Kirk.... KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRK

More

About 4 percent of my retina and a corresponding percentage of my brain have been reading the debate in these columns about Alan Wolfe's evisceration of conservative theorist Russell Kirk. I confess that I am not smart enough to pick up on the nuances of the debate, so here is my (small) contribution in the form of some questions to which I do not know the answers: which conservative politicians today claim to be linear descendants from Kirk? What policy ideas can be traced to the tracks in his mind? Did he contribute meaningfully to resolving (or exacerbating) the uneasy truce between political conservatism and Christian moralism? Aside from the conservative intellectual elite, who counts Kirk as an intellectual influence? Would conservatism today be the same if Kirk had never lived? Is Kirk the conservative equivalent of Lionel Trilling? John Rawls? (How many liberals have even read John Rawls?) Actually, the Rawls question is unfair. Liberals might not know much about him, but his writing and thinking underpin the modern Democratic Party theory of redistributive rights and expansive government.

As an actual practitioner of politics, what should I know about Kirk?

Or should I go back to wondering why Rudy Giuliani's team of bodyguards always looks at me with growling eyes?

Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In