The Diversity of Ideas

I was fortunate enough to start off my weekend in Washington D.C. with The Heritage Foundation. 1200 members packed into the Washington Marriott Wardman Park for the 2010 President’s Club Meeting, which involved a series of talks and information sessions.

The Heritage Foundation is the strongest conservative public policy think tank in the world, and it has educated U.S. citizens and politicians for almost 40 years. The research and programs they provide are complete and extensive, and their website is a go-to for conservative journalists like myself and other Torch writers. Alec Moen covered Heritage’s event in October, when former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III spoke at the Hutton Hotel here in Nashville.

Highlights of the two day conference include:

– All attendees received a copy of Solutions for America, released earlier this year.
– Information was given about Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation that brings principled conservatism directly to Capitol Hill.
-Mary Katherine Ham spoke about what’s next after the election. She was hilarious!
-They announced the launching of, a Heritage site translated for Spanish speakers.
-The honorable and most deserving James L. Buckley, who has served the U.S. in all three branches of the federal government, received Heritage’s prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Award.

The final talk of the conference had the greatest impact on me. Kevin Kookogey, a Nashville Heritage supporter and mentor to conservative Vanderbilt students, spoke about his new program, Linchpins of Liberty. He works endlessly to educate students, teaching them about conservative principles that are often ignored in classrooms. He stressed the importance of “challenging the imagination of the rising generation.”

This was so refreshing for me to hear, because while Vanderbilt certainly isn’t the worst campus for a conservative, the community here does as much as it can to quiet those who don’t follow a liberal mindset. Kookogey defined college campuses perfectly in saying that “the idea of diversity is celebrated, but the diversity of ideas is not.”

This couldn’t be more true. After exams and as we settle down with our families during Christmas break, maybe we should reflect on how we can change this about our campus. America’s history seems to have been forgotten here, so it’s our job to remind our fellow students that it exists and that it must be respected.

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