The Idea of Kirk by Jeremy Beer

The Idea of Kirk

Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology by W. Wesley McDonald

University of Missouri Press, 2004
(259 pages; $44.95, hardcover)

reviewed by Jeremy Beer

Most readers today, if they have heard of Russell Kirk at all, know him simply as a conservative icon. This is unfortunate, for the actual intentions and thought and life of the real Russell Kirk, who articulated a humane, traditionalist, localist, and deeply religious conservatism, is paradoxically in danger of being permanently sidelined among movement conservatives, and therefore never met at all by anyone else.

Russell Kirk the icon is referred to in official parlance as one of the “principal . . .