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Richard M. Weaver

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Subject: Conservatism in the United States, Ideas Have Consequences, Harry V. Jaffa, Timeline of modern American conservatism, Libertarian conservatism
Collection: 1910 Births, 1963 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Historians, 20Th-Century American Writers, 20Th-Century Philosophers, Agrarian Theorists, American Academics, American Essayists, American Historians, American Literary Critics, American Political Philosophers, American Rhetoricians, American Social Sciences Writers, Auburn University Faculty, Conservatism in the United States, Harvard University Alumni, Louisiana State University Alumni, North Carolina State University Faculty, People from Asheville, North Carolina, People from Buncombe County, North Carolina, People from Weaverville, North Carolina, Rhetoric Theorists, Rhetoricians, Texas A&M University Faculty, University of Chicago Faculty, University of Kentucky Alumni, University of Paris Alumni, Vanderbilt University Alumni, Writers from North Carolina
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Richard M. Weaver

Richard M. Weaver

Richard Malcolm Weaver, Jr (March 3, 1910 – April 1, 1963) was an American scholar who taught English at the University of Chicago. He is primarily known as an intellectual historian, political philosopher and a mid-20th century conservative and as an authority on modern rhetoric. Weaver was briefly a socialist during his youth, a lapsed leftist intellectual (conservative by the time he was in graduate school), a teacher of composition, a Platonist philosopher, cultural critic, and a theorist of human nature and society. Described by biographer Fred Young as a "radical and original thinker,"[1] Richard Weaver's books Ideas Have Consequences and The Ethics of Rhetoric remain influential among conservative theorists and scholars of the American South. Weaver was also associated with the "New Conservatives," a group of scholars who in the 1940s and 1950s promoted traditionalist conservatism.


  • Life 1
  • Early influences 2
  • Weaver's Old South 3
  • The beginnings of a theory 4
  • Communitarian individualism 5
  • Anti-nominalism 6
  • Weaver on rhetoric 7
  • Weaver's influence 8
  • See also 9
  • Bibliography 10
    • Books by Weaver 10.1
    • Shorter writings cited in this entry 10.2
    • Shorter writings 10.3
    • Secondary literature 10.4
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Weaver was the eldest of four children born to a middle-class Southern family in Asheville, North Carolina. His father, Richard Sr., owned a livery stable. After the death of her husband during 1915, Carolyn Embry Weaver supported her children by working in her family's department store in her native Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington is the home of the University of Kentucky and of two private colleges.

Despite his family's straitened circumstances after the death of his father, Richard Jr. attended a private boarding school and the University of Kentucky. He earned an A.B in English during 1932. The teacher at Kentucky who most influenced him was Francis Galloway. After a year of graduate study at Kentucky, Weaver began a master's degree in English at Vanderbilt University. John Crowe Ransom supervised his thesis, titled The Revolt against Humanism, a critique of the humanism of Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More. Weaver then taught one year at Auburn University and three years at Texas A&M University.

During 1940, Weaver began a Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University (LSU), whose faculty included the rhetoricians and critics Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, and the conservative political philosopher Eric Voegelin. While at LSU, Weaver spent summers studying at Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and the Sorbonne. His Ph.D. was awarded during 1943 for a thesis, supervised first by Arlin Turner then by Cleanth Brooks, titled The Confederate South, 1865-1910: A Study in the Survival of a Mind and a Culture. It was published during 1968, posthumously, with the title The Southern Tradition at Bay.

After one year's teaching at North Carolina State University, Weaver joined the English department at the University of Chicago, where he spent the rest of his career,[2] and where his exceptional teaching earned him that university's Quantrell Award during 1949. During 1957, Weaver published the first article in the inaugural issue of Russell Kirk's Modern Age.

Weaver spent his academic summers in a house he purchased in his ancestral Weaverville, North Carolina, very near Asheville. His widowed mother resided there year-round. Weaver traveled between Chicago and Asheville by train. To connect himself with traditional modes of agrarian life, he insisted that the family vegetable garden in Weaverville be plowed by mule. Every August the Weaver family had a reunion which Richard regularly attended and not infrequently addressed.

Precocious and bookish from a very young age, Weaver grew up to become "one of the most well-educated intellectuals of his era".[3] Highly self-sufficient and independent, he has been described as "solitary and remote",[4] as a "shy little bulldog of a man".[5] Lacking close friends, and having few lifelong correspondents other than his Vanderbilt teacher and fellow Agrarian Donald Davidson, Weaver was able to concentrate on his scholarly activities.

During 1962, the Young Americans for Freedom gave Weaver an award for "service to education and the philosophy of a free society".[6] Shortly before his sudden death in Chicago, Weaver accepted an appointment at Vanderbilt University. According to his tombstone, Dr. Weaver died on April 3, 1963. During 1964, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute[7] created a graduate fellowship in his memory. In 1983, the Rockford Institute established the annual Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters.

Early influences

Weaver strongly believed in preserving and defending what he considered to be traditional Southern principles.[8] These principles, such as anti-consumerism and chivalry, were the basis of Weaver's teaching, writing, and speaking.

Having been raised with strong moral values, Weaver considered religion as the foundation for family and civilization.[9] His appreciation for religion is evident in speeches he gave early while an undergraduate at the Christian Endeavour Society, as well as in his later writings.[10]

Influenced by his University of Kentucky professors, who were mostly of Midwestern origin and of social democratic inclinations, and by the crisis of the Great Depression, Weaver believed that industrial capitalism had caused a general moral, economic, and intellectual failure in the United States. Hoping initially that socialism would afford an alternative to the prevailing industrialist culture,[11] he joined the Kentucky chapter of the American Socialist Party. During 1932 Weaver actively campaigned for Norman Thomas, the standard-bearer of that party. A few years later, he made a financial contribution to the Loyalist cause in the Spanish Civil War. Encounters with intellectuals in coming years, such as Dr. Tricia McMillan, would unsettle his early acceptance of socialism.

While completing a thesis for a master's degree in English at Vanderbilt University, Weaver discovered ideas related to the Southern Agrarians there.[12] Gradually he began a rejection of socialism and embrace of tradition. He admired and sought to emulate its leader, the "doctor of culture" John Crowe Ransom.[13]

The Agrarians wrote passionately about the traditional values of community and the Old South. During 1930, a number of Vanderbilt University faculty and their students, led by Ransom, wrote an Agrarian manifesto, titled I'll Take My Stand.[14] Weaver agreed with the group's suspicion of the post-Civil War industrialization of the South.[15] He found more congenial Agrarianism's focus on traditionalism and regional cultures than socialism's egalitarian "romanticizing" of the welfare state.[16] Weaver abandoned socialism for Agrarianism only gradually over a number of years; the thinking of his 1934 M.A. thesis was not Agrarian.[17]

Weaver's Old South

The Southern Tradition at Bay, the title under which Weaver's 1943 doctoral dissertation was published in 1968 after his death, surveyed the post-Henry W. Grady, whom he termed "Southern liberals."

Weaver identified four traditional Southern characteristics: "a feudal theory of society, a code of chivalry, the ancient concept of the gentleman, and a noncreedal faith".[18] According to him, the Southern feudal system was centered on the legitimate pride a family line derived from linking its name to a piece of land.[19] For Weaver, land ownership gave the individual a much needed "stability, responsibility, dignity, and sentiment".[20]

Yet in his Ideas Have Consequences, he downplayed the materialistic notion of ownership. He asserted that private property was "the last metaphysical right" of the individual.[21] Southern chivalry and gentlemen's behavior, on the other hand, emphasized a paternalistic personal honor, and decorum over competition and cleverness.[22] Weaver claimed that women preferred the romanticized soldier to the materialistic businessman.[23]

The noncreedal faith Weaver advocated (he was a non-practicing Protestant) grew out of what he termed the South's "older religiousness".[24] This "religion" emphasized a respect for tradition and nature, and for the Anglican/Episcopal church,[25] the established church in Virginia and south during the colonial era. Weaver agreed with the traditional Christian notion that external science and technology could not save man, born a sinner in need of redemption.[26]

Weaver believed that the South was the "last non-materialist civilization in the Western World".[27] Weaver came to advocate a revival of Southern traditions as the only cure for a commodity-based capitalism. He believed it was a way to combat the social degradation he witnessed while living in Chicago.

Weaver's ancestral region, Asheville, North Carolina, was not typical of the American South whose virtues he came to revere and extol. It is instead part of the Appalachian upland, settled mainly by persons of Scots-Irish ancestry and evangelical Presbyterian affiliation. Slavery was almost unknown there, because the soil and climate were not suited to cotton or any other plantation agriculture. Instead, the main economic activity was subsistence farming on small freeholds, with many families living in serious poverty. North Carolina's decision to secede from the Union during 1861 was far from unanimous, and many Appalachian men refused to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The westernmost Congressional district of North Carolina, which includes Asheville, has mostly voted Republican since the Civil War.

The beginnings of a theory

Weaver gradually came to see himself as the "cultural doctor of the South," despite making his career in Chicago.[28] More specifically, he sought to resist what he saw as America's growing barbarism by teaching his students of the correct way to write, use, and understand language, teaching that connected Weaver with Platonist ideals. Following the tradition of the Socratic dialogues, Weaver taught that misuse of language caused social corruption. That belief led him to criticize jazz as a medium that promoted "barbaric impulses" because he perceived the idiom as lacking form and rules.[29][30]

Weaver's study of American literature emphasized the past, such as the nineteenth century culture of New England and the South, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates.[31] Attempting to truly understand language, Weaver concentrated on a culture's fundamental beliefs; that is, beliefs that strengthened and educated citizens into a course of action.[32] By teaching and studying language, he endeavored to generate a healthier culture that would no longer use language as a tool of lies and persuasion in a "prostitution of words".[33] Moreover, in a capitalist society, applied science was the "sterile opposite" of what he saw as redemption – the "poetic and ethical vision of life".[34]

Weaver condemned modern media and modern journalism as tools for exploiting the passive viewer. Convinced that ideas, not machines, compelled humanity towards a better future, he gave words precedence over technology.[35] Influenced by the Agrarians' emphasis of poetry, he began writing poetry.[36] In a civilized society, poetry allowed one to express personal beliefs that science and technology could not overrule. In Weaver's words, "We can will our world".[37] That is, human beings – not mechanical or social forces – can make positive decisions through language that will change their existence.

Communitarian individualism

In a short speech delivered to the 1950 reunion of the Weaver clan, Weaver criticized urban life in Chicago as follows: "the more closely people are crowded together, the less they know one another".[38] In a comparative study of Randolph of Roanoke and Thoreau, Weaver defined "individualism" in two ways: 1) "studied withdrawal from society" (i.e. Thoreau) and 2) "political action at the social level" (i.e. Randolph).[39] Thoreau (according to Weaver) rejected society while Randolph embraced social bonds through politics.

Personally opposed to America's centralized political power, Weaver, like Randolph, preferred an individualism that included community.[40] "Community" here refers to a shared identity of values tied to a geographical and spatial location – in Weaver's case, the Old South. He concluded that individualism that is founded on community enabled a citizen "to know who he was and what he was about".[41] Without this intimate foundation, citizens seeking individualism would be unable to reach a true, personal identity. More importantly, he believed that people should grant priority to a living community and its well-being, not to individual fulfillment.[42]


In Ideas Have Consequences, Weaver analyzed William of Occam's 14th century notions of nominalist philosophy. In broad terms, nominalism is the idea that "universals are not real, only particulars".[43] Nominalism deprives people of a measure of universal truth, so that each man becomes his own "priest and ethics professor".[44] Weaver deplored this relativism, and believed that modern men were "moral idiots, ... incapable of distinguishing between better and worse".[45]

Weaver viewed America's moral degradation and turn toward commodity-culture as the unwitting consequences of its belief in nominalism. That is, a civilization that no longer believed in universal materialism.

Weaver's ideal society was that of the European Middle Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church gave to all an accurate picture of reality and truth.[48] Nominalism emerged in the late Middle Ages and quickly came to dominate Western thinking. More generally, Weaver felt that the shift from universal truth and transcendental order to individual opinion and industrialism adversely affected the moral health of Americans.

Nominalism also undermines the concept of hierarchy, which depends entirely on fundamental truths about people. Weaver, in contrast, believed that hierarchies are necessary. He argued that social, gender, and age-related equality actually undermine stability and order. Believing in "natural social groupings".[49] he claimed that it should be possible to sort people into suitable categories without the envy of equality. Using the hierarchical structure of a family as an example, he thought that family members accept various duties grounded in "sentiment" and "fraternity," not equality and rights.[50] Continuing in this direction, he claimed not to understand the feminist movement, which led women to abandon their stronger connection to nature and intuition for a superficial political and economic equality with men.[51]

Weaver maintained that egalitarianism only promoted "[s]uspicion, hostility, and lack of trust and loyalty".[52] Instead, he believed that there must be a center, a transcendent truth on which people could focus and structure their lives. Contrary to what nominalism would suggest, language can be pinned down, can serve as a foundation through which one can "find real meaning".[53] So, those who do not understand language can never find real meaning, which is inordinately tragic. In Weaver's words, "a world without generalization would be a world without knowledge".[54] Thus universals allow true knowledge.

Weaver on rhetoric

In The Ethics of Rhetoric, Weaver evaluates the ability of rhetoric to persuade. Similarly to ancient philosophers, Weaver found that language has the power to move people to do good, to do evil, or to do nothing at all.[55] In his defense of orthodoxy, Weaver set down a number of rhetorical principles. He grounded his definition of "noble rhetoric" in the work of Plato; such rhetoric aimed to improve intellect by presenting men with "better versions of themselves".[56] He also agreed with Plato's notions of the realities of transcendentals (recall Weaver's hostility to nominalism) and the connection between form and substance.[57] For instance, Weaver admired the connection between the forms of poetry and rhetoric. Like poetry, rhetoric relies on the connotation of words as well as their denotation. Good rhetoricians, he asserted, use poetic analogies to relate abstract ideas directly to the listeners.[58] Specifically emphasizing metaphor, he found that comparison should be an essential part of the rhetorical process.[59] However, arguments from definition—that is, from the very nature of things (justice, beauty, the nature of man) -- had an even higher ethical status, because they were grounded in essences rather than similarities. Arguments grounded in mere circumstance ("I have to quit school because I cannot afford the tuition") Weaver viewed as the least ethical, because they grant the immediate facts a higher status than principle. Finally, Weaver pointed out that arguments from authority are only as good as the authority itself.[60]

In Language is Sermonic, Weaver pointed to rhetoric as a presentation of values. Sermonic language seeks to persuade the listener, and is inherent in all communication. Indeed, the very choice to present arguments from definition instead of from consequence implies that one of the modes of reason carries greater value. He also considered rhetoric and the multiplicity of man. That is, he acknowledged that logic alone was not enough to persuade man, who is "a pathetic being, that is, a being feeling and suffering".[61] He felt that societies that placed great value on technology often became dehumanized. Like a machine relying purely on logic, the rhetorician was in danger of becoming "a thinking robot".[62]

Weaver divided the nature of man into four categories: rational, emotional, ethical, and religious.[63] Without considering these characteristics as a whole, rhetoricians cannot hope to persuade their listeners. Moreover, when motivating the listener to adopt attitudes and actions, rhetoricians must consider the uniqueness of each audience.[64] In other words, orators should acknowledge that each audience has different needs and responses, and must formulate their arguments accordingly. Weaver also divided "argumentation" into four categories: cause-effect, definition, consequences, and circumstances.[65] The rhetorician must decide which method of argument will best persuade a given audience.

In his The Ethics of Rhetoric, Weaver coined the phrases "god terms" and "devil terms".[66] "God terms" are words particular to a certain age and are vague, but have "inherent potency" in their meanings.[67] Such words include progress and freedom – words that seem impenetrable and automatically give a phrase positive meaning. In contrast, "devil terms" are the mirror image, and include words such as Communist and Un-American.[68] Rhetoric, Weaver argued, must employ such terminology only with care. Employing ethical rhetoric is the first step towards rejecting vague terminology with propagandistic value.[69] Upon hearing a "god" or "devil" term, Weaver suggested that a listener should "hold a dialectic with himself" to consider the intention behind such persuasive words.[70] He concluded that "a society's health or declension was mirrored in how it used language".[71] If a language is pure, so too will be those who employ it.

Weaver's influence

Some regard The Southern Tradition at Bay as Weaver's best work. Ideas Have Consequences is more widely known, thanks to its substantial influence on the "postwar intellectual Right".[72] The leading young conservative intellectuals of the era, including Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr., and Willmoore Kendall, praised the book for its critical insights.[73] Publisher Henry Regnery claims that the book gave the modern conservative movement a strong intellectual foundation.[74] Frank S. Meyer, a libertarian theorist of the 1960s – and former Communist Party USA member – publicly thanked Weaver for inspiring him to join the Right.[75]

For many liberals, Weaver was a misguided authoritarian. For many conservatives, he was a champion of tradition and liberty, with the emphasis on tradition. For Southerners, he was a refreshing defender of an "antimodern" South.[76] For others he was a historical revisionist.[77] His refutation of what Russell Kirk termed "ritualistic liberalism"[78] struck a chord with conservative intellectuals. Stemming from a tradition of "cultural pessimism",[79] his critique of nominalism, however startling, gave conservatives a new philosophical direction. His writing attacked the growing number of modern Americans denying conservative structure and moral uprightness, confronting them with empirical functionalism. During the 1980s, the emerging paleoconservatives adapted his vision of the Old South to express antimodernism.[80] Weaver has come to be seen as defining America's plight and as inspiring conservatives to find "the relationship between faith and reason for an age that does not know the meaning of faith".[81]

See also


Books by Weaver

Books in bold are still in print.

  • 1948. Ideas Have Consequences. Univ. of Chicago Press.
  • 1985 (1953). The Ethics of Rhetoric. Davis CA: Hermagoras Press.
  • 1967 (1957). Rhetoric and Composition, 2nd ed. of Composition: A Course in Reading and Writing. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • 1995 (1964). Visions of Order The Cultural Crisis of Our Time. Bryn Mawr PA: ISI Press.
  • 1965. Life without Prejudice and Other Essays. Chicago: Henry Regnery.
  • 1989 (1968). The Southern Tradition at Bay, Core, George, and Bradford, M.E., eds. Washington DC: Regnery Gateway.
  • 1970. Language is Sermonic: R. M. Weaver on the Nature of Rhetoric, Johannesen, R., Strickland, R., and Eubanks, R.T., eds. Louisiana State Univ. Press.
  • 1987. The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver, Curtis, G. M. III, and Thompson, James J. Jr., eds. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.

Shorter writings cited in this entry

  • Weaver, Richard M., "Address to Family Meeting," August 10, 1950, in Pearl M. Weaver,The Tribe of Jacob: The Descendants of the Reverend Jacob Weaver of Reems Creek, North Carolina, 1786-1868 and Elizabeth Siler Weaver. 114.
  • ------, 2001, "Language is Sermonic" from The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd ed. Bizzell, P. & B. Herzber, eds. Bedford Books: 1351-1360.

Shorter writings

In addition to his books, Weaver published 61 book reviews, 3 pamphlets with the ISI Press, and 35 articles, including 4 in the Georgia Review, 4 in Modern Age, 6 in National Review, and 4 in the Sewanee Review:

  • 1963, ""Two Types of American Individualism," Modern Age: 119-35.

Secondary literature

  • Drumm, Robert J. Richard M. Weaver's Approach to Criticism. A thesis In Communication Studies Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master OF Arts.
  • Duffy, Bernard K. and Martin Jacobi, 1993. The Politics of Rhetoric: Richard Weaver and the Conservative Tradition. Greenwood Press.
  • Johannesen, Richard L. ″Some Pedagogical Implications of Richard M. Weaver's Views on Rhetoric″. College Composition and Communication, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Oct., 1978), pp. 272–279.
  • Johannesen, Richard L., Rennard Strickland, and Ralph T. Eubanks, 1970. Richard M. Weaver on the Nature of Rhetoric: An Interpretation in Weaver, R. M., Language is Sermonic. Louisiana State University Press: 7-30.
  • Nash, George H., 1998, "The Influence of Ideas Have Consequences on the Conservative Intellectual Movement in America," in Smith (1998): 81-124.
  • Scotchie, Joseph, ed., 1995. The Vision of Richard Weaver. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers.
  • -------, 1997. Barbarians in the Saddle: An Intellectual Biography of Richard M. Weaver. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
  • Smith, Ted J. III et al., eds., 1998. Steps Toward Restoration: The Consequences of Richard Weaver's Ideas. Wilmington DL: Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
  • Toledano, Ben C., 1998. "The Ideas of Richard Weaver," in Smith (1998): 256-286.
  • Young, Fred Douglas, 1995. Richard Weaver: A Life of the Mind. University of Missouri Press.


  1. ^ Young 4
  2. ^ Young 3-4
  3. ^ Scotchie 4
  4. ^ Young 1
  5. ^ Nash 84
  6. ^ Scotchie x
  7. ^ Nash 82
  8. ^ Young 8
  9. ^ Young 21
  10. ^ Young 22
  11. ^ Young 3
  12. ^ Young 69
  13. ^ Young 5
  14. ^ Young 38
  15. ^ Young 47
  16. ^ Scotchie 12
  17. ^ Young 58
  18. ^ Young 78
  19. ^ Young 81
  20. ^ Scotchie 25
  21. ^ Nash 100
  22. ^ Young 83
  23. ^ Scotchie 36
  24. ^ Young 84
  25. ^ Young 84-85
  26. ^ Scotchie 21
  27. ^ Scotchie 17
  28. ^ Young 5
  29. ^ Scotchie 46
  30. ^ Groothuis, Douglas (2 July 2015). "Jazz and Politics". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  31. ^ Young 6
  32. ^ Young 9
  33. ^ Young 9
  34. ^ Young 62
  35. ^ Nash 96
  36. ^ Young 76
  37. ^ Nash 97
  38. ^ Address 114
  39. ^ Young 11
  40. ^ Young 12
  41. ^ Young 12
  42. ^ Scotchie 3
  43. ^ Young 107
  44. ^ Scotchie 5
  45. ^ Nash 89
  46. ^ Nash 89
  47. ^ Young 113
  48. ^ Nash 94
  49. ^ Young 112
  50. ^ Young 113
  51. ^ Young 123
  52. ^ Toledano 270
  53. ^ Young 122
  54. ^ Young 114
  55. ^ Young 129
  56. ^ Young 135
  57. ^ Johannesen 7
  58. ^ Young 132
  59. ^ Johannesen 23
  60. ^ Johannesen 27
  61. ^ Weaver 1352
  62. ^ Weaver 1353
  63. ^ Johannesen 13
  64. ^ (Weaver 1351
  65. ^ Johannesen 27
  66. ^ Young 147-49
  67. ^ Young 147
  68. ^ Weaver 222-23
  69. ^ Johannesen 27
  70. ^ Weaver 232
  71. ^ Young 151
  72. ^ Nash 87
  73. ^ Young 179
  74. ^ Nash 82
  75. ^ Nash 88
  76. ^ Nash 108
  77. ^ Bailey, Jeremy David (September 22, 2004). "Richard Weaver's untraditional case for federalism.". Publius. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  78. ^ Nash 87
  79. ^ Nash 92
  80. ^ Nash 109
  81. ^ Toledano 259

External links

Articles and Studies

  • "Agrarianism" by Ted J. Smith, III. Virginia Viewpoint (July 2002).
  • The consequences of Richard Weaver by Roger Kimball. The New Criterion, (September 2006).
  • ″The Critique of Modernity in the Work of Richard M. Weaver″ by Jeffrey B. Gayner. The Intercollegiate Review, (Spring 1979), pp. 97–104.
  • ″The Ethical Approach: the Literary Philosophy of Richard M. Weaver″ by James J. Kirschke. (9 pdfs)
  • How to Read Richard Weaver: Philosopher of "We the (Virtuous) People" by Willmoore Kendall, Jr. The Intercollegiate Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, (September 1965), pp. 77–86.
  • by Dr. Enrico PeppeIdeas Have ConsequencesRichard Weaver: (7 January 2004) No. 21 on Intellectual Conservative's Top 25 Philosophical and Ideological Conservative Books
  • Richard Weaver, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and The Philadelphia Society (4 pdfs with Internet links)
  • "Richard M. Weaver on Civilization, Ontology, and War" by Joseph Stromberg. (Feb. 27, 2001)
  • by Joe ScotchieIdeas Have ConsequencesRichard M. Weaver: Philosopher From Dixie. at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2001). Formerly on the Southern Events website.
  • by Joe ScotchieIdeas Have ConsequencesRichard M. Weaver: Philosopher From Dixie. . The version of this article.
  • Richard Weaver: An Appreciation by Frank S. Meyer. Modern Age, (Summer-Fall 1970), pp. 243–248.
  • ″Richard Weaver Revisited: Rhetoric Left, Right, and Middle″ by Roger Gilles. Published in Rhetoric Review, Vol. 15 (Fall 1996), pp. 128–141.
  • , Nov./Dec. 1998 issueTouchstone devoted to Richard Weaver's work.
  • "Weaver of Liberty" by Joseph Stromberg. (March 6, 2001) Review of the anthology In Defense of Tradition edited by Ted J. Smith, III (1945-2004). Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Bibliography and Works Overviews

  • Rhetoric | Richard M. Weaver by James M. Tallmon.
  • Richard M. Weaver PHILWEB Bibliographical Archive: Theortetical Resources Off- and On-line.

Biographical Overviews


  • Conservativism, Chronicles and Paleoconservatism at the Wayback Machine (archived February 14, 2004), formerly on the American Conservative Union Foundation website. Weaver is not mentioned at all despite the great debt philosophically the modern conservative movement owes him.
  • Richard M. Weaver at Note: This grave is NOT in the famous section of Findagrave.
  • Richard M. Weaver Fellowship.

Quotes from Richard M. Weaver

  • Ideas Have Consequences Quotes
  • A Rhetorician's Treasury of Richard M. Weaver.
  • Richard Weaver Quote at Stream of Consciousness.
  • Richard Weaver Quotes at


  • Gnostics of Education by Richard M Weaver (29:01 minutes) Worth watching despite the horrible, fake Southern accent.
  • "Richard Weaver: The Language of Conservatism" by David M. Whalen (June 2009)
  • Richard Weaver's Thoughts on Lost Causes (3:54 minutes) Excerpt from "Up from Liberalism” which first appeared in the Winter 1958-1959 issue (Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 21–32) of Modern Age. The passage read is on pp. 24, col. 2-25, col. 2. It is also reprinted in In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M. Weaver, 1929-1963 edited by Ted J. Smith, III (ISBN—Hard cover 978-0-86597-282-7 Paperback 978-0-86597-283-4). This essay is on pp. 33–50 and the passage in the video is on pp. 38–39. At 1:01 “debated with syllogism stepped …” should read “debated with syllogism and enthymeme stepped…” Enthymeme is a term from logic. It is a type of syllogism in which either the premise or the conclusion are not expressed.

Writings by Richard M. Weaver

  • Beginning of Ideas Have Consequences
  • "Up from Liberalism” (pdf) as it first appeared in the Winter 1958-1959 issue (Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 21–32) of Modern Age.
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