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A New Step Forward for Modern Age

State of the Union: Russell Kirk’s brainchild joins the ranks of online conservative publications under the leadership of Dan McCarthy.

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Modern Age is furthering the vision of its founder, the late Russell Kirk, by making a new foray into the digital world this fall. Under the helm of Dan McCarthy, its current editor, the journal has refurbished its website under the aegis of its parent organization, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). To celebrate this step, ISI hosted an in-person debate in Washington, D.C., on October 31, seeking to mimic the insightful give-and-take that takes place in the pages of Modern Age, “the forum for stimulating debate and discussion of the most important ideas of concern to conservatives of all stripes.”

The event was moderated by McCarthy himself. His two guests were Henry Olsen, the Washington Post columnist, and Donald Devine, a senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies. The questions at hand: Is Reagan’s brand of conservatism fundamentally libertarian or populist? Was he a champion of the working class, and should conservatives apply his example today? Olsen argued that Reagan was more of a populist than people realize; Devine contended that Reagan’s preference for federalist solutions was fundamentally libertarian. Both interlocutors were armed to the teeth with supporting quotations and articles, bringing the idea of “zombie Reaganism” to life in that short hour.


And that is what is so special about Modern Age itself. Like TAC, it is designed to make readers think critically about conservatism’s place in today’s changing world, and gives license to its writers to share their ideas professionally and enthusiastically.