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.

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 [...]

Cicero’s Republic: The Duty to Make Whole That Which Is Broken

By |2019-06-27T22:35:02-05:00June 27th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Senior Contributors|

In “On Duties,” Cicero throws down the gauntlet, defining one of the most important aspects of Western civilization: There is no greater philosophy than the discovery of what our duties are to one another, to our communities, and to our God. A divorce, the death of a beloved daughter, the absence of his only [...]

The Influence of Irving Babbitt’s Humanism

By |2019-06-24T22:56:30-05:00June 24th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Humanism and Conservatism, Senior Contributors|

What do we mean by humanism, in the real world of legacies and influences? When Irving Babbitt passed away in 1933, he left an incredible legacy of allies, students, and literature. His humanism—so powerfully a part of the cultural mores of his day—transformed into several things following his death (or shortly before it). [...]

“The Hanging God”: Poet as a Bridge of Great Magnificence

By |2019-06-21T15:18:11-05:00June 20th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

The poet and the bard hold the sacred office of priest, bridging the transcendent with the everyday. I believe it our duty as conservatives to cultivate these habits once again. It is not enough for us to praise the poet, we must support the poet. Of our living poets—to my mind—no greater one exists [...]

Remembering Irving Babbitt

By |2019-06-26T09:58:45-05:00June 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Humanism and Conservatism, Irving Babbitt, Senior Contributors|

Irving Babbitt’s humanism was not radically intricate or convoluted: It was a reflection of nature and, at least to the wise, of common sense. No one could—in his wildest dreams—dismiss the humanism of Babbitt as a mere fad or a marginal movement; all thinking people engaged the ideas, whether they found them palatable or [...]

Three Cheers for the Articles of Confederation

By |2019-06-16T21:56:11-05:00June 16th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Constitution, Timeless Essays|

That we remember the Articles of Confederation poorly has far more to do with the ultimate success of American nationalists than it does with actual failure or success of the Articles themselves… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he reconsiders the legacy [...]

America’s Uneven Legacy of Religious Freedom

By |2019-06-12T23:46:56-05:00June 12th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Religion, Senior Contributors|

As we enter into a period of radical uncertainty regarding religious freedom—especially for Catholics, as witnessed most recently by the anti-confession laws in California—it is worth re-considering America’s track record on the issue. Frankly, it’s not good. Or, perhaps, it’s better to state, when it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s bad, it’s really [...]