The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

November 17, 2018

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Libertarians: The Chirping Sectaries
Russell Kirk - 01/21/11

As can be seen from Jeffrey O. Nelson’s "Behind the Headlines" post from January 20, the topic of libertarianism is alive and of real and timely interest.

With this in mind, and to gain another vantage point, First Principles now turns to an essay from Russell Kirk titled “Libertarians: the Chirping Sectaries.” In this essay Kirk states:

Any discussion of the relationships between conservatives . . . and libertarians . . . naturally commences with an inquiry into what these disparate groups hold in common. These two bodies of opinion share a detestation of collectivism. They set their faces against the totalist state and the heavy hand of bureaucracy. That much is obvious enough.

What else do conservatives and libertarians profess in common? The answer to that question is simple: nothing. Nor will they ever have. To talk of forming a league or coalition between these two is like advocating a union of ice and fire.

To read Kirk’s full essay, click here.

For more from Russell Kirk, read The Essential Russell Kirk (ISI Books).

To learn more about Kirk and conservative thought, visit the ISI short course on American Conservative Thought .

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By This Author
Adams, John

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