Three Cheers for the Articles of Confederation

By |2019-06-16T21:56:11-05:00June 16th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Constitution, Timeless Essays|

That we remember the Articles of Confederation poorly has far more to do with the ultimate success of American nationalists than it does with actual failure or success of the Articles themselves… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he reconsiders the legacy [...]

America’s Uneven Legacy of Religious Freedom

By |2019-06-12T23:46:56-05:00June 12th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Religion, Senior Contributors|

As we enter into a period of radical uncertainty regarding religious freedom—especially for Catholics, as witnessed most recently by the anti-confession laws in California—it is worth re-considering America’s track record on the issue. Frankly, it’s not good. Or, perhaps, it’s better to state, when it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s bad, it’s really [...]

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

By |2019-06-14T14:10:59-05:00June 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 [...]

Cicero: No Slave of Plato

By |2019-06-07T09:36:17-05:00June 6th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civilization, Great Books, Senior Contributors|

Of all the writers who came at the end of the Roman Republic and at the beginning of the Empire, most make note of the loss of traditional morality. It was Cicero who advocated an adherence to nature and order by recognizing the proper meaning of a thing within and around the very existence [...]

True Law is Right Reason in Agreement With Nature

By |2019-06-06T10:13:21-05:00June 2nd, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civilization, Great Books, Senior Contributors|

Cicero’s “On the Republic” has influenced the West for centuries, calling to harmony the various aspects of government. In his call to harmony, Cicero portrays a republic in which a proper action demands the balance of the three faculties of man, as well as one in which true law is understood as coming not [...]

The Natural and the Foreign: Republics from Rome to America

By |2019-06-06T10:11:25-05:00May 31st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Civilization, Senior Contributors|

According to Cicero, the Republic follows the paths of nature and god in all its activities. As such, the true statesman—like the gardener—knows when to plant, when to fertilize, when to water, when to weed, when to prune, and when to harvest. Yet there is still, to be certain, a season for everything. And, [...]

The Immortal Four: Tolkien and the Barrovian Society

By |2019-05-28T13:45:43-05:00May 27th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

During summers away from school, J.R.R. Tolkien led a debating society called the TCBS, or “Tea Club, Barrovian Society.” When the horrors of the First World War began, Tolkien considered the mission of the group a holy, prophetic, and, perhaps, even messianic one. He was sure that their fellowship—”The Immortal Four”—would survive even the [...]

Living With Tolkien

By |2019-05-23T22:08:33-05:00May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien connected me to a world beyond anything I had yet experienced in rather idyllic Kansas. I so desperately wanted to escape into his mountain scene, explore every nook and cranny of that invented world, and meet a God who sang the universe into existence. Though I have read The Hobbit, The Lord [...]

Cicero’s Republic: Three in One

By |2019-06-06T10:12:11-05:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Government, Senior Contributors|

A republic, by its very essence, imitates the highest of creation: man endowed with understanding and free will. Yet, in this greatest of strengths also resides the deepest of weaknesses. When the people enjoy true liberty, they often fail to identify its source, admiring its effects rather than its causes. In particular, they misunderstand [...]

Cicero’s Republic: Implanted in the Nature of Man

By |2019-06-06T10:09:59-05:00May 17th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Civilization, Senior Contributors|

The best society, Cicero argues, cultivates us as free individuals for the benefit of the community. Virtue exists in every being, but few realize it or cultivate it. Yet, it is what makes men, men, and allows them to be free. Usually remembered for his political triumphs and defeats as well as for his [...]

Seeking the Humane: Big Big Train’s “Grand Tour”

By |2019-05-09T22:58:30-05:00May 9th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Europe, Music, Senior Contributors|

On its new album, Grand Tour, Big Big Train considers everything from the NASA ship Voyager's leaving the solar system, to the nineteenth-century romantic interpretation of The Tempest, to the meaning of one of the greatest saints of late antiquity, St. Theodora. The album really is about human exploration of self and of world. There [...]

Leviathan, Inc.: Robert Nisbet & the Modern Nation-State

By |2019-05-05T22:21:55-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Robert Nisbet feared that modern totalitarians had succeeded in undermining the very foundations of goodness, truth, and morality. They had not only redefined liberty as power, but they had transformed the modern political state into a secular church, exchanging real religion for civic religion, creating a “New Leviathan.” Like most Americans during the Great [...]

America’s Urban Nightmare: Gotham City

By |2019-05-03T22:57:53-05:00May 3rd, 2019|Categories: Batman Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Culture, Senior Contributors|

Behind all the sin and the struggle for good is the all-important backdrop, Gotham City, perhaps Robert Kane and Bill Finger’s second greatest creation after the Batman himself. If Batman represents the action hero and ultimate humanist, Gotham is the ultimate surrealist, expressionist, nihilistic noir city and stage. Gotham is a nightmare city, once [...]