Magazine August 28, 2017, Issue

Recovering the Soul of Conservatism

National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.
The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, by James Matthew Wilson (Catholic University Press, 444 pp., $29.95)

Since the earliest days of National Review, conservative thinkers have recurrently asked: Precisely what do conservatives seek to conserve?

Longtime contributor Russell Kirk provided a broad answer to this question in his landmark work The Conservative Mind (1953), writing that the modern conservative “is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”

Certain factions within the world of conservatism place little emphasis upon the

James E. Person Jr. — Mr. Person is the author of Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind and Earl Hamner: From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




College as Experiment Oren Cass makes a strong case (“Teaching to the Rest,” July 31) that many of today’s high-school students would be better off taking career training instead of college ...
The Week

The Week

‐ Looks like Google dropped its “Don’t be evil” motto just in time. ‐ The personnel crises of the Trump administration are like groupies: There are so many, who can remember ...


AMONG OTHERS Working alone in the house, I look to the solitary sculls passing on the river for a sense that I am among others. The geese— my dogs—convene in the yard near the water. A summer in ...


The Latest

Overturn <i>Roe</i>

Overturn Roe

A majority of the Court knows that the 1973 decision is nonsense. It is past time for the justices to say so.