It is an immense privilege to greet you as President of The Philadelphia Society.
Why Philadelphia? Why a Society? Stan Evans reminds us in The Theme is Freedom, “Virtually every doctrine, value, institutional development, and painful lesson gleaned through all the centuries since Magna Carta converged on the Statehouse in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787.”
Frank Meyer asserted at our 1965 meeting that contemporary “American Conservatism is the heir of Western Civilization.” Russell Kirk taught us that the wisdom of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome and London annealed in Philadelphia as first the Declaration of Independence and then the Constitution of the United States of America took shape.
Evans, Meyer, and Kirk did not always agree. They famously disagreed. Yet they agreed sufficiently on the importance of our cultural heritage and constitutional framework to belong to a club where they could come together and discuss and debate the essence of what it means to be free and to pursue virtue, truth and beauty. That is why they remained active in The Philadelphia Society throughout their lives and remained committed to our mission to search for truth and discover new, compelling arguments that can make America freer and more virtuous.
Our next two meetings will seek to renew our own commitment to this mission. The 2018 Fall Meeting—What is Conservatism?—will be held September 21-22 in Fort Worth at the historic Hotel Texas (now owned by Hilton). In the spring of 2019 (March 29-31) we will celebrate the Society’s 55th anniversary with a return to Chicago’s Renaissance Hotel to ponder and explore The Future of Conservatism.
Following in the immediate footsteps of presidents Alex Chafuen, Larry Arnn, Ingrid Gregg, and Ed Feulner who distinguished themselves in the execution of their duties is a daunting task. More frightening still is to be succeeded by scholars the likes of Sam Gregg and Bill McClay. Needless to say, I will take my responsibilities to you seriously and do my utmost to not disappoint you, my faithful friends and Western Civilization’s essential remnant.