Christopher Dawson and the Bourgeois Mind

By |2018-12-21T07:01:00-05:00March 7th, 2018|

The bourgeois soul for Christopher Dawson is not found simply in support of the free market. The bourgeois soul is found when one puts money above God, in contrast to the religious man, who places God first… “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, [...]

Russell Kirk’s Historical Imagination

By |2016-02-12T15:28:02-05:00February 6th, 2015|

“Our religion, our culture, and our political rights all are maintained by continuity: by the respect for the accomplishments of our forefathers, and by our concern for our posterity’s well-being.”[1] In his private library at Piety Hill, Russell Kirk devoted a large bookcase to the works of those he called “philosophical historians.” Kirk placed [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2019-04-07T10:51:23-05:00April 27th, 2014|Tags: , , |

Russell Kirk A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind by James E. Person, Jr. Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology by W. Wesley McDonald The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk by Gerald J. Russello The decades that follow the death of prominent intellectuals are filled with attempts by detractors and supporters [...]

Subsidy or Subsidiarity

By |2014-06-16T13:08:39-05:00March 2nd, 2013|Tags: |

Individualism and community are the opposite halves of the American character. For every myth of the self-made man, there is the image of the closely knit New England small town. For every lone cowboy on the frontier, there are the social, political, and cultural groups that Americans have formed since the beginning of the [...]

Christopher Dawson: The Twofold Nature of Christian History

By |2016-08-03T10:37:18-05:00January 29th, 2013|Tags: |

Christopher Dawson Christopher Dawson wrote with two different audiences in mind. He sought both to displace the bankrupt Victorian and Edwardian liberalism of his own day and to shake the complacency of his coreligionists who preferred to bask in the quickly fading light of false medievalism. His carefully crafted prose revealed a nuanced and original [...]

Ten Conservative Books Revisited

By |2014-02-07T16:48:42-05:00January 17th, 2013|Tags: |

In 1986, Russell Kirk gave a lecture titled “Ten Conservative Books” in which he identified ten important books that distilled or expressed conservative principles, from Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France to T. S. Eliot’s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, the book Kirk pressed upon the hapless Richard Nixon. The essay is worth reading not [...]

Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives: Brooklyn Speaks

By |2014-12-10T11:14:26-05:00December 9th, 2012|

I have the following suggestions for people looking for imaginatively conservative gifts this Christmas. A national treasure, Bill Kauffman is almost single-handedly rewriting the history of the American Right.  He is assuredly among the most interesting and entertaining conservative writers out there today.  I recommend starting with Ain’t My America or his amazing biography [...]

The Quintessential Founder: John Witherspoon

By |2014-04-02T17:04:35-05:00November 29th, 2012|Tags: |

John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic, by Jeffry H. Morrison. Who now remembers John Witherspoon? Despite his many achievements—a celebrated pastor, president of Princeton, tutor to James Madison and other founders, and the sole cleric to sign the Declaration of Independence—Witherspoon has all but fallen through the memory hole of American history. [...]

A Forward-Thinking Conservatism

By |2014-03-19T10:16:13-05:00November 19th, 2012|Tags: |

There has been much commentary concerning a David Brooks editorial that in turn cites Rod Dreher’s article on what it means to be a conservative. Both Brooks and Dreher return to Russell Kirk and his ten principles of conservatism, to define what Brooks describes as the lost half of the “conservative mind.” That half [...]

William F. Buckley and Individualist Conservatism

By |2014-01-02T16:18:53-05:00July 11th, 2012|Tags: |

Buckley: William F. Buckley, Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism, by Carl T. Bogus. Bloomsbury Press, 2011. William F. Buckley, Jr. continues to stand as the representative conservative of the postwar era. Bon vivant, former CIA operative, heir to an oil fortune—not to mention best-selling writer of spy novels and founding editor of National Review, [...]

Peter Berger: Humanizing the Social Sciences

By |2014-04-02T17:12:51-05:00April 20th, 2012|Tags: |

Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist: How to Explain the World Without Becoming a Bore, by Peter L. Berger. Prometheus Books, 2011. Sociology was invented in the nineteenth century by the French philosopher Auguste Comte, who envisioned a “science of society” in which religion was replaced by rationalism and the polity was ruled by experts. Comte intended [...]

Conservatives, Politics & Culture: A Response to Claes Ryn

By |2014-01-16T17:26:22-05:00October 15th, 2011|

Claes Ryn (How Conservatives Failed ‘The Culture’) is characteristically forthright about what he sees as conservatism’s main difficulty: its neglect of the imaginative realm of culture and the arts in favor of politics. This emphasis is not only a reversal of traditional conservative priorities but is self-defeating. Ryn’s own work is a testament to [...]

For­got­ten Con­sti­tu­tional Founders

By |2017-06-27T15:06:29-05:00March 14th, 2011|Tags: |

An Incautious Man: The Life of Gouverneur Morris by Melanie Miller Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin by Bill Kauffman Even after more than two centuries, the story of the Constitution remains enthralling. Fifty-five men—average age forty-two—met behind locked doors, their deliberations secret, to create a governing document. Their authority to do so was, to [...]