Half a century after Grant, the Anglo-American world order finds itself at the hour of decision. It faces alienation, atomization, demographic collapse, and class strife within. It faces civilizational challenges and migratory pressure from without. This is made all the more difficult by an elite which refuses to recognize a “within” and “without”, claiming that they are merely defending the values which all people enlightened to Social Progress hold. If they admit a leading role for the United States, it is in the context of an “international community” of supposedly sovereign states who merely defend universal human values. The idea that this ideology serves geopolitical and economic ends is ignored. So too is the fact that Social Progress falls in the same category as any other religious mythos and not in that of “objective” physical science.
Dart devotes a full chapter in the book to describing what he calls the Matrix of Liberalism. He traces its intellectual and political development through seven major “acts”. Nominalism’s shift from overarching order to observed particulars; the Reformation’s elevation of individual liberty in determining truth; its entrenchment following the English civil war; the merger of liberalism with American radical Protestant reformers in the 18th century; the ultimate breaking of religious authority by political and romantic individualism in the 19th; the domination of political individualism in the liberal order of the 20th; finally, the postmodern 21st’s total rejection that desires should conform to any order beyond the individual. In this era, liberalism varies only in whether it should actively constrain ideological competitors (French secularism) or whether such suppression would undermine its own moral basis (Canadian liberalism).
Dissidents from liberalism in the Anglosphere have often recognized that the continent has always maintained its older traditions far better. De Maistre and Maurras in France; Schmitt and Heidegger in Germany; Donoso Cortes in Spain. The Anglosphere, being the geopolitical foundation of the liberal order, has more actively suppressed it. The Canadian student learns in school about Mackenzie and Trudeau, but not about Strachan or Grant. University students learn about T. S. Eliot’s criticisms of modernity, but not about his intellectual and personal ties to a more ancient ethos of English civilization. The Anglosphere has long experienced a condition of civilizational amnesia. The North American High Tory Tradition is a contribution to the cure. This cure is not only of historical interest. As Strachan, Leacock, and Grant realized, the destruction of the Anglo-Tory ethos was not carried out by dialectic and historical inevitability, but by men. The cure and redemption of the Anglo-American order will also come only from men.
Likewise, the growth of the global liberal anti-order has come from America, a child of the English civilization. If broader Western civilization can hope to achieve its Restoration without dividing against itself, then it is to the heart of America itself that the Restoration must reach. And for this it is necessary that we remember the Anglo-Tory faith. If a Restoration in the Anglosphere is possible, then it will be by tapping into currents of thought which preserved and guided us before the rise and reign of liberalism.
Just as English Christian civilization inherited currents of the Classical-Roman ethos, so too will a reborn Anglo-American order to come inherit currents of the Anglo-Tory ethos. The North American High Tory Tradition is a valuable introduction to this ethos and the men who fought for it, and an important guide to areas of further thought and study.