Bradley Birzer

Recent blog posts by this author

My America, 1620

In 1620, an extraordinary thing happened. At a small landing on the extreme western edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a boat named “Mayflower” rested just off shore of a rock, soon to be named Plymouth. Lost, but not mortally or dreadfully so, roughly...

Why Rome's Republic Fell With Cicero

“With Cicero fell the republic.”—Russell Kirk As one of my grand Hillsdale colleagues, Dr. Stephen Smith, once said to me, there has never been a serious reform or renaissance in Western Civilization since the fall of the Roman Republic without...

How Livy Predicted the Fall of America

Can you imagine a Roman republican, reborn, walking the streets of Philadelphia in 1776? Or how about Lexington in 1775? Or perhaps Boston in 1765? What would he think of the American fondness for Rome and her republicanism? What would the Americans...

Is Free Will an Illusion?

A little more than a year ago, I had the chance to talk with an extremely intelligent and talented scholar, one who had justly won a number of major awards. As we began to talk rather civilly over coffee and tea about our understandings of...

What the Founding Fathers Got Wrong

By any objective standard, it would be difficult to claim that the Constitution really matters at any practical level in the United States. At a symbolic level, it still means a great deal. But, what a disconnect: that it matters so much in our...

Surprised (and Saddened) by Joy

Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman, ed. by Don W. King (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009) I’ve spent the better part of my career as a historian and a writer, reading personal letters, memoirs, and autobiographies. I count it among one...

J.R.R. Tolkien's Hope for the Modern World

Clyde Kilby, an English professor from Wheaton College, worked with Tolkien in the summer of 1966. “Tolkien was an Old Western Man who was staggered at the present direction of civilization,” Kilby recorded after a summer of conversations with...

Death By Government: The Primary Fact of the 20th Century

It was in June 1996 that I picked up a book that, for all intents and purposes, changed my life: R.J. Rummel’sDeath by Government (Transaction, 1994). After purchasing the book, I devoured it on a flight from Houston to...

Science Fiction: Why So Many Intellectuals Despise It

Do you want to rule a world? Blow apart a sun? Test a theory of community? Explore the very depths of depravity? End slavery and misery? Destroy all empires? It is possible. . . At least in the imagination. "The proper study of man is...

A Guide to Dystopian Literature

Preface For almost as long as I have had the privilege of reading, I have read dystopian literature. I started with Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but I soon rather quickly devoured Brave New World, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-...

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