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5 Ways To Defend Humanity With Anime Movies and Traditional British Philosophy

More on California Roll Conservatism courtesy of Roger Scruton's writing and Hayao Miyazaki's art.

Jon Bishop


August 15, 2013 - 7:01 am
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In “5 Rules for California Roll Conservatives,” the beginning of this series, I explained how the world of sushi and conservative philosophy could align. Now let’s take a look at anime.

I recently watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.


It is the tale of Chihiro Ogino, a girl whose parents are aloof and narcissistic. The family is moving, and Chihiro is unhappy about it. During the drive to their new home she spends most of the time complaining.

But then they take a wrong turn. They find a path that leads to an empty carnival and it is one filled with delicious, steaming foods. After assuming no one is around, her parents begin eating—but in gluttonous fashion. They soon morph into large pigs.

This is because Chihiro and her parents, without realizing it, have been whisked into a colorful and spiritual world.

It is in this world she learns the meaning of place and home, of friends and family. She overcomes her cowardice in order to become virtuous.  And then, finally, she is able to return home.

Miyazaki is a great filmmaker. His work dazzles and provokes. As such, I think Spirited Away has much to offer us beyond what you might read on Rotten Tomatoes.

It is another lesson in California Roll Conservatism.

Its principles: a prejudice toward the local, a respect for tradition, a recognition that man must be ordered toward God, the desire to pursue the permanent things, and the enjoyment of high culture.

So let’s get started.

For this installment, I’d like to introduce Roger Scruton, whom I believe is the ultimate California Roll Conservative.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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My favorite Miyzaki movie is Porco Rosso.
Lesson - All men are pigs, but sometimes we get better...

I love the depiction of "Fighter Pilot Heaven," too.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every one of Miyazaki's movies is meaningful, while completely accessible, and visually beautiful. Brilliant entertainment for all ages. The man is a master of his art.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think you (and Scruton) have the right of it. After all, what we call conservatism is the foundation of all progress. Conserving what is good from generation to generation is the only thing that makes it possible to improve; trying to reinvent the wheel every generation is a complete waste of time, and ensures that nothing good will ever survive. Tradition is more powerful than law, and ofttimes bad traditions last far longer than they should. However we can't even recognize bad traditions if we don't conserve the learning of the past. If we don't know about past mistakes we'll just repeat them ad inifinitum. Conservatism should be about balancing the past with the future, preserving every good thing for the next generation, and I mean every good thing, whether it's the Constitution or "I Love Lucy" reruns or Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. "Spirited Away" reminds me a lot of "The Scouring of the Shire" in "The Lord of the Rings." There are good things tossed away by both political and economic progressives, who think nothing should stand in the way of their goals. We need to be judicious, balanced, and careful. But that is of course antithetical to the left, who want: perfection now! And if they can't have it (which they can't), they don't mind destroying everything just for spite.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I loved this movie but hadn't really looked at it through a political lens. Now I like it even more.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nice article and interesting points. I see a LOT of negativity and in-fighting among conservative groups. Tip 1 applies most succinctly to them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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