In the 1950s, American conservatives felt like they were on the ropes: faced with a liberal consensus at home and radical ideologies abroad, conservatives were fractured, broken, and, they thought, largely voiceless. According to historian Bradley J. Birzer, it took the publication of one book, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, to help change the tide. Hailed by political thinkers and writers on the right, such as William F. Buckley, the book set out certain first principles for postwar conservatives, chief among them belief in a transcendent order, trust in the rule of law and in the link between property and freedom, and, importantly, a conviction that change may not always be good. Kirk was a major thinker in the postwar era, but Birzer points out, his influence has waned. Anyone looking for prescriptions about the best tax policy, or defenses of someone like Trump, won’t find them in Kirk. Birzer discusses what this might mean for the future of the American Right, and whether conservatives in the coming years might take another look at Russell Kirk. This interview was recorded on October 18, 2016.