A Lecture on Tradition and Orthodoxy
Q delivered his lecture ‘Tradition and Orthodoxy’ at Cambridge University on May 16, 1934, as a reply to the Page-Barbour Lecture by T.S. Eliot at the University of Virginia and its subsequent publication under the title After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy.
The lecture is in ten parts, in which Q develops his argument. Q acknowledged that he shared some of Eliot’s views, especially in relation to a concern regarding a current obsession with individual creativity as an end in itself, and another obsession with the sordid. For both men, the antithesis of tradition for Eliot and Q is the cult of personality and the fashion for egotistical self-indulgence.
However, Q profoundly disagreed with Eliot’s assertion that the antidote to self-indulgence was to be found in religious orthodoxy. He also rejected Eliot’s interpretation of Liberalism as nothing but agnosticism and secularism, with the doctrines of the Church of England, to which Eliot was a recent convert, as its central target.
Q presents his own understanding of Liberalism, which was fundamental to his understanding of the world. He claims the universe to be a mystery, although one which is rational, and which is reflected in human rationality. In Q’s view, rationality is the basis of Liberalism and rational argument its central feature.