2013 Symposium
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation 10th Anniversary

In 2013, Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation celebrated a decade of the Bradley Prizes.  To mark the occasion, Bradley asked previous prize winners to gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss the question "Are We Freer Than We Were Ten Years Ago?"  They were asked:   Are we fulfilling the Foundation's mission to preserve and defend the tradition of free, representative government and private enterprise that enabled America and, indeed, the West to flourish economically and intellectually?  What has changed during the past 10 years, and what will the next 10 years bring?

Economic freedom

One panel answered these questions in the context of addressing whether economic opportunity is at risk.  The Bradley brothers believed that their commercial success could only have been possible within a system of democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles, and values that sustain and nurture it.  The panel was asked:  Are the conditions of economic opportunity still present today in America and around the world?  What can we do to cultivate those conditions?

This panel included:  Gary S. Becker, professor of economics and sociology at The University of Chicago; Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Arnold C. Harberger, professor of economics at the University of California-Los Angeles; Allan H. Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University; and John B. Taylor, the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University.  It was moderated by Clint Bolick, director of the Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.

Political culture

A second panel address whether our political culture is undermining freedom.  The Bradley brothers understood that freedom requires a political culture that is not only friendly to individual enterprise, but that also nurtures critical commitments like personal responsibility, moral obligation, and civic engagement.  The panel was asked:  Is our culture reinforcing or undermining those commitments today, and what might we do about it?

It included: Michael Barone, senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner; Ward Connerly, founder and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute; Heather Mac Donald, the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research; William H. "Chip" Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice; Bradley A. Smith, the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School; Stephan Thernstrom, the Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University; and Robert L. Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.   It was moderated by Leon R. Kass, who holds the Madden-Jewett Chair at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Promoting the idea of freedom

During a luncheon address, national journalist and commentator Charles Krauthammer spoke about promoting the idea of freedom.  The preservation of freedom requires not only certain economic and cultural conditions, but also thoughtful scholars, journalists, and other shapers of public opinion who understand the demands of liberty and are able to come to its defense.  The Bradley Prizes were designed to celebrate and recognize those who were best at this. Krauthammer discussed whether opinion leaders and intellectual elites in the West are becoming more or less friendly to freedom, and what sorts of Bradley Prize recipients should be recognized in the future to move American political thought in a positive direction.

Responses were offered by Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard.