Russell Kirk

About Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of some thirty-two books, hundreds of periodical essays, and many short stories. Both Time and Newsweek have described him as one of America’s leading thinkers, and The New York Times acknowledged the scale of his influence when in 1998 it wrote that Dr. Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.” Dr. Kirk's other books include The Roots of American Order, Prospects for Conservatives, Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered, The Sword of Imagination, and Enemies of the Permanent Things.

Columbus the Exemplar

By |2018-10-16T20:23:52-05:00October 7th, 2018|

Christopher Columbus offers us the example of those virtues that the old Romans called fortitude and constancy; and the example of those virtues that the early Christians called faith and hope... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Russell Kirk as he considers the character and legacy of the [...]

The Rarity of the God-Fearing Man

By |2018-10-16T20:23:54-05:00July 1st, 2018|

Forgetting that there exists such a state as salutary dread, modern man has become spiritually foolhardy. The God-fearing man is rare… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Russell Kirk as he explores the moral strength and influence that result from fearing God. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher A [...]

Obdurate Adversaries of Modernity

By |2019-02-22T22:50:31-05:00June 3rd, 2018|

The adversaries of Modernity were raising their voices some forty years ago in Switzerland, France, Australia, and other countries; the journal Modern Age was intended to become, in considerable part, an American protest against the illusions of Modernity; and so it has remained… It was not without irony, thirty years ago, that I clapped the [...]

Decadence in the American University

By |2018-10-16T20:23:57-05:00May 14th, 2018|Tags: , |

Increasingly, the university becomes the servant of the public desires of the hour, and correspondingly neglects its old duty of waking the moral imagination and disciplining the liberal intellect… The American University: How It Runs, Where It Is Going by Jacques Barzun (356 pages, University of Chicago Press, 1993) As C.E.M. Joad put it, “decadence [...]

Simplicity & Audacity in Reform: A Call for Reactionary Radicalism

By |2018-10-16T20:23:57-05:00May 6th, 2018|Tags: |

There now exists a general dissatisfaction with the present sunk condition of higher learning; complacency having trickled away, reform is conceivable… For a quarter of a century, the higher education in America has been sinking lower. Agreement on this subject is so widespread that I need not labor the point: others will offer you [...]

The Essence of Conservatism

By |2018-10-16T20:23:58-05:00April 28th, 2018|

A conservative is not, by definition, a selfish or a stupid person; instead, he is a person who believes there is something in our life worth saving… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Russell Kirk as he explores the essence of conservatism and the ten principles [...]

The Soundness of Reinhold Niebuhr

By |2018-10-16T20:23:59-05:00April 22nd, 2018|Tags: |

To many American Protestants, Reinhold Niebuhr restored an understanding of the truth of the dogma of Original Sin, as expressed in the myth of Adam’s fall. Yet in the defense of other Christian dogmata, was he indeed so strong-hearted and strong-minded as he generally is taken to have been?… Niebuhr and His Age: Reinhold [...]

The Treason of the Clerks

By |2019-02-28T12:36:18-05:00April 15th, 2018|Tags: |

The sorriest aspect of the twentieth century has been the rallying of the intellectuals to the arrogant banner of nationalism, which rejects universal and eternal truth for the sake of national and passing advantage… Thirty years ago, a book was published about which a great many people talk, but which few have really read: [...]

The Necessity of Dogmas in Schooling

By |2018-10-16T20:24:00-05:00April 8th, 2018|Tags: |

As the rising generation is left ignorant of our civilization’s dogmas—or is encouraged to discard them—strange new dogmas rush in to fill the spiritual vacuum… All societies, in all times, have lived by dogmas. When dogmas are abandoned, the social bonds dissolve—swiftly or slowly; and the “open” society ceases to be a society at [...]

The Architecture of Servitude and Boredom

By |2019-04-04T12:04:24-05:00April 1st, 2018|Tags: |

Do we descend steadily, and now somewhat speedily, toward a colossal architecture of unparalleled dreariness, and a colossal state of unparalleled uniformity? Will all of us labor under a profound depression of spirits because of the boring and servile architecture about us? And will the society now taking form in America resign itself to [...]

Education Spending & the Nation’s Culture

By |2019-01-24T13:27:42-05:00March 25th, 2018|Tags: |

It is possible to bankrupt a nation’s treasury by extravagant expenditure upon alleged “education.” Worse still, it is possible to bankrupt a nation’s culture in the name of schooling… School Needs in the Decade Ahead by Roger A. Freeman (Institute for Social Science, 1958) Federal Aid to Education: Boom or Bane? by Roger A. Freeman (American [...]

A Conscript in the Desert

By |2019-03-05T14:53:07-05:00March 18th, 2018|Tags: |

For years after his honorable discharge in 1946, Russell Kirk suffered a recurrent nightmare, to the effect that his discharge had been a clerical error; that he was summoned back to Dugway Valley; and there, beside his grim safe, stuffed with deadly secret documents, he would labor until he shuffled off this mortal coil… [...]

Will American Caesars Arise?

By |2019-02-28T10:41:02-05:00March 11th, 2018|Tags: |

The Framers had no intention of making their chief executive officer a Caesar, on the model of Augustus. Nor does any eminent politician or publicist nowadays advocate openly such concentration of power in the executive… May a time arise when the American government sinks to the condition of a plebiscitary democracy, that is, a [...]