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by W. Winston Elliott III

The Imaginative Conservative opened the week with Bradley Birzer’s commentary on meta history in Judgment Day: Christopher Dawson in 1942. TIC briefly interrupted our regularly scheduled essays for an important Middle Earth News Update from our Himalayan correspondent, Stephen Masty. Then we turned to Russell Kirk for insight on the question of the Instinct of the Conservative.

With his book review, Thomas Kidd took us on a quest In Search of the City on a Hill. Peter Lawler’s comments on David Brooks and the Future of Conservatism offered conjecture on what is next in the realm of politics and conservatism. Bill Whittle then demonstrated how to communicate when campaigning and dealing with the media in his excellent video, Presenting the Message. Daniel McCarthy’s thought provoking essay, Modernism & Conservatism: Does the culture of “The Waste Land” lead to freedom—or something more? offered analysis of modernity and conservatism. In Secession, the Humane Scale of Politics, and American Identity, Douglas Minson examined regional division, community and American traditions.

Scott Dodge borrowed from the excellent prose of T. S. Eliot so help us understand that True Education Requires Imagination. Bruce Frohnen surveyed the chasm between reality and modern usage of words in The Wonders of Democracy (?). In We Were All Wrong All Along, Darrin Moore also took a look at the reality of politics and conservative action, suggesting a problem of perception. Stephen Masty regaled us with wonderful tale of tradition and philanthropy in Shanghaied by Yuletide Materialism? Try This!.

Next, H. Lee Cheek, Jr., and Sean R. Busick teamed up to offer their thoughts on modern idealism and The Idea That Will Not Die: Secession. M. D. Aeschliman continued with his thoughts on the “ancient and ever new” Russell Kirk in The Wise Men Know What Wicked Things Are Written on the Sky. Then Gerald Russello offered his view on why John Witherspoon was The Quintessential Founder. After that, we turned next to Brian Domitrovic to find out why Economics Pasha Robert Solow is in a Time Warp. We concluded the week with the brilliance of Russell Kirk as he considered Edmund Burke and the importance of understanding the idyllic, the diabolic, and The Moral Imagination.

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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. Click here to find out more about the intellectual roots of imaginative conservatives.

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2 replies to this post
  1. I have just discovered this website and have a question, but since the system here seems not to enable dialog, I don't know to whom to address my question … or how to know I've gotten an answer.

    My question is not exactly simple. A small preface: Societies exist. So have civilizations. These social "forms" also change over time. In addition they are all made up of living human beings. This suggests to me that there is an "organic" nature to societies and civilizations, for all their component parts (people) are living.

    If this is the case, then these societies must conform to "laws" of some kind, the way all organic "forms" conform to laws.

    At the same time, human beings have "Ideas", which seem more "spiritual" in nature than being merely "biological" … that is the stuff or matter nature of human beings seems to also include an invisible component which appears in Ideas.

    At the same time, most points of view about societies, particularly their "politics", seems to have as "Ideas" something we call an ideology. People want society to become different according to their beliefs about what it should be, without yet having asked the question: What is a society actually doing?

    A gross analogy would be a physicist who in finding that gravity is a problem, then creates his "science" in an ideological form – never having understood (or seemingly wanting to understand) how it works in the first place – and as a consequence taking gravity away as if magically the real world didn't operate that way.

    Inconvenient facts abound in politics, for both conservatives and liberals. People are stubborn and don't always agree to follow someone else's Ideas of behavior and so forth.

    Those who draw in religious or moral ideas just make the whole thing worse, not considering the possibility that God likes human beings having all those inconvenient freedoms. As some English wag may have said, for example: "Christianity is wonderful, it just hasn't been tried yet".

    Maybe, right now, human beings are just very ignorant. They don't understand themselves, and they don't understand their societies. There doesn't seem to be an "operators manual" around for any of this.

    My question, after all this wandering around, goes like this: "Where is the humility which says, you know, I don't understand, but it seems to me that the best course is to just focus on getting along with each other, and forget all the different ways we want to control and judge the other guy?"

    Joel A. Wendt

  2. Joel, thank you for the question. I want to emphasize the first part of it, "where is the humility?" Is it possible that we are given, in the Created Order, the job of tending the garden? I mean by this a responsibility to be stewards of first, God's revelation to us, and second, our covenants with each other? This is not an answer based in dogma, but in the love that transcends all understanding. Starting from there, cannot we also approach the human condition by acknowledging that we constantly try to make ourselves into gods, but that some people are more insistent upon it than others?

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