Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2021-04-28T15:49:35-05:00April 28th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays, 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 [...]

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 universals. [...]

The Radicalism of Russell Kirk

By |2019-04-28T15:53:42-05:00April 28th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

The West has been undone by consumerism, the Sexual Revolution, outsourcing, urbanization, and centralization—all defended by modern conservatives as “the price we must pay” to live in a free and prosperous country. They’re wrong. As Russell Kirk argued, the principal function of government is not to ensure the material security and comfort of its citizenry. [...]

Why the Right Still Needs Russell Kirk

By |2019-05-30T12:10:26-05:00October 31st, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Donald Trump, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

When I bought The Conservative Mind in 1994, I thought it was probably a book about how bad President Bill Clinton and the Democrats were—because that’s what I thought conservatism was. I was nineteen, a high school graduate with no intention of attending university, and thought “conservative” simply meant whatever Rush Limbaugh had talked about that day. [...]

The Closing of the Western Mind

By |2018-01-20T00:36:35-06:00January 19th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Culture, Culture War, Freedom, History, Modernity, Richard Weaver, Roger Scruton, The Conservative Mind|

Allan Bloom’s diagnosis in The Closing of the American Mind can explain far more about the sorry state of American higher education and the Western condition than popular stories that blame the Enlightenment, or democracy, or medieval nominalism. And it is therefore a valuable starting point… Last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Allan Bloom’s [...]

Is a “Liberal Conservative” an Oxymoron?

By |2019-08-22T13:51:26-05:00November 1st, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Conservatism, Featured, Freedom, Gleaves Whitney, History, Liberalism, Liberty, Politics, Russell Kirk, Stephen Tonsor series, The Conservative Mind|

The liberal conservative must be discerning. For he believes in freedom as well as in order. He believes in individualism as well as in community. He believes in the equality of all men as well as in hierarchy, natural aristocracy, and excellence… After the trip to Washington, DC, where I thrilled at seeing the U.S. [...]

The Conservatism of John Quincy Adams

By |2021-02-08T14:55:58-06:00October 15th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, Conservatism, History, John Quincy Adams, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays|

A scrutiny of John Quincy Adams’ words and deeds across his broad public life shows him to be a successful conservative, both as a thinker and as a leader. In The Conservative Mind, John Quincy Adams appears as a flawed, failed conservative. Though he “felt the pressing necessity for conservative principle in the conduct of [...]

“The Conservative Mind”: A Chaotic Story of Decay?

By |2019-06-24T16:15:07-05:00October 11th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Featured, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

In The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk sought to identify, elucidate, and cultivate the best of the Western tradition as the West itself weathered, rather roughly at times, the storms of ideologies. Conserve the past, yes, but Kirk also wanted us to rally to the standards of the past to leave an inheritance for our children… As [...]

My First Reading of “The Conservative Mind”

By |2020-05-10T20:41:00-05:00September 25th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

When I finished The Conservative Mind for the first time, I remember thinking quite clearly that Russell Kirk had gotten so close to truth, but, then, just when he had the chance, he failed to promote freedom—the proper answer to every single thing. Russell Kirk I often look at, hold, and peruse my [...]

In Honor of Russell Kirk

By |2019-04-07T10:50:19-05:00June 11th, 2017|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, George Nash, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays|

What Russell Kirk did was to demonstrate that intelligent conservatism was not a mere smokescreen for selfishness. It was an attitude toward life with substance and moral force of its own… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join George Nash as he examines the life of Russell Kirk, his [...]

Russell Kirk on the Variety and Mystery of Human Existence

By |2019-08-08T14:05:48-05:00May 10th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, Edmund Burke, John Adams, Russell Kirk, Ted McAllister, The Conservative Mind, Tradition|Tags: |

Too often the public conversation about universal truths divides along rather sterile ideological lines. Russell Kirk’s great warning is that this is not really a battle of ideas, understood abstractly, but a battle of sentiments or affections… Since the nation’s founding, a salutary tension has informed American political thought—a tension between the abstract, universal truths [...]

Russell Kirk the Conservative, Russell Kirk the Man

By |2017-12-06T16:50:09-06:00April 28th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Featured, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, The Imaginative Conservative|

Russell Kirk’s life and labors can offer a potential salve to the recent struggles of American conservatism, which is threatened by a pall of superficiality and cynicism… Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley Birzer (University Press of Kentucky, 2015) In the two decades since the death of Russell Amos Augustine Kirk, American conservatism has struggled. National [...]

Ten Books That Shaped America’s Conservative Renaissance

By |2020-03-23T15:07:10-05:00March 12th, 2017|Categories: Conservatism, Economics, Edmund Burke, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Friedrich Hayek, George Nash, Ludwig von Mises, M. E. Bradford, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, The Conservative Mind, The Imaginative Conservative, Timeless Essays, Wilhelm Roepke, William F. Buckley Jr.|

If we are to know and rebuild a conservative civil social order in this country, then we need to “rake from the ashes” of recent American history the books that influenced a generation of conservative scholars and public figures, books whose message resonated with much of the American populace and resulted in astonishing political triumphs. [...]

Religion and the Conservative Mind

By |2019-08-20T15:30:08-05:00December 18th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Conservatism, Featured, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays|

Forgetting flawed human nature, the reason-worshipper becomes a sort of fundamentalist of the mind, convinced that intellect alone holds the key to wisdom… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Dermot Quinn as he examines the role of religion in Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher To [...]

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