2016 Baron Award Presentation
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr.
Presentation by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
Charlotte, North Carolina
April 2, 2016
First, a word about “The Baron” and who he was.
“The Baron” was John Von Kannon. He was our friend, colleague and mentor. John Von Kannon was an early member of our Philadelphia Society.
Before that, and while still an undergraduate at the University of Indiana, he was the founding publisher of the American Spectator.
He served for more than 30 years as a Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, other than a brief escapade when he and Bob Russell were partners in their firm in Chicago.
The Baron was so special to all of us because of his commitment to the people and the institutions of the conservative movement.
He passed last fall, and his passing left a real void in all of our lives.
The Baron Award has been established by a generous donor who is a member of our Society.
The terms of the Baron Award are that it shall be given annually to that member of The Philadelphia Society who most faithfully exemplifies, in word and deed, the good fellowship, personal loyalty, intellectual integrity, and moral courage of our movement.
I am pleased to present the inaugural Baron Award to Jameson Campaigne, a charter member of The Philadelphia Society.
There are fewer than 15 individuals still listed on our Society’s membership role as “Charter Members.” Charter members are defined as those who were “present at the creation:” that is, they were invited to membership in the first year of our Society’s history. Today, of the 250 original members, only 15 are, as G. K. Chesterton said, “still walking around.”
Of those 15, almost all have served on the Society’s Board of Trustees. And all of them have proven their loyalty to the principles of ordered liberty and the free society that we share.
Jim Campaigne has served on our Society’s Board of Trustees on three separate occasions over the decades.
Before that, while an undergraduate at Williams College, he was a founding member of the ISI conservative club. He was at Sharon when the conservative movement started Young Americans for Freedom at the Buckley Estate.
A volunteer for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign, and for Ronald Reagan’s early campaigns, Jim tried his hand at engagement in conservative political campaigns. Notably, he was key to electing our late member, Dr. Phil Crane (Hillsdale class of 1953), into the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois.
Jim has served as the Secretary of the American Conservative Union for more than twenty years, and has been a lead participant in virtually every CPAC since its inception.
But Jim’s primary contribution to the conservative movement has been as a friend, advisor and publisher to so many of us. I’ve personally worked with him on a couple dozen projects that have produced hundreds of thousands of paperbacks (on several occasions, back in the 1970s, one of our paperbacks had 28 different covers and 28 different forwards, with a total press run of about 200,000!).
He also published many distinguished hardback books. Alas, the latter category includes one of my own books, whose press run was closer to 200 than to the 200,000 I mentioned.
Today, in addition to his book publishing, Jim keeps in touch with hundreds of us via his daily emails on political issues and public policy questions.
He has encouraged many of us to cross the bridge from thought to action, matching principle with participation.
Be forewarned: neither back then nor now, do not call Jameson Campaigne during normal business hours. He’s a “night person” whose normal business hours are from midnight to 7 am. For me, it’s like having to call someone in Taiwan or Korea, so, if you want to talk with Campaigne, you just get used to it!
When I was thinking through these remarks about Jim Campaigne, I remembered what was said about Albert Jay Nock: Nock has “a real place in a select gallery of American nonconformists whose legacy is their ability to irritate men into thought.”
That really describes our friend Jameson! He really does irritate us into thought.
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr., on behalf of the members, the officers and the Board of The Philadelphia Society, it’s my great pleasure to present to you the very first “Baron Award.”
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Beginning this year, members of The Philadelphia Society may submit nominations for The Baron Award in the form of a letter that fully explains the merits of the candidate proposed. The deadline for nominations each year will be December 31. The selection committee will be comprised of Ed Feulner, Robert Russell, and the Executive Director of the Society.