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Christmas spiritChristmas Spirit aside, there is (guilty) pleasure in offending the Enemies of The Permanent Things. Raise their blood-pressure by giving our kindred souls—or sporting yourself—a monoclegray spats, a natty walking stick or a pocket-watch and chain. If that’s too daunting, start with a paisley cravat. Imaginative Conservative ladies may irritate the neo-barbarians by going to and from church or college chapel with an antique rosary and a chaste lace veil—or, if the ideologues are really a problem, add one of these.


ConservativeEither gender of real conservative would be delighted to receive a rare copy of Russell Kirk’s Confessions of a Bohemian Tory, long out of print. Revel in our sage communing with Scottish ghosts, Spanish mystics wrestling physically with the devil, right-thinking poets and artists. It is life-changing stuff if you or your favourite feel, as Dr. Kirk writes within, that “Mine was not an Enlightened mind, I now was aware: it was a Gothic mind, medieval in its temper and structure. I did not love cold harmony and perfect regularity of organization; what I sought was variety, mystery, tradition, the venerable, the awful.” Then, as a New Year’s resolution, cultivate your inner Bohemian Tory!

Books on the people and topics discussed in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

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, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism (Visit our Bookstore to find books by/about these men) .

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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12 replies to this post
  1. I love the J. Peterman catalogue, precisely because it features eccentric pieces with roots in the past, as well as a whimsical back story for each. I sometimes wear dresses from them patterned after 40s film stars with yards of silk that billow in any breeze. For men, the current Christmas offerings include an 18th century pewter tankard, a colonial postal scale, a leather gunpowder flask, and an absinthe spoon. See
    And by the way, I already have a Glock and know how to shoot it.

  2. It would be really nice if an intrepid little e-publisher could reproduce for NOOK or Kindle a lot of Kirk's now out-of-print books. That might make the traditionalists squirm, but it also might get works like Confessions of Bohemian Tory in more hands.

  3. I like the walking stick–although I would insist on it concealing a small rapier. The Glock 17 is also pretty cool.

  4. Let me also suggest a silk flying scarf, a Meerschaum pipe, leather suspenders, or a 1903 shaving brush. They also offer a pistol grip blackthorn walking stick, albeit more expensive than the one you recommended, Steve.
    Or for the ladies, perhaps 1927 flapper-style party dress, 40s rhinestone frock, or vintage tea-length nightgown?
    I hate shopping, but I can get genuinely excited about things like these. This predilection helps explain one of the many reasons I loved being at the Kirk home. They succeeded in transcending 20th century in an almost magical way that embraced things of the past as living. I always felt like I was breaking through a time warp to come back.

  5. Billowing, willowy, 1940s film-styles and a semi-automatic pistol: why am I delighted but not remotely surprised? Has our team had such glamor and wit since Clare Booth Luce? (she was a good shot, too)

  6. Yes, I agree and am hoping to help the Kirk Center do just this over the next few years. Though reading on a kindle is not the same as a book (to borrow a line from Andrew Piper),having these works out in a digital format will help many more people discover them for the first time.

  7. Thank you for bringing Russel Kirk to mind.
    His writings were a very important part of my education.

    I would also recommend his autobiography, The Sword of Imagination. Aside from its superb account of his gradual discovery of the permanent things, it is a moving account of an individual in an age of conformity, a man unafraid of living a life of honor in an age of hedonism, a life of personal kindness in an age of Leviathan, and a life of fortifying whimsy in an age of corrosive irony.

    Besides all that, his Eliot and His Age is among the best critical considerations of the life and work of T.S. Eliot. It should be required reading for the life peregrine.

    RIP Dr. Kirk and thank you.

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