On Live Where We Are (16 Feb 2011)
Although I live in Greenville, Michigan (home of the Winter Inn where Russell Kirk and I would stop on the way between Mecosta and Grand Rapids in the early 80s), I serve on the Board of a Christian health center located behind a post office on Forest Avenue in the north shore Mariner’s Harbor neighborhood of Staten Island. That health center is a community-based, grass-roots initiative that exhibits the sinews of Burkean conservatism. I have been involved with this project from its beginning about eight years ago. That kind of local engagement is something I learned to value from Russell Kirk; it has shaped my life. In city after city I find flowerings of Christian and civic virtue, hope, and can-do optimism. I look forward to reading the Staten Island book, about a place and people I have come to love. Thank you.
The moral imagination is the principal possession that man does not share with the beasts. It is man’s power to perceive ethical truth, abiding law, in the seeming chaos of many events. Without the moral imagination, man would live merely day to day, or rather moment to moment, as dogs do. It is the strange faculty—inexplicable if men are assumed to have an animal nature only—of discerning greatness, justice, and order, beyond the bars of appetite and self-interest.
Russell Kirk, Enemies of the Permanent Things, 1969
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