The Portland Declaration | Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
The Portland Declaration: A Summary
In the Free World II a beleaguered fortress, it has become imperative to formulate a vision based on a coherent outlook which can be shared by most of us. These. then, are the main points of such a creed in a short version:
Our immensely complex universe can only be the result of either mere chance or a conscious design. We believe that it has an Originator as well as a Designer– God.
Only to man can this world be meaningful in every respect: spiritually, morally, aesthetically, economically.
Only man is a transcendent creature. He realizes that, if there is a personal God, everything is possible, if there is no God, everything is permissible.
Every man or woman is truly a person and unique. No two persons are identical or equal, least of all in the eyes of God.
With the beasts we share a craving for sameness, but the delight in the variations of creation distinguishes man from beast as much as religion and reason do.
Sameness and with it the dislike of otherness is the hallmark of leftism: it is an evil totalitarian instinct which fashioned the French, Russian and German revolutions with their gaols, guillotines, gallows, gas chambers and Gulags.
In all languages, whether dead or modern, “Left” stands for negative, “Right” for positive principles.
Men and women are equally important, but their innate characteristics favor (and sometimes rationally preclude) certain occupations and vocations.
The family is the living cell of every society. (Man is the creature who knows his grandfather.) It is based on sex, eros. friendship, affection and charity, friendship being the most important factor because loyalty pertains to it rather than to sexuality or Eros.
A healthy society is not a monolith, but consists of various well correlated lasers and groups with different qualities and functions. However, neither society nor state should be permitted to become absolutes.
The state is the result of man’s frailty and incompleteness, Its legitimacy rests not only on authority but, due to Man’s fallen nature, also on exterior power. Authority rests on love, or respect, or rational insight, it is an interior force.
The state has an “annexationist” character tending toward centralization and the development of a Provider State. We must uphold the principle of subsidiarity. Action should always be taken by the smallest possible unit. starting with the person.
What we now have is maximal government of the lowest quality; what we need is minimal government of the highest order.
There is no escape from “technocracy.” Reason, knowledge and experience must reenter government at the expense of popularity and passions. Parliaments should faithfully mirror public opinion and might have purely legislative powers, but they must not become policy-forming bodies. Government should rest on first-rate expertise and respect for personal freedom.
Freedom is inseparable from personal property, socialism produces only equality in poverty.
The family can delegate its educational tasks to other bodies. Nobody should be taxed for educational facilities not used by them. It is, however, in the interest of the community that real talent (and diligence) should be fostered.
The identification of state and religion is pagan. Their separation, however, should not preclude cooperation because they have common interests and overlapping fields of action.
Ethnicity, race and citizenship are separate concepts, the first being cultural, the second biological, the third legal. They should not be confused. Legal discriminations or automatic preferences on account of ethnicity or race in the public-sector are plainly immoral.
Only a person with convictions has a genuine possibility to be tolerant. He who accepts no absolute values but clings to polite doubt cannot be tolerant but merely indifferent. He is morally defenseless in the face of evil.
Tradition, i.e., loyalty toward inherited convictions and institutions, which includes discarding obsolete or false ones, has a positive value.
The good man is a patriot and not a “nationalist,” he delights in the human varieties within his country.
Foreign relations require an enormous amount of knowledge and experience. They are intrinsically connected with our survival. International institutions can be of great value, but the United Nations in their present form and in the present state of our globe has often produced more harm than good.
Professional armies are, for various reasons, preferable to armies based on conscription, but if the latter system is adopted by certain world powers, others might have to follow suit — at least temporarily.
Legal positivism has no moral moorings. Justice is not equality but is based on Ulpian’s “to everyone his due.”
Man has rights as well as duties and these must be distinguished from acts of charity which might become moral, but not legal obligations.
Freedom is not an end in itself but a condition to live and to act in. “As much freedom as possible, as much coercion as necessary.” The common good marks the limits of freedom.
Full version: via The Philadelphia Society
The Portland Declaration echoes the sentiments and conclusions in Kuehnelt-Leddihn's magnum opus, Leftism, available in its entirety and free to read HERE, courtesy of the Mises Institute.