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

Historical Marker Project

In preparation for the upcoming centennial of the birth of Russell Kirk, we are pleased to announce a small campaign to fund a historical marker in his birthplace of Plymouth, Michigan. For more details and to participate, please visit the GoFundMe campaign site. The project is being coordinated by Bart Smith, a former Wilbur Fellow.

Jul 2017

American Chesterton Society Conference

We commend to our friends the upcoming conference of the American Chesterton Society, to be held this year in Colorado Springs from July 27–29. Fr. James V. Schall is among this year’s presenters.

Jun 2017

Spring Newsletter

Newsletter coverThe Spring 2017 Permanent Things Newsletter is now available, featuring a fresh design and news about recent events and publications from the Kirk Center and other friends. Among the highlights is a lecture this spring by Sir Roger Scruton at Villanova University, sponsored by the ISI Russell Kirk Society at Villanova.

Jun 2017