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.

John Marshall: A Primer

By |2020-03-30T10:14:33-05:00March 30th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Constitution, History, John Marshall, Senior Contributors, Supreme Court|

Perhaps more than any other figure in the early history of the American Republic, John Marshall shaped the Supreme Court as well as attitudes toward and understandings of the U.S. Constitution. John Marshall (September 24, 1755–July 6, 1835) was the fourth man to serve as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, [...]

What if This Is the End?

By |2020-03-26T15:50:58-05:00March 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Coronavirus, Imagination, Morality, Senior Contributors|

Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is The End. It wasn’t nuclear war or an asteroid or a rogue planet or even some mystical force. But, merely—in a whimper—a cursed bug. Would it really matter? “An apocalypse is a work of literature dealing with the end of human history. For millennia [...]

Eric Voegelin, Conservative?

By |2020-03-20T12:25:49-05:00March 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Political Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Whatever his criticisms of liberalism, progressivism, and socialism, Eric Voegelin shunned the word and the concept of “conservatism,” claiming that his ideas could never be harnessed by any political movement. When the definitive history of non-leftist movements of the twentieth century is finally written, Austro-American philosopher, Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) will loom large. Arrested by [...]

Did Edmund Burke Support the American Revolution?

By |2020-03-17T17:36:43-05:00March 17th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, History, Independence Day, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Many conservatives have assumed that Edmund Burke was opposed to the American Revolution. It is, to my mind, an erroneous assumption. “Burke broke his agentship and went publicly silent on the American cause once war broke out,” Robert Nisbet claimed in his most definitive analysis of Edmund Burke, written and published in 1985. His [...]

1939’s “Stagecoach”: The Reign of Justice and Redemption

By |2020-03-13T17:39:48-05:00March 13th, 2020|Categories: American West, Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Film, Morality, Senior Contributors|

In 1939, John Ford released Stagecoach, a learned and perceptive cinematic work of art that not only introduced John Wayne as a major player in Hollywood but one that also made the western something more than a mere backdrop for pulp-ish adventure stories. Indeed, the movie shows that the western can serve as the [...]

The Revival of Socialism

By |2020-03-10T11:08:13-05:00March 10th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Communism, Conservatism, Economics, Ideology, Politics, Progressivism, Senior Contributors, Socialism, St. John Paul II|

The evidence is more than clear: Communism, socialism, and progressivism have each made huge comebacks, re-entering political discourse. Even their titles have reacquired respect and a semblance of dignity in many circles of public thought. What happened? The West won the Cold War in 1989, didn’t she? I am fiercely proud of the fact [...]

The Three Conservative Burkes: Hayek, Strauss, and Kirk

By |2020-03-05T10:18:27-06:00March 5th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Edmund Burke was the nexus among the classical, medieval, and modern worlds, and the best answer to contemporary ideology. It is worth considering the Burke of Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Russell Kirk in order to fully understand his importance to the rise of conservatism in academia after World War II. The somewhat radical (relatively [...]

A Founding of Words

By |2020-02-28T10:21:43-06:00February 24th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, John Adams, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In so many ways, the American founding era (1761-1793) is a time period without equal in all modern history, as a dedicated group of citizens attempted to create and sustain the first republic on any large scale since the collapse of the Roman Republic with the assassination of Senator Marcus T. Cicero (43B.C.). They [...]

George Washington: American Aurelius

By |2020-02-21T15:35:06-06:00February 21st, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, George Washington, Government, History, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

In his own day, George Washington served as a pillar of Atlantis, recognized not only for his willingness to sacrifice his life for the great Republic, but also as the founder of the first serious Republic a weary world had witnessed in centuries. He deserves the title “the American Marcus Aurelius.” In his own [...]

The Hounds in Full Cry: Roger Scruton’s Conservatism

By |2020-02-17T16:49:05-06:00February 17th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Government, Politics, Roger Scruton, Senior Contributors, Western Tradition|

In almost every way, Sir Roger Scruton was a thorn in the side of modernity and post-modernity. With Burke, he fought a “forlorn but dignified resistance to the tides of history.” He sought a future in which the national loyalty would endure, holding things together, providing all of us with sources of hope. No [...]

A Homeric Life: Neil Peart

By |2020-02-11T11:33:54-06:00February 14th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Music, Progressive Rock, Senior Contributors|

On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, Neil Ellwood Peart valiantly lost his three and half-year battle against brain cancer. On that same day, he entered Valhalla, escorted by at least one Valkyrie, but quite possibly by two or three. Peart has shaped many of us very quietly and sometimes not so quietly. I can state [...]

Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-02-11T16:45:42-06:00February 11th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

After his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien became the literary heir of all things Middle-earth. He quit his prestigious academic professorship at Oxford and dedicated himself fully to his father’s legacy. We are a better people and a better civilization as a result. On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the holy host of the Valar (all [...]

T.E. Hulme on the Religious Attitude

By |2020-02-09T02:16:32-06:00February 8th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Modernity, Senior Contributors, T.E. Hulme|

“Man is in no sense perfect, but a wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection.”—T.E. Hulme The mediocrity and driftless purposelessness of liberalism had permeated and shattered true humanist culture at the turn of the nineteenth-to-the-twentieth century, the great historian and man of letters Christopher Dawson feared. Too many unthinking liberals had tried to [...]