This essay is dedicated to the genius of William Winston Elliott III, co-founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of The Imaginative Conservative. Long may it continue to grow under his inspiration and our perspiration.
Kirk, of course, never fought the fight alone. Not only did he rely on the inspiration of Babbitt and More, but he took further advice (directly and indirectly) from T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Willa Cather, Jacques Maritain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Zora Neale Hurston, Gabriel Marcel, Romano Guardini, Josef Pieper, John Paul II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, C.S. Lewis, and a myriad of others, all dedicated to preserving and conserving the most dignified aspects of humanity against Demos, Mars, and Leviathan.
After 468 weeks of life, Winston Elliott, Editor Stephen Klugewicz, every author of The Imaginative Conservative, and I take seriously (and with great confidence) the wisdom of our beloved T.S. Eliot: “We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation it will triumph.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/imaginative-conservative-9-bradley-birzer.html
When I read Vital Remnants, an entirely new world opened up to me. And, not merely because I had been so immersed in one aspect of the Founding, but because Vital Remnants made me fully aware just how profoundly deep the Founders were, in their minds and in their souls. Reading “When in the Course of Human Events” strikes any patriot at the heart. But, when one realizes—as is so well expressed in Vital Remnants—that the Founders themselves knew the very course of human events, something seismic in the soul shifts.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Gregg, as editor, follows the mode of the Founders, as Founders. Just as the Founders saw themselves as new Romans, behaving classically, so Dr. Gregg proposed seeing the Founding as the Founders saw it, not as we wish them to have seen it. In this, Dr. Gregg went directly against the reigning historiography of the 1990s and its fetishist obsession with social justice, class, and gender, and instead embraced the Whig and republican philosophy of history as found in Russell Kirk’s John Randolph of Roanoke, Caroline Robbins’s The Commonwealth Men, Douglas Adair’s Fame and the Founding Fathers, and Trevor Colbourn’s Lamp of Experience. Many books from the 1990s have failed to age well, but Vital Remnants has.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/gary-gregg-vital-remnants-bradley-birzer.html
To be sure, though, the greater question one should ask is not at what answers did the group arrive, but, rather, what questions did they ask? It was their very questions—and the trust that comes with asking questions—that defined them. As such, they asked about the limits of heroism, the nature of beauty, the connection of the pagan to the Christian, the relationship of holiness and sanctity, the interplay of technology and magic, and the connectedness of flesh and soul. They discussed mythos (story) and logos (idea), and they shared with one another their most intimate thoughts and questions.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/friendship-among-inklings-bradley-birzer.html
In graduate school—at Indiana University-Bloomington—I first encountered the dreadfully dull and dreary political correctness of the New Left. Prior to IU, I had encountered a number of left-wing academics, but they had all been interesting, on fire, and ready to listen to a variety of viewpoints. Indeed, they still believed in free exchange and the free and open debate of ideas. At Indiana, though, I found something quite different. There, certain opinions—sometimes explicitly stated and sometimes implicitly—were becoming orthodox. Those students who defended them did so with sincerity but not verve. This became especially obvious when the politically-correct leftist debated an anarchist or a black power supremacist. Usually, the more radical tore apart the PC, recognizing intellectual weakness for what it was. The politically-correct of IU had become so comfortable in their own opinions that they failed to develop them with any serious standards. I found them boring, frankly, but pervasive. Few things can be duller than a number of similarly-minded folks sitting around a table for two-and-a-half hours to agree and disagree upon all of the same things… but to do so with what could only be considered the Scandinavian white sauce of the culinary world!
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/06/roots-of-political-correctness-bradley-birzer.html
Whatever his exact reasons for adopting a more Stoical approach to life, Cicero unwittingly (but perhaps gracefully?) prepared Rome for Christianity in ways that other pagans and paganisms could never have allowed or done. That generation of Stoics, including Virgil and Seneca, expected, amazingly enough, the human incarnation of the God of gods. It is little wonder, then, that so many of the early Church fathers—such as Jerome, Augustine, and Ambrose—considered Cicero to be a pagan Christian, more related to Christ and his teachings than not. Most certainly, his martyrdom on December 7, 43 BC, did not hurt his cause among Christians, either.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/06/cicero-republic-on-duties-bradley-birzer.html
Daily coverage of the pop culture products industry, including toys (action figures, models and statues), anime (anime, manga, and Japanese imports), games (collectible card and roleplaying games or ccgs and rpgs), comics (comics and graphic novels), and movie and TV (licensed) merchandise. We feature business news, and in-depth analysis for retailers, publishers, manufacturers, distributors. Trade properties we cover include Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Gundam Wing, Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Akira, Lone Wolf and Cub, Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Mage Knight, Superman, Spider-man, JLA, Batman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sailor Moon, Sandman, Harry Potter. Genres we cover include fantasy, science fiction, horror.
— Read on icv2.com/articles/columns/view/43504/brands-live-brands-die
Most diabolically, it had become—quite truly—a false religion. Founded by the former Baptist and Unitarian minister, Charles Francis Potter’s humanism went public at the very beginning of the fall of 1929 when he delivered a homily to 244 New Yorkers, having turned away well over 400 to meet the fire code. “Just as Protestantism was an offshoot of Roman Catholicism, and Liberalism, as represented by Unitarianism and Universalism, was born of Protestantism, so also Humanism has come forth from Unitarianism.” Blatantly taking the name of his new faith from Babbitt and More (whom he thought would be allies in his new religion) he asked his congregants to give up their primitive “deity obsession.” Only from man, Potter claimed, could one find true dignity. “Out of the heart of man have arisen all his noble impulses and aspirations.” Babbitt and More, horrified, condemned the new movement, and the scare almost certainly moved More toward Anglican orthodoxy. Potter, however, with the aid of the effete John Dewey and bizarre Harry Elmer Barnes, founded the American Humanist Association and issued the Humanist Manifesto in 1933. To be sure, the word “humanism” has never recovered.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/06/irving-babbitt-influence-humanism-bradley-birzer.html
Ironically, one of Hersey’s talents lay in his ability to focus on people. In The Algiers Motel Incident, he focused on the victims of police brutality. In The Wall, he told the story of resisters in the Warsaw ghetto. In Hiroshima, Hersey wrote about six people, what they were doing when the atomic bomb fell, and how they were affected by the destruction it sowed.
As Treglown shows, Hersey was a “war poet as much as a journalist.” Although he did not write poems per se, reading Hersey, one sees how he transferred his musical ability and feel for rhythm to the sound of words.
Hersey’s understanding of the power of imagery shines through his opus — especially in Hiroshima. Treglown says the book showcases Hersey’s “startling intimacy with the people he writes about” and his innate sensitivity for language. Even the title of the first section, “A Noiseless Flash,” suggests Hersey’s appreciation for the image.
— Read on www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/book-review-mr-straight-arrow-biography-john-hersey/
Lately I’ve been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really is up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world’s biggest advertising company make the most-popular web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.
It made me decide to ditch Chrome for a new version of nonprofit Mozilla’s Firefox, which has default privacy protections. Switching involved less inconvenience than you might imagine.
My tests of Chrome versus Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer, but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.
— Read on www.siliconvalley.com/2019/06/21/google-chrome-has-become-surveillance-software-its-time-to-switch/
Of our living poets—to my mind—no greater one exists than James Matthew Wilson. A prominent and energetic professor of the humanities at an Augustinian university by day, Wilson edits and writes poetry with equal prominence and energy by night. Not only does he write excellent (make that brilliant) verse, but he also encourages the art of others.
His latest book of poetry, The Hanging God, brings together more than thirty of his poems, all of which were originally published elsewhere but none of which appeared in precisely the form they do in this collection. In other words, context matters, and Wilson understands this more than most. Not surprisingly, given Wilson’s vast interests, the topics of the poem range from pure love to diabolical Nietzsche. Some of the poems take place then, and many now. Some never. Some take place here, and others elsewhere. Some nowhere.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/06/hanging-god-james-matthew-wilson-bradley-birzer.html
Our standard textbooks, sadly, tell a false story. Not only do they claim “religious freedom” from the beginning of colonial settlement, but they also attempt to do so by identifying each colony as a place of refuge for a particular denomination. New England for the Puritans (Calvinists), Pennsylvania for the Quakers, Maryland for the Catholics, Virginia for the Anglicans, etc. What our textbooks fail to note, however, is that these colonies which might very well offer complete religious freedom to one denomination rarely do the same for competitor denominations. Virginia, for example, encouraged the members of the Church of England to the nth degree, but they persecuted Calvinists, Baptists, and any other dissenters. New England despised Catholics, but they hated the Baptists even more.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/06/americas-uneven-legacy-religious-freedom-bradley-birzer.html
Two things in particular surprised me about this movie, striking me in different ways. First, it is genuinely funny. There were several times where I had to stop myself from laughing at the shenanigans in the film, especially when the Turtles find their way into the Batcave. Some of the best gags from the comic make their way over to the movie (my personal favorite being Mikey’s wipe-board presentation on why Batman may and may not be a cool dude), and there are tons of little throwaway lines that have a great payoff. Have you ever wondered why Gotham has so many blimps flying around? Rest assured, the Turtles do too, and they find out their purpose in one of the movie’s best jokes.
Batman also has some fun in the movie, as he’s presented as terse and gruff, but not without a sense of humor. It’s refreshing to see a Batman who isn’t a jerk and lets the sillier personalities of the Turtles win him over. Sure, he’s not cracking wise alongside them, but he doesn’t treat them like they’re idiots for being goofballs either. In fact, he shows each of his allies great respect in different ways, from Batgirl to Robin to each of the four Turtles. Like I said, it’s nice to see Batman value and cherish the presence of others in his war on crime, and even more to see him relate to them on a personal level.
— Read on batman-news.com/2019/06/07/batman-vs-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-review/