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The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot Paperback – August 20, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
It stands head and shoulders above the offering that will serve up 'why
this country is in the handbasket' or 'why the liberals are ruining our
country' soundbytes. It is important to understand WHAT the conservative
worldview is, and how it is has evolved. Many people do not understand
what conservative, liberal, communist, socialist and fascist really MEAN.
This clarifies conservativism. It may serve to point out what in the present
day is labelled as conservatism and yet sharply departs from it.
That said this is not light reading. Some material is worthy of several revisits.
I would recommend this to conservative and liberals so they are well rounded.
I particularly enjoyed John C Calhoun on minorities and the Disraeli material.
I re-read chapter three on the John Adams-Hamilton-Jefferson period because
it is so interesting historically and also when viewing present day politics. It
is fascinating to see we are revisiting certain debates and the important well
thought out points that were raised two centuries ago, i.e. Hamilton as a strong
proponent of a central government and the federal government compromise.
Sadly the top notch book that describes the liberal worldview or the intellectual
history of liberalism as well I have not found. Yet.
During his long and varied career, he would wear many hats. He was a political observer and advisor, a scholar, an educational reformer, founder and editor of two journals, newspaper columnist, lecturer, author of horror fiction and, lastly and most proudly for him, a "man of letters." His life work spanned a broad range of topics and interests, embracing political theory, intellectual history, and social, cultural and literary criticism.
His second and mostly likely most enduring of his over thirty books would have a dramatic three-fold impact on the tenor and direction of a conservative movement struggling to be born in the 1950s.
First, when the dominant ideological currents of the time had nearly extinguished the responsible voices of intellectual conservatism, Kirk's articulation of the tradition of conservative principles originating with Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, reinvigorated a dispirited conservatism adrift and barely conscious of its philosophical traditions. The ideas fashionable then in intellectual circles were of a decidedly liberal or socialist orientation.Read more ›
What defines the historical conservative? I must say this conservative is different from a reactionary such Julius Evola who advocated an absolute monarchy who would be a representative of god on earth and closely connected to God to preserve the union of the state. From what I gather from this book, the conservative is for a democracy, but in a limited way, and is for change, as long as it does rock the foundations of tradition. Change is thought to be providential, although I have my doubts. The struggle for conservatives since Burke's time, around 1789, the year of the French Revolution, is to slow down change so that it reforms institutions, but does not destroy them by radical revolution. The main trouble has been that the conservatives were unable to control democracy, this bucking bronco, so that it would be limited within the boundaries of wisdom of tradition and custom, which Burke called "prejudice and prescription".
To get down to the details, arguments about who should be voting are covered. The ever expanding franchise of voting has dismayed conservatives who would rather have men of wealth, ability, and qualification voting in elections for various interests in society. These representatives are not delegates, so once they are voted in to office, do not call them with your opinion, they know better than you how to govern and you should show deference to their authority. The one man-one vote system today does not distinguish between an informed vote and an uninformed one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Only for the dedicated political scientist historian. If you are one of those types, it is a good read.Published 14 months ago by WSV1975
You know how it is? You are looking forward to the release. Then you cannot wait to get home and start an all night reading session. Read morePublished on September 6, 2012 by Always Right
Russell Kirk was far ahead of his time when he wrote this. What passes for conservativism today is anything but. Read morePublished on July 12, 2012 by bananasarerad
My favorite aspects of "The Conservative Mind" were the author's summaries of the beliefs of Burke and Macaulay. Read morePublished on November 29, 2011 by John
I came to this book with very high hopes of hearing a well-presented literary history, and argument for, what Kirk calls the "conservative mind. Read morePublished on August 30, 2009 by Kevin Currie-Knight
The 1st few pages of the book are mis-numbered. We returned our 1st copy thinking it was missing pages. My husband loves it, though!Published on January 14, 2009 by Amazon Customer