2007 Symposium

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 Wilfred McClay, John McWhorter, and Fr. Richard John NeuhausMcClay 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 Bradley Prize recipients Stephan Thernstrom of Harvard University and James Q. Wilson of Pepperdine University; Institute for American Values (IAV) president and the author of Encounter Books' The Future of Marriage David Blankenhorn; Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) chairman Linda Chavez, 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 Amy Kass.

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.

A video of the morning's proceedings is available online, as is a transcript.