The central concern of this blog dictates that discussions of conservatism almost inevitably reduce to discussions of musical conservatism. This is not, in itself, a problem; we have no need to apologize for creating a place to discuss one particular interest. That said, I contend that our discussion would be enriched if we gave some attention to conservatism more broadly conceived; to do so would be to demonstrate that our musical admonitions are rooted in a deeper set of convictions, and are not simply our attempt to transform a certain set of tastes into law.
A bit of biography, and bibliography: my introduction to conservatism came from two sources: Richard Weaver and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. In particular, Weaver’s book Ideas Have Consequences is nearly essential reading for those who want to understand conservatism. Unfortunately, understanding Weaver himself is no small feat, particularly for those unfamiliar with the history of philosophy. Perhaps a future series of blog posts will be a sort of Cliff’s Notes for Weaver.
The influence of ISI has been twofold: the journal Intercollegiate Review, and their book club. I would highly recommend both; the book club is, in my estimation, a remarkably good deal. If you need suggestions for your two free books, I recommend the gargantuan Arguing Conservatism (an anthology of articles from IR), and The Great Tradition (a collection of readings on liberal education).
These resources have value to me because they explain much of the core of a conservative worldview and unpack its implications on a wide range of topics. Conservatism is hardly a monolith; debates between conservatives on many topics are spirited. What is shared, however, is a set of basic commitments, and while there is no official canon or creed for the conservative, Russell Kirk’s Ten Conservative Principles is as good a guide as any to these basic commitments.
At this point, I’d encourage you to read Kirk’s list. In future weeks, my plan is to take each of his points in turn, evaluating it from the perspective of specifically Christian conservatism.