McDonald, W. Wesley 1946-

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McDonald, W. Wesley 1946-


Born June 11, 1946, in Baltimore, MD; son of William E. (in real estate sales) and Marie Christine (a secretary) McDonald; married Pamela G. Miller, 1981 (marriage ended November 6, 1992); married Alice J. Baumgart (a professor of nursing), August 3, 1996. Ethnicity: "Caucasian American." Education: Towson University, B.A., 1968; Bowling Green State University, M.A., 1969; Catholic University of America, Ph.D., 1982. Politics: Republican. Religion: Methodist. Hobbies and other interests: American and British history, Civil War history, Scottish heritage, travel, classical music, West Highland terriers, computers.


Home—Elizabethtown, PA. Office—Department of Political Science, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. E-mail[email protected]


University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, adjunct professor, 1973-79; research assistant to Dr. Russell Kirk, Mecosta, MI, 1979-80; Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, professor of political science, 1980—. University College/University of Maryland, College, Park, stationed in Keflavik, Iceland and the Lajes Air Force Base, Azores, Portugal, 1973; Heritage Foundation, researcher, 1978-79.


American Political Science Association, Pennsylvania Political Science Association, Facquier County Historical Society, Philadelphia Society, Elizabethtown Historical Society, Clan Donald Society.


Fellow, Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation, 1980; paper of the year award, Pennsylvania Political Science Association, 1983, for "Reason, Natural Law, and the Moral Imagination in the Thought of Russell Kirk"; fellow, Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, 2001.


Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including World and I, Modern Age, and American Conservative.


W. Wesley McDonald told CA: "My primary purpose for writing Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology was to explicate the philosophical basis of Kirk's political and social thought. Too often admirers of this work had used his ideas to promote agendas that were foreign to his thought. Throughout his long and varied career, Kirk consistently favored minimal government, deference toward traditional wisdom, and prudent isolationism. Yet I was frequently startled to see him quoted to support activist foreign policies and expansive social programs. My hope is that my book will correct these misperceptions and lead to an accurate appreciation of Kirk's teachings.

"My interest in conservative politics and thought began in 1964 with the Republican presidential bid of Senator Barry Goldwater. Following his defeat, I began to study the works of such thinkers as Edmund Burke, John C. Calhoun, William F. Buckley, Jr., Will Herberg, and, of course, Russell Kirk, to deepen my understanding of the Anglo-American conservative intellectual tradition.

"By far the greatest influence on my life and work has been Russell Kirk. When I was a college freshman, a fellow student recommended that I read his magisterial work, The Conservative Mind. Thereafter I devoured nearly all he wrote, including his monthly columns, 'From the Academy,' published in the National Review and his weekly newspaper column. I first met Kirk when my undergraduate college invited him to speak. During the 1970s he employed me at his library in Mecosta, Michigan, to assist him on several books, most especially The Portable Conservative Reader.

"My work on Kirk led me to other authors and thinkers who helped to shape my thinking and the direction of my research; for example, Orestes Brownson, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, among others. More recently, my dissertation advisor Dr. Claes Ryn of the Catholic University of America has guided my intellectual development. Dr. Paul Gottfried of Elizabethtown College has helped me to understand better the philosophical differences between the various contemporary schools of conservative thought."



American Conservative, July 4, 2005, Peter J. Stanlis, review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. 34.

Choice, November, 2004, P. Kriese, review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. 562.

Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2004, Scott McLemee, review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. A18.

Chronicles of Culture, August 20, 2004, Samuel Francis, review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. 34.

Modern Age, fall, 2005, James E. Person, Jr., review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. 344.

National Review, May 31, 2004, Kevin Holtsberry, review of Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, p. 48.

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McDonald, W. Wesley 1946-

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