Early in the book, Kirk points out that our “Constitution had been designed by its Framers, in 1787, to conserve the order and the justice and the freedom to which Americans had grown accustomed.” Thus Kirk takes issue with ideologues who seek to convince us that America was created ex nihilo through the drafting of an abstractly philosophical Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, and the War for Independence, must be seen as our Founders saw them: as defensive measures intended to protect Americans’ traditional and chartered rights from an overreaching English Parliament.That's just a taste of Frohnen's review -- read it all, and better yet, get a copy of Kirk's book and read it closely. There is much wisdom there. I first read Kirk's book on the Constitution when I was a law student, and it was the first book by Kirk that I ever read. I was immediately impressed by his wisdom and insight, and quickly devoured everything he had written that I could get my hands on. I would have loved to have met him and studied with him, but alas that was not to be. But he lives on in his writings, and thanks to them we can all be Kirk's students. And he is a fantastic teacher! Of history and literature and on the roots of our country's polity and order.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Russell Kirk's Rights and Duties
The University Bookman reprints a very fine review by Bruce Frohnen of Russell Kirk's book on the American Constitution, Rights and Duties: The Character of Our Constitution. As Frohnen notes,