Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Defining Conservatism Up

The Imaginative Conservative: Russell Kirk
Imaginative conservatives in the school of Kirk take long views, and, as Dr. Kirk often reminded us, religion and ethics trump politics. Nevertheless, it is easy to understand why many of us grieve the passing of the old Republic. As John Randolph defined it - and where Dr. Kirk began his foray into historical scholarship - republican principles meant "love of peace, hatred of offensive war; jealousy of the State Governments towards the General Government, and the influence of the Executive Government over the co-ordinate branches of that Government; a dread of standing armies; a loathing of public debt, taxes, and excises; tenderness for the liberty of the citizen; jealousy, Argus-eyed jealousy, of the patronage of the President...."

Our pessimism begins with the realization that very few of our neighbors subscribe to such views today, maybe excepting the "loathing of public debt, taxes, and excises."
That's from a new blog, The Imaginative Conservative. If you are already a conservative no doubt this passage speaks directly to you. You will find more like it at the blog.

If you are someone who believes that a conservative viewpoint is what you get on Fox News, I implore you to check out the blog.  I guarantee you won't ever hear this on Fox:
Cant and equivocation dismissed, it seems to me that there are three great bodies of principle and conviction that tie together what is called modern civilization.

The first of these is the Christian faith: the theological and moral doctrines which inform us, either side of the Atlantic, of the nature of God and man, the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, human dignity, the rights and duties of human person, the nature of charity, and the meaning of hope and resignation.

The second of these is the corpus of imaginative literature, humane letters, which is the essence of our high culture: humanism, which with the Christian faith, teaches us our powers and our limitations--the work of Plato, Virgil, Cicero, Dante, Shakespeare, and so many others.

The third is a complex of social and political institutions which we may call the reign of law, or ordered liberty: prescription, precedent, impartial justice, private rights, private property, the character of genuine community, the claims of the family and of voluntary association.

However much these three bodies of conviction have been injured by internecine disputes, nihilism, Benthamism, the cult of Rationalism, Marxism, and other modern afflictions, they remain the rocks upon which our civilization is built.

(Above is taken from the jacket cover of The Intemperate Professor, 1965.)

1 comment:

Winston Elliott III said...

Thanks for the kind words about The Imaginative Conservative.

We hope it will be a place for thoughtful conservatism in the broadest sense. Addressing culture, education, politics, economics, literature, the arts and more in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmore More, Wilhelm Roepke, Christopher Dawson and other leaders of imaginative conservatism.

Let us redeem the time with our thoughts, our words and our prayers.