You know your reading is taking off when the books you’ve knocked off your list start connecting in your head like puzzle pieces on the dining room table. This happens to yours truly all the time nowadays, and it particularly occurred with two works I read in 2018, Patrick J. Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed and Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture In Crisis by J.D. Vance.Continue reading →
During a good chunk of the mid-twentieth century the great conservative giants of that era argued over the question of what conservatism is. For Russell Kirk it transcended particular cultures and was, in the words of Bradley Birzer, “a natural longing to preserve the best of human thought as divined by, through, and across the slow process of the experience of humanity, tied to an omnipotent source of creation.” To Robert Nisbet, in contrast, conservatism was a modern phenomenon formed in reaction to the French Revolution and essentially launched single-handedly by Edmund Burke.