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

By 'the Permanent Things' [T. S. Eliot] meant those elements in the human condition that give us our nature, without which we are as the beasts that perish. They work upon us all in the sense that both they and we are bound up in that continuity of belief and institution called the great mysterious incorporation of the human race.

Russell Kirk

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Highlights

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Seminars This Spring

For a long weekend in March, Hillsdale College Honors Students gathered at the Kirk Center to explore the theme “Man as Maker in Moral Perspective.” Professor of Classics Eric Hutchinson guided the students on the complex topics of transhumanism and cloning, followed by readings from Ray Bradbury’s science fiction stories. Although the March winds deterred students from an afternoon walk, they rounded out the weekend with piano-playing and singing at the Kirk house.

Hillsdale Seminar March 2018

On April 26–29, the Kirk Center welcomes this year’s recipients of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s prestigious Richard M. Weaver Fellowships for a seminar about Plato’s writings on education, sponsored by The Liberty Fund of Indianapolis. Since 1964, the Weaver Fellowship Program has identified and supported graduate students committed to freedom-oriented teaching at the college level. This year, fifteen students from across the country were selected as Weaver Fellows. Dr. David Corey, professor of Political Science at Baylor University, and Dr. Richard Gamble, professor of history at Hillsdale College, will lead the discussions.

Apr 2018

Buckley Biographer Visits Kirk Library

The Kirk Center was pleased to host a research visit for prize-winning historian and former New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. Mr. Tanenhaus is the official biographer of William F. Buckley Jr. He made a trip from Connecticut to Mecosta to read the correspondence between Buckley and Kirk while enjoying the pleasant setting of the Kirk Library. Russell Kirk had a four-decades long friendship with Buckley, both admiring the other’s professionalism and contributions to the revival of the conservative tradition in America.

Jeff Nelson, Sam Tanenhaus, Annette Kirk

Apr 2018

Attention attorneys, judges, law students, and interested professionals: Registration just opened!

The Society for Law and Culture will gather to discuss “Moral Imagination and the Law” on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the Kirk Center. We are pleased to announce the following distinguished speakers: the Hon. Caleb Stegall, Justice, Kansas Supreme Court; the Hon. Stephen Murphy, Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; Clare Neuchterlein, Distinguished Practitioner Emerita of Law, Valparaiso University; and Allen Mendenhall, Associate Dean and Director, Blackstone and Burke Center for Law and Liberty, Faulkner University.

Society for Law and Culture, 2016 gathering

Formed by Maxwell Goss, a practicing attorney and former Kirk Fellow, the Society for Law and Culture is an organization for lawyers, judges, professionals, and academics that aims to strengthen the ties between law and culture and promote a renewed sense of the law as a vocation and humane profession. For more information and to register please see the event site.

Apr 2018