As I’m finishing (well, getting close to finishing) the main draft of my biography of Russell Kirk, I’ve had the chance and privilege to explore Kirk’s magazine, University Bookman. Kirk founded it in 1960 and edited it until his death in the spring of 1994. It’s a treasure trove. In this issue, critical academic and literary figures Jerry Pournelle, Anthony Kerrigan, and W.T. Couch contribute. My friend, Gerald Russello, now holds the prestigious position of editor.
T.S. Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays ISBN: 978-0151211852
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength ISBN: 978-0743234924
Walter Miller, Canticle for Leibowitz ISBN: 978-0060892999
G.K. Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse ISBN: 978-0898708905
Eric Voegelin, New Science of Politics ISBN: 978-0226861142
Reader (which I’ll provide):
Table of Contents
Prologue: Owen Barfield, “Effective Approach to Social Change,” (1940)
Schools of Thought List
Albert Jay Nock, “Anarchist’s Progress,” (1927)
Albert Jay Nock, “The State,” (1923)
Ayn Rand, “Conservatism: An Obituary,” (1960)
F.A. Hayek, “The Results of Human Action but not of Human Design,” (1967)
Frank L. Owsley, “The Pillars of Agrarianism,” (1934)
Humanist Manifesto (1933)
Spaeth, “Conversation with Paul Elmer More,” (1943) T.S. Eliot, “The Humanism of Irving Babbitt,” (1936)
P.E. More, “A Revival of Humanism,” (1930)
Allen Tate, “The Fallacy of Humanism,” (1930)
T.S. Eliot, “Second Thoughts about Humanism,” (1929)
P.E. More/C.S. Lewis Correspondence (1934, 1935, 1941)
Austin Warren, “The ‘New Humanism’ Twenty Years After,” (1958/1959)
Christopher Dawson, “The End of an Age,” (1930)
C. Dawson, “The Dark Mirror,” (1930)
C. Dawson, “The Hour of Darkness,” (1939)
C. Dawson, “Christianity and the Humanist Tradition,” (1952)
Jacques Maritain, “Christian Humanism,” (1952)
T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and Individual Talent” (1919)
T.S. Eliot, “Poetry and Propaganda,” (1930)
T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and Orthodoxy,” (1934)
T.S. Eliot, “Catholicism and International Order,” (1936)
Russell Kirk, “Imagination Against Ideology,” (1980)
R. Kirk, “What is Academic Freedom?” (1956)
R. Kirk, “The Sp’iled Praist and the Stickit Minister,” (1957)
R. Kirk, “Literature, Anxiety, and Norms,” (1957)
R. Kirk, “Humane Letters and Modern Fragmentation,” (1962)
R. Kirk, “Liberal Learning, Moral Worth, and Defecated Rationality,” (1973)
R. Kirk, “The Revival of Fantasy,” (1968)
R. Kirk, “A Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale,” (1962)
Birzer, “Conservative Gothic,” (2005)
Walker Percy, “Rediscovering A Canticle for Leibowitz,” (1971)
Map, “Land of the Mare”
C.S. Lewis, “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s to be Said,” (1956)
R. Kirk, “Regaining Historical Consciousness,” (1999)
Leo Strauss, “Three Waves of Modernity,” (1989)
Claes G. Ryn, “Defining Historicism,” (1998)
R. Kirk, “The Common Heritage of America and Europe,” (1960)
Ideologies, Left and Right
C. Dawson, “The Left-Right Fallacy” (1945)
R. Kirk, “Ideologues’ Folly,” (1963)
R. Kirk, “The Grim Significance of Ideology”
Mark Kalthoff, “Contra Ideology,” (2005)
M. Kalthoff, “Russell Kirk, C.P. Snow, and Sir Thomas Browne,” (2006)
R. Kirk, “Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ Reconsidered,” (1956)
R. Kirk, “The Dissolution of Liberalism,” (1955)
R. Kirk, “King Demos: The Meaning of Democracy,” (1955)
R. Kirk, “John Locke Reconsidered,” (1955)
R. Kirk, “An Ideologue of Liberty,” (1964)
E. Voegelin, “Introduction to the ‘History of Political Ideas,’” (1940)
E. Voegelin, “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” (1953)
R. Kirk, several articles combined on Voegelin
Kirk on Private Judgment
“An Interview with Russell Kirk,” (1980)
Annette Kirk, “Life with Russell Kirk,” (1995)
Bradley J. Birzer, “Russell Kirk: Knight-Errant Against the Ideologues,” (2008)
R. Kirk, “The High Achievement of Christopher Dawson,” (1984)
R. Kirk, “Beyond the Dreams of Avarice,” (1950)
R. Kirk, “Social Justice and Mass Culture,” (1954)
R. Kirk, “Conservatives and Religious Faith,” (1962)
R. Kirk, “Religion in the Civil Social Order,” (1984)
R. Kirk, “Ideology and Political Economy,” (1957)
R. Kirk, “The Uninteresting Future,” (1960)
Rose Wilder Lane/Frank S. Meyer Correspondence (1953, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1960)
F. Meyer, “Collectivism Rebaptized,” (1955)
Harry Jaffa, “The False Prophets of American Conservatism”
Charles Kesler, “All American? Conservatism Needs to Become More Thoroughly American,” (1998)
To understand politics and the political, we must first recognize its place in the order of existence and its limitation.
I do fear that, as a whole, western society has come to think of the state (meaning politics and political governance, backed by the coercive power of the police and armed forces, institutionalized education, etc.)—whether in a relatively free republic or in a benign dictatorship—as an almost spiritual entity by which all can be defined, all problems solved, and all persons saved. There’s a left-right spectrum (to use difficult terms) on this matter. Some modern westerners—leftist progressives—think the state can solve things immediately, others—rightest progressives—think it might take several decades or even centuries. But, regardless, left and right, most of us have bought into the idea of “progress.” We rarely define that progress, but we believe it somehow exists, and we believe, with a road bump here or there, that we’re moving toward some historical end. Things will probably be better down the road, we tell ourselves.
As Roman Catholics, however, I believe it essential that we evaluate—at the most fundamental levels—our relationship to the state. It’s worth remembering that the Roman Empire was the number one murderer of Christians until the earliest part of the fourth century. In the days of martyrdom, the Catholic Church grew parallel to, and under, and around, and near, and within the Roman oppression and blood thirst.
[Posted previously at Catholic Vote, Summer 2011]
For what it’s worth–and, given my level of ignorance, perhaps not much–I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and posts regarding same-sex marriage and the state of New York.
Frankly, my fellow bloggers and those responding have made a number of fine points on what is, to be sure, a delicate issue. From the perspective of Catholic teaching as well as the Natural Law, marriage serves to promote and protect the most fundamental social unit of a society; in Catholic social teaching, the family precedes even the state or community. Marriage, ultimately, serves the purpose of procreation.
That written, I am probably left with more questions than answers regarding this issue, even after reading the numerous posts and comments here at CatholicVote.
First, as Catholics, why do we really care–at a philosophical and theological level–what a government, be it legitimately elected or not, thinks about the issue of marriage?
Why, that is, is marriage even regarded as a political issue? Marriage, fundamentally, is of natural and divine origin, while any given government is merely the creation of some group of persons (or, perhaps, a person) at a given time, claiming some legitimacy with longevity.
I realize there are many issues involved with homosexual unions in terms of practicality and logistics, such as a company, a school, or a voluntary association being forced by law to provide insurance benefits for partners, etc. And, in America, according to Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, one state must recognize the legitimate acts of another through comity.
But, these are material concerns, and they will pass, just as all man-made laws and governments pass. As St. Augustine warned, we should never attach our fortunes to a government. Governments and politics rise and fall, but the Church remains a constant.
Second, as Roman Catholics, should we spend our time worrying about issues such as same-sex marriage when other issues–such as the continuing issue of abortion, or the fact we now are waging three simultaneous wars (none with the consent of the one war-making branch under the Constitution–Congress). These issues are matters of life and death, and we continue each at our own peril as a culture and as a people.
Third, shouldn’t the real response come from the priests, rather than the laypersons? A priest can, with certainty, deny the sacraments to someone involved in a situation acting counter to the spiritual health of the person, the couple, or the community.
Admittedly, my strong libertarian side is probably reacting to some of this, but I still think the best solution to cultural issues such as this is, almost always, cultural persuasion rather than legal and political coercion. Again, the issues of abortion and war are different, as lives are at stake.
Regardless, this is meant to be a “thinking out loud” post. Thanks for reading.