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Kirk in Time

In an article in the February 13, 2012 TIME magazine, “The Conservative Identity Crisis,” the author says that “modern conservatism was born in the early 1950s” when “a young writer named Russell Kirk unearthed a rich philosophical tradition going back to British writer and politician, Edmund Burke; Kirk's 1953 book, The Conservative Mind was a sensation, influencing a generation that included William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

“Kirk's was never the only brand of conservatism, but his ideas were like a magnet pulling others toward them, and steadily, a coalition of the right was formed. Kirk emphasized the religious roots of society, which spoke to the rising Christian conservatism of the 1970s. He counseled slow and orderly change rather than radical or utopian schemes; this made his movement a welcoming home for Americans unnerved by the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. He held that individual property is the root of freedom ... and he cherished traditional values and local institutions rather than shiny new ideas from central headquarters, which made his philosophy a comfortable place for the inevitable backlash against Washington and the New Deal.”

Mar 2012

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Kirk was convinced that in our age, the unimagined life is not worth living for a human being. He labored to reform our sensibilities, so that we could see ourselves both for what we are and for what we have become. He labored to make available an intellectual tradition of dissent from the modern age. He labored to release our hearts from the bondage of ideology.

Mark Henrie

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