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 culture is perennially in need of renewal. A culture does not survive and prosper merely by being taken for granted; active defense is always required, and imaginative growth, too.

Russell Kirk

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Highlights

Trump and the Future of American Democracy

Donald Trump’s election changed the American political landscape … hugely. Join Kirk on Campus at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, on Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m., for a spirited conversation with Ross Douthat of the New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus of the New York Times, Mark Bauerlein of First Things, and Hope College’s Jeff Polet, about how the American conservative and progressive movements have been reshaped by the Trump presidency, and what it means for the future. Register for this free event here.

Oct 2017

Budziszewski Lecture in Grand Rapids

The Society for Law and Culture is joining with the Christian Legal Society in sponsoring a lecture by J. Budziszewski titled “Natural Law: Why and So What?” The event will be held at Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids, MI, on Thursday, November 2, 2017, beginning at 5:30 p.m. A professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Prof. Budziszewski is an engaging speaker, perceptive social critic, and prolific author on natural law and other topics. Download the event flier for more details and contact information.

Oct 2017

Historical Marker Project

Thank you! In preparation for the upcoming centennial of the birth of Russell Kirk, friends have successfully funded a historical marker for his birthplace of Plymouth, Michigan. We are grateful to all who participated. Here is a video of Annette Kirk and Andrea Kirk Assaf celebrating the end of the campaign. For more details, visit the GoFundMe campaign site. The project is being coordinated by Bart Smith, a former Wilbur Fellow.

Sep 2017