Some time ago, I was invited to begin some reflections on beauty and conservatism in this forum, in hopes that years in the political wilderness might motivate conservatives to consider cultural matters more seriously. But because of the prominence of the prejudice I myself indulged, this is a harder task than I had imagined. Conservatives frequently tend to trust only tested formulae. This is praiseworthy, to an extent. Traditional patterns should be valued, and they are frequently revelatory, especially now, after their long eclipse. Still, tradition offers us no guarantee. Beauty does not always obey rules any more than it always breaks them.
Currently, the little energy conservatives tend to devote to contemporary cultural matters seems to be entirely expended in attack. Will conservatives eventually begin to accept and appreciate the new patterns of contemporary architecture? The enduring values in which conservatives believe—beauty among them—are more fecund than we think. We ought to be open to their new and unexpected manifestations. After all, what future is there for a movement without capacity for surprise?
Nameless Beauty: Conservatism’s Architecture Problem — by the invaluable Matt Milliner, once more