I've said that a give-and-take between activity and intertia is the natural state of affairs between youth and age; Viereck has put forward a give-and-take between liberalism and conservatism. The thirty-second argument against that position is that submitting to some compelling, sublime authority is the beginning of individual self-discovery, not the end. (Again, see this old post.) Young people don't have the same instinctual attachment to authoritative prejudices that their elders do, but that doesn't mean that they're right and their elders are wrong. Sometimes it means that young people need to embrace these authoritative institutions and allow those authorities to shape them, not because these authorities can present good arguments but because they're aesthetically, emotionally, or intellectually compelling. That's what young conservatives are for. The thirty-minute version of this argument is the Kinks' We are the Village Green Preservation Society.

Read Helen's post this morning, and it so happened that I was searching for something new to listen to in the car today (long trips often wear out the welcome of old favorites), and We are the Village Green Preservation Society was in my book of cds, so I re-listened to it. I think of the Kinks as a band with definite conservative tendencies, but a general satiric or ironic outlook that prevents them from taking one side or the other (replace "satiric or ironic" with "angry," and you have the Manic Street Preachers). In part this is because I know they have a song called "Young Conservatives;" see if you can make heads or tails of that lyric.

But more typical of their perspective is "Picture Book," the chorus of which is:

Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long time ago.

Not an entirely deferential position, that.

On one hand, you have "20th Century Man" and the concept of Muswell Hillbillies, and the music-hall sound of "Dead End Street" and "She Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina," to say nothing of "Harry Rag," all of which have clear sympathies for the local and particular, and the soul-deadening effects of modern life. Then again, you have the deus absconditus of "Big Sky,", the derisive tone of "Mr. Churchill Says," and the vague anti-war message of "Some Mother's Son."

(Also, for the record, I think you could make a good case that the Rolling Stones are a more conservative-friendly band than the Kinks, but that's another post for another time)

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