Then and NowMy first and last care is not politics (a late-learned duty) but education (an abiding passion). Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought…. But education is also inherently imaginative, because from pre-school to graduate school, it consists, or should consist, primarily of learning to read books (in whatever format), books of words, symbols, diagrams, musical notes. For entry into all of these, but perhaps books of words above all, imagination is indispensable… What matters most is, as I must repeat, the education of children. Looking at them from the vantage point of their future teacher, I would wish this for us: that their memories be stocked with the finest products of the tradition and their minds be— gently— turned toward the outside in close looking and articulate verbalizing, and toward the inside in absorbed reading and ready visualizing. Just forget for a while about ‘preparing them for tomorrow’ and ‘for being productive members of today’s society’— all that routine drivel deserves scare quotes since it’s meant to turn us into sacrificial victims on the altar of utility. —Then & Now: The World’s Center and the Soul’s Demesne, by Eva Brann (Paul Dry Books, 2015).

Books on the topic of 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. Some conservatives may 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.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude and prayer.

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility.

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