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 [...]

The Errors of Progressivism

By |2020-12-30T16:08:22-06:00December 30th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Politics, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

The progressive vision of history should give any intelligent and humane person pause. The progressive vision demands conflict; in its understanding, history is made up of winners and losers. This flies directly against the long tradition of republican and Judeo-Christian thought that calls for the “common good,” not the greater good of those with might. [...]

Conservatism: Born Against Simplicity

By |2020-12-29T15:12:29-06:00December 27th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The philosophy and way of conservatism arose sometime in the 1880s or 1890s. This is not to suggest that conservative acts had not occurred previously in Western civilization. Indeed, some of the finest and most important moments in Western civilization occurred upon and with the act of conserving something good. From Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and [...]

Reflections on Conservatism

By |2020-12-28T14:06:44-06:00December 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Senior Contributors|

Several things define the conservatives of America, whether they be those of 1898 or 1924 or 1953 or 1964 or 1989 or 2021. First, conservatism by its very nature is reactionary and reactive. Rather than being a positive force for change, it is a restraining force. As such, conservatives almost everywhere make the best critics. [...]

Coronavirus and Science Fiction: Dying With Drama

By |2020-12-18T16:20:56-06:00December 18th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Coronavirus, Death, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In the year 793, Catholic monks made the following report, all of it disturbing: In this dire year portents appeared over Northumbria and sorely frightened the people. They consisted of immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine immediately followed those signs, and a little [...]

James Matthew Wilson’s “The Strangeness of the Good”

By |2020-12-09T16:05:56-06:00December 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Literature, Mystery, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

James Matthew Wilson’s collection of poems, “The Strangeness of the Good,” by acknowledging illness and disappointment and death, tries to see through it, to the mystery beneath. Seeing the mystery leads to the unveiling of the reality, the thing standing beneath all feelings and appearances that alone can make them genuinely good in themselves. Bradley [...]

“Holly Jolly” & Christmas in Popular Culture

By |2020-12-07T15:51:14-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christmas, Culture, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, Senior Contributors|

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift that fits in perfectly with the time of year, look no farther. In “Holly Jolly,” Mark Voger, the master of all things nostalgic, examines the rise of Christmas as a cultural artifact and phenomena, from the 1930s through the late 1980s. Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas in Pop Culture, [...]

On Free Will

By |2020-12-03T15:39:44-06:00December 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Freedom, Modernity, Morality, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Without free will and a belief in it, there is no dignity and certainly no freedom of the human person. And without moral responsibility, there is no certain morality. Everything is merely as it was shaped to be, for good or for ill. This is the extremely dangerous situation in which we find ourselves today. [...]

Surprised by Jack

By |2021-04-22T09:47:08-05:00November 28th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Character, Christianity, Literature, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

C.S. Lewis’ writings are endlessly fascinating because the man himself was endlessly fascinating—to himself as well as to others. He saw life as a sort of drama and art, one in which the will shapes what Providence has so generously provided. One can readily and happily delve into C.S. Lewis’s autobiography of 1955, Surprised by [...]

Who Now Remembers Andrew Lang?

By |2020-11-26T09:07:56-06:00November 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Imagination, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

As an anthropologist and folklorist, Andrew Lang believed that fairy tales and folklore serve as records of the past in the cultural realm, much like the tradition of common law in the legal realm. Through the study of cultural norms and folkways, one can understand the mores of the present. Some men should never have [...]

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