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.

The Errors of Progressivism

By |2020-12-30T16:08:22-06:00December 30th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Politics, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

The progressive vision of history should give any intelligent and humane person pause. The progressive vision demands conflict; in its understanding, history is made up of winners and losers. This flies directly against the long tradition of republican and Judeo-Christian thought that calls for the “common good,” not the greater good of those with might. [...]

Conservatism: Born Against Simplicity

By |2020-12-29T15:12:29-06:00December 27th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The philosophy and way of conservatism arose sometime in the 1880s or 1890s. This is not to suggest that conservative acts had not occurred previously in Western civilization. Indeed, some of the finest and most important moments in Western civilization occurred upon and with the act of conserving something good. From Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and [...]

Reflections on Conservatism

By |2020-12-28T14:06:44-06:00December 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Senior Contributors|

Several things define the conservatives of America, whether they be those of 1898 or 1924 or 1953 or 1964 or 1989 or 2021. First, conservatism by its very nature is reactionary and reactive. Rather than being a positive force for change, it is a restraining force. As such, conservatives almost everywhere make the best critics. [...]

Coronavirus and Science Fiction: Dying With Drama

By |2020-12-18T16:20:56-06:00December 18th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Coronavirus, Death, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In the year 793, Catholic monks made the following report, all of it disturbing: In this dire year portents appeared over Northumbria and sorely frightened the people. They consisted of immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine immediately followed those signs, and a little [...]

James Matthew Wilson’s “The Strangeness of the Good”

By |2020-12-09T16:05:56-06:00December 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Literature, Mystery, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

James Matthew Wilson’s collection of poems, “The Strangeness of the Good,” by acknowledging illness and disappointment and death, tries to see through it, to the mystery beneath. Seeing the mystery leads to the unveiling of the reality, the thing standing beneath all feelings and appearances that alone can make them genuinely good in themselves. Bradley [...]

“Holly Jolly” & Christmas in Popular Culture

By |2020-12-07T15:51:14-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christmas, Culture, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, Senior Contributors|

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift that fits in perfectly with the time of year, look no farther. In “Holly Jolly,” Mark Voger, the master of all things nostalgic, examines the rise of Christmas as a cultural artifact and phenomena, from the 1930s through the late 1980s. Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas in Pop Culture, [...]

On Free Will

By |2020-12-03T15:39:44-06:00December 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Freedom, Modernity, Morality, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Without free will and a belief in it, there is no dignity and certainly no freedom of the human person. And without moral responsibility, there is no certain morality. Everything is merely as it was shaped to be, for good or for ill. This is the extremely dangerous situation in which we find ourselves today. [...]

Surprised by Jack

By |2020-11-28T21:35:13-06:00November 28th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Character, Christianity, Literature, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

C.S. Lewis’ writings are endlessly fascinating because the man himself was endlessly fascinating—to himself as well as to others. He saw life as a sort of drama and art, one in which the will shapes what Providence has so generously provided. One can readily and happily delve into C.S. Lewis’s autobiography of 1955, Surprised by [...]

Who Now Remembers Andrew Lang?

By |2020-11-26T09:07:56-06:00November 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Imagination, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

As an anthropologist and folklorist, Andrew Lang believed that fairy tales and folklore serve as records of the past in the cultural realm, much like the tradition of common law in the legal realm. Through the study of cultural norms and folkways, one can understand the mores of the present. Some men should never have [...]

A Personal Reflection on Writing

By |2021-01-22T13:03:27-06:00November 17th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Senior Contributors, Technology, Writing|

There are certain tools that can help in the writing process. Think of a keyboard, for example, as the equivalent of a rock musician’s guitar. Just as a musician would only want to perform before an audience with a quality guitar, a professional or serious writer will definitely want to invest in a good keyboard. [...]

Burke on the French Revolution and Britain’s Role

By |2020-11-15T14:09:43-06:00November 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, England, Government, History, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

Once the British had returned to first principles and right reason, Edmund Burke argued, they would also be reminded of the practical things, such as good government, the cultivation of the middle class, and the protection of property. In other words, through the fight against the French Revolution, the British would return to being properly [...]

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