In this week’s feature, we publish remarks from our 2018 Claremont Institute Fellowship retreat.
Claremont Institute Fellowships do not end after a few weeks one summer. One key part of our ongoing programming for alumni is our annual retreat.
This year we met October 27th at the City Tavern Club in Washington, D.C. for a half-day Master Class on the scholarship of Harry Jaffa (in commemoration of his 100th birthday on October 7). Reading materials were provided in advance to all registered attendees. A lively discussion of the American political Founding and Jaffa’s unique critique of conservatism ensued.
That evening we celebrated the life and work of Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Michael M. Uhlmann. After studying with Leo Strauss and Harry Jaffa, one of his greatest achievements was his defense of the electoral college, but his name can also be found in a last minute memo appended to Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech, or in Justice Clarence Thomas’s autobiography as the first person to ask Thomas if he had ever thought about becoming a judge, and countless other significant moments. As a teacher and mentor, he has given so much to so many of us; it was right and fitting that we honored him with the Salvatori Prize.
Before the main event of the evening began President and CEO of The Buckeye Institute Robert Alt gave a moving toast to the late Roger L. Beckett, former Executive Director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. Robert and Roger met each other through the 1998 Publius Fellowship.
11:30am-12:00pm Doors Open
12:00pm-1:00pm Alumni Retreat Welcome Lunch (Fellows Only)
- Welcome and Introductions–Ryan Williams
- Opening Remarks–William Voegeli
1:15pm-2:45pm “America as the Best Regime? Harry Jaffa on Conservatism and America” (Fellows Only)
This panel took up Jaffa’s seminal essay, “The American Founding as the Best Regime” as well as his critique of conservatism’s strands in “The Fall and Decline of the American Idea.” Both readings were provided in advance.
- RJ Pestritto, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute; Graduate Dean and Professor of Politics, Hillsdale College (moderator)
- James W. Ceaser, Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
- Edward J. Erler, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute; Professor of Political Science emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino
- Colleen Sheehan, Professor of Political Science Director, The Matthew J. Ryan Center Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
3:00pm-4:30pm “Conservatism After Trump” (Fellows Only)
This panel offered the outlines of a post-Trump conservatism, with reference to Jaffa’s call to his fellow conservatives to heed a more American conservatism, properly understood.
- Ryan Williams, President, Claremont Institute (moderator)
- Michael Anton, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute; Lecturer and Researcher, Hillsdale College
- David Azerrad, Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, Heritage Foundation
- Charles Kesler, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute; Editor, Claremont Review of Books; Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College
4:30pm-5:30pm Roundtable Discussion/ Debate among fellows (Fellows Only)
5:30pm-7:00pm Cocktail Reception (Fellows and Guests)
7:00pm-9:00pm Salvatori Dinner honoring the contributions of longtime friend and student of Harry V. Jaffa, Michael Uhlmann (Fellows and Guests)
- Robert Alt, “Remembering Roger L. Beckett“
- Ryan Williams, “In Honor of Michael M. Uhlmann“
- Michael Uhlmann,”The Struggle Ahead” (acceptance speech)
9:00pm-11:00pm Rooftop Cocktails & Cigars (Fellows and Guests)