The Imaginative Conservative

Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-10-14T15:29:37-05:00May 21st, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Eva Brann, Featured, Imagination, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative, Timeless Essays|

What’s “imaginative?” What’s “conservative?” And how does the adjective modify the noun and the noun support its adjective? My first and last care is not politics but education. Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought. But education is also inherently [...]

Measuring the Influence of Russell Kirk and Other Conservative Authors

By |2019-10-08T17:40:40-05:00May 12th, 2019|Categories: Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Irving Babbitt, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk|

By using Google’s Ngram Viewer, we find that Russell Kirk’s reputation hit its highpoint in 1964, and then began a painful decline that remained unabated until his death in 1994. What does Ngram tell us about other conservative authors, like Robert Nisbet, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and Christopher Dawson? While I would never consider [...]

A Letter to the Seniors

By |2019-05-07T21:33:50-05:00May 7th, 2019|Categories: Character, Culture, Glenn Arbery, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot, Tradition, Virtue, Wyoming Catholic College|

T.S. Eliot reaches into the unsaid, perhaps even into the ultimately unsayable, in a way that makes new possibilities present for those of his own time. Eliot comes out of the great tradition, the long conversation of the West, which is now your own earned inheritance as well. What will you do with it? [...]

Leviathan, Inc.: Robert Nisbet & the Modern Nation-State

By |2019-09-24T12:17:38-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Robert Nisbet feared that modern totalitarians had succeeded in undermining the very foundations of goodness, truth, and morality. They had not only redefined liberty as power, but they had transformed the modern political state into a secular church, exchanging real religion for civic religion, creating a “New Leviathan.” Like most Americans during the Great [...]

Eliot and Irons

By |2019-03-16T12:02:11-05:00March 15th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Imagination, Literature, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

Hearing T.S. Eliot's poems read brings us back to the haunting beauty of the words themselves, and hearing the words unlocks Eliot’s powerful imagery, just as he would have wanted. Jeremy Irons' classic rendition empowers this strange transaction, and through the words we are taken beyond the words to the realm of the Word. Those [...]

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 |2019-08-27T16:41:54-05:00December 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 [...]