Rebroadcast: Russell Kirk and the genesis of American Conservatism
April 8, 2020
Russell Kirk has long been known as perhaps the most important founding father of the American conservative movement in the second half of the twentieth century. In the early 1950s, America had emerged from the Great Depression and the onset of the New Deal, and was facing the rise of radical ideologies abroad; the American Right seemed beaten, broken, and adrift. Then in 1953, Russell Kirk released his masterpiece, "The Conservative Mind." More than any other published work of the time, this book became the intellectual touchstone of a reinvigorated movement and began a sea change in Americans’ attitudes toward traditionalism. In this episode pulled from the archive, Bradley J. Birzer, professor of history at Hillsdale College, recounts the story of Kirk’s life and work, paying attention not only to his writings on politics and economics, but also literature and culture–subjects dear to Kirk’s heart and central to his thinking.