As we enter the third month of our national lockdown, many of our friends and supporters are struggling due to the Coronavirus pandemic and our country’s efforts to mitigate its deadly effects. Indeed, the crisis has brought much destruction and distress. But it has also caused many to turn again to the Divine manifestations of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in this world.
The preservation and celebration of these “Permanent Things” are at the heart of The Imaginative Conservative’s mission. For nearly a decade, The Imaginative Conservative has been an important forum for civil dialogue about what it means to be conservative… to be human… to be God’s creatures. For the last ten years, we have provided essays by great minds that reflect the best of conservative and humane thought, past and present, free of charge and paid advertising.
To continue to do so, however, in this unexpected and unwelcome era of medical, economic, and social crisis, we need your help now.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/05/giving-tuesday-now-making-world-better-place-support-the-imaginative-conservative.html
Not surprisingly, the sub-genre of post-apocalyptic literature boomed after the dropping of the two American atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Suddenly, megadeath seemed a possible reality. Even mainstream books—such as Nevil Shute’s On the Beach—dealt with apocalyptic horrors. Some, such as R.H. Benson’s The Lord of the World (1907) and Walter Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz (1959), relied on the mass destruction of nuclear weaponry. Amazingly enough, Benson’s 1907 novel hypothesized the weaponry as “city crackers.”
But, there were a myriad of other ways to kill off the earth and human beings, too. In Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End (1953), humans evolve into something new. Jack Finney feared the arrival of communist, parasitic aliens in his serialized Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1955). J.G. Ballard entertained the idea of twin killer, solar radiation and the greenhouse effect, in his The Drowned World (1962). In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer (1977), a comet hits the earth. Douglas Adams has the interstellar public works commission bulldoze the earth as a barrier to good trade and good highways in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979). S.M. Stirling blames a hiccup in the temporal order in Dies the Fire (2004). Gordon Dickson offered simple economic collapse for Wolf and Iron (1993). Stephen King, of course, wrote his tale of “Dark Christianity,” The Stand (1978), employing the plague as the method of death. Justin Cronin unleashed vampires upon us all in The Passage (2010), and Richard Matheson let loose the zombie-vampires in I am Legend (1954).
— Read on www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/pandemics-and-our-love-for-post-apocalyptic-drama/
Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Book Review: Monsters, Movies, and Mayhem by Edited by Kevin J. Anderson. WordFire, $29.99 (356p) ISBN 978-1-68057-107-3
Anderson (Stake) assembles a fun, nostalgia-filled anthology of 23 original, lighthearted horror tales riffing on the movie monsters of both modern cinema and B-movie favorites. The majority of tales are short and snappy, like Jonathan Maberry’s fresh, surprising zombie story “Gavin Funke’s Monster Movie Marathon” and Karina Fabian’s playful “Josie’s Last Straw,” both of which hit the ground running and pack a quick punch.
— Read on www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-68057-107-3
To put this more positively: The future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered.
If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we are!
— Read on ucatholic.com/blog/the-lost-prophecy-of-father-joseph-ratzinger-on-the-future-of-the-church/
For the last several years, Dr. Birzer has been involved in a fascinating musical collaboration with British progressive rock multi-instrumentalist Dave Bandana. The collaboration is fascinating not only because of the intellectual and spiritual weight that Dr. Birzer’s concepts and lyrics bring to Mr. Bandana’s composition and performance, but also because the two men have never met in person, and have reportedly not even spoken to each other until quite recently. Dr. Birzer’s home is in Michigan, where he teaches at Hillsdale College, while Mr. Bandana resides “across the pond,” working from his studio in the Canary Islands. The collaboration began when Mr. Bandana, having “met” and become acquainted with Dr. Birzer via email, invited the latter to contribute concepts and lyrics for a CD, resulting in Becoming One, released under the name “Birzer Bandana” in 2017. Of Course It Must Be followed in 2018. The creative sparks that fly between idea man and music man are already apparent in these two exploratory releases. Now the sparks have burst into full flame, as they emerge with a new band name, a new label, and a new eponymous CD, The Bardic Depths, which was released on March 20th. They are the first band signed to Gravity Dream Music, a label run by critically acclaimed prog-rock musician and producer Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf).
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/04/bardic-depths-peter-blum.html
1953 was a banner year for the conservative soul and intellect. Russell Kirk’s seminal The Conservative Mind came out that year. As did Leo Strauss’s pathbreaking Natural Right and History. Daniel Boorstin published his close study of Americana, The Genius of American Politics. Eliot penned his critical play, The Confidential Clerk, and Ray Bradbury offered the world Fahrenheit 451.
The zeitgeist had yet to exhaust her resources, however, and Robert Nisbet produced his magisterial The Quest for Community, a work that mightily complemented the other works of that year, almost, but not quite, forming a whole with Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. Oxford University Press released Quest on February 12, 1953, exactly a month before Regnery published Kirk’s book.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/04/moving-toward-dread-conformity-bradley-birzer.html
Each of these four tracks builds in soulful intensity and bardic purpose until Mr. Hogarth is begging us to answer, “how do we now come to be afraid of sunlight”? It is a plea for a recognition of the human condition, in all of its majesty and tragedy.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/04/keep-faith-marillion-bradley-birzer.html
Thompson sees his own work as a fulfillment and filling out of the work of his beloved mentors, Bailyn and Wood. As such, Thompson’s book is, properly and justly, filled with attempts to understand free will. Where Bailyn and Wood gave too much credence to the power of ideas (again, as somewhat determinisms and deterministic), Thompson wrestles with the much more difficult problem of individual free will. After all, imagine a world in which every single person—past, present, and future—is a moral agent. The world gets very, very complicated, very, very quickly
— Read on www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/bradley-thompson-birzer-america-revolutionary-mind-founders/
Perhaps more than any other figure in the early history of the American Republic, Marshall shaped the Supreme Court as well as attitudes toward and understandings of the U.S. Constitution. While many of the cases over which Marshall presided are important to a constitutional understanding of America, five in particular stand out. The first, Marbury v. Madison, 1803, established the power of the Supreme Court to Judicial Review, which served as a defense of the judiciary against the other two branches of government. In the twentieth century, the Supreme Court reinterpreted Marshall’s advocacy of Judicial Review to mean judicial supremacy, but such an interpretation was never Marshall’s intent. Marshall only desired for the third branch of the federal government to be equal to the first two.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/john-marshall-primer-bradley-birzer.html
What if Chesterton was right, perhaps in some kind of Blakean fit of ecstasy? Maybe all of our worrying about The End is for naught. Perhaps it did happen long ago, and we live somewhere in the final days. The Apostles certainly believed the End of the Age was near to them, and the New Testament confirms and affirms this repeatedly.
Of course, I am only being half serious. Still, look at the news. The Coronavirus might as well be the Black Death. As I type this, the governor of Michigan has declared (unconstitutionally, it should be noted) a “stay at home”/lockdown order. Walking the dog (named, by coincidence?, Chesterton) this afternoon, my hometown of Hillsdale, Michigan, might very well have served as the set of some Twilight Zone episode, so quiet and abandoned does it seem. (This might be the ideal time to become close friends with a Mormon.) And, of course, this is just one view. China and Italy have already gone through hell, or continue to exist in it. With this viral threat, half of the world seems to have lost its collective mind.
Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is The End. It wasn’t nuclear war or an asteroid or a rogue planet or even some mystical force. But, merely—in a whimper—a damned bug. Would it really matter?
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/what-if-this-is-the-end-bradley-birzer.html
Prior to this, I had prided myself on writing seven-, eight-, or even nine-page handwritten letters. My family and friends had filled our letters with news, with details of great adventures, with reviews of the latest books we had read and music we had heard. We filled the entire page with snippets of poems or lyrics, with some rather inexpert doodles; sometimes, I’d paste photos into the letter or squiggle in some band name such as Rush, Talk Talk, or Yes. There was an individualistic art to long-form letter correspondence.
I still have boxes and files full of these letters received from friends, and I cherish them as some of my finest possessions. I hope and trust the recipients of my letters feel the same. These letters represent small but mighty little communities: neighborhoods, suburbs, towns, republics, and – sometimes – dynasties of letters.
— Read on www.acton.org/religion-liberty/volume-30-number-1/solution-cancel-culture-true-community
Hans Jonas was born into a German Jewish household in 1903. As a boy, he longed for excitement. However, the most exciting events always seemed to be happening elsewhere. It seemed unlikely that he could fulfill his boyhood “dreams of glory” in the monotony of everyday life there.
Before the First World War, the most significant world events in his memory had been the sinking of the Titanic and the Balkan Wars. Comparing these events to his “charmed life — in a country that had known nothing but peace for decades, that was flourishing economically, and as a child in a comfortably situated family,” he found his life and the lives of his family members to be very boring.