The Imaginative Conservative

Christopher Dawson and Time

By |2019-07-30T14:07:48-05:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Dawson Series by Bradley Birzer, History, Senior Contributors, Time|

Christopher Dawson believed that history, far from being cyclical, was instead a particular manifestation of God’s will, and thus was “moving towards a great consummation, the revelation of the power and glory of Yahweh through his servant Israel”… As noted in previous essays in this series, Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), one of the greatest of [...]

Christopher Dawson and the Nature of Progress

By |2019-02-04T22:38:27-05:00January 28th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Dawson Series by Bradley Birzer, Heaven, History, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

An understanding of progress and its adherents was not just of academic curiosity to Christopher Dawson. It was central to understanding the good life and preventing those who misunderstood history from gaining control and imposing the will of man upon the creation of God… “What has happened will happen again, and what has been [...]

Is Specialization Killing Culture?

By |2019-07-03T13:39:39-05:00January 25th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Civilization, Community, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Permanent Things, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, Truth, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

If culture is simply a matter of private enthusiasms and hobbies, of small details and specialties, then what of a common culture? What about the collective project and shared sense of purpose that built Western civilization? “The expert takes a little subject for his province, and remains a provincial for the rest of his [...]

Being Christopher Dawson’s Friend

By |2019-02-04T22:39:36-05:00January 16th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Dawson Series by Bradley Birzer, Senior Contributors|

Despite all Christopher Dawson’s quirks and social fears, friends flocked to him; together, they read poetry, discussed philosophy, farmed, and made crafts. Would there have been a European renaissance of Christian Humanism without this friendship centered around “Tiger Dawson”? Almost certainly not… Though he might very well have been the most important Christian Humanist intellectual [...]

T.S. Eliot’s “The Fire Sermon”: Of Memory & Salvation

By |2019-08-08T11:17:24-05:00January 13th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Great Books, Modernity, Poetry, T.S. Eliot, Timeless Essays|

T.S. Eliot reminds us that the answers to our soul’s depravity are all around us, in our collective culture—the books we read, the places we inhabit, the music we listen to—but also that culture can only survive if we remember it and keep it alive... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers [...]

T.S. Eliot’s Magical Journey

By |2019-08-22T15:21:31-05:00January 5th, 2019|Categories: Books, Character, Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

Through T.S. Eliot’s use of symbolism in “The Journey of the Magi” there is a call to a world beyond words—just as the mystics of historic Christianity beckoned to Eliot from the beginning of his journey…  In the summer of 1927, just after his baptism into the (Anglo) Catholic faith, T.S. Eliot wrote “The [...]

Edmund Burke on Revolutionary Armies and Taxes

By |2018-12-13T11:06:25-05:00December 13th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Conservation, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Revolution, Taxes|

Though a classic in its own right, and arguably the first book on conservatism in the modern world, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France of 1790 is inconsistent as a coherent work. And, yet, even in its unevenness, it reveals an act of genius. Burke himself points out that the greatest and truest things in [...]

Edmund Burke and the Calculation of Man

By |2019-06-13T11:30:08-05:00December 7th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Community, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Politics|

As Edmund Burke began to wind down his very long letter—that which would become 1790’s Reflections on the Revolution in France—he returned to the question of first principles and right reason, especially in regard to the nature of the human person. At his best and most natural, Burke argued, men understood themselves as spirited [...]

Leo Strauss vs. Edmund Burke

By |2019-07-30T15:56:42-05:00December 3rd, 2018|Categories: Books, Edmund Burke, History, Leo Strauss, Nature, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Reason, Truth|

What ought to take primacy when carrying out research and interpreting seminal books: the text itself, or the context? A known critic of historicism and contextualism, Leo Strauss published his seminal essay, ‘What is Political Philosophy?’ in 1957 in the Journal of Politics and introduced a problem with the field: Modern academic obsessions over [...]

“The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”

By |2018-12-02T14:07:13-05:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Christmas, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

There are several attitudes towards Christmas, Some of which we may disregard: The social, the torpid, the patently commercial, The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight), And the childish — which is not that of the child For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel Spreading its wings at the summit [...]

Understanding Voegelin’s Critique of Locke

By |2019-06-13T11:51:55-05:00November 30th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Books, Democracy, Eric Voegelin, John Locke, Philosophy, Political Philosophy|

No matter how conservative intellectuals try, they just do not seem able to escape John Locke. Jonah Goldberg’s well-received Suicide of the West proudly called America’s Declaration of Independence “echoes of” the great English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, saying U.S. history was “more Locke than anything Locke imagined.”  He inspired “a government but not a state”: a government with power [...]

Grace in the Garden: The Fall of Man & the British Pastoral Tradition

By |2019-06-12T16:09:14-05:00November 17th, 2018|Categories: Books, Featured, John Milton, Literature, Poetry, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot|

The transcendent ‘overcoming’ or reconciliation of the Fall of Man—that symbol of the cause of the disorder that we would wish re-ordered, of the return to the garden—is what great poetry graciously asks of us. “An intermediate nature... prevents the universe falling into two separate halves.” —Plato, Symposium (203b). Almost from the beginning of when human [...]

Firing the Imagination: The Legacy of Russell Kirk

By |2018-10-19T07:46:17-05:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Prospects for Conservatives, Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative, W. Winston Elliott III|

Russell Kirk offers us a rich legacy in words and deeds. If we heed them we may yet play our part in preserving our Republic’s ordered liberty... The thought of Dr. Russell Kirk has inspired many people and many projects, including the journal that you are now reading. Founded by Dr. Bradley Birzer and myself [...]

Lewis, Letters, and Love

By |2018-09-05T22:16:55-05:00September 5th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Love, Paul Elmer More, T.S. Eliot|

Real, actual letters are a gift, an insight into our best and our worst selves. Unlike the present world of the ephemeral email and hatchet posts on social media, letters of the pre-internet era could be gorgeous works of art. In them, the writer shares just a bit of his soul, preserving it for time, [...]