Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer

About Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer is the co-founder of, and Senior Contributor at, The Imaginative Conservative. He is the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College and Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Dr. Birzer is author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson, Russell Kirk: American Conservative, American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll, Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth, co-editor of The American Democrat and Other Political Writings by James Fenimore Cooper, and co-author of The American West.

Tolkien’s “The Children of Húrin”

By |2019-08-23T11:55:02-05:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

How does one account for J.R.R. Tolkien’s seeming ability to live inside of mythology? He read it, he translated it, and he absorbed it. After all these grand things, he rewrote it. Yet, no matter how deeply he delved into the profound and pervasive paganisms of pre-Christian cultures, he never lost his ability to [...]

Burning Bushes, Smoking Mountains, and the Law

By |2019-08-19T22:16:59-05:00August 19th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Civil Society, Education, History, Natural Law, Senior Contributors, Western Odyssey Series|

While much has been made of the “Ten Commandments” in recent history, men for centuries have accepted these commandments as deeply rooted in the order of the universe and of creation—as an overt expression of the Natural Law. They are one of the ways God has continued to maintain His love for His people. [...]

The Horrors of Modern Public Opinion

By |2019-08-16T23:25:25-05:00August 16th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Democracy, Fascism, Government, Politics, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

Christopher Dawson believed that the free peoples of the Allied Powers in World War II had become too accustomed to employing scientifically-formed propaganda to create public opinion: “Public opinion can itself be the greatest enemy of freedom, as well as of peace, as soon as it becomes dominated by the negative destructive forces of [...]

Christopher Dawson on Becoming the Enemy in World War II

By |2019-08-09T21:40:28-05:00August 9th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Government, History, Politics, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, War, Western Civilization, World War II|

Christopher Dawson worried about the actual physical changes wrought by World War II, but he worried far more about the moral changes. He lamented that even the democracies of the United Kingdom and the United States had come to resemble Nazi Germany far more than their nineteenth-century historical selves did. Throughout his writing career, [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

By |2019-08-02T23:19:30-05:00August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Beren and Lúthien remains one of the most beautiful parts of Tolkien’s entire mythology. It matters profoundly in "The Lord of the Rings" and indeed also mattered profoundly in Tolkien’s own life. “The chief of the stories of The Silmarillion, and the one most fully treated is the Story of Beren [...]

“The Pilgrim’s Regress”: The Allegory of C.S. Lewis’ Conversion

By |2019-08-02T11:41:05-05:00July 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” C.S. Lewis fictionally traces his own intellectual and faith journey. As Lewis wrote ten years after the book’s first publication, “All good allegory exists not to hide but to reveal: to make the inner world more palpable by giving it an (imagined) concrete embodiment.” During the thirty-one years that C.S. [...]

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling?

By |2019-07-25T22:12:31-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. Yet placing Barfield within the Inklings is incredibly difficult, given that he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and could not name the beginning or the end of the group. [...]

Top Ten Conservative Books, 1924-1954

By |2019-07-23T00:39:54-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Culture, Literature, Senior Contributors|

One of the single most important reasons the conservative movement became a movement is because it had writers of the highest caliber. They presented their ideas so convincingly and so pleasingly that even their most ardent critics had to take notice. Given my association with The Imaginative Conservative as well as with Hillsdale College, [...]

World War I and the Inklings

By |2019-07-18T21:38:17-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The Great War destroyed much the Inklings had held true, personally and culturally. Each lost friends, and each felt the guilt that any survivor of a war feels. Many of them refused to talk about their own experiences, for good or ill. J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps, provides the best example. Though not the best-known Inkling, [...]

Authors Who Shaped Me

By |2019-07-15T23:00:31-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

As a child, I spent my free time divided between two activities—exploring the environs in and around my hometown, and reading everything under the sun. Ranging from biography to high fantasy to rigorous logic, these books shaped my tastes, thoughts, and aspirations. Ever since attending first grade—at Wiley Elementary School in Hutchinson, Kansas—I’ve loved to [...]

The Imaginative Conservative at 9

By |2019-07-10T09:30:47-05:00July 9th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, TIC|

Inspired by the writings of Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative’s distinctiveness lies in recognizing that being “conservative” must represent something beyond mere political cravings. If one is to be conservative, one must conserve what deserves to be conserved—all that is best in experience, all that is best in metaphysical desires, and all that is [...]

“Vital Remnants” at 20

By |2019-07-10T16:53:38-05:00July 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Gary Gregg proposed in “Vital Remnants” that we see the Founding as the Founders saw it, not as we wish them to have seen it. In this, Dr. Gregg went directly against the reigning historiography of the 1990s and its fetishist obsession with social justice, class, and gender. Twenty years ago the Intercollegiate Studies Institute [...]

Friendship Among the Inklings

By |2019-07-05T19:02:56-05:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien not only held onto friendship for dear life, but he also incorporated it into every aspect of his literary mythology. And for the Inklings, friendship had a mystical element. “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” C.S. Lewis once famously asked. Surely not, [...]

The Roots of Political Correctness

By |2019-07-01T00:59:45-05:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Liberal Learning, Politics, Ray Bradbury, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Over the last thirty years, political correctness has metastasized. Today, so many politically-correct assumptions have become mainstream that, as Tocqueville once predicted, they have narrowed our questions and our ability to question, rather than actually tell us the exact answers to things. Over the last decade, it has become normal for students, professors, and the [...]