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Recovering the Soul of Conservatism

by James E. Person Jr.

The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, by James Matthew Wilson (Catholic University Press, 444 pp., $29.95)

Since the earliest days of National Review, conservative thinkers have recurrently asked: Precisely what do conservatives seek to conserve?

Longtime contributor Russell Kirk provided a broad answer to this question in his landmark work The Conservative Mind (1953), writing that the modern conservative “is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”

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