The particular genius of conservatism

The U.S. Constitution is a work of both the historical experience of the Founding Fathers and of the eminently Protestant culture to which they belonged. It is probably futile to try to understand the legal meaning of the Constitution without first grasping its historical and cultural significance. Continue Reading...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The writer who destroyed an empire

In December, the PowerBlog is marking the centenary of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s birth (Dec. 11, 1918) At the NewYork Times, Solzhenitsyn biographer Michael Scammell says the Russian novelist and historian “did more than anyone else to bring the Soviet Union to its knees.” For his critical approach to Soviet life, Solzhenitsyn was evicted from the state-sponsored Writers’ Union and became a virtual outlaw in his own country. Continue Reading...

Brazil rejoins the West

Since the 1960s, Brazilian foreign policy has an undistinguished history, and has gradually been reduced to the pursuit of ideological leftism. This was not always the case. During the imperial regime (1824-1889), Brazilian diplomacy policy was known for the high-quality of its members, for their ability to read politics, for negotiating talent and, above all, for their fidelity to the interests of Brazil.   Continue Reading...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the dragon slayer

At City Journal, Solzhenitsyn scholar Daniel J. Mahoney offers “A Centennial Tribute” marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian author’s birth. Mahoney, who holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, describes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as “the century’s greatest critic of the totalitarian immolation of liberty and human dignity.” The Russian novelist and historian was … … a thinker and moral witness who illumined the fate of the human soul hemmed in by barbed wire in the East, and a materialist cornucopia in the West, the mature Solzhenitsyn remained remarkably faithful to the twin imperatives of courage and truth. Continue Reading...

An Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn centenary

On this day in 1918, Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk, Russia, to Taisia and Isaaki Solzhenitsyn, parents of peasant stock who had received a university education. Continue Reading...

The intellectual maverick behind Brazil’s conservative wave

The recent victory of the conservative populist Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian presidential elections brought the name of the philosopher Olavo de Carvalho to the center of Brazilian political debate. Many have since stated that Carvalho is an intellectual precursor to the populist candidate – as someone who was able to reshape the Brazilian political discussion in ways that cleared an intellectual path for Bolsonaro’s electoral victory. Continue Reading...

Bolsonaro versus Brazil’s elites

In his book Sovereignty (1955), the French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel observed that one of the significant phenomena in the construction of the modern state was the concentration of the means of communication in the hands of a few. Continue Reading...

Russell Kirk’s 100th Birthday

I’d like to join in the chorus of Russell Kirk memorials that have graced the PowerBlog these past few days to commemorate Kirk’s 100th birthday. Over at The Federalist today, I can only hint at the significant contributions Kirk wrote on behalf of conservatism, sound economics and Christian humanism. Continue Reading...

Review: Bradley Birzer’s Russell Kirk biography invites us to reconsider conservatism

This is the fifth in a series celebrating the work of Russell Kirk in honor of his 100th birthday this October. Read more from the series here. During the twentieth century, one man in particular took it upon himself to make a project of defining and perhaps re-invigorating an American conservatism which the prominent cultural critic Lionel Trilling dismissed as “a series of irritable mental gestures.” I remember picking up a copy of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind many years ago. Continue Reading...

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