Robert Frost: Social and Political Conservative

Robert Frost published 11 books of poetry, won four Pulitzer Prizes, established himself as the unofficial poet laureate of the United States, and acquired a national and international literary reputation. Despite his fame as a poet and public speaker, and because of his friendship with such liberal Democrats as Vice-President Henry Wallace and President John F. Kennedy, few Americans are aware that in his social and political philosophy Frost was a highly original conservative thinker. His thought was wholly unsystematic, and lacked the coherence and unity of the abstract systems of speculative philosophers, but it was wholly consistent in adhering to basic social and political conservative principles.

Frost distrusted abstract labels and categories, because he knew that such terms as "revolutionary," "radical," "liberal," "rebel," and "conservative" often provided the basis for ideological theories and rational systems created by the imagination and then identified with "reality." Like Edmund Burke, the poet considered ideology a fictional product of the creative imagination, often utilized as a substitute for revealed religion and historical experience, and the chief source of the delusions that led men to dream that they could establish a Utopian social order. The ideologies of such writers as Rousseau and Marx had no place in Frost's social and political philosophy....

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