From Chapter II, “Principles”, La Tradition, of Mes Idées Politique, by Charles Maurras.
Maurras concludes his list of fundamental principles with Tradition. This will be a disappointment to those who want to reduce everything to the rational, since traditional is beyond that. It is tied, as he says, to “blood and soil”, that is, one’s ancestors and the heritage they bequeathed. The deracinated modern mind is limited by the idea, the simulacra of the “proposition” nation.
Yet, tradition is not blind. It successes serve as the paradigm for the future, it failures as lessons to be learned; there is no point to perpetuate errors. This is a living tradition, not stuck in the past through inertia. A true Tradition is never lost, it is only hidden. If it had one starting point, it can have a second. It will being anew only by men who know who they are.
Tradition means handing down.
Tradition gathers the forces of blood and soil. It is retained even when leaving one’s country, as an eternal temptation to return to it.
True tradition is critical, and for lack of its distinctions, the past is no longer of use for anything, its successes stop being models, its setbacks stop being lessons.
In all tradition, as in all heritage, a reasonable being deducts and must deduct the liabilities.
Tradition is not inertia, its opposite; heritage is not nepotism, its counterfeit.
All traditions had a beginning and the sentiments of monarchistic fidelity, if they rise up very high, do not do so indefinitely: what began can begin again; what had one point of departure can find a second.
The opposition between reason and tradition, which is the same as the antithesis of reality and the idea, or art and nature, and that can be assimilated to the opposition of vinegar and oil, the sweet and the bitter, the fluid and the solid, in a cosmogony of infant peoples.