The Gentle Traditionalist on the Superiority Complex of the 1960s


Knock Ireland Apparition

Statue of the Apparition of St John the Evangelist and Angels exactly at the spot they appeared with Our Lady at Knock, Ireland

The Gentle Traditionalist is a novella by me, coming soon from Angelico Press (as recently announced here).

Unsurprisingly, the book’s title refers to my protagonist. But just who or what is this Gentle Traditionalist?

Well, that would be telling. Too much, too soon, I think. Particularly as my story is definitely intended to contain surprises, I’d rather not ruin them here.

Today, however, we can say that GT – for that is what the Gentle Traditionalist calls himself – engages in a long dialogue with a man he addresses as GPL. (Saying what GPL stands for would also spoil the fun.)

We can definitely say, though, that GPL is decidedly sceptical of GT’s philosophy!

One bone of contention between my characters entails the 1960s and what GT regards as small elite of post-60s opinion-makers and trendsetters who now have access to the most powerful forms of propaganda ever devised by man.

Moreover, this small elite,  he claims, ‘believes that everything after 1960 is self-evidently superior to everything that came before’.

And when GPL protests this notion as absurd? Well, here is GT’s response:

Well, the 1960s are just a handy approximation. Although some people are even more specific than that. They identify 1968 as the turning point. But think about what I’m saying: Wherever previous generations disagree with the post-1960s worldview—let’s call it that for short— previous generations are always wrong.

Post-60s is always right. At least, according to modern media and education. Post-60s says a woman has a so-called ‘right to choose’. Post-60s must be right; everyone who felt differently, before the ‘60s, is obviously wrong.

Or take freedom of speech. Only the other day, someone told me pornography was ‘the price we have to pay’ for free speech. All kinds of people say that—now.

Nobody ever said that before the ‘60s. Westerners believed in freedom of speech in 1950 too. Still, they banned things like Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence.

Literature was prohibited—to say nothing of pornography. But according to the Post-60s’ worldview, freedom of speech means pornography should be allowed everywhere. Why didn’t people ever think that before the ‘60s? Why is it only now we believe that free speech necessarily includes exhibiting intimate sex acts or sexual perversities or gore?

Because almost no one before the 1960s thought something like Deep Throat was legitimate under Freedom of Speech. Deep Throat—or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for that matter —only became possible in the 1960s.

If you belong to the New Secular Religion, the 1960s revelation is your creed, your Bible. Every generation of people before you, who believed differently, was wrong.

In other words: wherever pre-60s beliefs differ from post-60s ones, post-60s is always, always right.

Today, just this small snippet from the book. We will be sharing more snippets soon, however.

Before closing, however, one more thing concerning The Gentle Traditionalist. The story is set in Monaghan, Ireland – as we have announced before (here).

And whilst the book very much addresses global themes, such as the above, I also explore Irish Catholic culture. Thus, I touch on matters as varied as Easter 1916, the tragedy of Partition, the vision of Pearse and de Valera, the Apparition at Knock and the travesty of Irish church ‘wreckovation’. (The latter features in the story when a visit is taken to Monaghan Cathedral – the most heartbreakingly ugly ecclesiastical renovation I have ever seen in my life!)

I will not say more of the Irish dimension of this book now. However, in case any reader wants a better sense of this, I have recently published the most intensive (and controversial!) piece I have ever written about Catholic Ireland. That piece is here and it definitely foreshadows many themes of my upcoming book.

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  1. Edwin Shendelman
    Posted 4 October 2015 at 17:38 | Permalink

    Interesting piece. There are many books on the changing meaning, understanding and value of words and phrases. A good one is “The Intolerance of Tolerance.”

    • Posted 22 October 2015 at 06:29 | Permalink

      Edwin, it is very good to hear your voice here again (despite my tardiness in responding). I am grateful for your book recommendation and will google it.

  2. lol
    Posted 4 October 2015 at 18:58 | Permalink

    Lose some weight Roger.

    • Hans Georg Lundahl
      Posted 22 October 2015 at 12:21 | Permalink

      Is Roger fat?

      I knew Mark Shea was, but he’s telling it all the time. Also showing it on photos. Also called “pastry pontiff” by certain contemporaneous geocentrics (I am one myself, but even so a relative fan of MS’ Catholic and Enjoying It). I had no such indication about Roger.

      And I thought his past in Findhorn would have made for some lean living. Well, well …

      Oh, Roger, feel welcome to make any disavowal or admission you like on his answer.

  3. Posted 28 October 2015 at 10:58 | Permalink


    In response to your question, regarding the serious issue raised by the commenter known as lol (AKA well) I can solve part of the mystery here …

    I am definitely fat! (Though you are astute in surmising that at Findhorn I was indeed lean.)

    However, the other part of the mystery here – why lol (AKA well) cares about this so much (or indeed this site) remains opaque to me.

    If you’re reading this lol (AKA well) please note I won’t tolerate the obscene comments but so far have been prepared to print your non-obscene comments here. And I am about to finally respond to one from long ago, as I catch up with long delayed responses to just about everyone.

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