Monday, September 10, 2012

Russell Kirk's Five Iconographic Cities

Russell Kirk and the Anamnesis of the West by Bradley J. Birzer
We, like the Romans of 43bc, have forgotten our past, our traditions, and, hence, may not have a future. And like Cicero, Kirk is serving us warning. Our order, Kirk argued, is organic. That is, it is cultivated over long periods of time. It is fragile, and it requires frequent nurturing. If one generation breaks the continuity of generations, by believing itself uniquely superior to other generations, culture decays rapidly. This is what Lewis meant with the “Abolition of Man.” In essence, by breaking the continuity of generations, we abstract ourselves from reality and life, if we can even call it life. We will drown in our subjectivity and arrogant and hedonistic individualism. “The American order of our day was not founded upon ideology,” Kirk wisely wrote. “It was not manufactured: rather, it grew.” Hence, we must honor and reform (not revolutionize) what men and women left us, discerning through prudence which traditions are good and which need to be changed or discarded.

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