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Moral Imagination

For those of us who love Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, and Irving Babbitt, the extravagantly convoluted term, “the moral imagination,” rolls readily off the tongue and warms the heart like few other things. Yet, most of our closest...
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Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. —Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” These famous lines of Keats have charmed and delighted readers for two centuries, but skeptics...
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Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. I We not only read a novel, we enter into its created world. We identify a novelist by his world, that is,...
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The Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, dictating that all states issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was handed down less than a year ago. Already, though, most Americans have accepted this judicial dictate as the law...
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Like many of you, I am sure, my first encounter with the term “the moral imagination” came through reading Russell Kirk. In an attempt to make better sense of...
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Let me first explain my odd-sounding title. It is a variation on the most famous question-and-answer about time ever posed. It comes from the eleventh book of Augustine’s Confessions, published about 400 C.E.: This is...
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(Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Benjamin Lockerd as he examines the importance of the moral imagination in learning the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.—W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher)
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No man of his time defended more passionately the cause of sanity and “centricity” than did G. K. Chesterton—despite his aversion to watches and his uncalculated picturesqueness of dress. Yet no imaginative writer touched more often than did Chesterton...

Some years ago, I walked across the braes from Old Cumnock, in Ayrshire, to the village of Ochiltree. Now Ochiltree is the “Barbie” of George Douglas Brown’s grim realistic novel The House with the Green Shutters. And...
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Russell Kirk "The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and...

  “It is imagination that governs the human race.” No professor of literature wrote those words: that is an aphorism of the master of...
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The term "libertarianism" is distasteful to people who think seriously about politics. Both Dr. F.A. Hayek and your servant have gone out of their way, from time to time, to declare that they refuse to be tagged with...
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The end of the twentieth century of the Christian era is not far distant, and all about us things fall apart. There comes to my mind the last drawing from the pencil of William Hogarth, who died...

In November 2013 my students and I had the honor of a visit from Annette Kirk, widow of Russell Kirk. Mrs. Kirk led us in a discussion of her husband’s classic essay “The Moral Imagination.”  The term moral imagination actually...