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Robert NisbetFeatured Book: The Quest For Communityby Robert Nisbet, ranks high among the foundational works of post-war American conservatism. In it, Nisbet argued that the emergence of the “centralized territorial State” in the wake of the Middle Ages decisively impacted Western social organization. Nisbet was particularly sensitive to the rise of the “national community,” the total political state, and he posited that the decline of the West was intimately connected to the decline through the centuries of intermediate associations between the individual and the state. George H. Nash has succinctly outlined Nisbet’s thesis: “The weakening or dissolution of such bonds as family, church, guild, and neighborhood had not, as many had hoped, liberated men. Instead, it produced alienation, isolation, spiritual desolation, and the growth of mass man.” With the weakening of alternative authorities, as Mark C. Henrie has noted, “the individual has nowhere to stand to articulate a perspective differing from that of the liberal polity and its culture.” Nisbet alerted post-war conservatives, many of whom were uncompromising individualists, that “the quest for community will not be denied, for it springs from some of the powerful needs of human nature—needs for a clear sense of cultural purpose, membership, status, and continuity.”–Jeffrey O. Nelson

This book, and other conservative classics, may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

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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Published: Mar 9, 2013
Jeffrey O. Nelson
Jeff Nelson is Executive Vice President for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He holds a B.A. from the University of Detroit, an M.A. from Yale University Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Prior to returning to ISI in 2009, he was president of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Nelson serves as vice chairman of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal and secretary of the Edmund Burke Society of America. He is the editor of several books, including "Redeeming the Time" by Russell Kirk, "American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia", "The Political Principles of Robert Taft" by Russell Kirk and James McClellan, "Perfect Sowing" by Henry Regnery, and "Remembered Past" by John Lukacs.
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