The Russell Kirk Center is sad to hear of the death of Chuck Colson. He will mostly be remembered for the wonderful work he did with prisoners, giving their lives dignity and meaning.
After his time in prison, Colson devoted himself to cultural renewal, which he saw as essential in fending off the collapse of civilization. He saw our duty to be a people of conviction, to inflame the moral imagination of the West, as clear, no matter the outcome. Colson concludes his book, Against the Night, by asking, “Can the barbarians be resisted? I hope and believe so . . . but even if they are not, we must go forward in obedience, in hope, and in joy. For those who are ‘signed by the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark’. This is the challenge—and the promise—before us.”
Sunday, April 29, marks the eighteenth anniversary of the death of Russell Kirk. He would have agreed with the convictions Colson expressed, and to give them added emphasis may have invoked lines of T. S. Eliot: “There is only the fight to recover what has been lost. For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
(Photo: Charles W. Colson, William F. Buckley, and Annette Kirk at a 2003 White House celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Conservative Mind.)