Enduring Wisdom

Wise Men is a collection of 11 lively essays by the wise old sage who is contemporary conservatism's most able prophet. The Kirk neophyte will find these essays most alluring; it is unusual to experience such an affirmation of the "permanent things" in our current age. The Kirk devotee will find this slim volume to be an encapsulation of a lifetime against the tide of the leveling influences at work in modern thought.

The book is a compilation of public lectures delivered at The Heritage Foundation from 1982-1984; while Kirk's lectures are masterpieces in printed form, the reader can easily recognize they were intended for a live audience. Like his previous collection of Heritage lectures, Reclaiming a Patrimony, this assemblage has a theme: all is not lost. Departing from the view of his old friend Richard M. Weaver, Kirk holds that in the dark tunnel, some light glimmers, however dim. Through his many seminars at his home in the hamlet of Mecosta, a coterie of former assistants, and lectureships, Kirk has instilled the value of redemption. Even as the weary walls begin to crack, renewal may come. Kirk, like Joad and others, believes the West is growing more decadent day by day, and that we have "lost the object." Our appointed civilizing mission, fatum, has exerted less and less influence, and like Rome, our population and prosperity could disappear and frustration would replace...

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