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 and Theology

By |2021-06-16T17:30:38-05:00June 15th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors|

Though C.S. Lewis will always and understandably be identified with popular Christian theology, J.R.R. Tolkien, in a far more private and symbolic manner, promoted Christianity just as deeply and profoundly. Having entered the Roman Catholic Church as a young boy, guided by the conversion of his beloved mother, Tolkien had from his earliest moments embraced [...]

C.S. Lewis as Mere Christian

By |2021-05-31T11:27:17-05:00June 1st, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Senior Contributors|

C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” is a model work in the muddled and subjective world of ideologies, state-led terrorisms, gulags, holocausts, and killing fields. Sprinkled with timeless wisdom and profound insights, it is about fundamental aspects of Christianity and seeks to go beyond denominational differences without creating yet another new denomination. After C.S. Lewis converted to [...]

C.S. Lewis on Romanticism

By |2021-05-27T16:58:32-05:00May 27th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Culture, Literature, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Though deeply conflicted about Romanticism, C.S. Lewis believed that the Romantics at least asked the right questions and found the right answers. But he also held that they failed to grasp the greater picture of things, which only Christianity truly understands. Somewhat famously, as described in Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis believed that he had [...]

Barfield’s Romantic Logos

By |2021-05-18T16:51:59-05:00May 18th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Culture, Imagination, Philosophy, Reason, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Owen Barfield argued that the modern world must readopt the truths of the Logos, should Western Civilization move beyond its current selfish and totalitarian phase. And this rediscovered love of the Logos must express itself throughout culture and the arts. In 1944, over a decade after Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, half a decade after Tolkien’s [...]

Ten Imaginative Conservative Questions

By |2021-05-12T08:56:09-05:00May 12th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, Western Civilization|

When Winston Elliott and I first started talking about what a proper online conservative journal might look like, way back in the spring and summer of 2010, we decided on a few things. Most importantly, we wanted real diversity of opinion, not the parroting of some ideological drudgeries. As such, we wanted all schools of [...]

10 Ancient Books That Influenced Stoicism

By |2021-05-05T18:20:25-05:00May 5th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, Stoicism|

“A book is a word spoken into creation. Its message goes out into the world. It cannot be taken back,” Michael O’Brien warned as well as assured in his magisterial novel, Sophia House. Just as each word is a reflection of The Word (Logos), so each book is a reflection of The Book. While Christians [...]

Machiavelli: The Prince of Darkness?

By |2021-05-02T16:00:52-05:00May 2nd, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Political Philosophy, Politics, Timeless Essays|

Niccolò Machiavelli openly embraced the use of power and utility over the restraint and charity of love and dignity. In Machiavelli’s corruption, “prudence” came to mean knowledge of when to choose good and when to choose evil. In his magisterial Roots of American Order, Russell Kirk tried to put the Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter Reformation [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2021-04-28T15:49:35-05:00April 28th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Russell Kirk gave voice to a myriad of persons, personalities, and ideas circulating in the decade after the Second World War, just as the West was trying to understand what it stood for, rather than what it stood against. The latter was easy. Communism and fascism were evil. But, what exactly did the West stand [...]

10 C.S. Lewis Books Every Imaginative Conservative Should Read

By |2021-04-19T16:19:36-05:00April 19th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Imaginative Conservative Books, Senior Contributors|

Few would dispute the claim that C.S. Lewis was the last century’s greatest Christian apologist, rivaled only by G.K. Chesterton and Pope John Paul II. While all three wrote voluminously, Lewis’s books had the broadest appeal. Even atheists read Lewis’s Christian books, if only for the art of them. Surely, we can do better than [...]

10 Books Every Imaginative Conservative Should Read

By |2021-04-22T10:04:02-05:00April 12th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative Books, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative|

So, you’re attracted to imaginative conservatism, and you’re wondering how such a school of thought came about. The roots, to be sure, are planted firmly in the first half of the twentieth century as a number of diverse thinkers strove to fight populism and progressivism (left and right, gentle and severe) in all their myriad [...]

Owen Barfield’s Commonwealth of the Spirit

By |2021-03-30T15:27:10-05:00March 31st, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Inklings, Senior Contributors|

Owen Barfield called upon the men of the Western world to form themselves into a “commonwealth of the spirit” in which there is no copyright. To create a commonwealth of the soul, we need to know the limits and range of individualism as well as the limits and range of national character. Shortly after Great [...]

Owen Barfield’s “History, Guilt, and Habit”

By |2021-04-27T22:01:03-05:00March 25th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, Modernity, Senior Contributors|

Vague collective guilt leads to societal disorder and societal evils greater than the ones that originally caused the problems. Owen Barfield suggests that by re-imagining not only the glorious dignity of each individual person but also by recognizing the sin of which the person is capable, we can move out of the deadly cycle of [...]

John Winthrop as Imaginative Conservative

By |2021-04-22T09:35:36-05:00March 14th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Community, History, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative|

Though rooted in a certain time and a certain place, elements of John Winthrop’s teachings are timeless, and, whether we agree with him completely or not, we should recognize him as an important and imaginative conservative of yesteryear. Between 1629 and 1640, roughly 21,000 Puritans (and servants) immigrated from England (especially East Anglia) to New [...]

Go to Top