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.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Burke on the Inhumanity of the French Revolution

By |2020-11-13T10:15:19-06:00November 11th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, History, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

Whatever its own stated purposes and desired ends, the French Revolution never sought to better the condition of humanity or even of France. The Revolutionaries, as Edmund Burke stressed, were radicals, seeking civil war not only in France, but also in all of Christendom. The grand Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke (1729-1797) spent much of [...]

Living With C.S. Lewis & His Immense Personality

By |2020-11-09T15:59:32-06:00November 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Senior Contributors|

C.S. Lewis possessed an immense personality, the kind of personality that affected not only those around him, but also all those who came after him. Full of charisma and brilliance, he both attracted loyal friends and made bitter enemies wherever he went. Strangely enough, I didn’t come to C.S. Lewis as a person or [...]

The Christian Humanism of J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2020-11-06T21:59:09-06:00November 6th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors|

For J.R.R. Tolkien, mythology touches the deepest part of our souls, and invites us to explore the beauty of creation and to discover and participate in the sacramental nature of life. The mythology and purpose guiding his works was nothing less than the return to Christendom. J.R.R. Tolkien, I believe, was one of the [...]

Tocqueville on America’s Colonial Experience & the Seeds of Democracy

By |2020-11-04T16:18:48-06:00November 4th, 2020|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Democracy, Democracy in America, History, Senior Contributors|

As Alexis de Tocqueville’s writings demonstrate, despite its flaws and failings, America remains the best case study for the greatest successes of democracy. This success comes from the ability to integrate—to the point of inseparability—the love of religion and the love of liberty. Just as the continent of Europe was entering upon its phase [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Argument

By |2020-10-30T10:11:20-05:00October 27th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien proclaimed that fairy—like all mythology—is an expression of our deepest longings and fears. Fairy itself, far from being supernatural, is the most natural of worlds, and reminds us of the deepest truths of existence. For J.R.R. Tolkien, Fairy was a world parallel to ours, embodying many of the rules and norms and [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Setting

By |2020-10-23T15:15:52-05:00October 23rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Coming when it did in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing career, “On Fairy Stories” reveals more about the mind and soul of the man than any other non-fiction work he produced in his lifetime. Not too long after Tolkien had published The Hobbit—to much critical acclaim—and was just beginning a sequel to it, the Faculty of [...]

October for Russell Kirk

By |2020-10-20T13:59:40-05:00October 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Russell Amos Augustine Kirk is one of America’s foremost and most important thinkers, especially in the desiccated and mutilated 20th century, an era of horrific inhumanities and incessant blood-letting. Kirk stood for a more humane age that valued the dignity and uniqueness of each human person and that unabashedly sought the good, the true, [...]

Burke on Monstrous Revolution and Regicide Peace

By |2020-10-15T15:53:47-05:00October 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Europe, Government, History, Justice, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

Far from creating peace, Edmund Burke contended, the French Revolution had generated the greatest despotism the world had yet seen, politicizing all things and enslaving the vast majority of the population. The Revolution itself was monstrous and had created only monstrous things. Of Edmund Burke’s (1729-1797) four Letters on a Regicide Peace—his final work, [...]

Burke’s First Letter on a Regicide Peace

By |2020-10-15T09:55:34-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Edmund Burke, Government, History, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

As Edmund Burke observed, real community begins with the free and natural choice to associate at the most personal, familial, and local level, with each community growing from the ground up. By misunderstanding this, the French Revolutionaries seceded not just from Christendom, but from the laws of nature. In the final years of his [...]

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