A Conservatism of Thought and Imagination

Ten Conservative Principles (1993)

  1. First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.
  2. Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.
  3. Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.
  4. Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.
  5. Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.
  6. Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.
  7. Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.
  8. Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.
  9. Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.
  10. Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

Evolution of Kirk's Thought on Conservative Principles

In 1953, with the publication of The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk set out six “canons” that he considered a reasonable summary or outline of the significant themes common among conservative thinkers. In his 1982 introduction to the Portable Conservative Reader, Kirk offered a variation on those canons, and in a chapter in the 1993 Politics of Prudence, his last book, he expanded the canons to ten principles.

Highlighted Resources

A poor man, if he has dignity, honesty, the respect of his neighbors, a realization of his duties, a love of the wisdom of his ancestors, and possibly some taste for knowledge or beauty, is rich in the unbought grace of life.

Russell Kirk

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Highlights

2017 Burke Conference Announced

The Edmund Burke Society announces its next conference, to be held on 10-11 February 2017 at St John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. The theme for this gathering is “Edmund Burke and The Conservative Mind: Russell Kirk on the Burke Revival Then and Now.” The program features keynote addresses by Dr. Bruce Frohnen and Mr. André Gushurst-Moore. The Call for Papers is now available (proposal deadline 15 December 2016), and includes more details. Use this link to express interest in attending.

Relatedly, Senior Fellow Ian Crowe recently reviewed a new edition of Burke’s writings in the Everyman Library. Crowe notes that the collection, edited and with an introduction by British Member of Parliament Jesse Norman, offers a useful exploration of Burke’s views of “party.”

And do not miss the newly posted issue of Studies in Burke and His Time (Volume 25).

Nov 2016

Birzer wins 2016 Paolucci Award

We congratulate Bradley J. Birzer, the 2016 recipient of the Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award for his biography, Russell Kirk: American Conservative. This annual award from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute honors the best book that advances conservative principles. ISI is hosting the Paolucci Award dinner during the Philadelphia Society national meeting, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. Dr. Birzer will be speaking at the event. See this link for details on the award and dinner.

Sep 2016

Spring 2016 Newsletter

The Spring 2016 issue of the Kirk Center’s newsletter, Permanent Things, is now available for download. This issue features reports of participation in a liberal–conservative summit held by the Kirk Center and the Hauenstein Center, recent seminars, and a profile of a new archivist helping to digitize the Kirk archives.

Jul 2016