10 Books Every Imaginative Conservative Should Read

By |2021-04-12T17:53:29-05:00April 12th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative Books, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative|

So, you’re attracted to imaginative conservatism, and you’re wondering how such a school of thought came about. The roots, to be sure, are planted firmly in the first half of the twentieth century as a number of diverse thinkers strove to fight populism and progressivism (left and right, gentle and severe) in all their myriad [...]

Owen Barfield’s Commonwealth of the Spirit

By |2021-03-30T15:27:10-05:00March 31st, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Inklings, Senior Contributors|

Owen Barfield called upon the men of the Western world to form themselves into a “commonwealth of the spirit” in which there is no copyright. To create a commonwealth of the soul, we need to know the limits and range of individualism as well as the limits and range of national character. Shortly after Great [...]

Owen Barfield’s “History, Guilt, and Habit”

By |2021-03-25T16:04:44-05:00March 25th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, Modernity, Senior Contributors|

Vague collective guilt leads to societal disorder and societal evils greater than the ones that originally caused the problems. Owen Barfield suggests that by re-imagining not only the glorious dignity of each individual person but also by recognizing the sin of which the person is capable, we can move out of the deadly cycle of [...]

John Winthrop as Imaginative Conservative

By |2021-03-15T12:41:35-05:00March 14th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Community, History, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative|

Though rooted in a certain time and a certain place, elements of John Winthrop’s teachings are timeless, and, whether we agree with him completely or not, we should recognize him as an important and imaginative conservative of yesteryear. Between 1629 and 1640, roughly 21,000 Puritans (and servants) immigrated from England (especially East Anglia) to New [...]

Bill Buckley’s Mischievous Magazine

By |2021-03-08T20:53:12-06:00March 8th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Media, Senior Contributors|

'National Review' magazine remains my constant companion, even when I sometimes disagree with her. Indeed, NR's mission has been just and worthy, as she has remained adamantly anti-communist, pro-life, and just about right on every social issue, while accommodating the variety of “sects” within the American conservative movement. Sometime around 1981 or so, Bill Buckley [...]

Robert Nisbet’s “The Social Group in French Thought”

By |2021-02-24T19:24:01-06:00February 24th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Political Philosophy, Politics, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

In “The Social Group in French Thought,” Robert Nisbet explains that social philosophers such as Bodin, Hobbes, and Rousseau undermined and sabotaged private law and intermediary institutions. Their thought culminated in the French Revolution and in its radical and nationalist legislation. Robert Nisbet’s dissertation began by lamenting that the history of freedom has been written [...]

Robert Nisbet’s Chance Dissertation

By |2021-02-22T14:06:47-06:00February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

Robert Nisbet had written and completed his dissertation, “The Social Group in French Thought,” rather speedily, beginning it in January 1939 and finishing it a mere six months later. Though Nisbet would publish his most famous work, “The Quest for Community,” fourteen years later, that book would not have been possible without the dissertation. When [...]

Is “Christian Humanism” Gone Forever?

By |2021-02-11T13:00:07-06:00February 11th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

In his book “The Year of Our Lord 1943,” writing on Christian humanism, Alan Jacobs considers the fears and desires of five major but seemingly disparate figures in 1943 as they envision a post-war world after an allied victory: W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, Jacques Maritain, and Simone Weil. The Year of Our Lord [...]

Robert Nisbet’s Youth

By |2021-02-05T11:05:29-06:00February 5th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

Growing up in Maricopa, the young Robert Nisbet fell deeply in love with libraries. Almost as soon as he learned to read—sitting on his mother’s lap as she read to him—the young man began to devour books voraciously, loving the literature of the Age of Coolidge. Though proudly possessing the Confederate soul of a southern [...]

James Otis, Then and Now

By |2021-01-18T15:38:58-06:00January 18th, 2021|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Politics, Rights, Senior Contributors|

Going back to the first principles of the Founding, one finds that the Founders talked unceasingly about rights. Rights language became a critical part of the cultural landscape when James Otis delivered his oration on the nature of rights, the common law, and the natural law. Feel free to call me a conservative (I won’t [...]

Robert Nisbet’s Mentor: Frederick Teggart

By |2021-01-14T15:58:26-06:00January 15th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

Robert Nisbet was greatly influenced by his professor Frederick Teggart and his many ideas. Teggart was a brilliant scholar and historian, one of University of California Berkeley’s most successful lecturers, and “an impressive stretcher of minds.” “I have met no one since then who has approached him in range, diversity, and depth of knowledge,” Robert [...]

The Best Book of 2020

By |2021-01-08T11:29:00-06:00January 8th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Senior Contributors, Thomas More|

We live in a world that desperately needs Thomas More’s wisdom. We need his understanding of God, his understanding of virtue, and his understanding of the complexities of the human person. “The Essential Works of Thomas More” is the best book of 2020 and is the book most needed in 2021. The Essential Works of [...]

Russell Kirk’s Beauty and Civilization

By |2020-12-31T22:59:39-06:00December 31st, 2020|Categories: Beauty, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Modernity, Religion, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization|

As the old year ends and the new year arrives, The Imaginative Conservative looks back at some of its finest essays of 2020. —Editors 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 [...]

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