A Review of Weaver’s Famous Text

Ideas Have Consequences
by Richard M. Weaver
University of Chicago, 203 pages, $18

While written by one of the best known and well-respected conservative thinkers, Ideas Have Consequences actually has many arguments easily grasped by those who may not feel ready to dive straight into rigorous, academic texts. I can’t deceive you; Richard Weaver’s discussion of truth, reason, rationality, individuality, and sentiment is quite complex. Though if you need some convincing to read this famous, skillfully written work—ever-important to the conservative worldview—you’ll certainly find it in some of the topics within.

Weaver shares his thoughts on Jazz, on journalism, on the “the spoiled-child psychology,” on property rights, on literature and poetry, on egotism, and on art. You’ll encounter some fairly nuanced but very interesting analyses of the importance of definition and word choice. There’s a touch of Plato and Aristotle on the surface, and a lot more underneath if you’re willing to do some extra thinking. That’s sure to entice the philosophy enthusiast. If I have convinced you, I leave you with this final thought. Take just one line from the first chapter: “If the disposition is wrong, reason increases maleficence; if it is right, reason orders and furthers the good.” A careful consideration of that statement alone enables you to participate in countless discussions with other interested students of conservatism. Give it a read.