Conservative Values

What are Conservative Values?

November 15, 2019

Some claim that today’s conservatives are nothing more than yesterday’s liberals—that conservatism is always on the defensive and fighting an uphill battle before eventually succumbing to the Left’s understanding of equality, or civil rights, or entitlements, or what have you.  Now, there is some truth to this idea as conservatives do acknowledge that change or some sense of progression is necessary even to conserve the institutions and tradition...

November 8, 2019

William F. Buckley famously defined a conservative as “someone who stands athwart history, yelling ‘STOP’!”  By that definition, few have embraced a conservative impulse better than Edmund Burke.

Burke lived during the tumultuous time of the French revolution.  The revolutionaries prided themselves on tearing down the old French monarch built on history, tradition, and religious faith and erecting a republic built on reason alone.  As we saw in...

November 1, 2019

During the eighteenth century there emerged an explosion of intellectual, philosophical, political, and economic ideas that swept across the Western world collectively referred to as The Enlightenment.  These ideas led to unprecedented breakthroughs in science, the emergence of the free market, revolutions and political upheaval, and massive shifts in how people thought about the concepts of God, the role of the church and state, society, and the...

September 6, 2019

During the eighteenth century there emerged an explosion of intellectual, philosophical, political, and economic ideas that swept across the Western world collectively referred to as The Enlightenment.  These ideas led to unprecedented breakthroughs in science, the emergence of the free market, revolutions and political upheaval, and massive shifts in how people thought about the concepts of God, the role of the church and state, society, and the...

May 31, 2019

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

Conservative thinkers have long echoed the teachings of the ancients that, when it comes to politics, prudence is the chief among virtues.  As we saw in Part 2, prudence acts as a bridge between intellectual and moral virtues—linking the head with the heart.  Prudence also restrains our passions, which is an enormously important trait for the lea...

May 17, 2019

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

From ancient times to modern, many political theorists and philosophers believed that prudence was the “chief” political virtue.  Since conservatism is largely the act of conserving the wisdom and ideas of the past and applying them to today, many modern conservative thinkers have echoed similar sentiments (as I discussed in Part 1).

This doesn’t...

May 10, 2019

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

In Part 1 we noted how a great many thinkers from ancient to classical to modern times often vaunted the virtue of prudence and how some even considered it to be the chief public or political virtue.  I doubt there is much debate about whether prudence continues to enjoy this lofty position today.  Some may even view prudence as more of a prudish...

May 3, 2019

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

What would you say is the most important virtue our political leaders could possess?  Is it charisma, the art of persuasion, the ability to move the nation to action?  Is it courage and a steady hand in the face of impossible odds?  Is it dependability, honesty, and integrity that would keep them humble servants of the people?  What about intelli...

November 30, 2018

“Conservatives are chastened by their principle of IMPERFECTABILITY.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

Throughout this series we’ve explored the curious fact that—while there is much disagreement on the specifics—we all seem to have some notion that things ought to be different than what they actually are.  No one needs convincing that this world, and the people who inhabit it, are imperfect.

In Part 1 we discussed how no human society l...

November 23, 2018

“Conservatives are chastened by their principle of IMPERFECTABILITY.”  Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles

It was in college that I was first introduced to the writings of C. S. Lewis, who I have often thanked for what I can only describe as an awakening to what it means to love God with one’s mind.  His uncanny and masterful way of communicating made otherwise dry theological and philosophical concepts come to life.  I’d often paraphrase a...

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"Conservatism is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order." --Russell Kirk, Ten Conservative Principles.

Conservatism is neither a religion nor an abstract ideology.  Rather, it is the defense and pursuit of things of value.  While those values are consistently evident in the writings and teachings of conservative thinkers, there exists no perfect, uniform list.

On this page you will find blog posts articulating individual values conservatives have affirmed for centuries.  18th century prose has been mercifully translated for the modern reader.