The conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.

—Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind)

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism.

We address a wide variety of major issues including: What is the essence of conservatism? What was the role of faith in the American Founding? Is liberal learning still possible in the modern academy? Should conservatives and libertarians be allies? What is the proper role for the American Republic in spreading ordered liberty to other cultures/nations?

We have a great appreciation for the thought of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt and Christopher Dawson, among other imaginative conservatives. However, some of us look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.”

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2 replies to this post
  1. This quote took me a while to understand (which is not to say that I necessarily understand it now, either). But I think one of the things Kirk is saying is how Conservatism really cares about the individual – not just about the rich, or the poor, or the middle class, but about PERSONS, one by one. Liberalism, especially in the vein of Obama, easily talks about "classes" and the great movements of society, just like Marx did. It can say how the good of the many is benefited by his policies, and how groups like "Women" and "Homosexuals" and "Minorities" benefit, but they never seem to be interested in the state of the person. Conservatism strives to provide a government, an environment, which aids the individual in behaving virtuously and trying to live their faith. That's what I get, anyway.


  2. Eric,

    It seems to me you are reading Kirk's quote on "conservativism" too much in terms of politics and a formal government structure. I see Kirk as speaking of "conservativism" as a set of ideas prior to politics, perhaps even prior to society. He is saying that conservatism is a philosophy of life before it is a philosophy of a political system. It is concerned with the way that people are encouraged to consider their own inner government, and that if there is failure for souls to govern their own hearts there is an abandonment of "conservative" ideals and thus produce a less desirable society, no matter who runs it.

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