Christopher Dawson and the Religious Impulse

By |2020-05-23T17:30:06-05:00May 23rd, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Civilization, Culture, Government, History, Religion|

How does religion act as a driving force of politics and culture? Christoper Dawson argued that “we cannot understand the inner form of a society unless we understand its religion,” and we cannot make sense of any culture or its achievements without knowing the religious inspiration from which its creativity flowed. Imagine a diagram [...]

Modernism, Formed or Fleeting?

By |2020-05-12T15:49:02-05:00May 12th, 2020|Categories: Culture, History, Literature, Modernity, Poetry, T.S. Eliot, Tradition, Western Civilization|

The dual definition of “modern”—something that is current and something that is done in a certain manner—touches on a problem that is at the heart of the literary and artistic movement of the early twentieth century known as “Modernism”: Is Modernism something that was meant to represent the “just now” or is it something [...]

Arguing with T.S. Eliot

By |2020-05-11T09:54:15-05:00May 11th, 2020|Categories: Joseph Pearce, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot once claimed, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” But as a friend and admirer of Eliot, I must disagree. One of my favourite quotes by G.K. Chesterton is his quip that he and his brother [...]

Is Conservatism an Ideology?

By |2020-04-25T03:15:59-05:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Ideology, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

In his excellent, short book, Conservatism: Dream and Reality, Robert Nisbet had no problem in identifying conservatism as an ideology. Whereas his friend, Russell Kirk, had repeatedly resisted defining the faith as anything other than a “way of being” quite contrary to all ideologies (in essence, an anti-ideology). Nisbet proclaimed it one of three ideologies [...]

Moving Toward Dread Conformity

By |2020-04-10T11:06:40-05:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Civilization, Conservatism, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

In 1953, Robert Nisbet published “The Quest for Community,” a book that reveals to us that our own quest has become something both natural and unnatural. That is, it is natural to desire to belong, but it is horrifically unnatural in the ways we choose to commune. 1953 was a banner year for the [...]

Eric Voegelin, Conservative?

By |2020-03-20T12:25:49-05:00March 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Political Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Whatever his criticisms of liberalism, progressivism, and socialism, Eric Voegelin shunned the word and the concept of “conservatism,” claiming that his ideas could never be harnessed by any political movement. When the definitive history of non-leftist movements of the twentieth century is finally written, Austro-American philosopher, Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) will loom large. Arrested by [...]

Did Edmund Burke Support the American Revolution?

By |2020-03-17T17:36:43-05:00March 17th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, History, Independence Day, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Many conservatives have assumed that Edmund Burke was opposed to the American Revolution. It is, to my mind, an erroneous assumption. “Burke broke his agentship and went publicly silent on the American cause once war broke out,” Robert Nisbet claimed in his most definitive analysis of Edmund Burke, written and published in 1985. His [...]

T.S. Eliot as Conservative Mentor

By |2020-03-16T00:18:52-05:00March 15th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, Roger Scruton, T.S. Eliot, Timeless Essays|

Should modern man devote himself like Sartre to undermining bourgeois society and scoffing at manners and morals? Should he play the part of Socrates, questioning everything and affirming nothing? To answer yes to any of those questions is to grant nothing to human life beyond the mockery of it. T.S. Eliot’s solution was to embrace [...]

The Three Conservative Burkes: Hayek, Strauss, and Kirk

By |2020-03-05T10:18:27-06:00March 5th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Edmund Burke was the nexus among the classical, medieval, and modern worlds, and the best answer to contemporary ideology. It is worth considering the Burke of Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Russell Kirk in order to fully understand his importance to the rise of conservatism in academia after World War II. The somewhat radical (relatively [...]

T.S. Eliot and Reconversion on Ash Wednesday

By |2020-02-25T22:13:35-06:00February 25th, 2020|Categories: Ash Wednesday, Christianity, Faith, Imagination, Literature, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s “Ash-Wednesday” helps us to consider our earthly transience, just as Ash Wednesday reminds us of this same fact that our time on earth is passing. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita . . . There is something telling about man’s tendency to view his life as a journey, for journeys convey [...]

Who Was T.S. Eliot’s True Love?

By |2020-01-25T20:12:57-06:00January 25th, 2020|Categories: Character, History, Imagination, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Love, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s correspondence with Emily Hale was recently opened, having been kept in Princeton archives until fifty years after Miss Hale’s death. Also opened was Eliot’s response to the archives. It seemed that the poet’s ghost had returned for one last lover’s quarrel with the ghost of his first love, over a century after [...]

Paul Elmer More’s Nietzsche

By |2020-01-22T11:15:07-06:00January 24th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Elmer More, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Paul Elmer More offered one of the single best critiques of Friedrich Nietzsche, delving deeply into the essence of his thought, in both attraction and repulsion, finding that it is in the attempt to reconcile the love and apprehension about Nietzsche that best allows one to understand him. “Who has ever been concerned for [...]

Humanism as Realism

By |2020-01-17T15:33:35-06:00January 17th, 2020|Categories: Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Irving Babbitt, Modernity, Paul Elmer More, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Religion|

We live in a world completely mastered and permeated by economic ideals, yet expecting better government within societies brought up on humanitarian thinking strikes us as yet another fantasy. Much has changed since the solutions posited by humanist thinkers of the last century, so what can we do in this world? What can we [...]

Edmund Burke and the Dignity of the Human Person

By |2019-12-17T22:18:01-06:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Imagination, Moral Imagination, Senior Contributors|

Edmund Burke believed that one must see the human being not for what he is, or the worst that is within him, but rather as clothed in the “wardrobe of moral imagination,” a glimpse of what the person could be and is, by God, meant to be. Though we correctly remember Edmund Burke as [...]