The Conservative Mind

The Voice of This Calling: The Enduring Legacy of T.S. Eliot

By |2019-06-06T18:33:20-05:00February 28th, 2016|Categories: Essential, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays, Tradition|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Clint Brand as he considers the legacy of T.S. Eliot.  —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher In 1953, the first edition of The Conservative Mind was subtitled From Burke to Santayana; the second and every edition thereafter bore the subtitle From Burke to Eliot. [...]

The Conservatism of John Quincy Adams

By |2016-11-12T04:20:20-05:00December 6th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, Conservatism, Featured, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

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 American affairs,” Adams “never quite discovered how to fix upon it.” This is a serious judgment, given how much of Adams’ life and attention was dedicated to conducting [...]

Understanding Russell Kirk: A Bold, New Biography

By |2018-10-19T09:38:45-05:00November 2nd, 2015|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Featured, Roots of American Order, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

A few years ago I had the honor and pleasure of visiting Piety Hill, the familial home of Russell Amos Kirk and his wife Annette in Mecosta, Michigan. The feelings that sprang up in me as I stepped onto the walkway and approached the house were similar to those one might experience when approaching [...]

Was Nathaniel Hawthorne a Conservative?

By |2015-11-25T10:39:28-05:00October 27th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|Tags: |

In a chapter in The Conservative Mind titled “Transitional Conservatism: New England Sketches,” Russell Kirk cited John Quincy Adams, Orestes Brownson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne as figures in whom the “conservative instinct struggled for successful expression” in a period of rapid innovation that was sweeping aside the ancestral institutions of nineteenth-century America.[1] Confronted with mass democracy, [...]

Humanism: A Primer

By |2016-02-12T15:27:55-05:00September 8th, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

I consider myself a rather devout humanist. And, for better or worse, I do mean “devout.” Depending on my mood, I would argue that I am as taken with and as loyal to humanism as I am with my Christianity. Though I would never compare myself to St. Augustine, I certainly understand his detour [...]

Paul Elmer More: The Virgin and the Dynamo

By |2019-04-07T10:51:10-05:00August 16th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Paul Elmer More, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

Long ago, The Nation had a conservative editor. Paul Elmer More edited the already venerable magazine for five years just before the First World War. On joining The Nation, More was already an entrenched conservative; indeed, he preferred the term “reactionary.” While at the magazine, he wrote 600 articles. At his departure, he was [...]

Saving Conservatism: Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind”

By |2015-03-26T18:05:07-05:00March 26th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Featured, Liberalism, Progressivism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

In the early 1950s, intellectuals on both the Right and the Left who were at odds about almost everything, agreed on one thing: Conservatism as a defined philosophy and movement scarcely existed in America. Respected intellectuals on the Left such as Lionel Trilling argued that modern “liberalism is not only the dominant but even [...]

The Russian “Conservative Mind”

By |2015-02-28T04:16:34-05:00February 28th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Europe, Peter Strzelecki Rieth, Russia, The Conservative Mind|

Russell Kirk did more than any American in the twentieth century to revive and refine British conservative thought and make it relevent to the political challenges facing both the United States of America and the world. Dr. Kirk’s The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot is the foundational work for contemporary conservative thought in [...]

Seven Conservative Minds

By |2019-07-10T15:13:51-05:00May 22nd, 2014|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|Tags: |

Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind became an immediate sensation upon its publication in May 1953. Prominent newspapers, magazines, and journals throughout the English-speaking world reviewed the book when it came out, sometimes twice, and almost always with depth and respect. Many disagreed with its 35-year-old Michiganian author, to be sure, but they did so [...]

Russell Kirk and the Making of “The Conservative Mind”

By |2016-04-30T14:58:47-05:00May 19th, 2014|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|Tags: |

The critic of his time must accept the risk of being accused of negativism, but he can console himself with the knowledge that serious criticism has its source in a definite position with its own standards, values and objectives. By the 1950’s, with the work of such men as Albert J. Nock, T. S. [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2019-04-07T10:51:23-05:00April 27th, 2014|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Featured, Gerald Russello, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|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 [...]

Conserving the Word: Confessions of a Compulsive Writer

By |2015-01-06T14:50:17-05:00April 6th, 2014|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

In the twentieth century it would be hard to find a better prose writer than Russell Amos Kirk. The competition is certainly stiff. Some of the best prose writing in the history of the English language sprang from the souls, minds, and hands of G.K. Chesterton, George Orwell, Albert Jay Nock, and William F. [...]

The Politics of Prescription: Russell Kirk’s Fifth Canon of Conservative Thought

By |2014-03-23T09:26:26-05:00March 23rd, 2014|Categories: Edmund Burke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|Tags: , |

Defending tradition is a difficult task in an age that is predisposed to innovation and change. Yet that has been the challenge to conservatives in the modern age. Modernity inverts the conservative prejudice for prescriptive wisdom; it favors change and innovation as the instruments of progress; it places faith in what Edmund Burke called [...]