Russell Kirk on the Variety and Mystery of Human Existence

By |2017-05-12T09:10:37-05:00May 10th, 2017|Tags: |

Too often the public conversation about universal truths divides along rather sterile ideological lines. Russell Kirk’s great warning is that this is not really a battle of ideas, understood abstractly, but a battle of sentiments or affections… Since the nation’s founding, a salutary tension has informed American political thought—a tension between the abstract, universal [...]

Reclaiming Our Constitutional Heritage

By |2017-01-28T12:41:01-05:00January 10th, 2017|

The so-called American Revolution was a rebellion to preserve and reinstitute long-established liberties and to develop a system of governance that put those liberties on a more secure foundation. We might even think of the “Revolution” as a rebellion that prevented or postponed a revolution… By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission by Charles Murray [...]

“The Conservative Mind”: An Act of Recovery?

By |2016-10-30T08:07:23-05:00July 10th, 2016|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Ted McAllister as he examines Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. Dr. Kirk reminds us that not only ought we to be fighting over ideas but we ought to be shaping hearts. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher Since the nation’s founding, a salutary tension has informed American [...]

How Equality Destroyed the Carnegie Family

By |2016-06-24T10:43:19-05:00June 24th, 2016|

Oh, how Andrew Carnegie adored creative destruction! How much he hated the past! His 1886 book, Triumphant Democracy,[1] a breathless paean to “the Republic,” feels like a prayer, spoken as much in numbers as in words. Among the words of his prayer, none charms like Equality—none possesses a more explanatory power or expresses such warm devotion. [...]

Understanding the Bohemian Conservative

By |2016-06-26T17:58:03-05:00June 14th, 2016|

Half-knowledge is more victorious than whole knowledge: it understands things as being more simple than they are and this renders its opinions more easily intelligible and more convincing. –Nietzsche Several years ago, I heard a scientist being interviewed on NPR declare that humans are “just sacks of rapidly degenerating amino acids,” or something similar. [...]

Can a Southerner Ever Escape the South?

By |2016-06-11T09:25:39-05:00June 3rd, 2016|

In October of 1997, I attended the Southern Historical Association’s convention in Atlanta because I wanted to hear Paul Conkin’s presidential address, “Hot, Humid, and Sad.” What I heard was largely a history of the South in which climate and geography shaped a complex skein of human choices. Mostly a dense and almost perversely [...]

Global Citizenship: When Words Turn into Semantic Quicksand

By |2016-05-25T23:40:28-05:00May 25th, 2016|

We are told to be careful with our words, to be aware of how our words might make other people feel, or of how we might be misunderstood. However important is this advice (and it is both important and grossly overused), these are not the primary reasons we should be thoughtful about our language. [...]

Conservatism: Past & Future?

By |2014-05-03T16:25:28-05:00May 3rd, 2014|Tags: |

The historiography of American conser­vatism (often rendered the “conservative movement”) remains immature. For decades, the academic historical establishment largely ignored American conservatives or dealt with them as a sort of fringe group, recurrent expressions of a pathology. Only after the surprising and enduring appeal of Ronald Reagan did most historians begin to take se­rious [...]

Of Ideas and Politics

By |2014-04-17T10:34:30-05:00April 15th, 2014|Tags: |

Perhaps contemporary conservatives misunderstand their own movement because conservative philosophy distorts conservative history. Ideas, not material conditions, drive history, conservatives aver. Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences (an editor’s title much disliked by Weaver) established a powerful model for tracing moral and civilizational change— often decline—to rather small alterations in beliefs, such as medieval nominalism. Importantly, most [...]

The Romance of Conservatism

By |2019-01-16T13:10:40-05:00October 31st, 2011|Tags: , , , , , , |

In one of the great works of imagination, Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton declared that faith is romantic, that materialism is not only dull but produces a boredom that leads to madness. Humans are born romantics and they can never fulfill their better natures without cultivating an imagination that accepts and embraces mystery. The romantic lives [...]

The Conservative Mind-An Act of Recovery?

By |2016-07-11T08:29:32-05:00October 1st, 2011|

Since the nation’s founding a salutary tension has informed American political thought—a tension between the abstract, universal truths expressed in the first part of the Declaration of Independence and the particular, experience-based prudence of the Constitution. The one establishes moral imperatives (and defines a just government) while the other establishes a new order out [...]