Russell Kirk (1918–1994) was a leading American theorist of the mid-twentieth-century conservative revival. His book The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana (1953) was a spirited defense of traditional or “Burkean” conservatism. Kirk was also a founding editor of the influential conservative magazine National Review (1955–). The following essay from Kirk’s The Politics of Prudence (1993) provides a succinct summary of the leading principles and precepts of classical or traditional conservatism.