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7 Russell Kirk Quotes on Economics

For Kirk, private property was society’s means of dignifying human makers as bearers of the divine image. On the other hand, production and consumption are not the ends for which society existed, nor are they ends that can be pursued without regard for “the permanent things”—the moral virtues, respect for the natural world, and duty to one's neighbors. The following selections express Kirk’s estimation of prosperity as an indicator of a healthy society. He believed that the way a people generates their wealth (and how they treat the poorest among them) reveals their allegiance to the transcendent moral order upon which every enduring society must be founded.

Master the Art of Conversation: An Excerpt from "the Read Aloud Family"

Books offer a unique entry into conversation because they contain the best ideas we can possibly encounter. They are, in fact, a gateway to big issues, and we can often enter into a comfortable, leisurely conversation about some of life’s hardest topics through the lens of a book. When we read with our kids and then open ourselves up for conversation, we have a unique opportunity to help them encounter great thoughts and ideas, think deeply about them, and allow those ideas and encounters to shape their lives.

The Flame of Memory for the Life of the World

The Aeneid has never been my favorite epic: I prefer my heroes more flawed and fierce, but a new reading has illuminated something flawed in me. I see myself and my fellow classical educators in the defeated Trojans, cast from a burning city, longing to return. Lonely, we feel exiled from a world that is rumored to have once delighted in truth for its own sake. We identify ourselves as keepers of the flame of memory in the wasteland. Like Aeneas, with his household gods, we shield the rich relics of the past from those who want to burn them to ashes. Yet what do we do with the cultural memory we carry? Two characters from the Aeneid embody divergent reactions to the ancient dilemma: Aeneas, duty-bound to build a kingdom, and Andromache, erecting a citadel for ghosts.

Is Classical Education Still Possible?

I’m now old enough to look back on over half a century in the world of education as either a student or a teacher.  It’s hard to make this backward glance without cynicism or to look ahead without despair. All this time the trend lines by almost any standard measure bent ever lower and lower, while the language of reform never failed to beat upon the ear. This world of education, and all the reformers in it, seem to divide themselves roughly into two groups: those who believe that in technology, brain research, mega-data, or some research-based breakthrough we will discover new tools and approaches that will revolutionize the way we learn and teach, and those who believe that recovering “the lost tools of learning” will spark another Renaissance and turn those trend lines around.