is inevitable, he says, and is designed providentially for the larger conservation of ociety; properly guided, change is a process of renewal. But let change come as the consequence of a need generally felt, not inspired by fine-spun abstractions. Our part is to patch and polish the old order of things, trying to discern the difference between a profound, slow, natural alteration and some infatuation of the hour. By and large, change is a process independent of conscious human endeavor, if it is beneficial change. Human reason and speculation can assist in the adjustment of the old order to new things if they are employed in aspirit of reverence, awake to their own fallibility.Even ancient prejudices and prescriptions must sometimes shrink before the advance of positive knowledge; but the Jacobin[Leftist] mind is unable to distinguish between minor inconvenience and actual decrepitude. The perceptive reformer combines an ability to reform with a disposition to preserve; the man who loves change is wholly disqualified, from his lust, to be the agent of change."
(The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Elliot. Seventh
Revised Edition. (Regnery Publishing: 1985) :43-45)