The 2007 Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal Annual Symposium, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., asked "Who Are We Today? American Character and Identity in the 21st Century."
Multiculturalism, postmodernism, intolerant secular relativism, uncontrolled borders, a toxic culture, the rise of radical Islam, the decline in civic understanding and awareness, the growth of “transnational” beliefs and institutions -- these powerful trends seem to be tugging at and undermining our peculiar American sense of national character or identity.
American conservatism has always prided itself on its ability to define and defend our national sense of self. Liberalism, on the other hand, often seems less resistant -- sometimes even hospitable -- to corrosive contemporary trends.
So, the Bradley Symposium asked, what can we do to halt or reverse corrosive trends?
The Symposium's conversation was structured by three commissioned essays, each published in
National Review magazine. The essays were written by
John McWhorter, and
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.
McClay holds the SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in the Humanities at the
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is also a history professor.
McWhorter is a senior fellow of the
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Neuhaus is editor of
First Things magazine.
The Symposium's panelists were: McWhorter; Neuhaus; 2007
recipients Stephan Thernstrom of
Harvard University and
James Q. Wilson of
Institute for American Values (IAV) president and the author of
The Future of Marriage David Blankenhorn;
Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) chairman
The Atlantic magazine's Ross Douthat,
Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) fellow
Yuval Levin, National Review editor-at-large John O'Sullivan, and
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) resident fellow
Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Attended by 150 invited guests, it was moderated by
Hudson Institute senior fellow
The Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, as are AEI, CEO, Encounter, First Things, EPPC, and IAV, and the Manhattan Institute.
of the morning's proceedings is available online, as is a