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Russell Kirk

Cant and equivocation dismissed, it seems to me that there are three great bodies of principle and conviction that tie together what is called modern civilization.

The first of these is the Christian faith: the theological and moral doctrines which inform us, either side of the Atlantic, of the nature of God and man, the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, human dignity, the rights and duties of human person, the nature of charity, and the meaning of hope and resignation.

The second of these is the corpus of imaginative literature, humane letters, which is the essence of our high culture: humanism, which with the Christian faith, teaches us our powers and our limitations–the work of Plato, Virgil, Cicero, Dante, Shakespeare, and so many others.

The third is a complex of social and political institutions which we may call the reign of law, or ordered liberty: prescription, precedent, impartial justice, private rights, private property, the character of genuine community, the claims of the family and of voluntary association.

However much these three bodies of conviction have been injured by internecine disputes, nihilism, Benthamism, the cult of Rationalism, Marxism, and other modern afflictions, they remain the rocks upon which our civilization is built.

Find books by Dr. Kirk here. Essays on or by Russell Kirk may be found here.

(Above is taken from the jacket cover of The Intemperate Professor, 1965.)

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