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.
Again, it is possible that Burke actively disliked the principles of the American Revolution, but there exists no such evidence one way or another. What we do know is that Burke, when pushed, supported the American cause for independence, though he very much lamented the breakdown and breakup of the British commonwealth.
From my perspective, Burke was a vital ally in the cause, as patriotic to the American cause as any American revolutionary leader. He not only defended our cause, he did so in a way that could have easily been regarded as treasonous by his own people.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/edmund-burke-support-american-revolution-bradley-birzer.html
The stagecoach, just about to leave town, despite the threats from the Apache, represents American society in every aspect. The local Marshall, Curly, rides shotgun, protecting the stagecoach’s driver, Buck, and their passengers. The passengers include, of course, Boone and Dallas (forced to leave, regardless of danger), a whiskey drummer from Kansas City, Kansas (Mr. Peacock, though everyone refers to him as the Reverend), and, critically, the seemingly-ill wife of an army officer and a high-class lady from Virginia (Mrs. Mallory). As the stagecoach departs, a notorious southern gambler, Mr. Hatfield, attaches himself as “protection for the lady,” and, just as the stagecoach is about to exit town, Gatewood—now illegally in possession of the bank’s money—joins in a getaway attempt, knowing that the telegraph lines have been cut by the Apaches.
En route, Ringo “Henry” Kidd (John Wayne) hitches a ride, having broken out of prison to avenge the killings of his father and brother in Lordsburg. Whatever his crimes, the Kidd is clearly appreciated for his honesty and his good skills.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/stagecoach-reign-justice-redemption-bradley-birzer.html
The Bardic Depths offers an interesting combination of genres. At its core, the band plays a progressive rock that revels in subtlety, as even the heavier riffs are gentle and easy on the ears. However, you will find that some of the tracks are akin to progressive electronic/ambient, so not “rock” at all. Even further, and as the album progresses, you will find a huge portion of jazz fusion in the mix, so be ready for quite a lot of saxophone and bassy grooves. Somehow, the band puts this all together and makes it work well.
— Read on theprogmind.com/2020/03/13/the-bardic-depths-the-bardic-depths/
This was, to be sure, a more innocent time. And, to be certain, there was even a time in my high school years—a less jaded time—in which I assumed most Americans were raised in the same manner and believed as I did. President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II were normal leaders of the West, not extraordinary ones. Many of my teachers—clearly the children of the New Left and the 1960s—revealed to me a blatant hypocrisy. While they shouted for love, they behaved as would-be tyrants, hypocrites . . . not all . . . but many.
Somehow, and in a myriad of disturbing ways, my delusions and illusions and wishes and hopes and dreams and subjective realities collapsed over the years. Not that I lost faith in liberty, but I’ve certainly lost faith that others kept the faith, if they ever actually had it.
The evidence is more than clear. Communism, socialism, and progressivism have each made huge comebacks, re-entering political discourse blatantly and, just as importantly, very quietly, over the past decades. Even the very words “socialism,” “communism,” and, especially, “progressivism,” have reacquired respect and a semblance of dignity in many circles of public thought and discourse.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/revival-socialism-bradley-birzer.html