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 Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.”

What Holds America Together? Russell Kirk’s “Roots of American Order”

By |2020-06-11T14:37:09-05:00June 13th, 2020|Categories: Books, Roots of American Order, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

Russell Kirk shows that the United States was a new thing built upon a number of very old things, and these are the roots which give it life today: the English common law, the English language, the English Reformation, the English Parliament; the Roman order and the Greek intellect, Montesquieu’s “depositary” of justice, and [...]

Teaching Russell Kirk in High School: An Interview with Miss Kinyon

By |2020-06-02T16:41:06-05:00June 2nd, 2020|Categories: David Deavel, Education, Liberal Learning, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Before entering the workforce or making a huge investment in their education, high school seniors are craving a clear, practical understanding of economics and government. Russell Kirk provides both in “The American Cause” and “Economics: Work and Prosperity.” What should high school students be reading? Many of us believe that great texts are essential [...]

Russell Kirk’s Literary Gentlemen

By |2020-04-08T16:41:39-05:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

It is no exaggeration to suggest that the idea of the gentleman stands as the lynchpin of Russell Kirk’s entire social theory. Well-educated, well-read, and virtuous, the gentleman stands as the living link between the present and the past; in many ways, he is the moral imagination embodied. After decades of neglect, the Gothic [...]

Did Edmund Burke Support the American Revolution?

By |2020-03-17T17:36:43-05:00March 17th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, History, Independence Day, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Many conservatives have assumed that Edmund Burke was opposed to the American Revolution. It is, to my mind, an erroneous assumption. “Burke broke his agentship and went publicly silent on the American cause once war broke out,” Robert Nisbet claimed in his most definitive analysis of Edmund Burke, written and published in 1985. His [...]

The Haunting of America: Russell Kirk’s Ghostly Fiction

By |2020-03-16T09:18:18-05:00March 16th, 2020|Categories: Ancestral Shadows, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Mystery, Russell Kirk|

The ghost story was the perfect vehicle for Russell Kirk to extend his own sense of awe-filled wonder to a wider audience. He was keenly aware of the need for romance and mystery in everyday life—and how hard it was to achieve it in America. He created for his readers one of those places [...]

The Three Conservative Burkes: Hayek, Strauss, and Kirk

By |2020-03-05T10:18:27-06:00March 5th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Edmund Burke was the nexus among the classical, medieval, and modern worlds, and the best answer to contemporary ideology. It is worth considering the Burke of Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Russell Kirk in order to fully understand his importance to the rise of conservatism in academia after World War II. The somewhat radical (relatively [...]

Russell Kirk’s Beauty and Civilization

By |2020-01-31T22:18:17-06:00January 31st, 2020|Categories: Beauty, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Modernity, Religion, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

In the late 1950s, as Russell Kirk considered what needed to be conserved in the Western tradition as well as what needed to be discarded, he lamented that much of what the West did was “uglify.”  It had forgotten not only the necessity of beauty, but it had forgotten how to define beauty. It [...]

The Permanence of Russell Kirk

By |2019-10-14T12:29:01-05:00October 7th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

With the phenomenal success of The Conservative Mind—selling over a million copies during the three decades after its initial release—Kirk worried that “conservatism” might prove to be a hollow answer for the post-war world. Afterall, he reasoned, conservatism must, by necessity, be highly subjective, centered around a specific time and place, even while embracing [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2019-10-12T14:19:30-05:00October 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Russell Kirk gave voice to a myriad of persons, personalities, and ideas circulating in the decade after the Second World War, just as the West was trying to understand what it stood for, rather than what it stood against. The latter was easy. Communism and fascism were evil. But, what exactly did the West stand [...]

Russell Kirk’s Unfinished Justice

By |2019-09-22T21:27:09-05:00September 22nd, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Plato, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Russell Kirk thought that because justice is rooted in nature and because in its perfection transcends all time and space, one can innately observe virtue in the actions of wise men. Such observation of those we admire might be the best teacher in our current day, serving as a reminder of what has always [...]

The Imaginative Conservative at 9

By |2019-07-10T09:30:47-05:00July 9th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, TIC|

Inspired by the writings of Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative’s distinctiveness lies in recognizing that being “conservative” must represent something beyond mere political cravings. If one is to be conservative, one must conserve what deserves to be conserved—all that is best in experience, all that is best in metaphysical desires, and all that is [...]

“Vital Remnants” at 20

By |2019-07-10T16:53:38-05:00July 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Gary Gregg proposed in “Vital Remnants” that we see the Founding as the Founders saw it, not as we wish them to have seen it. In this, Dr. Gregg went directly against the reigning historiography of the 1990s and its fetishist obsession with social justice, class, and gender. Twenty years ago the Intercollegiate Studies Institute [...]

Russell Kirk’s Forgotten “Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Conservatism”

By |2019-12-10T09:27:32-06:00June 9th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Within a few months of its release in early May 1953, Russell Kirk’s dissertation-turned-massive-best-selling book, “The Conservative Mind,” became an international media sensation. But few know of his later work, “An Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Conservatism.” It is a deeply profound book, exploring the very depths and widths of the human person. Editor’s Note: This [...]