The True Meaning of Conservatism

In the first chapter of The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk condenses conservative thought down to the following six canons. It is important to realize that these six canons are not merely Kirk’s opinion of what conservatism is or should be, but an historical observation of what have been common themes in conservative thinkers ever since the movement started with Edmund Burke’s response to the French Revolution.

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Gun Control

Before I say anything, I want to be clear that (1) this post is neither for nor against gun control, (2) I support the right of American citizens to bear arms and have written in defense of the Second Amendment (see links at the end of this article).

With that proviso out of the way, I have a few comments about what the Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, said about gun control during a recent interview.

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A Dangerous Vacuum

From my article, “The Republican Retreat to Identity Politics,”:

Historically, nations are held together by common memories, customs, symbols, myths and legends. In its most rigorous and consistent form, classical liberalism de-emphasizes or ignores these deep-seated cultural-symbolic underpinnings of civil society and attempts to secularize the public life, often migrating transcendence to the claims of the state. This creates a dangerous vacuum in which citizens find themselves without the basic building blocks of national cohesion. This inevitably results in human beings looking to their most basic and primitive bonds for cohesion, and thus reverting to a raw tribalism. A secular and materialistic society offers little scope for the type of roots that humans innately long for, with the result that the most plausible roots become race and ethnicity.

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Review of George MacDonald: A Writer Life

Earlier this year my father released a new six hundred page biography of George MacDonald.

I can’t remember when I first heard of George MacDonald, but I do remember the first moment I realized I had an author as a dad. I always enjoyed going into the children’s section of the Christian bookstore my parents operated. There were all sorts of interesting books there and a nice comfortable couch. One day when I was sitting there reading I got up to stretch and wandered out of the children’s section. I came across a shelf with my father’s edited editions of MacDonald novels. I had never seen them before, and what caught my eyes was my Dad’s name on front. I remember thinking, “wow that’s kind of cool–my father is an author!” I thought it was so cool that I went and showed it to one of the employees who couldn’t quite appreciate my point.

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The Sanctification of All Creation

From Paul Evdokimov’s The Art if the Icon: a Theology of Beauty:

“…everything is destined for a liturgical fulfillment…. The final destiny of water is to participate in the mystery of the Epiphany; of wood, to become a cross; of the earth, to receive the body of the Lord during his rest on the Sabbath; of rock, to become the ‘sealed Tomb’ and the stone rolled away from in front of the myrrh-bearing women. Olive oil and water attain their fullness as conductor elements for grace on regenerated man. Wheat and wine achieve their ultimate raison d’ être in the eucharistic chalice. Everything is referred to the Incarnation and everything finds its final goal and destiny in the Lord. The liturgy integrates the most elementary actions of life; drinking, eating, washing, speaking, acting, communing. It restores to them their meaning and true destiny, that is, to be blocks in the cosmic temple of God’s glory….Nothing in the world remains foreign to [Christ’s] humanity, everything has received the seal of the Holy Spirit. This is why the Church in turn blesses and sanctifies all of creation… The brilliance of divine actions is hidden under the veil of the things of this world….Cosmic matter thus becomes a conductor of grace, a vehicle of the divine energies.”

 

Wisdom From Saint Paisios

“The person that is struggling to the best of his abilities, who has no desire to live a disorderly life, but who – in the course of the struggle for faith and life – falls and rises again and again, God will never abandon. And if he has the slightest will not to grieve God, he will go to Paradise with his shoes on. The Benevolent God will, surprisingly, push him into Paradise. God will insure that he takes him at his best, in repentance. He may have to struggle all his life, but God will not abandon him; He will take him at the best possible time.”

—Saint Paisios