Mark Malvasi

About Mark Malvasi

Mark Malvasi is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative and Professor of History at Randolph-Macon College, where he teaches "The Idea and Problem of Slavery." Dr. Malvasi is the author of The Unregenerate South: The Agrarian Thought of John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Donald Davidson, Slavery in the Western Hemisphere Circa 1500-1888, and Dark Fields: Poems and an Essay.

A Connecticut Yankee and the Failure of Progressivism

By |2019-04-15T23:19:15-05:00April 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, History, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Mark Twain, Modernity, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

No writer so early recognized and so credibly exposed the dangerous inadequacies concealed in the Progressive world view than did Mark Twain in his sardonic novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I. By 1912, the triumph of Progressivism was complete. Both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt had advertised themselves as Progressive candidates, [...]

Progressivism and Democracy

By |2019-03-10T14:45:13-05:00March 10th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Capitalism, Defining America Series, Democracy, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Could democratic government solve, or even effectively address, the problems of a modern society? For decades, this question vexed Progressive reformers as they navigated the transformation of the United States from a country of small farms and rural communities to a nation of factories, corporations, and cities. Before the Civil War, Americans never doubted [...]

Defining America

By |2019-02-10T21:04:20-05:00February 10th, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Culture, Defining America Series, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

What older societies expressed in myth, custom, and tradition, Americans established through scholarship, in a heroic effort to sustain a national character and national consciousness that were often more ephemeral and certainly more elusive than they may at first have appeared or than Americans have been wont to believe… There is nothing new in [...]

Versailles at 100

By |2018-12-31T12:59:10-05:00January 1st, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Democracy, Europe, History, Mark Malvasi, Nationalism, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, Woodrow Wilson, World War I, World War II|

The Great War, in Woodrow Wilson’s view, had to become precisely what the delegates to the Congress of Vienna feared: a moral crusade, an instrument of social and political revolution… For American president Woodrow Wilson, the First World War was the “war to end all wars” by making “the world safe for democracy,” not [...]

The Death of Europe: Two Classic Films and the Great War

By |2018-12-13T23:45:16-05:00November 10th, 2018|Categories: Ethics, Europe, Film, Friendship, Mark Malvasi, Nationalism, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, World War II|

So incisive and troubling did the Nazis find Jean Renoir’s indictment of war and his embrace of the shared culture of Europe, that when the Wehrmacht invaded France and occupied Paris in the spring of 1940, Renoir’s film La Grande Illusion was among the first cultural artifacts Nazi officials confiscated… The Great War was a catastrophe for Europe. [...]

Nature, Science, and Civilization

By |2019-04-25T12:20:14-05:00September 26th, 2018|Categories: Civilization, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leviathan, Mark Malvasi, Nature, Science, Senior Contributors, Technology, Western Civilization|

At its finest, the new conception of nature enabled people to appreciate, and wish to safeguard, the natural environment on which life depends. At its worst, this reverence for the natural world gave rise to a mindless sentimentality that regarded all human activity as harmful and exploitive... I. The English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once observed [...]

Do Americans Really Value Hard Work?

By |2018-09-03T00:46:49-05:00September 2nd, 2018|Categories: Character, Economics, Mark Malvasi, Modernity, Timeless Essays|

The tiresome cant about the work ethic notwithstanding, Americans do not celebrate, or even recognize, the dignity of labor. Although they profess to disdain both the idle rich and the idle poor, they do not at the same time esteem those who must work for a living, even as most count themselves among that number... [...]

Immigration: A Troubled History

By |2019-03-07T10:46:03-05:00August 5th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Culture, History, Immigration, Mark Malvasi|

Immigrants became American, or at least what they thought of as American, because they had no alternative. Educated in the rituals and standards of citizenship, they conformed to the vague but robust doctrine of “Americanism,” and sought, above all, to avoid being “un-American”… I. On August 6, 1676, Nicholas Spencer, secretary of the Virginia [...]

A Healthy Respect for Limits: Recovering the American Founding

By |2019-03-26T16:43:59-05:00July 2nd, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Independence Day, Mark Malvasi|

The Founding Fathers and their heirs wanted to establish and maintain a prosperous republic, yet they welcomed limitations on prosperity as much as they had welcomed restraints on power. This healthy respect for limits offers a way to recover the political and moral realism that contemporary Americans have lost… Somewhere I recall reading the [...]

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as a Fable of Modern America

By |2019-04-23T15:38:10-05:00June 4th, 2018|Categories: Books, Economics, Fiction, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

Literary scholars have long interpreted The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a fable of populism, but it is more than that: It is a celebration of consumer culture as the the very meaning of America, this bright and shining land where men and women are happy to deceive themselves into believing a fairy tale, [...]

The Lasting South? A Reconsideration

By |2019-04-25T13:09:39-05:00April 25th, 2018|Categories: Books, Mark Malvasi, Richard Weaver, Social Institutions, South|Tags: |

Ambiguities and contradictions aside, the Southern conservative tradition, by a heroic act of mind, may yet be summoned against the distortions of modernity, and, in particular, against the alluring gnostic supposition, now so prevalent, that men can alter the nature of existence and transmute the substance of being… From the perspective of the twenty-first [...]

Thomas Jefferson and the Paradox of Slavery

By |2018-04-19T20:32:27-05:00April 17th, 2018|Categories: Aristotle, Freedom, History, Mark Malvasi, Philosophy, Slavery, South, Thomas Jefferson|

The masters of slaves, it turned out, were themselves neither independent nor self-sufficient, but were bound to, and reliant upon, their slaves both for their welfare and their identity. This vague recognition in part accounts for the grim tone that Thomas Jefferson adopted in his analysis of slavery: He had to confront the prospect [...]