It may be premature and unwarranted, but I have reason to hope while recent research has lead me down the murky path of the prevailing ideologies denouncing all things environmental protective as secret socialist plots.
The Truthers reflect, from what I can tell, a social phenomenon warped by cold war fears and conservatism unable to adjust comfortably to the modern world. After all, by any measure one wishes to use, the industrial and technological advancements and the social ramifications that have accelerated especially over the past century demonstrate progressiveness. This is not the world we knew before we knew what we now know and continue to learn (objectively and critically via scientific methodology). What we now understand is, in some ways, no way as comforting as the myths we have been forced to abandon.
Traditionalism does not fit into the modern world. Like Christianity, it too pretends moral superiority over the modern world, which simply does not fit with the facts. In both cases history suggests behaviours we would no longer deem appropriate in the modern era. Take growing attitudes against racism and sexism for starters (and in another few decades, one hopes homophobia can be placed alongside); traditional values and religious morality are not applicable in the modern age and both have had to evolve to remain relevant.
Christianity, for instance, scratched out the more absurd virtues and left the fluffy notes in the latter books (and the commandments) as proof of divine provenance and modern value. Traditionalism coupled with libertarianism where the free market became divine to remain viable. Progress had thus its place within the conservative context.
Of course, the free market has led to an obvious problem; the growing realisation that our actions impact on environments, suggesting that such activities are, in fact, unsustainable; detrimental.
Such observations are not only heresy to free market values, but also urge a more egalitarian outlook (ie. sustainability is not about the individual, but instead perpetual prosperity for all) as well as challenging imbedded faith principles, such as a god being the master of environmental governance, with a loving eye protecting His flock.
Egalitarianism of course hits the exposed nerve of the cold war era and phobias about socialism and oppressive governments. Capitalism is freedom… apparently.
Such an assortment of values within the satchel of various conservatism ideologies is not only at war with the deep internal contradictions, but also reality itself. Traditionalism tried to keep up, but it is losing the battle for reality. This is perhaps why many of us bulk when we heard individuals like Monckton fervently cry that anyone challenging his world view with something remotely progressive is somehow tied to a secret agenda for an oppressive one world government.
It is not sensible or logical. No reasonable conclusion of the nature he insists, can be drawn. It is instead a necessary leap of faith in order to justify an ideology that is buckling. Like the computer forced to equate something beyond its capabilities in pop-media; this form of conservatism is jumping around in the minds of its adherents as smoke billows from their ears.
ERROR!! ERROR!! ERROR!!
This is my first point as to why I am hopeful for the future. Eventually it becomes too much work for most people to keep aloft ideologies so at odds with reality that they must abandon them, leaving them to the fringe minorities whom still see demons under the bed and commies in the wardrobe. All the noise we are witnessing may well be the last panicked outburst of a failing interpretation of the world that cannot grapple with obvious internal flaws.
The second point for hope came when reading Jennifer Rayner’s piece on The Conversation. She wrote about the changing world around the aging Alan Jones. Alan Jones is a bloke most Aussies know to be outspoken, bombastic and, well, increasingly absurd. His attack on climate science being at the forefront of this with the Galileo Movement, which unfortunately associates the dead genius with a bat-crazy movement against science with a slightly anti-Semitic vibe (not to mention, a plot, centuries in the making, by international bankers to take over the world… yeah, really).
Alan Jones is in this twilight era. His audience is greying and fading and new recruitment just is not happening. Why? I suspect Generation X, Y and beyond just do not hold the same cold war paranoia at large. Traditionalism, for one thing, is outdated to anyone whom had access to the Atari, Nintendo, Commodore 64 all the way to the modern Iphone and tablet computer.
How the younger generations work and interact with their peers is increasingly foreign to Traditionalist values. Their homes are metropolitan and fast paced. The fusion of Traditionalism with Libertarianism has ultimately provided the progressive bridge from the old stick-in-the-mud perspective into something entirely modern.
Sure, Traditionalism will persists, best illustrated by the Taliban’s recent shooting of a fourteen year old girl who advocated female rights, however it is increasingly a fringe ideology. Traditionalism is greying and fading.
Conservatism on the other hand is likely to evolve and adapt to fit into the modern world. My third hope is more speculative in that I would like to think the realisation that morality and society as a whole are evolving can enter the conservative outlook. Morality and society have changed from year to year, century to century. Conservatism does not need to be embedded in one set era, as though we somehow reached our peak, the evidence simply rejects such a notion. However conservatism can still play an important role in society if only it can keep up.