Russell Kirk, “The Conservative Mind” # 2


Russell Kirk, “The Conservative Mind” # 2

From Russell Kirk’s foreword.

“For the conservative, custom, convention, constitution, and prescription are the sources of a tolerable civil social order. Men not being angels, a terrestrial paradise cannot be contrived by metaphysical enthusiasts; yet an earthly hell can be arranged readily enough by ideologues of one stamp or another. Precisely that has come to pass in a great part of the world during the twentieth century.” pp. xv- xvi

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“It remains conceivable even now that much worth conserving in our culture may be protected and renewed—granted some conservative will and talent among the rising generation. No universal fall into the antagonist world is decreed ineluctably by a defied History. Burke in 1779, denied with vehemence that great states inescapably are subject to cycle of growth and decay”:

‘At the very moment when some of them seemed plunged in unfathomable abysses of disgrace and disaster, they have suddenly emerged. They have begun a new course, and opened a new reckoning; and even in the depths of their calamity, and on the very ruins of their country, have laid the foundations of a towering and durable greatness. All this has happened without any apparent previous change in the general circumstances which had brought on their distress. The death of a man at a critical juncture, his disgust , his retreat, his disgrace, have brought innumerable calamities on a whole nation. A common soldier, a child, a girl at the door of an inn, changed the face of fortune,  and almost of Nature.’ p. xix

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Perhaps there is reason to still hope for America!

God only knows who America’s fickle political process will propel to the Presidency.

There may be several candidates who Edmond Burk and Russel Kirk (both now deceased) may have approved of.

I suspect that Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz would be prominent among them.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 1/6/16

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