Conservatives are guided by prudence. So taught Russell Kirk (1918–1994), one of the founding fathers of American conservatism. If the tradition of prudential politics has fallen on hard times, its comeback might well begin in the pages of this wise book. An understanding of prudence as practical wisdom, the capacity of choosing the right means to attain worthy ends, is much needed in our time. It is the virtue most associated with the statesman.
Distinguishing political prudence from ideology, Kirk examines ten principles, events, books, and thinkers that have shaped the conservative mind and heart. The final chapter examines the shortcomings of democracy throughout the world and the need for representative government conducted by temperate and thoughtful men and women. In an eloquent epilogue, Kirk calls the rising generation to the defense of order—both the moral order and the social order, the order of the soul and the order of society—against the enemies of justice, freedom, and a high culture.
Reflecting decades of learning and practical experience, this lucid book is Kirk’s bequest to the young men and women of today, an instruction manual for redeeming the time.
(See review below)