A truly humane man is a person who knows we were not born yesterday. He is familiar with many of the great books and the great men of the past, and with the best in the thought of his own generation. He has received a training of mind and character that chastens and ennobles and emancipates. He is a man genuinely free; but free only because he obeys the ancient laws, the norms, which govern human nature. He is competent to be a leader, whether in his own little circle or on a national scale—a leader in thought and taste and politics—because he has served an apprenticeship to the priests and the prophets and the philosophers of the generations that have preceded us in our civilization. He knows what it is to be a man—to be truly and fully human. He knows what things a man is forbidden to do. He knows his rights and his corresponding duties. He knows what to do with his leisure. He knows the purpose of his work. He knows that there is a law for man, and a law for thing. —Russell Kirk as quoted in Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley J. Birzer
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