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

Russell Kirk has defended traditional values in a culture that restlessly seeks the shock of the new. Through numerous writings and lectures, conversations and seminars, he has taught Americans about America—about its deeply conservative habits, about the roots of its constitutional order, about the Burkean influence on our Founders.

The Hon. John Engler

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Highlights

Fall Newsletter features new Society for Law and Culture

The Fall 2016 number of our newsletter, Permanent Things, is now available for download. It features news of the inaugural conference of a new Kirk Center initiative, the Society for Law and Culture; an emerging partnership with the new publishing house, Cluny Media; and news of other recent events and publications.

Dec 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