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

Only a man who remembers his debt to his ancestors is likely to plant for posterity.

Russell Kirk

| | Search:


Upcoming Event for Attorneys and Law Students

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. If you are interested in attending the 2018 gathering, please see the event site.

Jan 2018

A Biographical Interview with Russell Kirk

Sally WrightWe have just posted an extensive biographical interview of Russell Kirk, conducted in 1989 by Sally Wright (whose novels were reviewed recently in the University Bookman). In “Russell Kirk: Reflections on a Vagrant Career,” Wright captured Kirk’s perspectives on his life, personality, conversion, opinions, and much more. The piece is a good introduction to Kirk for the new reader, and will also have much to interest those familiar with Kirk and his writings.

Dec 2017

Latest Newsletter

Newsletter coverThe new Permanent Things Newsletter is now available, featuring reports from a gathering of the John Adams Society of Harvard, highlights on recent Kirk Center Fellows, and a conference on the moral imagination in Kirk, Bradbury, Eliot, and others. We are also announcing an upcoming event for attorneys, and preparing for the Kirk Centenary in 2018.

Dec 2017