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russell kirk

The twentieth century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character–with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.–Russell Kirk

Friends, may we begin a conversation on how to further the principles of an imaginative conservatism?

Naturally we begin with the words of Dr. Russell Kirk. How may we begin to broaden the awareness of these ideas as found in Dr. Kirk’s writings?

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism (Visit our Bookstore to find books by/about these men) .

We address a wide variety of major issues including: What is the essence of conservatism? What was the role of faith in the American Founding? Is liberal learning still possible in the modern academy? Should conservatives and libertarians be allies? What is the proper role for the American Republic in spreading ordered liberty to other cultures/nations?

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Published: Jul 10, 2010
Author
Russell Kirk
Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of some thirty-two books, hundreds of periodical essays, and many short stories. Both Time and Newsweek have described him as one of America’s leading thinkers, and The New York Times acknowledged the scale of his influence when in 1998 it wrote that Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.”
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3 replies to this post
  1. Let the conversation begin…My first reaction as I read your first post, was are these the principles that we are concerned about in the 21st century? I do not doubt that the principles are exactly that, the principles that define conservatism in it's highest sense. Dr. Kirk begins with referencing the time in which he was born, lived, and died. We have crossed over, and it is now 2010, sixteen years since his passing. What is the relevance of conservatism now? The time when students who once read and studied Kirk within a major at Hillsdale are now gone. The few students taught by an adjunct at the University of St. Thomas in Houston receive snippets of Kirk's imagination. Yet, his writings are well received when read by those in high school and undergraduate.

    There is a continuing sense of renewal within this culture of death, lead spiritually and intellectually by Pope JohnPaul II and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Yet in America, we are not on the offensive as these great men. Our response to these men is that we huddle, whine, and mope…about disunity, lack of numbers, and even less in financing. The next generation are filling church youth groups on Sunday evenings and our univeristies and colleges; are we there creating "little platoons"? Until we are there to lead and form them, the young will hug, hold hands and praise & worship. The imagination is stirred within them toward the good, the true and the beautiful, but their souls and intellects have not had the proper guidance and exposition of the principles that Dr. Kirk speaks of in the quotation above.

    Russell Kirk is relevant more than ever…but as he believed and we do today, the principles of conservatism prosper and grow and change the world in "little platoons".

    (forgive the misspellings and rush on thought as I am writing on my IPad watching my little one's fall asleep.)

  2. Dear John and Winston
    Great idea for a blog; I have always liked Kirk's principles; I used them once to explain why Maritain is a true conservative against his detractors. I also agree with Rocha — "There is a continuing sense of renewal within this culture of death, lead spiritually and intellectually by Pope John Paul II and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Yet in America, we are not on the offensive as these great men." We need to raise up the platoons — in schools, in churches, in associations — and what better guide than JP2? So the JP2 Forum will join cause with you on this. http://www.jp2forum.org

  3. The importance of this new web site is incalculable. Clearly, much of mainstream conservatism has moved away from concerns over the order of the soul and the defense of the permanent things. Instead, we're confronted more and more with a conservatism preoccupied with materialism, endless war, and Republican Party electoral victories.

    Russell Kirk was the greatest American conservative philosopher of twentieth-century. He understood both the essence of authentic conservatism along with the perennial political temptations that deflect conservatism from its true trajectory. We would do well to heed his imaginative wisdom in this century, a time of sever disorder both in the soul and the state.

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