In the pages of the once-respectable New Republic, Alan Wolfe has written a scurrilous attack on Russell Kirk in the guise of a review of the recently published collection entitled The Essential Russell Kirk. The review is noteworthy not for its ugliness or completely unsupportable accusations—Kirk, for Wolfe, was provincial, unoriginal, nasty, and of questionable character—nor for its obvious envy of a man whose worth and work far exceed Wolfe’s own, but rather for its desperation. Liberalism is dead, as even its standard bearers at the New Republic seem to realize, and they are left with sputtering at the continued influence of a man whom they argue is irrelevant. For a spirited defense of Kirk and exposure of Wolfe’s attacks, we refer you to National Review Online, which published a symposium on Russell Kirk.
The current issue shows Kirk’s influence on our understanding of the civil social order. James Seaton critically examines the merits of Jeffrey Hart’s conservatism, and Adam A. J. Deville and Wesley McDonald cast perceptive eyes on the nature of education. In addition, we have reviews of recent books on Pakistan and Latin America. Finally, we feature one of Kirk’s few essays in art criticism, a penetrating look at the work of Renee Radell, whose pictures recently hung in a New York show, and whose work is a stunning reaffirmation of the enduring themes of great art. We commend it to you.