Traditionalist conservatism

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Traditionalist conservatism, often known as classical conservatism, is a political and social philosophy that emphasizes the importance of transcendent moral principles, manifested through certain posited natural laws to which it is claimed society should adhere.[1] It is one of many different forms of conservatism. Traditionalist conservatism, as known today, is based on Edmund Burke's political views[1][failed verification] as well as the views of Joseph de Maistre.[2][3] Traditionalists value social ties and the preservation of ancestral institutions above what they perceive as excessive individualism.[1] One of the first uses of the phrase "conservatism" began around 1818 with a monarchist newspaper named "Le Conservateur", written by Francois Rene de Chateaubriand with the help of Louis de Bonald.

The concepts of nation, culture, custom, convention, and tradition are heavily emphasized in traditionalist conservatism.[4] Theoretical reason is regarded as of secondary importance to practical reason.[4] The state is also viewed as a social endeavor with spiritual and organic characteristics. Traditionalists think that any change spontaneously arises from the community's traditions rather than as a consequence of deliberate, reasoned thought. Leadership, authority, and hierarchy are seen as natural to humans.[4] Traditionalism arose in Europe throughout the 18th century as a reaction to the Enlightenment, as well as the English and French Revolutions. Traditionalist conservatism began to establish itself as an intellectual and political force in the mid-20th century.[5]

Key principles[edit]

Religious faith and natural law[edit]

A number of traditionalist conservatives embrace high church Christianity (e.g., T. S. Eliot, an Anglo-Catholic; Russell Kirk, a Roman Catholic; Rod Dreher, an Eastern Orthodox Christian). Another traditionalist who has stated his faith tradition publicly is Caleb Stegall, an evangelical Protestant. A number of conservative mainline Protestants are also traditionalists, such as Peter Hitchens and Roger Scruton, and some traditionalists are Jewish, such as the late Will Herberg, Irving Louis Horowitz, Mordecai Roshwald, and Paul Gottfried. A small portion of traditionalists are also Muslim, such as Mohammad Hijab.

Natural law is championed by Thomas Aquinas, called eternal law, in the Summa Theologiae, he reaffirms the principle of noncontradiction as being ("the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time"), Bonum precept is the first principle of that which precedes one's actions ("good is to be done and pursued and evil avoided").[6] The account of Medieval Christian philosophy is the appreciation of the concept of the Summum bonum or "highest good". It is only through the silent contemplation that someone is able to achieve the idea of the good.[7] The rest of natural law was first developed somewhat in Aristotle's work,[8][9] also was referenced and affirmed in the works by Cicero,[10] and it has been developed by the Christian Albert the Great.[11] This is not meant to imply that traditionalist conservatives must be Thomists and embrace a robustly Thomistic natural law theory. Individuals who embrace non-Thomistic understandings of natural law rooted in, e.g., non-Aristotelian accounts affirmed in segments of Greco-Roman, patristic, medieval, and Reformation thought, can identify with traditionalist conservatism.

Tradition and custom[edit]

Traditionalists think that tradition and custom should guide man and his worldview, as their names imply. Each generation inherits its ancestors' experience and culture, which man is able to transmit down to his offspring through custom and precedent. Edmund Burke, noted that "the individual is foolish, but the species is wise."[12] Furthermore, according to John Kekes, "tradition represents for conservatives a continuum enmeshing the individual and social, and is immune to reasoned critique."[13] Traditional conservatism typically prefers practical reason instead of theoretical reason.

Conservatism, it has been argued, is based on living tradition rather than abstract political thinking. Within conservatism, political journalist Edmund Fawcett argues the existence of two strains of conservative thought, a flexible conservatism associated with Edmund Burke (which allows for limited reform), and an inflexible conservatism associated with Joseph de Maistre (which is more reactionary).[14]

Within flexible conservatism, some commentators may break it down further, contrasting the "pragmatic conservatism" which is still quite skeptical of abstract theoretical reason, vs. the "rational conservatism" which does not have skepticism of said reason, and simply favors some sort of hierarchy as sufficient.[15]

Hierarchy, organicism, and authority[edit]

Traditionalist conservatives believe that human society is essentially hierarchical (i.e., it always involves various interdependent inequalities, degrees, and classes) and that political structures that recognize this fact prove the most just, thriving, and generally beneficial. Hierarchy allows for the preservation of the whole community simultaneously, instead of protecting one part at the expense of the others.[16]

Organicism also characterizes conservative thought. Edmund Burke notably viewed society from an organicist standpoint,[17] as opposed to a more mechanistic view developed by liberal thinkers.[18] Two concepts play a role in organicism in conservative thought:

  • The internal elements of the organic society cannot be randomly reconfigured (similar to a living creature).
  • The organic society is based upon natural needs and instincts, rather than that of a new ideological blueprint conceived by political theorists.[19]

Traditional authority is a common tenet of conservatism, albeit expressed in different forms. Alexandre Kojève distinguished between two forms of traditional authority: the father (fathers, priests, monarchs) and the master (aristocrats, military commanders).[20] Obedience to said authority, whether familial or religious, continues to be a central tenet of conservatism to this day.

Integralism and divine law[edit]

Integralism, typically a Catholic idea but also a broader religious one, asserts that faith and religious principles ought to be the basis for public law and policy when possible.[21] The goal of such a system is to integrate religious authority with political power.[22] While integralist principles have been sporadically associated with traditionalism, it was largely popularized by the works of Joseph de Maistre.[23]


The countryside, as well as the values associated with it, are greatly valued (sometimes even being romanticized as in pastoral poetry). Agrarian ideals (such as conserving small family farms, open land, natural resource conservation, and land stewardship) are important to certain traditionalists' conception of rural life.[24] Louis de Bonald wrote a short piece on a comparison of the agriculturalism to industrialism.[25]

Family structure[edit]

The importance of proper family structures is a common value expressed in conservatism. The concept of traditional morality is often coalesced with familialism and family values, being viewed as the bedrock of society within traditionalist thought.[26] Louis de Bonald wrote a piece on marital dissolution named "On Divorce" in 1802, outlining his opposition to the practise. Bonald stated that the broader human society was composed of three subunits (religious society - the church, domestic society - the family, public society - the state). He added that since the family made up one of these core categories, divorce would thereby represent an assault on the social order.[27]


Morality, specifically traditional moral values, is a common area of importance within traditional conservatism, going back to Edmund Burke. Burke believed that a notion of sensibility was at the root of man's moral intuition.[28] Furthermore, he theorized that divine moral law was both transcendent and immanent within humans.[29] Moralism, as a movement largely still exists within mainstream conservative circles with a focus on inherent or deontological suppositions.[30] While moral discussions exist across the political isle,[31] conservatism is distinct for including notions of purity-based reasoning.[32][33] The type of morality attributed to Edmund Burke is referred to some as moral traditionalism.[34]


Innatism is a philosophical concept sometimes associated with traditionalism,[35] often opposed to social constructionist theory upheld by postmodernists.[36] One of the most notable philosophers associated with innatism was Rene Descartes.[37] Historians note that Descartes recognized three main innatist ideas; the idea of God, the idea of a finite mind, and the idea of an indefinite body. While innatism still remains a controversial theory, some may argue that innate intuitions guide both mental modules and morality across cultures.[38] Innatism is closely related to similar theories such as Urgesellschaft, noble savage, primitivism, and state of nature, while also overlapping with human essentialism.[39]

Communitarianism and community engagement[edit]

Communitarianism is an ideology that broadly prioritizes the importance of the community over the individual's freedoms. Joseph de Maistre was notably against individualism, and blamed Rousseau's individualism on the destructive nature of the French revolution.[40]Some may argue that the communitarian ethic has considerable overlap with the conservative movement, although they remain distinct.[41] While communitarians may draw upon similar elements of moral infrastructure to make their arguments,[42] the communitarian opposition to liberalism is still more limited than that of conservatives.[43] Furthermore, the communitarian prescription for society is more limited in scope than that of social conservatives.[44] The term is typically used in two different senses; philosophical communitarianism which rejects liberal precepts and atomistic theory, vs. ideological communitarianism which is a syncretistic belief that holds in priority the positive right to social services for members of said community.[45] Communitarianism may overlap with stewardship, in an environmental sense as well.

Social order[edit]

Social order is a common tenet of conservatism, namely the maintenance of social ties, whether the family or the law. The concept may also tie into social cohesion. Joseph de Maistre defended the necessity of the public executioner as encouraging stability. In the St Petersburg Dialogues, he wrote: "all power, all subordination rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world, and the very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple, and society disappears."[46]

The concept of social order is not exclusive to conservatism, although it tends to be fairly prevalent within it. Both Jean Jacques Rousseau and Joseph de Maistre believed in social order, the difference was that Maistre preferred the status quo, indivisibility of law and rule, and the mesh of Church with State. Meanwhile, Rousseau preferred social contract and the ability to withdraw from such (and pick the ruler) as well as a separation of Church and state. Furthermore, Rousseau went on the criticize the "cult of the state" as well.[47]

Classicism and high culture[edit]

Traditionalists defend classical Western civilization and value an education informed by the sifting of texts starting in the Roman World and refined under Medieval Scholasticism and Renaissance humanism. Similarly, traditionalist conservatives are Classicists who revere high culture in all of its manifestations (e.g. literature, Classical music, architecture, art, and theatre).[citation needed]


Traditionalists consider localism a core principle, described as a sense of devotion to one's homeland, in contrast to nationalists, who value the role of the state or nation over the local community. Traditionalist conservatives believe that allegiance to family, local community, and region is often more important than political commitments. Traditionalists also prioritize community closeness above nationalist state interest, preferring the civil society of Burke's "little platoons". However, this does not mean that Conservatives are against state authority. Quite the opposite, rather Conservatives prefer simply that the state allow and encourage units like families and churches to thrive and develop.

Alternatively, some theorists state that nationalism can easily be radicalized and lead to jingoism, which sees the state as apart from the local community and family structure rather than as a product of both.[48]

An example of a traditionalist conservative approach to immigration may be seen in Bishop John Joseph Frederick Otto Zardetti's September 21, 1892 "Sermon on the Mother and the Bride", which was a defence of Roman Catholic German-Americans desire to preserve their faith, ancestral culture, and to continue speaking their heritage language of the German language in the United States, against both the English only movement and accusations of being Hyphenated Americans.[49]


British influences[edit]

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke, an Anglo-Irish Whig statesman and philosopher whose political principles were rooted in moral natural law and the Western heritage, is the one of the first expositors of traditionalist conservatism, although Toryism represented an even earlier, more primitive form of traditionalist conservatism.[50][51] Burke believed in prescriptive rights, which he considered to be "God-given". He argued for what he called "ordered liberty" (best reflected in the unwritten law of the British constitutional monarchy). He also fought for universal ideals that were supported by institutions such as the church, the family, and the state.[52] He was a fierce critic of the principles behind the French Revolution, and in 1790, his observations on its excesses and radicalism were collected in Reflections on the Revolution in France. In Reflections, Burke called for the constitutional enactment of specific, concrete rights and warned that abstract rights could be easily abused to justify tyranny. American social critic and historian Russell Kirk wrote: "The Reflections burns with all the wrath and anguish of a prophet who saw the traditions of Christendom and the fabric of civil society dissolving before his eyes."[53]

Burke's influence was felt by later intellectuals and authors in both Britain and continental Europe. The English Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey, as well as Scottish Romantic author Sir Walter Scott,[54] and the counter-revolutionary writers François-René de Chateaubriand, Louis de Bonald and Joseph de Maistre were all affected by his ideas.[55] Burke's legacy was best represented in the United States by the Federalist Party and its leaders, such as President John Adams and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.[56]

French influences[edit]

Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821)

Joseph de Maistre, a French lawyer, was another founder of conservatism.[57] He was an ultramontane Catholic, and thoroughly rejected progressivism and rationalism.[58] In 1796, he published a political pamphlet entitled, Considerations on France, that mirrored Burke's Reflections.[59][60][61] Maistre viewed the French revolution as "evil schism",[62] and a movement premised on the "sentiment of hatred". After the demise of Napoleon, Maistre returned to France to meet with pro-royalist circles. In 1819, Maistre published a piece called Du Pape which outlined the Pope as the key sovereign, unto which authority derives from.[63]

Critics of material progress[edit]

Three cultural conservatives and skeptics of material development, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, and John Henry Newman, were staunch supporters of Burke's classical conservatism.

According to conservative scholar Peter Viereck, Coleridge and his colleague and fellow poet William Wordsworth began as followers of the French Revolution and the radical utopianism it engendered. Their collection of poems, Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, however, rejected the Enlightenment notion of reason triumphing over faith and tradition. Later works by Coleridge, such as Lay Sermons (1816), Biographia Literaria (1817) and Aids to Reflection (1825), defended traditional conservative positions on hierarchy and organic society, criticism of materialism and the merchant class, and the need for "inner growth" that is rooted in a traditional and religious culture. Coleridge was a strong supporter of social institutions and an outspoken opponent of Jeremy Bentham and his utilitarian theory.[64]

Thomas Carlyle, a writer, historian, and essayist, was an early traditionalist thinker, defending medieval ideals such as aristocracy, hierarchy, organic society, and class unity against communism and laissez-faire capitalism's "cash nexus." The "cash nexus," according to Carlyle, occurs when social interactions are reduced to economic gain. Carlyle, a lover of the poor, claimed that mobs, plutocrats, anarchists, communists, socialists, liberals, and others were threatening the fabric of British society by exploiting them and perpetuating class animosity. A devotee of Germanic culture and Romanticism, Carlyle is best known for his works, Sartor Resartus (1833–1834) and Past and Present (1843).[65]

The Oxford Movement, a religious movement aimed at restoring Anglicanism's Catholic nature, gave the Church of England a "catholic rebirth" in the mid-19th century. The Tractarians (so named for the publication of their Tracts for the Times) criticized theological liberalism while preserving "dogma, ritual, poetry, [and] tradition," led by John Keble, Edward Pusey, and John Henry Newman. Newman (who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845 and was later made a Cardinal and a canonized saint) and the Tractarians, like Coleridge and Carlyle, were critical of material progress, or the idea that money, prosperity, and economic gain constituted the totality of human existence.[66]

Cultural and artistic criticism[edit]

Culture and the arts were also important to British traditionalist conservatives, and two of the most prominent defenders of tradition in culture and the arts were Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.

A poet and cultural commentator, Matthew Arnold is most recognized for his poems and literary, social, and religious criticism. His book Culture and Anarchy (1869) criticized Victorian middle-class norms (Arnold referred to middle class tastes in literature as "philistinism") and advocated a return to ancient literature. Arnold was likewise skeptical of the plutocratic grasping at socioeconomic issues that had been denounced by Coleridge, Carlyle, and the Oxford Movement.[67] Arnold was a vehement critic of the Liberal Party and its Nonconformist base. He mocked Liberal efforts to disestablish the Anglican Church in Ireland, establish a Catholic university there, allow dissenters to be buried in Church of England cemeteries, demand temperance, and ignore the need to improve middle class members rather than impose their unreasonable beliefs on society. Education was essential, and by that, Arnold meant a close reading and attachment to the cultural classics, coupled with critical reflection.[68] He feared anarchy—the fragmentation of life into isolated facts that is caused by dangerous educational panaceas that emerge from materialistic and utilitarian philosophies. He was appalled at the shamelessness of the sensationalistic new journalism of the sort he witnessed on his tour of the United States in 1888. He prophesied, "If one were searching for the best means to efface and kill in a whole nation the discipline of self-respect, the feeling for what is elevated, he could do no better than take the American newspapers."[69]

One of the issues that traditionalist conservatives have often emphasized is that capitalism is just as suspect as the classical liberalism that gave birth to it.[70] Cultural and artistic critic John Ruskin, a medievalist who considered himself a "Christian communist" and cared much about standards in culture, the arts, and society, continued this tradition. The Industrial Revolution, according to Ruskin (and all 19th-century cultural conservatives), had caused dislocation, rootlessness, and vast urbanization of the poor. He wrote The Stones of Venice (1851–1853), a work of art criticism that attacked the Classical heritage while upholding Gothic art and architecture. The Seven Lamps of Architecture and Unto This Last (1860) were two of his other masterpieces.[71]

One-nation conservatism[edit]

Burke, Coleridge, Carlyle, Newman, and other traditionalist conservatives' beliefs were distilled into former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's politics and ideology. When he was younger, Disraeli was an outspoken opponent of middle-class capitalism and the Manchester liberals' industrial policies (the Reform Bill and the Corn Laws). In order to ameliorate the suffering of the urban poor in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, Disraeli proposed "one-nation conservatism," in which a coalition of aristocrats and commoners would band together to counter the liberal middle class's influence. This new coalition would be a way to interact with disenfranchised people while also rooting them in old conservative principles. Disraeli's ideas (especially his critique of utilitarianism) were popularized in the "Young England" movement and in books like Vindication of the English Constitution (1835), The Radical Tory (1837), and his "social novels," Coningsby (1844) and Sybil (1845).[72] His one-nation conservatism was revived a few years later in Lord Randolph Churchill's Tory democracy and in the early 21st century in British philosopher Phillip Blond's Red Tory thesis.


Hilaire Belloc in 1915

In the early 20th century, traditionalist conservatism found its defenders through the efforts of Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton and other proponents of the socioeconomic system they advocated: distributism. Originating in the papal encyclical Rerum novarum, distributism employed the concept of subsidiarity as a "third way" solution to the twin evils of communism and capitalism. It favors local economies, small business, the agrarian way of life and craftsmen and artists. Otto von Bismarck implemented one of the first modern welfare systems in Germany during the 1880s. Traditional communities akin to those found in the Middle Ages were advocated in books like Belloc's The Servile State (1912), Economics for Helen (1924), and An Essay on the Restoration of Property (1936), and Chesterton's The Outline of Sanity (1926), while big business and big government were condemned. Distributist views were accepted in the United States by the journalist Herbert Agar and Catholic activist Dorothy Day as well as through the influence of the German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher, and were comparable to Wilhelm Roepke's work.[73]

T. S. Eliot was a staunch supporter of Western culture and traditional Christianity. Eliot was a political reactionary who used literary modernism to achieve traditionalist goals. Following in the footsteps of Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, G. K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc, he wrote After Strange Gods (1934), and Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948). At Harvard University, where he was educated by Irving Babbitt and George Santayana, Eliot was acquainted with Allen Tate and Russell Kirk.[74]

T. S. Eliot praised Christopher Dawson as the most potent intellectual influence in Britain, and he was a prominent player in 20th-century traditionalism. The belief that religion was at the center of all civilization, especially Western culture, was central to his work, and his books reflected this view, notably The Age of Gods (1928), Religion and Culture (1948), and Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (1950). Dawson, a contributor to Eliot's Criterion, believed that religion and culture were crucial to rebuilding the West after World War II in the aftermath of fascism and the advent of communism.[75]

Orthodox conservatism[edit]

Orthodox conservatism is a similarly related movement that by and large have similarities to traditional conservatism. However, adherents more so align themselves with the body of thought expressed by Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, rather than Edmund Burke. Chateaubriand was plenty more willing of a form of reactionary politics (such as supporting the Bourbon Restoration in France at the time) as well as delving into social romanticism. However, they note that this form of conservatism is not inherently reactionary. Orthodox Conservatives typically maintain positions empirical realism.[76] They also may subscribe to principles of natural Law, deontological morality, practical reason, organicism, and transcendent convention. Orthodox Conservatives believe in ecological protection, and that such actions are necessary for society.[77]

Some relevant literature by Chateaubriand include Essay on Revolutions (1797), the Genius of Christianity (1802), Historical Studies (1831).

In the United Kingdom[edit]


Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton, a British philosopher, was a self-described traditionalist and conservative. One of his most well-known books, The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), is on foreign policy, animal rights, arts and culture, and philosophy. Scruton was a member of the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, the Trinity Forum, and the Center for European Renewal. Modern Age, National Review, The American Spectator, The New Criterion, and City Journal were among the many publications for which he wrote.

Phillip Blond, a British philosopher, has recently gained notoriety as a proponent of traditionalist philosophy, specifically progressive conservatism, or Red Toryism. Blond believes that Red Toryism would rejuvenate British conservatism and society by combining civic communitarianism, localism, and traditional values. He has formed a think tank, ResPublica.

Publications and political organizations[edit]

The oldest traditionalist publication in the United Kingdom is The Salisbury Review, which was founded by British philosopher Roger Scruton. The Salisbury Review's current managing editor is Merrie Cave.

A group of traditionalist MPs known as the Cornerstone Group was created in 2005 within the British Conservative Party. The Cornerstone Group represents "faith, flag, and family" and stands for traditional values. Edward Leigh and John Henry Hayes are two notable members.

In Europe[edit]

The Edmund Burke Foundation is a traditionalist educational foundation established in the Netherlands and is modeled after the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. It was created by traditionalists such as academic Andreas Kinneging and journalist Bart Jan Spruyt as a think tank. The Center for European Renewal is linked with it.

In 2007, a number of leading traditionalist scholars from Europe, as well as representatives of the Edmund Burke Foundation and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, created the Center for European Renewal, which is designed to be the European version of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

In the United States[edit]

Russell Kirk

The Federalists had no ties to European-style nobility, royalty, or organized churches when it came to "classical conservatism." John Adams was one of the first champions of a traditional social order.[78]

The Whig Party had an approach that mirrored Burkean conservatism in the post-Revolutionary era. Rufus Choate argued that lawyers were the guardians and preservers of the Constitution.[79] In the antebellum period, George Ticknor and Edward Everett were the "Guardians of Civilization." Orestes Brownson examined how America satisfies Catholic tradition and Western civilization. The Southern Agrarians, or Fugitives, were another group of traditionalist conservatives. In 1930, some of the Fugitives published I'll Take My Stand, which applied agrarian standards to politics and economics.

Following WWII, the initial stirrings of a "traditionalist movement" emerged. Certain conservative scholars and writers garnered the attention of the popular press. Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, an expansion of his PhD dissertation written in Scotland, was the book that defined the traditionalist school. Kirk was an independent scholar, writer, critic, and man of letters. He was friends with William F. Buckley Jr., a National Review columnist, editor, and syndicated columnist. When Barry Goldwater combated the Republican Party's Eastern Establishment in 1964, Kirk backed him in the primaries and campaigned for him.[80] After Goldwater's defeat, the New Right reunited in the late 1970s and found a new leader in Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan created a coalition of libertarians, foreign-policy rightists, business conservatives, as well as Christian social conservatives and maintained his power by solidifying a newer form of conservative alliance that would continue to dominate the political landscape of the American conservatism to this day.

Political organizations[edit]

The Trinity Forum, Ellis Sandoz's Eric Voegelin Institute and the Eric Voegelin Society, the Conservative Institute's New Centurion Program, the T. S. Eliot Society, the Malcolm Muggeridge Society, and the Free Enterprise Institute's Center for the American Idea are all traditionalist groups. The Wilbur Foundation is a prominent supporter of traditionalist activities, particularly the Russell Kirk Center.


Literary traditionalists are frequently associated with political conservatives and the right wing, whilst experimental works and the avant-garde are frequently associated with progressives and the left wing. John Barth, a postmodern writer and literary theorist, said: "I confess to missing, in apprentice seminars in the later 1970s and the 1980s, that lively Make-It-New spirit of the Buffalo Sixties. A roomful of young traditionalists can be as depressing as a roomful of young Republicans."[81]

James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Russell Lowell, W. H. Mallock, Robert Frost and T. S. Eliot are among the literary figures covered in Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind (1953). The writings of Rudyard Kipling and Phyllis McGinley are presented as instances of literary traditionalism in Kirk's The Conservative Reader (1982). Kirk was also a well-known author of spooky and suspense fiction with a Gothic flavor. Ray Bradbury and Madeleine L'Engle both praised novels such as Old House of Fear, A Creature of the Twilight, and Lord of the Hollow Dark as well as short stories such as "Lex Talionis", "Lost Lake", "Beyond the Stumps", "Ex Tenebris," and "Fate's Purse." Kirk was also close friends with a number of 20th-century literary heavyweights, including T. S. Eliot, Roy Campbell, Wyndham Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L'Engle, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, and Flannery O'Connor, all of whom wrote conservative poetry or fiction.

Evelyn Waugh and G. K. Chesterton – two British novelists and traditionalist Catholics – are often considered traditionalist conservatives.[82]

See also[edit]


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  • Deutsch, Kenneth L.; Fishman, Ethan (2010). The Dilemmas of American Conservatism. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-813-13962-3.
  • Vincent, Andrew (2009). Modern Political Ideologies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-444-31105-1.

Further reading[edit]


General references[edit]

  • Allitt, Patrick (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Critchlow, Donald T. (2007) The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Dunn, Charles W., and J. David Woodard (2003) The Conservative Tradition in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
  • Edwards, Lee (2004) A Brief History of the Modern American Conservative Movement. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation.
  • Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Gottfried, Paul, and Thomas Fleming (1988) The Conservative Movement. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
  • Nash, George H. (1976, 2006) The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Nisbet, Robert (1986) Conservatism: Dream and Reality. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Regnery, Alfred S. (2008) Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism. New York: Threshold Editions.
  • Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

By the New Conservatives[edit]

  • Bestor, Arthur (1953, 1988) Educational Wastelands: The Retreat from Learning in Our Public Schools. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
  • Boorstin, Daniel (1953) The Genius of American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Chalmers, Gordon Keith (1952) The Republic and the Person: A Discussion of Necessities in Modern American Education. Chicago: Regnery.
  • Hallowell, John (1954, 2007) The Moral Foundation of Democracy. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Inc.
  • Heckscher, August (1947) A Pattern of Politics. New York: Reynal and Hitchcock.
  • Kirk, Russell (1953, 2001) The Conservative Mind. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing.
  • Kirk, Russell (1982) The Portable Conservative Reader. New York: Penguin.
  • Nisbet, Robert (1953, 1990) The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom. San Francisco: ICS Press.
  • Smith, Mortimer (1949) And Madly Teach. Chicago:Henry Regnery Co.
  • Viereck, Peter (1949, 2006) Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Ideology. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
  • Vivas, Eliseo (1950, 1983) The Moral Life and the Ethical Life. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • Voegelin, Eric (1952, 1987) The New Science of Politics: An Introduction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Weaver, Richard (1948, 1984) Ideas Have Consequences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Wilson, Francis G. (1951, 1990) The Case for Conservatism. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

By other traditionalist conservatives[edit]

  • Dreher, Rod (2006) Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-loving Organic Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party). New York: Crown Forum.
  • Frohnen, Bruce (1993) Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism: The Legacy of Burke and Tocqueville. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  • Henrie, Mark C. (2008) Arguing Conservatism: Four Decades of the Intercollegiate Review. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Kushiner, James M., Ed. (2003) Creed and Culture: A Touchstone Reader. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • MacIntyre, Alaisdar (1981, 2007) After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
  • Panichas, George A., Ed. (1988) Modern Age: The First Twenty-Five Years: A Selection. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc.
  • Panichas, George A. (2008) Restoring the Meaning of Conservatism: Writings from Modern Age. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Scruton, Roger (1980, 2002) The Meaning of Conservatism. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press.
  • Scruton, Roger (2012) Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet. Atlantic Books

About traditionalist conservatives[edit]

  • Duffy, Bernard K. and Martin Jacobi (1993) The Politics of Rhetoric: Richard M. Weaver and the Conservative Tradition. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.
  • Federici, Michael P. (2002) Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Gottfried, Paul (2009) Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Kirk, Russell (1995) The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Co.
  • Langdale, John., (2012) Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920–1990. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
  • McDonald, W. Wesley (2004) Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
  • Person, James E. Jr. (1999) Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind. Lanham, MD: Madison Books.
  • Russello, Gerald J. (2007) The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
  • Scotchie, Joseph (1997) Barbarians in the Saddle: An Intellectual Biography of Richard M. Weaver. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
  • Scotchie, Joseph (1995) The Vision of Richard Weaver. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
  • Scruton, Roger (2005) Gentle Regrets: Thoughts From A Life London: Continuum.
  • Stone, Brad Lowell (2002) Robert Nisbet: Communitarian Traditionalist. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Wilson, Clyde (1999) A Defender of Conservatism: M. E. Bradford and His Achievements. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.