Claes Ryn

Where in the World Are We Going?

By |2017-11-30T10:12:05-06:00November 11th, 2012|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Ideology|

First of all, a conservative is acutely aware of the flawed nature of man. The capacity of human reason is limited. Our existence is ultimately a great mystery. Conservatives recognize that for these reasons we need the best of the human heritage to help guide us. Within the so-called American conservative movement intellectual and [...]

Democracy and Leadership: An American Classic

By |2015-02-17T22:41:16-06:00October 18th, 2012|Categories: Books, Claes Ryn, Irving Babbitt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leadership, Politics|Tags: |

Democracy and Leadership by Irving Babbitt. Foreword by Russell Kirk, Liberty Classics, 1979, 390 pp. The appearance of a new edition of Irving Babbitt’s Democracy and Leadership (first published in 1924) is one sign among many that interest in this controversial thinker is growing markedly. Several scholarly studies related to his work have been [...]

Resisting Ideology’s Reductionism

By |2014-03-04T16:35:05-06:00September 14th, 2012|Categories: Books, Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Ideology, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|Tags: , |

The New Jacobinism: America as Revolutionary State (2d expanded ed.) by Claes G. Ryn.  National Humanities Institute, 2011. Near the end of his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke praised what he called the “combining mind” as indispensable to the sort of constitutional government Britain had inherited and France was busy squandering. Erecting any sort [...]

Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Ideology

By |2017-12-12T16:06:39-06:00March 28th, 2012|Categories: Books, Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Ideology|Tags: , , |

Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Ideology, by Peter Viereck. With a major new study of Peter Viereck and Conservatism by Claes G. Ryn Developments in recent American politics have raised questions about the intellectual roots and philosophical depth of conservatism. The direction of American foreign policy, for example, has inspired debates about the meaning of [...]

Republican Virtue, Imperial Temptations, and Disorder

By |2016-08-03T10:37:35-06:00February 25th, 2012|Categories: Books, Christendom, Claes Ryn, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Politics, Republicanism|Tags: |

America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire by Claes G. Ryn Many Enlightenment ideologues hoped to see fulfilled in America all the dreams of the Age of Reason: an empire of unfettered minds, natural rights, unbounded human benevolence and progress, the first fruits of a world reborn. Impatient utopians soon despaired, [...]

The Decline of American Intellectual Conservatism

By |2019-01-16T11:38:10-06:00October 24th, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|Tags: |

A quarter of a century ago Modern Age asked me to assess the state of American intellectual conservatism for its 25th anniversary issue.[1] I had been a student of the subject for twenty years. In 1971, five years before George Nash published The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, I and a co-author brought out [...]

Conservatives, Politics & Culture: A Response to Claes Ryn

By |2014-01-16T17:26:22-06:00October 15th, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Culture, Gerald Russello, Politics|

Claes Ryn (How Conservatives Failed ‘The Culture’) is characteristically forthright about what he sees as conservatism’s main difficulty: its neglect of the imaginative realm of culture and the arts in favor of politics. This emphasis is not only a reversal of traditional conservative priorities but is self-defeating. Ryn’s own work is a testament to [...]

Bootstrapping Humane Flourishing: Claes Ryn and Plato’s Cave

By |2014-02-14T12:35:42-06:00October 14th, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Culture, Politics|

Claes G. Ryn’s “How Conservatives Failed ‘The Culture'” provides a bracing challenge to the intellectual sedimentation of conservative activism, a challenge no less apt today than it was when he originally made it fifteen years ago. But those fifteen years have taken us further down a road that reveals the shortcoming of his argument. He [...]

How Conservatives Failed “The Culture ”

By |2019-04-07T10:52:26-06:00October 10th, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Culture, Featured, Film, Irving Babbitt, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr.|Tags: |

Many supposedly intellectual conservatives seem to consider ideas and culture from afar, as it were, feeling no deep personal need for or intimate connection with them. Some are in a way attracted to the arts or even to philosophical speculation, but see no significant and immediate connection between these and the life of practice. Ideas [...]

Imaginative Origins of Modernity: Life as Daydream and Nightmare

By |2017-06-27T15:42:26-06:00March 17th, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Moral Imagination|

Claes G. Ryn Intellectuals of very different persuasions relate many of society’s present troubles to so-called “modernity.” In that respect, traditionalists and postmodernists are in broad agreement. A problem with both groups is that they typically define “modernity” in a reductionistic manner, as if the modern world were moving in a single [...]

Not by Politics Alone: Arts and Humanities

By |2017-06-27T11:25:29-06:00March 3rd, 2011|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Culture, Film, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|

That leading politicians wield great power nobody will deny. What is not so well understood is how limited that power is. Over time, especially, politicians are superceded by forces largely beyond their control. They must yield to those who mold the fundamental ideas and sensibilities of a people, those who affect their hopes and [...]