All posts by bradbirzer

By day, I'm a father of seven and husband of one. By night, I'm an author, a biographer, and a prog rocker. Interests: Rush, progressive rock, cultural criticisms, the Rocky Mountains, individual liberty, history, hiking, and science fiction.

Required Readings: Founding of the American republic

My required reading list, H301, Autumn 2019.

Most available at: http://oll.libertyfund.org

Documents to read before midterm: 

John Adams, Dissertation on Feudal and Canon Law

Cato’s Letters: 15, 17, 18, 25, 27, 31, 35, 42, 59, 62, 66, 84, 94, 106, 114, 115

Thomas Gordon, “A Discourse of Standing Armies”

Demophilus, “The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution”

Addison, Cato: A Tragedy

Hamilton, “Remarks on the Quebec Bill”

Dickinson, Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer: 1, 3, 8-10, 12

Edmund Burke, “Speech on American Taxation”

Edmund Burke, “Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies”

Samuel Sherwood, “The Church’s Flight into the Wilderness”

CX Letters (will be emailed to you)

Articles of Confederation 

Declaration of Independence (Jefferson’s version; will be emailed to you)

Documents to read before the final:

George Washington, “Circular to the States”(1783)

Northwest Ordinance, Articles 1-6

Farrand, ed., Records of the Federal Convention: May 29-June 8, June 18, June 26, June 28-29, July 26, August 7-9, August 13-14, August 21-22, August 30-31, September 17

Federalist Papers: 1, 10, 39, 45-51, 63, 70, 78, 84-85

Anti-Federalist Papers: 

James Wilson, “Speech to the Pennsylvania Convention”(December 1787)

John Dickinson as “Fabius,”letters 10-3

Noah Webster, “A Citizen of America”

Tench Coxe, “An American Citizen”

James Wilson, “Of the Law of Nature”

James Wilson, “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals”

Burke, “Reflections on the Revolution in France,”pp. 87-176

Burke, “Further Reflections on the Revolution in France,”(1791), pp. 75-124, 160-201

George Washington, First Inaugural Address

George Washington, “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport”

George Washington, “To the Roman Catholics”

George Washington, Farewell Address

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien” ~ The Imaginative Conservative

As with all of Tolkien’s great tales of the First Age, the story of Beren and Lúthien transformed dramatically over sixty years from its first imagining and version in 1916 and 1917 to its relatively finalized version in 1977’s The Silmarillion. During those six decades, it appeared as a long tale of the Lost Tales, as a summary in the 1926 Sketch of the Mythology (written for Tolkien’s beloved professor from King Edward’s, R.W. Reynolds), as a radically ambitious poetic lay, The Lay of Leithian (1925-1931), and as an essential story within the various versions, including the final version, of The Silmarillion.

Yet, the essence of the story has remained the same in all of its many versions. Or, as Christopher so wisely put it, “The fluidity should not be exaggerated: there were nonetheless great, essential, permanences.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/08/jrr-tolkien-beren-and-luthien-bradley-birzer.html

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling? ~ The Imaginative Conservative

All of this is understandable, of course, given that Barfield lived in London, not Oxford, and he joined his father’s law firm in 1929.[8] Though he continued to write, often prolifically and always brilliantly, he had to earn his living as a solicitor, not as an amateur philosopher. At best, Barfield claimed, he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and even this seems an overly generous number, especially given that he could not name the beginning or the end of the group.[9]

And, third, to be sure, any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. The man was, simply put, genius and, equally important, generous and charitable. His insights into the Inklings, frankly, are beyond compare. In a 1969 lecture, Barfield claimed correctly that the Inklings had stood for and advanced four ideas: a longing for the Infinite and the western desires of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful; that every person is endowed with dignity, especially as he or she moves toward sanctification; “the idealization of love between the sexes”; and, finally, that the truest stories end in joy, not sorrow.[10]
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/was-owen-barfield-inkling-bradley-birzer.html

Hungry Souls & Brave Hearts: Heroism, History, & Myth ~ The Imaginative Conservative

But conservatives recognize that it is possible to admire flawed human beings. We do not expect our heroes to be saints. We understand that though good and evil most definitely exist, men themselves are neither black nor white but rather some shade of gray. We have the sense to look up to men despite their sins. It would be churlish, for example, to condemn in toto the Washingtons of our past for the blinders society as a whole wore.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/hungry-souls-brave-hearts-heroism-history-myth-stephen-klugewicz-timeless.html

Why It’s Preposterous To Say Western Civilization Is About ‘Whiteness’

Every vital question the Greek philosophers asked, St. Paul answered in his letter to the Christians of Colossae.

Indeed, Christ came not at any point, but in the “fullness of time,” when three distinct cultures intersected, again proving that history was vital to God’s plan. Christ, coming in the “fullness of time,” was born into a Hellenistic Jewish culture, controlled militarily and politically by the Roman Empire, and divided, theologically, among several Jewish schools of thought.

The Incarnation allows the church, the representative of the City of God on earth, as Cardinal John Henry Newman put it, “to gather His Saints.” Christian loyalty, then, can be to no nation primarily, but to the universal, Christian church, no matter how divided its body might be. Among those saints, there is neither male nor female, neither Greek nor Jew, neither black nor white, but all made one in His unity.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2019/07/11/preposterous-say-western-civilization-whiteness/

The Imaginative Conservative at Age 9

This essay is dedicated to the genius of William Winston Elliott III, co-founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of The Imaginative Conservative. Long may it continue to grow under his inspiration and our perspiration.

Kirk, of course, never fought the fight alone. Not only did he rely on the inspiration of Babbitt and More, but he took further advice (directly and indirectly) from T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Willa Cather, Jacques Maritain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Zora Neale Hurston, Gabriel Marcel, Romano Guardini, Josef Pieper, John Paul II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, C.S. Lewis, and a myriad of others, all dedicated to preserving and conserving the most dignified aspects of humanity against Demos, Mars, and Leviathan.

After 468 weeks of life, Winston Elliott, Editor Stephen Klugewicz, every author of The Imaginative Conservative, and I take seriously (and with great confidence) the wisdom of our beloved T.S. Eliot: “We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation it will triumph.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/imaginative-conservative-9-bradley-birzer.html