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Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of some thirty-two books, hundreds of periodical essays, and many short stories. Both Time and Newsweek have described him as one of America’s leading thinkers, and The New York Times acknowledged the scale of his influence when in 1998 it wrote that Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.”

The necessity of personal morality in a thriving community is denied by the enemies of the permanent things, who do not believe that there are permanent standards of behavior or indeed an unchanging human nature, and who seek to create political systems that will make everyone happy...
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The challenge for statesmen is to use historical experience as a guide to understanding civilization and then to reconstitute civilization in the specific circumstances of the day. Imagination is essential in the process of reconstitution because it is the human faculty that puts individuals in touch with...
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At best, what the typical college has offered its students, in recent decades, has been defecated rationality. By that term I mean a narrow rationalism or logicalism, purged of theology, moral philosophy, symbol and allegory, tradition, reverence, and the wisdom of our ancestors. This defecated rationality is...

Robert Nisbet, in direct contrast to Russell Kirk, argued that conservatism was purely a modern ideology. For Nisbet, the entire history of conservatism began as a reaction to the French Revolution... Robert Nisbet When...
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According to Russell Kirk, the moral imagination is the power of knowing man, despite his weaknesses and sinful nature, as a moral being, meant for eternity. It recognizes that human beings, after all, are created in the image of God... Russell...
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The great tradition of Western culture has proven peculiarly absorptive; it has brought influences from many disparate sources into a rich conversation. But it is Christianity that has for centuries formed its core. And it is, above all, this core to which “conservatism at its highest” remains...
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If art cannot save our souls, it can do much to redeem the time, to give us a true image of ourselves, both in the horror and the boredom to which we can descend, and in the glory which we may, in rare moments, be privileged to...
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Pope St. John Paul II and Russell Kirk defended freedom within the limits of truth and its authentic or right use. They knew it was crucial to distinguish license and liberty. But they have different approaches to truth... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords...

Historical context, for members of the Straussian school, is "historicism," a form of moral relativism that believes that there are no fixed truths, only ideas appropriate for their historical moment... Patriotism Is Not Enough: Harry Jaffa, Walter Berns, and the Arguments That Redefined...

The liberal conservative must be discerning. For he believes in freedom as well as in order. He believes in individualism as well as in community. He believes in the equality of all men as well as in hierarchy, natural aristocracy, and excellence...
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We need to develop a fully American variant of conservatism; to advance our understand­ing of the conservative nature of the political traditions we have inherited; and to do so with a dignity that will permit us to stand before God, the American public, and our conservative forebears...

If anything identifies a conservative, it is his realistic appraisal of human nature—his appreciation of what is good and admirable, and his recognition of what is base... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Thomas Woods as he explores what...
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For their own sake, as well as the sake of the civilization which they love, conservatives can and should deny the state’s legitimacy, on the grounds that it is destructive of the true, the good, and the beautiful...

A scrutiny of John Quincy Adams’ words and deeds across his broad public life shows him to be a successful conservative, both as a thinker and as a leader... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Sean Mattie as he...