conservatism

‘Be Strong, Fear Not’: The Case for Christian Stoicism

“In an age of decadence, the Stoic philosophy held together the civil social order of imperial Rome, and taught thinking men the nature of true freedom, which is not dependent upon swords and laws.” – Russell Kirk Piety Hill is the name given by the late Russell Kirk, the “Father of American Conservatism,”to his ancestral … Read more

A Catholic America Would Be Worth ‘Conserving’

History is a funny thing in that it takes no prisoners. One thing American Conservatives have wrestled with since the foundation of the republic is just what it is they are supposed to be conserving. Europeans and Latin Americans were fairly clear on the point, with a rejection of the principles of the French Revolution … Read more

Retreat and Engage: Towards a Conservatism for the Common Good

Christians are in uncharted political territory. Once a formidable force in our politics, the Religious Right is now effectively irrelevant, undermined as much by its own hypocrisy and short-sightedness as by growing secularism. Until recently, most conservative Christians have subscribed to a philosophy known as fusionism: a combination of free-market economics, social traditionalism, and foreign-policy … Read more

Kids in Defense of the Culture

The shock troops against Conservatism, Inc. have arrived. Witness the rise of the groypers. These cowboys sent people ducking beneath barstools the moment they set a spurred boot in the Culture War saloon. It has been amusing, to say the least, but not everyone is laughing. Some have even warned that the pale rider of … Read more

The Uncivil Civility of David French

Debates are about making points, yes, but they’re also about comportment. The exchange between Sohrab Ahmari and David French, which took place at the Catholic University of America last Thursday, centered on just this point. It was a debate about debates—namely, “How do we best engage with our opponents on the Left?” As it happens, … Read more

We Are All Ahmarists Now, Part I

There’s something precarious in writing an article about a debate. One runs the risk of demonstrating why one wasn’t invited to take the stage. Still, Thursday’s exchange between Sohrab Ahmari of The New York Post and National Review’s David French ought to be weighed carefully by every Catholic journalist, statesman, lawyer, activist, and voter. These … Read more

Social Conservatism and the New Nationalism

Jack Fowler, a longtime publishing executive at National Review, sat alone and lonely at the way back during the conference. A National Review writer sat among the press and wrote a first-day story. She reported it as straight news, no comment. To be sure, National Review editor Rich Lowry spoke to the crowd and did … Read more

Honoring Two Intellectual Giants of the 20th Century

Before 2018 concludes, we should remember two men born a century ago this year who profoundly shaped public discourse in the twentieth century: Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. Dec. 11, 1918) and Russell Kirk (b. Oct. 19, 1918). Solzhenitsyn, who lived into the new millennium (he died at age 89 in 2008), was both a Nobel laureate … Read more

Ryszard Legutko’s Critique of Western Liberalism

For quite some time now, American intellectuals have taken a particular interest in Poland. During the Cold War, the Polish people’s resistance to communism was held up as an example of fidelity, and Pope John Paul II’s leadership of the Church was taken to be a quintessential example of the Polish spirit. The honeymoon is … Read more

Beauty Is At the Heart of True Conservatism

What is the point of contemporary conservatism? Whatever one thinks of the victory of Donald Trump to the presidency, he is not a conservative of any expected kind. But he has thrown the various strands of conservatism into disarray and has caused a remarkable level of self-reflection and self-criticism. And his administration has opened up … Read more

Paris Statement Defends Old Europe and Its Values

“Our beloved home will not be fulfilled with the European Union. The real Europe is, and always will be, a community of nations, at once insular, sometimes fiercely so, and yet united by a spiritual legacy that, together, we debate, develop, state—and love.”  ∼ The Paris Statement, #12. Aristotle had trouble comprehending the feasibility of Alexander’s … Read more

Why Liberal Governing Elites Seek to Neutralize Social Issues

Social issues are messy. They have to do with basic human connections, orientations, and aspects of identity. These include family, cultural community, religion, and relations between the sexes. So they have to do with basic and very complicated aspects of life that people feel strongly about. That causes problems for people who run things today. … Read more

Is a Post-Trump Pact of Non-Recrimination Possible?

A former Bush administration staffer writes in National Review that there needs to be a kind of bloodletting in a post-Trump Republican Party. Peter Wehner, now ensconced at the highly respectable Ethics and Public Policy Center run by my friend Ed Whelan, wants to rid the GOP of certain smelly strains, specifically those around Breitbart, … Read more

The State: From God, or the Devil?

A casual observer might be excused for believing that conservatives have a rather confused and conflicted view of the state. Albert J. Nock, a giant of early-twentieth-century conservatism, wrote a book titled Our Enemy the State. Yet Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, observed that “he who gave our nature to be perfected by our … Read more

Liberalism, Conservatism, and Catholicism

We all talk about liberalism and conservatism, and about liberal and conservative Catholics, but what does it mean? Some say it doesn’t mean much at all. They say these are labels attached to arbitrary and even contradictory collections of positions. Liberals say they want lots of freedom and lots of regulations. Conservatives say they want … Read more

Donald Trump, George Will, and the Crisis of Conservatism

If every cloud has a silver lining, we can say that the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump has—whatever his detractors may say—served some useful purposes. Those most critical of Trump speak of his followers as delirious, as if they were in the grip of some dreadful political fever. Nevertheless, a fever can be useful to … Read more

Can Virtue Heal the American Right?

We’ve come to that agonizing point in our political process when each political party must choose its champion. Republicans are trying to decide in whose hands to place their party’s fate. The inexperienced but well-spoken Marco Rubio? Rand Paul, a man of intelligence and conviction who nonetheless selected drone strikes as the issue most worthy of a … Read more

Remembering Brent

I was still an undergraduate when, in the summer of 1970, I first laid eyes on Spain, spending seven or so heady weeks in the bright shadow of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, an immense, intimidating pile built by Philip II in the shape of a huge gridiron on which its patron, St. Lawrence, had … Read more

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