The Heroism of Civilization

By |2020-07-04T01:22:27-05:00July 4th, 2020|Categories: Civilization, David Deavel, Family, Heroism, Marriage, Senior Contributors|

What we need in American society are more imaginative resources for thinking about marriage and the great slog of parenthood. We need stories, plays, movies, and shows about the sort of heroism that requires long-haul fortitude and not just courage in the moment. A long-held but somewhat flexible fantasy I have engaged in periodically [...]

“The Decadent Society” & the Summer of Our Discontent

By |2020-06-28T13:29:05-05:00June 28th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Modernity, Senior Contributors|

In “The Decadent Society,” Ross Douthat’s definition of decadence reaches more deeply into the underlying causes of our present rot. Is American society sick, sclerotic, sterile, and stagnant, as he suggests? The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success, by Ross Douthat (272 pages, Avid Reader Press, 2020) There is [...]

Who Actually Discovered America?

By |2020-06-18T16:42:14-05:00June 18th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, History, Senior Contributors|

Christopher Columbus is without a doubt responsible for the Columbian Exchange—which through human agency recreated the lost world of Pangea. But was Columbus the first to discover America? As noted in my previous essay here at The Imaginative Conservative, the memory—and especially the statues—of Christopher Columbus has taken quite the beating over the last [...]

Hail, Christopher Columbus!

By |2020-06-20T14:37:40-05:00June 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Europe, History, Senior Contributors|

The once-radical belief that Christopher Columbus was evil has sadly become mainstream. But Columbus was a brave and tenacious explorer—flawed, of course, like every man—who expanded the knowledge of the Old World, changing it and the New World forever. Christopher Columbus changed the world. It’s as simple as this. We might argue that these [...]

Understanding Genes, Decadence, and the Decline of Empires

By |2020-06-01T13:59:14-05:00June 1st, 2020|Categories: Charles Murray, Civil Society, Civilization, Culture|

We have become victims of our very success in producing a comfortable life so that nothing new seems worth much further effort. The United States and the West might even be as decadent as was ancient Rome, which managed decline for centuries. Why not the United States too? Everyone on the right seems to [...]

Geography’s Revenge: Space & Human Action in German History

By |2020-05-27T18:54:05-05:00May 27th, 2020|Categories: Civilization, Europe, History, Nature|

We cannot interpret our past or approach the future based upon the assumption that individuals and groups are mere passive chess pieces. We must more appreciate the constraints of the earth, without capitulating to them with aggression or inertia. In 1440, at the heart of the Rhine Valley, Johannes Gutenberg perfected the first European [...]

Christopher Dawson and the Religious Impulse

By |2020-05-23T17:30:06-05:00May 23rd, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Civilization, Culture, Government, History, Religion|

How does religion act as a driving force of politics and culture? Christoper Dawson argued that “we cannot understand the inner form of a society unless we understand its religion,” and we cannot make sense of any culture or its achievements without knowing the religious inspiration from which its creativity flowed. Imagine a diagram [...]

Why “Western Civ” Is Losing Its Appeal

By |2020-05-18T08:09:17-05:00May 17th, 2020|Categories: Books, Civilization, Classical Education, Culture, Education, Great Books, Liberal Arts, Literature, Modernity, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The Western canon as typically presented is increasingly unable to rally the enthusiasm even of devoted admirers of Western civilization, who recognize the commonly proffered canons as, at best, an impoverished rendition of Western culture and, at worst, a perpetuation of the very same cultural forces that are at the source of its decay. [...]

A Christian Critique of Secular Progressivism

By |2020-05-08T18:26:03-05:00May 8th, 2020|Categories: Civilization, Culture, History, Philosophy, Progressivism, Religion, Time|

The end of history concept—the belief that there will be an endpoint to social, intellectual, and political progress—is a powerful idea that pervades modern-day secular thought. The spread of gay rights, the rise of universal government-run health insurance, and environmental awareness has hubristically led “progressive” secularists to describe a coming “Age of Enlightenment” when [...]

Moving Toward Dread Conformity

By |2020-04-10T11:06:40-05:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Civilization, Conservatism, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

In 1953, Robert Nisbet published “The Quest for Community,” a book that reveals to us that our own quest has become something both natural and unnatural. That is, it is natural to desire to belong, but it is horrifically unnatural in the ways we choose to commune. 1953 was a banner year for the [...]

Recovering Our Legacy: The Many Uses of the American Past

By |2020-03-08T20:51:13-05:00March 8th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, Citizenship, Civilization, Conservatism, History, Western Civilization|

“Citizenship” means a vivid and enduring sense of one’s full membership in one of the greatest enterprises in human history: the astonishing, perilous, and immensely consequential story of one’s own country. Today, we must redouble our efforts to make that past our own, and then be about the business of passing it on. We [...]

For Thine is the Kingdom: Tom Holland’s “Dominion”

By |2020-03-07T16:53:58-06:00March 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christendom, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, History, Religion, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Like a queen who rides a bicycle, Tom Holland’s “Dominion” is both majestic and down-to-earth. From antiquity to modernity, Mr. Holland traces a sneaky thesis that Christianity has changed the world—transforming it from the inside out. Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, by Tom Holland (624 pages, Basic Books, 2019) Every once [...]

The Culture of Conservatism

By |2020-03-02T10:36:37-06:00March 2nd, 2020|Categories: Civilization, Conservatism, Culture, Culture War, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Understanding who we are is an essential question to culture because the answer we give to that question affects how we understand our history, identity, and the symbolism—sacred and secular—that goes with it. Yet, there are many conservatives who have not the slightest inkling of this phenomenon. What is culture? “Culture War” has reentered [...]