OT, the traditional social values I could get behind are...all of them. Traditional solutions to social organization were not only prudent and derived from centuries of wisdom, but often innovative and elegantly simple. I think my feelings on the matter could best be summed up in a song. Prepare for feels:
When I read this, all I keep thinking of are numerous reprehensible things that are usually defended with calls of "Tradition!" as if that in itself means it should remain forever.
Just because we've always done it someway doesn't mean it was a good idea in the first place. I'm kind of happy to see society actually look at traditions and decide whether or not they need to continue.
The question in my mind is whether society has actually taken a good look at any of them before deciding to throw them into the proverbial "dustbin of history"; or whether, finding traditions that just so happen to conflict with their distorted view of what they think society is supposed to look like, reformers have rubbed their hands together in glee and said "I have no idea why *this* is here; so it'll have to go!"
This idea is most eloquently described in the parable of Chesterton's fence, which I was discussing with beastro earlier and which I will reproduce here:
"In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."
This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
On the flip side of this, to elide or replace an old tradition, a reformer must not only understand what purpose the old tradition fulfilled, but also what the full consequences of the institution they intend to replace it with will be - if they intend to replace it with anything. I'd argue that for most of the institutions that we've lost to "progress", only one or the other half of this necessary thought process has been done - and that, badly.
How is this even up for debate?
It's funny how progressives are all for open discussion and debate when they happen to be living under traditions they find uncomfortable, but after they've won and gotten their ill-conceived notions written into law, suddenly any other opinion is beyond the pale of reasonable thought.
Society is supposed to progress, so old things are supposed to be replaced. Just because footbinding or owning slaves or castrating young male singers was done, doesn't mean it was right.
"Society is supposed to progress." What an interesting and completely ahistorical notion. I wonder where you got it, or if you actually know what you mean when you say it? Because, to me, it bears a curious resemblance to the Puritan notion of Providence
- a mysterious, history-spanning force for good that slowly and inexorably immanentizes the eschaton, whether we like it or not.
Oh, and nice job cherry-picking traditions that you find horrifying, one of which isn't even from western culture, which is what I assumed everyone knew I was referring to when I said I liked "all" past traditions. I could easily do the same for modern society, though in that case it'd be less like cherry-picking and more like combine harvesting.