The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 2, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
The astonishing political campaign of 2016 involved much debate about whether Donald Trump is a conservative. He was not always facile with the lingo of conservatism, and he pointed out once that he was seeking the nomination of the Republican, not the conservative party. Yet there is a lot we can learn from him about conservatism.
What is conservatism? It is a derivative term: it refers to something outside itself. We cannot conserve the present or the future, and the past being full of contradiction, we cannot conserve it entire. In the past one finds heroism and villainy; justice and injustice; freedom and slavery. Things in the past are like things in the present: they must be judged. Conservative people know this if they have any sense.
What then makes them conservative?
Hillsdale College, 9/21/2010
President and Mrs. Arnn, Mr. John Cervini, Mr. David Bobb, Elliot Gaiser, College Republicans and each and every one of the faculty and students of Hillsdale College here today.… As I am sure you know, honor is what allows us to do what is right despite the cost. Even greater honor is required to do what is right in the face of superior power. And the greatest honor is to stand strong even if it means standing alone.
From IMPRIMIS, December Issue, by Dr. Larry P. Arnn, (President, Hillsdale College)
We have had a wave election. For those of a conservative disposition, it is a satisfying wave. According to Michael Barone, speaking recently here at Hillsdale’s Kirby Center, this wave is like several recent wave elections in its magnitude and decisiveness. There was a wave in favor of the Republicans in 1980 and again in 1994. There was a wave in favor of the Democrats in 2006 and again in 2008. There was a wave for the Republicans in 2010. There was a stalemate in 2012. Now there is a Republican wave in 2014. Looked at one way, these waves appear more like tides, ebbing and flowing.
From Hillsdale College, by Brian T. Kennedy, President, The Claremont Institute –
Harold Rood, a professor of international relations at Claremont McKenna College who died in 2011, was not as well known as he was influential. A soldier in Patton’s army in World War II, he taught his students that war is permanent to the human condition, and that in war it is better to win, for no one ever had to accommodate a loser. America will always have enemies, he told them, and those enemies will forever be planning and expending resources to place themselves in a position to defeat us. It would be nice if it was otherwise, he was fond of saying, but it is not otherwise. It is the way the world works.
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Hillsdale College, 159th Commencement
About the Speaker:
Mark Helprin was born in 1947 and raised in the British West Indies. He attended Harvard College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. After earning his degrees from Harvard, he did postgraduate work at the University of Oxford, Princeton University, and Columbia University. He also served in the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli Infantry, and the Israeli Air Force. Continue reading →
Larry P. Arnn, the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute, an education and research organization based in Southern California. In 1996, he was the founding chairman of the California Civil Rights Initiative, the voter-approved ballot initiative that prohibited racial preferences in state employment, education, and contracting. He sits on the board of directors of several organizations, including the Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education.
The following is largely adapted from remarks delivered on September 17, 2010, at the dedication of Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. Continue reading →