Moral Imagination

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

By |2019-08-15T14:32:07-06:00June 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 |2015-11-02T07:39:12-06:00November 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 [...]

Story Lines, Not Party Lines

By |2019-07-23T12:39:14-06:00August 8th, 2013|Categories: Art, Conservatism, Moral Imagination, Rod Dreher|Tags: |

Here’s a story for you. For years I devoted much of my journalism—op-eds, blogs, even a book about cultural politics—to lamenting the rootlessness of American life and prescribing solutions for it from within the conservative intellectual tradition. Yet I never quite found the wherewithal to live as I preached. It’s as if I didn’t [...]

The Dalai, the Dinosaur, and the Tao

By |2016-02-12T15:28:24-06:00May 23rd, 2013|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Moral Imagination, Morality|Tags: , |

The Dalai Lama In his inaugural lecture at Cambridge University, C. S. Lewis referred to himself as a type of dinosaur; a species of “Old Western man” that was about to go extinct in the mid-20th century. Today I had the extraordinary opportunity to spend some time watching a man who I fear [...]

Damsels in Distress: A Cultural Anti-Depressant

By |2016-05-01T12:48:05-06:00May 22nd, 2013|Categories: Barbara J. Elliott, Culture, Film, Modernity, Moral Imagination, Whit Stillman|

If you’re feeling depressed about the culture around you, Dr. Elliott has a prescription for you: one full dose of Whit Stillman’s most recent film, Damsels in Distress, followed by tap dancing. I am perfectly serious. This charming story unfolds with a group of quirky college girls on the campus of Seven Oaks, a fictitious [...]

Russell Kirk: An Integrated Man

By |2016-02-12T15:28:24-06:00May 14th, 2013|Categories: Christianity, Community, Conservatism, Culture, G.K. Chesterton, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

The most obvious and important thing that must be said about Russell Kirk concerns the harmony that existed between his public and his private life. He was an integrated man who lived what he wrote. There were no disappointing disjunctions between the private and the public self. On the contrary, the happy domestic life [...]

Sister Coulsey’s Furnace

By |2014-01-17T12:04:25-06:00May 11th, 2013|Categories: C. R. Wiley, Fiction, Literature, Moral Imagination|

Pastor Ricky had placed all his hopes on the Hawaiian shirt. He wanted to connect with people and he had seen one of those television preachers wearing one. The people at the TV preacher’s church were all tanned and good-looking. Some were even drinking coffee during the service. I need what that guy has, [...]

Gulliver’s Final Voyages

By |2019-02-07T11:14:54-06:00May 4th, 2013|Categories: Books, Literature, Moral Imagination|Tags: , , |

Samuel Johnson famously said of Gulliver’s Travels: “When once you have thought of big men and little men, it is very easy to do the rest.” It is a flippant verdict, yet it’s true that most people lose interest in Swift’s tale after the first and second voyages (to Lilliput, land of small people, [...]

English Letters in the Age of Boredom

By |2019-10-30T13:35:41-06:00April 27th, 2013|Categories: Books, Literature, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot|Tags: |

Some day I shall write a book with the title The Age of Eliot (ed., published as Eliot and His Age). The span of Mr. T. S. Eliot’s life, extending from the ascendancy of President Cleveland and Lord Salisbury to our present troubled hour, has been characterized by as much material change as any age in the [...]

Russell Kirk: An Old House Dies With Love and Honor

By |2016-07-26T15:46:30-06:00April 21st, 2013|Categories: Ash Wednesday, Bradley J. Birzer, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

[For those of us blessed enough to have visited Russell Kirk’s Piety Hill, we already know what charms have settled over the place, become one with the surrounding woods, the architecture, and the very home itself.] Annette Kirk, that uncontainable force of nature, is, of course, the perfect hostess. And, who would not be [...]

Tempi Cambi: Tradition and Modernity in The Godfather

By |2017-09-05T23:06:29-06:00April 7th, 2013|Categories: Books, Film, Mark Malvasi, Modernity, Moral Imagination, Tradition|

America, that bright, shining land of freedom, opportunity, and progress, is irredeemably corrupt. It is in the hands of debased and hypocritical politicians, judges, businessmen, and their servants, such as the debauched Hollywood film maker Jack Woltz, the belligerent New York police captain Mark McCluskey, the rapacious Las Vegas gambler Moe Greene, and the [...]