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Alexis de Tocqueville

If we can begin to understand the sense of federalism as an idea rather than a fixed set of immutable relations, and moreover as an idea that is designed to balance and reconcile the competing claims of competing goods, then our debates over the promise of federalism may take on...

Alexis de Tocqueville, while traveling through the dense woods in Michigan, in 1831, came across a pioneer and his family, making the “first step toward civilization in the wilds.” He noted in his travel diary...
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In 2016 Americans are feeling anxious. It’s not that we are experiencing crises—we are neither in total war nor economic depression. Yet 2016 has forced us to rethink all we thought we knew. A Socialist made a credible...

In 1939, as the storm clouds of World War II were gathering in Europe, famed modernist-poet-turned-Anglo-Catholic, T.S. Eliot, penned an essay entitled “The Idea of a Christian Society,” in which he lays out a vision of a Christian...

In the first essay of this series, I discussed the three things that one must know about Edmund Burke in order to understand the cohesiveness of his vision, a vision which spanned his adult life. While he developed this...

One the things that Robert Nisbet made perfectly clear in the 1950s is that we could never understand the West and the new Western character under democracy and democratic influences without understanding the...

“Western civilization,” “North Atlantic community,” “the unity of the free world”—such phrases are employed nowadays by our publicists and our politicians so frequently and loosely that, to a good many of us in America, the words have ceased...

Old-World nihilism belongs to a handful of intellectuals persuaded by philosophical arguments that human knowledge, on the whole, is worthless as a reliable guide for living. Consider Heinrich von Kleist, the nineteenth century dramatist and short-story writer,...

The author of the best book ever written on America, and the best book ever written on democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, claimed to see almost no higher education in America. I think Tocqueville exaggerated a bit in...

Russell Kirk posed as one of the “canons” of conservatism the existence of orders in society. Critics have responded for decades that such a view shows that traditional conservatives are by nature aristocratic in their orientation, that they...

"I am convinced that the most advantageous situation and the best possible laws cannot maintain a constitution in spite of the manners of a country; whilst the latter may turn to some advantage the most unfavorable...
Russell Kirk
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Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Ted McAllister as he examines Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. Dr. Kirk reminds us that not only ought we to be fighting over ideas but we ought to be shaping hearts. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher

Writing with all the Romantic appreciation of the dialectic of opposites and polarities, Walt Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” Whitman and the Romantics expressed eloquently...

Oh, how Andrew Carnegie adored creative destruction! How much he hated the past! His 1886 book, Triumphant Democracy, a breathless paean to “the Republic,” feels like a prayer, spoken as much in numbers as in words....