Friday, January 8, 2016

The American Conservative Who Hated Libertarians

By David Gordon

Russell Kirk: American Conservative. By Bradley J. Birzer. University Press of Kentucky, 2015. 574 pages.
 When The Conservative Mind was published in 1953, its author, like Lord Byron after the appearance of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,awoke to find himself famous. Russell Kirk was a hitherto unknown American academic, but Time magazine, which “devoted its entire July 6, 1953 book review section to The Conservative Mind,” and other organs of establishment thought touted Kirk as the voice of a renascent American conservatism.  
Kirk’s later work never attracted as much notice as The Conservative Mind, but Kirk retained a substantial following as a leading figure of the so-called traditionalist wing of the American Right. For most of his long career as a writer, Russell Kirk hated libertarians. Libertarians, he wrote in an infamous essay of 1981, were “chirping sectaries.” He charmingly remarks: “the representative libertarian of this decade is humorless, intolerant, self-righteous, badly schooled, and dull. At least the old-fangled Russian anarchist was bold, lively, and knew which sex he belonged to.”
Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. I would say at least 99% of conservatives hate libertarians for one reason or another. One of the few things that I disagreed with Rothbard about is wanting libertarians to work paleoconservatives in order to advance liberty. Kinda hard to advance liberty when your "partner" is against freedom of exchange (protectionism), for the nanny state (drug war) and its acceptance or outright denial of the militarization of police (the firing of Will Grigg from the New American). In addition Kirk's (a leading figure in paleo thought) open hatred of libertarians. Not only that Ron Paul's campaigns showed conservatism open hostility to the real message of liberty. I fully understand what people like Justin Rainmondo and Laurence Vance are doing but I feel trying to teach conservatives liberty is like trying to get a leftist to understand economics.