Moral Imagination

Awakening the Moral Imagination

By |2017-02-28T00:00:18-05:00February 27th, 2017|Categories: Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Myth, Timeless Essays|

The beauty of fairy tales is their ability to attractively depict character and virtue. Goodness glimmers while wickedness and deception are unmasked… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Vigen Guroian as he explores the benefits fairy tales afford children. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher The notion that fairy [...]

Edmund Burke, Providence, & Archaism

By |2018-10-16T20:24:12-05:00January 11th, 2017|Categories: Books, Edmund Burke, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|

Practical politics, Edmund Burke knew, is the art of the possible. We cannot alter singlehandedly the climate of opinion, or the institutions of our day, by a haughty adherence to inflexible and abstract doctrines… The Political Reason of Edmund Burke, by Francis Canavan (S.J. Duke University Press, 1960) Edmund Burke and Ireland, by Thomas [...]

The Romance of Edmund Burke

By |2018-11-26T16:28:22-05:00October 10th, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Featured, Moral Imagination, Philosophy, Russell Kirk|

For those of us who love Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, and Irving Babbitt, the extravagantly convoluted term, “the moral imagination,” rolls readily off the tongue and warms the heart like few other things. Yet, most of our closest allies on the right scratch their collective and individual heads in confusion. “What is this moral [...]

The World of the Poet

By |2019-07-30T15:56:17-05:00June 17th, 2016|Categories: Dante, Fiction, George A. Panichas, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Imagination, John Milton, Literature, Moral Imagination, Poetry, Sophocles, Virgil|

Man, it is often said, cannot jump over his own shadow. The poet—and by “poet” I mean a writer of imaginative works in verse or prose—leaps over the universe… Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. I We not only read a novel, we enter into its created world. [...]

What Is the Moral Imagination?

By |2016-04-12T15:20:12-05:00April 11th, 2016|Categories: Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, Irving Babbitt, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

Like many of you, I am sure, my first encounter with the term “the moral imagination” came through reading Russell Kirk. In an attempt to make better sense of what, for me, was a problematic concept, I followed Kirk back to his admitted predecessors on this matter, Irving Babbitt and Edmund Burke. I must confess [...]

Where, Then, Is Time?

By |2018-11-21T08:39:02-05:00January 19th, 2016|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, Moral Imagination, St. Augustine, St. John's College, Time|

Let me first explain my odd-sounding title. It is a variation on the most famous question-and-answer about time ever posed. It comes from the eleventh book of Augustine’s Confessions, published about 400 C.E.: This is his question: “What, then, is time?” And this is his preliminary answer: “If nobody asks me, I know; if [...]

Educating the Moral Imagination: The Truth of Beauty

By |2019-07-03T14:24:56-05:00November 30th, 2015|Categories: Beauty, Benjamin Lockerd, Essential, Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Poetry, Timeless Essays|

(Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Benjamin Lockerd as he examines the importance of the moral imagination in learning the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.—W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher) Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need [...]

Chesterton, Madmen, and Madhouses

By |2018-10-16T20:24:34-05:00June 14th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, G.K. Chesterton, Literature, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

No man of his time defended more passionately the cause of sanity and “centricity” than did G. K. Chesterton—despite his aversion to watches and his uncalculated picturesqueness of dress. Yet no imaginative writer touched more often than did Chesterton upon lunacy, real or alleged: a prospect of his age with the madhouse for its background. [...]

Literature and the Contract of Eternal Society

By |2018-10-16T20:24:35-05:00May 11th, 2015|Categories: Featured, Liberal Learning, Literature, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|

Some years ago, I walked across the braes from Old Cumnock, in Ayrshire, to the village of Ochiltree. Now Ochiltree is the “Barbie” of George Douglas Brown’s grim realistic novel The House with the Green Shutters. And the Scottish village of Ochiltree is dying. Brown described the changes that began to descend upon little [...]

Conservativism and the Regeneration of the Spirit

By |2018-10-16T20:24:38-05:00April 1st, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Moral Imagination, Quotation, RAK, Religion, Russell Kirk|

Russell Kirk “The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at the highest.” – [...]

Perishing for Want of Imagery: The Moral Imagination

By |2019-07-11T11:40:12-05:00March 29th, 2015|Categories: 10th Amendment, Education, Featured, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

  “It is imagination that governs the human race.” No professor of literature wrote those words: that is an aphorism of the master of the big battalions, Napoleon Bonaparte. In a time when we Americans ought to be entering upon an Augustan age, we seem enervated. A feeling of powerlessness oppresses many Americans. Even [...]

A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians

By |2018-10-16T20:24:40-05:00February 21st, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Featured, Libertarians, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|

The term “libertarianism” is distasteful to people who think seriously about politics. Both Dr. F.A. Hayek and your servant have gone out of their way, from time to time, to declare that they refuse to be tagged with this label. Anyone much influenced by the thought of Edmund Burke and of Alexis de Tocqueville—as [...]

The Wise Men Know What Wicked Things Are Written on the Sky

By |2019-08-15T14:32:07-05:00June 3rd, 2014|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Literature, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

The end of the twentieth century of the Christian era is not far distant, and all about us things fall apart. There comes to my mind the last drawing from the pencil of William Hogarth, who died in 1764: it is a sufficient representation of the state of civilization today. Hogarth’s final drawing is [...]

Russell Kirk and the Moral Imagination

By |2015-11-02T07:39:12-05:00November 6th, 2013|Categories: Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

In November 2013 my students and I had the honor of a visit from Annette Kirk, widow of Russell Kirk. Mrs. Kirk led us in a discussion of her husband’s classic essay “The Moral Imagination.”  The term moral imagination actually comes from Edmund Burke, the 18th century author of Reflections on the Revolution in France and father of modern conservatism. Burke believed [...]