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2017 Baron Award Presentation

2017 Baron Award Presentation

Daniel B. Hales, Esq.


Presentation by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
Dallas, Texas
April 1, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and guests: It’s always wonderful to be back at a meeting of The Philadelphia Society, particularly when our late vice president Ben Rogge said one of its main characteristics is that it very seldom meets in Philadelphia. 

It was, in fact, a reminder last night when Judge Edith Jones opened her remarks by commenting on hearing about The Philadelphia Society from early days in National Review because the late William Buckley was, of course, one of the true founders of The Philadelphia Society together with Commodore Don Lipsett, Milton Friedman, and several others. And it was Bill Buckley who put forth the first $100 to open the bank account for The Philadelphia Society.

I was the impecunious treasurer. Couldn’t afford it myself. And it was several years later when the then-secretary and I, as the treasurer, were talking about different things; and we decided that Lipsett really needed an assistant; and that gets us around to the Baron Award.

But first, before I get into that, let me just say, in retrospect, and what Larry Arnn said last evening about The Philadelphia Society being a chance for us to talk. And I think about it not only as a chance to talk but also as a chance to listen, to sort out differences that we have among us—libertarians, traditional conservatives, or whoever—about how we can find common ground, and about how particularly those of us who inhabit Disneyland-on-the-Potomac can come out into the real world and hear from real people and recharge our intellectual batteries and get away from some of the public policy nonsense that confronts us day in and day out.

So, these weekends with friends and colleagues at The Philadelphia Society are very special for all of us who come from Washington.

I’m here to present the Baron Award.

Those of you who had the great honor and pleasure of knowing John Von Kannon, who passed just two years ago from a recurring bout with cancer, you might recall last year that the very first Baron Award was presented to a charter member of this society, Jameson Campaigne.

The Baron Award was established by a long-time member of The Philadelphia Society. The purpose of the award is “Recognizing 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 beloved friend and colleague John Von Kannon, 1949-2015.”

So, we’ve done this once before, but it is fitting in an organization like The Philadelphia Society. It’s always better to have a second annual than to just have a first annual something. And so we thank Neal Freeman for having made possible the perennial gift of the Baron Award.

And it’s my pleasure today to present this second annual Baron Award to a gentleman who’s been with us from the very beginning. He’s a bit peripatetic because when I first looked for him to figure out where to recognize him, he was seated at the far table there. He is now seated at the far table over there.

He is our distinguished assistant secretary Daniel B. Hales. [applause]

Now, the exact history of how Daniel Hales became assistant secretary of The Philadelphia Society is lost in those foggy memories, or maybe it’s now called the Cloud. But it’s there somewhere.

But I do remember the conversation with Lipsett and Hales at a meeting, I think, in 1972 or 73. And Don and I had figured this out that Hales being an aspiring young lawyer, maybe we should ask him to help us as assistant secretary.

And we proposed it, and he immediately looked at me very seriously and said, “How much?”

And I said, “Oh, not very much. You’ll have to fill out some forms. You’ll have to help Don make we stay in good shape with the IRS and with the state and all that.”

He said, “I’m not talking about that!” He said, “I’m a lawyer! How much? How many billable hours?” [audience laughter].

Well, not many, I’m afraid, over the next 45 years that Dan Hales has been the assistant secretary of this society.

Dan Hales is really a remarkable guy.

Back in those days, he and Campaigne and I would spend the day after Thanksgiving every year ostensibly doing Christmas shopping for our spouses. In fact, these older and probably wiser men were inculcating in me a love for good bourbon in the form of old fashioneds at the University Club in Chicago before they convinced me that we had to go up to Marshall Fields where I was supposed to buy various nice things for my bride.

Still have my Marshall Field’s credit card somewhere. Marshall Fields, of course, long gone and replaced by—ah, not replaced by but succeeded by Macy’s.

Dan Hales, father of three, grandfather of six, godfather of—last count, I think—42 around the country.

Dan Hales, hunter, sportsman, fisherman.

As far as I know the only thing he’s ever successfully shot is a raccoon which adorns his head as he marches up and down LaSalle Street or Michigan Avenue in the dead of winter in Chicago. Much admiration from fellow Chicagoans, thinking that that’s a very practical way to be attired in Chicago.

That’s true. You might have seen pictures of him wearing his coonskin hat.

He is a good friend. He’s a strong believer in what we all believe in in this society.

He has helped us in innumerable ways, not only in terms of keeping those forms flowing and on time but in terms of meeting payrolls and helping find unlikely sources of funds for this organization over the past decades.

And he truly does represent those attributes that Neal Freeman so nicely described in terms of what the Baron Award is all about.

Dan Hales, will you come up, please, and receive the Baron Award for this year. [Audience applause]

Presentation of Award

EF: Are you surprised?

DH: Totally surprised! Totally! This is wonderful!

EF: Are you going to say something?

DH: Certainly!

EF: I knew you would.

Dan Hales’ Acceptance Remarks

Well, I’m totally shocked. Ed, thank you very much. By golly! I’ll be very brief because this society means so much to me.

You know, I’m a practicing lawyer, just a slog in Chicago, working month to month. And I come to The Philadelphia Society to get my intellectual capabilities renewed.

I don’t know of another organization that I’m a member of that does so much for me. It’s what I tried to pass on to our younger applicants and members yesterday when we met.

It’s not only a forum for receiving and thinking about the grand ideas, ideas that generated even before 1789 that led to the adoption of the Constitution in that year. But it’s a place of networking and meeting the best of the best in the libertarian, conservative freedom movement.

And I’m so honored to have served and been invited to be among academic giants, giants like Ed Feulner and others who have done something and built something in this country to save and give us the best chance we have to save a free society.

So I’m humbled, and I thank you profusely. And I never did say, “How much?” [audience laughter].

EF: Thanks, Daniel.

DH: Thank you.

EF: Thank you, Buddy. Oh yeah. Here’s the eagle. I knew it was here somewhere. It’s an eagle. The eagle has landed!

DH: Gee, that is beautiful! Golly! That will be on my desk forever! Thank you.

EF: Thanks, Buddy.

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