I am honored to write to you as President of The Philadelphia Society for this next important year in the life of the Society – the commemoration of our sixtieth anniversary.
Since our Society was founded in 1964, we have become known as a place for thoughtful conservatives of all ages and stripes to come together to deepen our understanding of the intellectual foundations of a free and ordered society.
In the six decades since our founding, we have seen that as the debates over culture, economics, politics, and history become more heated and more divisive, the business of our society, the spirit that animates our meetings, and the networks formed between the thinkers and doers on the right have become even more valued.
The Society’s efforts to encourage young scholars and bring together academics, lawyers, executives, and practitioners of the political arts has built our reputation. Our discussions provide perspective and context. We are a place to sound the alarm, test ideas, debate, and build understanding. When we gather, we find encouragement, stimulation, and true fellowship.
It is in that spirit that we look ahead to our 2023 Fall Meeting and the celebration of our 60th Anniversary in Spring 2024.
Milton Friedman, a Distinguished and Founding Member of the Society, observed that turning the intellectual tide away from the romance with Marxism is the “essential element in strengthening and preserving a free society.” He argued that creating the intellectual foundations for a free and ordered society would require contributions not only from economists but also from “sociologists, historians, novelists, playwrights, and others.”
We have seen that the contest between the New Left and the increasingly politically-oriented conservative movement in the U.S. has left us with hollowed-out institutions and unmoored individuals.
In fact, the recent Wall Street Journal-NORC poll, headlined: “America’s Once-Defining Values Are in Retreat,” was an alarming confirmation of this unmooring. There are lots of reasons for this collapse, but members of this society are likely not surprised by the results of the survey. Our meetings have been filled with panels and late-night conversations exploring the causes.
Our 2023 Fall Meeting will dig into this topic with a focus on “Countering the Left’s Long March.” We will meet at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, September 22–23, and ask: Can we turn the tide in this long battle of ideas? Can we restore or re-imagine the institutions that will best protect and promote human flourishing?
Our 2024 Spring Meeting – “The Philadelphia Society at 60: A Movement United” – will be a celebration of the Society’s Diamond Jubilee. We’ll meet April 19-21 in Tampa, Florida, at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. We’ll return to the big question, “What is Conservatism?” and our program will reexamine topics and insights from our rich history. Our Sunday brunch will tackle, “The Way Forward.”
We plan to include fresh takes and a few of the younger voices of the Society, including some of the impressive fellows we have had at our meetings in recent years.
Please put these dates on your calendar and stay tuned for more information on how we plan to mark this special occasion!
I look forward to seeing you in Cleveland this fall and to celebrating our 60th with you in Tampa in 2024!