Orestes Brownson on True Progress
The conclusion of Orestes Augustus Brownson's Conversations on Liberalism and the Church, 1868:
- "I defend," concluded the priest, "progress, but by preserving the principles and institutions by which it is effected; I accept the New, joyfully and gratefully, so far as it grows out of the Old, and is but its development and application under the law prescribed by the true end of man. I war against what the liberals call new, because it is not new, but a revival of what the race has outgrown and thrown off, and because it tends only to destroy all that has been gained during the last eighteen hundred years. You do not and will not believe me, for you are bent on restoring defunct paganism, though you perhaps know it not. But events are rapidly proving that I am right. Religion is fast losing its hold on the new generation; reverence for the wisdom of the past, the experience of ages, and the universal convictions of mankind, is well nigh gone, and it seems to be taken for granted that our fathers were all old fogies, and that all wisdom was born with us. The youth of every nation become its counsellors. Men of mature age, and ripe experience, are set aside as too slow. Indeed, power passes from men, to women, and boys and not to the women who veil their faces and listen to the priest, but to women who, with brazen front, spout infidelity under the name of philanthropy or humanity, and bid us forget their sex, and treat them as men. The result will soon be seen."