Date of Award
Ph.D. in History
Ted M. Ownby
University of Mississippi
My dissertation deals with the intellectual thought of Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, and Richard Weaver. Renowned today as the prominent thinkers who inaugurated the postwar American conservative intellectual movement, these three thinkers by far have not received enough attention among historians as they deserved.
In my dissertation, by unpacking the central tenets of the conservative thought of the three thinkers, I try to demonstrate that their ideas were not just pertinent to the nascent American conservative movement emerging after the postwar decade, but their intellectual thought are in many ways enduring and timeless, transcending the barren limitations of their own time.
Railing against the intellectual tide of their own time, Kirk, Nisbet, and Weaver were never capitulated to the prevailing opinion of the moment. Their ideas are enduring because they appealed to what T. S. Eliot called “the permanent things—" the eternal verities about human nature, moral order, and just society. Their best work compels us to ponder deeply the questions concerning the meaning of our human existence.
Xu, Xiang, "The Champion of "The Permanent Things:" The Imaginative Conservatism of Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, and Richard Weaver" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2600.