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The thinking conservative, in truth, must take on some of the outward characteristic of the radical, today: he must poke about the roots of society, in the hope of restoring vigor to an old tree half strangled in the rank undergrowth of modern passions. The conservative does not much enjoy this unaccustomed function, for, with Randolph of Roanoke, he has found the philosopher’s stone, which is this formula: never disturb, except under the greatest necessity, a thing that is at rest. That dread necessity, however, is upon us; the conservatism of enjoyment must be exchanged for the conservatism of labor; and it is for us to prove that the conservative can water and prune, if he must, the great tree of society, as well as pick the fruit. In this century the conservative cannot be a lotos–eater. He must perform a higher working if we are all to be saved from the lowest form of work, the servile labor of a proletariat directed by an omnicompetent state. (Program for Conservatives)

Books on or by Dr. Kirk may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Essays on or by Dr. Kirk may be found here.  


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?

We have a great appreciation for the thought of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt and Christopher Dawson, among other imaginative conservatives. However, some of us look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.”

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2 replies to this post
  1. Russell Kirk often referred to roots. It is no surprise that he sees a certain radical sensibility to the conservative task in the modern age. "Radical" and "root" both come from the Latin "radix."

  2. To be clear, the "conservative" must decide just what it is he is conserving. Is it the corporatist status quo, or is it something so old that it appears to be completely new?

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