How I First Met Russell Kirk: An Autobiographical Reflection

How I first met Russell Kirk, an autobiographical reflection of one goofy mind encountering one brilliant mind. Fall 1989.

I often look at, hold, and peruse my first (first to me, that is) copy of The Conservative Mind. Sometime in 1989, I ended up with a brand-new hardback copy of the Regnery Seventh edition, revised, complete with a really hideous industrial-green dust jacket. It was the same shade of green that once adorned my public grade-school walls back in Hutchinson, Kansas. I write “was” because I long ago ripped away and threw away that cover. I normally keep my dust jackets, but this one deserved a death long ago. Whether it was death by simple discard or burning, I remember not. Whatever the case, it is long gone.


I do not even remember how I came by the book. I grew up in what can only be described as a Barry Goldwater household (though long after Goldwater’s presidential run), and I had been reading Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Ringer, and Henry Hazlitt since ninth grade, but I had never read anyone associated with a Kirkian type of conservatism. To my mind, conservatives were allies, but they were certainly only secondary thinkers compared to great men such as Milton Friedman.

Outrageous St. Louis Police Brutality

From Sally Nelson O’Donnell, one of my former students at Hillsdale College:


My brother and sister-in-law were victims of police brutality on Sunday night.

Thank God, they’re home safe and their injuries, while painful, pale in comparison to what many have experienced. Seeing the trauma that Alex and Iris went through has forever changed my thoughts about the police in our country. I would encourage you to read this, even though it’s long, as this could happen to you or someone you love.

Alex and Iris were outside of their downtown loft at about 11 pm Sunday night when police formed a kettle in the Washington and Tucker intersection. In a kettle formation, police advance slowly and to force people into a smaller and smaller circle. Often, they grunt and bang their riot shields and bicycles on the ground to intimidate the people in the kettle.

Some people in the kettle that night were out walking their pets. Others were walking home, like Alex and Iris. Some had been protesting earlier that night but, from the footage I’ve seen, there were no active protests at the time on that area of St. Louis.

For seemingly no reason, police ordered everyone they had encircled to the ground. From all of the footage I’ve seen, no one resisted. And as people were on their hands and knees on the ground, police – clad in riot gear – began to pepper spray them. They put Alex, my brother, in handcuffs. They pepper sprayed him in the face even though he couldn’t move to resist arrest or fight back. He couldn’t protect his eyes or mouth with his hands.

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Today is International Batman Day

Well, I love Batman, and I have since 1971.  Not the goofy “pow” Batman of the 1960s TV series, but the dark and brooding Batman of Denny O’Neill, Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Len Wein, Frank Miller, Bruce Timm, Matt Wagner, Paul Pope, Chuck Dixon, and so many others.

Batman is, to my mind, the greatest hero of post-rural America, a Natty Bumppo and Huck Finn for an urbanized republic.

Happy International Batman Day.

wagner batman


Front Porch Republic Conference

What a wonderful lineup.  Jeff Polet for the win.

FPR Conference Poster 9.8.17

“Dr. Birzer and the Liberal Arts”

The kind folks at Hillsdale College made this–making me look far better than I really am.

Robert Whaples at Hillsdale Tonight

Join us tonight, 7:00-8:00 pm, in the Old Snack Bar for Dr. Robert Whaples’s analysis of the economic perspectives of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis has called for a worldwide conversation about poverty, charity, the market economy, and environmental protection. His invitation has inspired the new Independent Institute book, Pope Francis and the Caring Society, edited by Robert M. Whaples, who writes: “There is a clear need for dialogue between Pope Francis and economists because the pope and many in the economics profession do not see eye to eye at a fundamental level on many issues.”

Ivan Pongracic


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Irving Babbitt’s ON BEING CREATIVE (Full Book)


Illustration borrowed from The American Conservative.  Babbitt and the world.

This was Babbitt’s last published book, ON BEING CREATIVE.  It came out in 1932, and he passed away in the summer of the following year.  As such, it reveals much about the great man’s last thoughts regarding a term he rarely employed but had always embraced, “humanism.”

Enjoy.  A true delight.

babbitt on being creative

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