Celebrating the Conservative Mind at 70 in Washington, D.C.

On December 5, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Russell Kirk’s landmark work, The Conservative Mind, a book that gave the conservative movement in America both a name and an awareness of our cultural, intellectual, and moral patrimony.
More than 300 guests filled the historic grand ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., the space in which Ronald Reagan held his first inaugural ball and Russell Kirk himself spoke in 1981, for the first-ever Kirk Center event in Washington. A panel of young conservative thinkers, ably moderated by Michael Lucchese, a visiting scholar at Liberty Fund and a Krauthammer Fellow with The Tikvah Fund, gave thoughtful and personal talks drawing upon the book. The panelists included Elayne Allen, a doctoral student in political theory at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Christina Lambert, an English professor at Hillsdale College, and John R. Wood Jr. of Braver Angels. They each charted a way forward for a less ideological and more capacious American conservative vision.
What Kirk Center CEO Jeff Nelson described as a “family reunion” included many students and young professionals, members of Congress, former governors, and admirers of Russell Kirk and the Center from across generations. It reflected a true living tradition.
Unexpectedly, former Vice President Mike Pence dropped by to spend time with guests and delivered impromptu remarks on how Russell Kirk’s books continue to be essential for the intellectual formation of emerging conservative leaders. He noted that for thirty years he’s never gone on a vacation without taking a copy of Kirk’s Politics of Prudence with him.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this celebratory event, to our event sponsors, and to our splendid panelists who challenged and encouraged us to remain stalwart and hopeful.

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