Article for my kids: Why You Should Stay in Your Hometown. The answer is, “permanence.” It’s worth reading. Excerpt: “The benefits of permanence, therefore, are considerable: family, tradition, conservation, and diversity of local culture. Yet Americans are quick to abandon permanence. Sometimes, admittedly, we have no choice. Sometimes mobility is necessary. But how often is moving away from our hometown simply a result of confused priorities? Many Americans move for the sake of more pleasant weather. Many others move for the sake of a more urban lifestyle. In these cases, moving is not the result of necessity. It is the result of subordinating permanence to lesser goods.”
It’s a deeply conservative piece . . . in the best senses of the word. Which reminds me: I’ve been looking for a first edition of Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. It appears to be hard to find. In fact, from what I can tell, my third edition might be a treasure. All of the versions on Amazon appear to be seventh edition or later. If anyone sees a cheap first edition out there, please let me know.
And why am I looking for the first edition? Simply because Kirk devoted more time to Nock and other libertarians in that edition. He later distanced himself from libertarians: Most of those claiming libertarianism or individualism, Kirk contended, sought after and followed only second-rate thinkers in history. Instead, real conservatives should “substitute Moses or St. Paul for Lao-tse, Aristotle or Cicero for Zeno, Dante for Milton, Falkland for Locke, Samuel Johnson for Adam Smith, Burke for Paine, Orestes Brownson for Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hawthorne for Thoreau, Disraeli for Mill, and Ruskin or Newman for Spencer.” Bradley Birzer, Russell Kirk: American Conservative.
I find Kirk’s position rather unsettling (and I think I’ll address it later this week), but it seems common: the radical anarchist/libertarian turns conservative as he ages and gains wisdom. Unfortunately, I (and others) have done the exact opposite: started out conservative and veered libertarian as we have aged (and, hopefully, gained wisdom). I think it’s simply a sign of the times. If Kirk had seen the DC behemoth that went on steroids after 9/11, I suspect he’d revisit Nock and Co. more often.
BTW: Bradley Birzer’s Kirk biography is great. I’m only about 20% of the way through it, but so far, it’s excellent. Lots of details that I never knew, and I spent a fair amount of time looking at his life in connection with this piece (and even spent a weekend at Piety Hill in Mecosta). The book is highly recommended if you’re interested in this most interesting of men.
The answer to last Saturday’s quiz: The picture is a Tucker, and the author of the article I linked to is named “Tucker.” No one got it right, thereby saving me fifty cents in candle charges.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList