Friday, October 22, 2004

James Madison Center Conference on Religion & Public Life:

Well, I have to hand it to Robbie George…even though I strongly disagree with some of his policy positions (for instance, he, along with Gerard V. Bradley, co-authored the FMA), he, as director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, is doing a stellar job of putting on outstanding conferences, that are open to the public. And as someone who lives about a half-hour outside of Princeton (in fact, I teach at the local community college in the county that encompasses Princeton), I will attend these as time allows me to.

I attended today’s program and saw more public intellectuals in one day than I ever have before in my life. I missed the morning's lecture when Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. spoke. I walked in when Joseph H.H. Weiler was giving his presentation and sat right next to Philip Hamburger. Among others whom I heard speak or otherwise rubbed elbows with were Hadley Arkes, Gerard V. Bradley, Christopher Wolfe, Christopher L. Eisgruber, William A. Galston, George McKenna, and I even saw Cornell West and Marvin Olasky make cameo appearances. And of course, Father Richard John Neuhaus, whose book, The Naked Public Square, is sort of the launching point for this discussion, was right there in the audience (and he will give the keynote address tomorrow). But he has been strangely silent in terms of asking questions during the Q&A sessions (I’m too intimidated to throw my 2 cents in -- although I've been tempted).

I’ll give more on the substance of the sessions when I have more time.

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