What is the condition of our national character or identity? (video misses approximately the first thirty minutes of the event)
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.
Who are we today?
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.
What can we do to halt or reverse corrosive trends? What in particular can philanthropy contribute to this effort?- Hudson Institute
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006.
In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made "Submission," a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
David Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a private, nonpartisan organization devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage and family life and the sources of competence, character, and citizenship in the United States.
Linda Chavez is Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a non-profit public policy research organization in Sterling, Virginia.
She also writes a weekly syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country, is a political analyst for FOX News Channel, and hosts a nationally syndicated daily radio show on Liberty Broadcasting.
Chavez authored Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation (Basic Books, 1991); published her memoir, An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal (Basic Books, 2002); and entitled her latest book Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics (Crown Books, 2004).
Chavez has held a number of appointed positions, among them Chairman, National Commission on Migrant Education (1988-1992); White House Director of Public Liaison (1985); Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1983-1985).
Ross Douthat is an associate editor at The Atlantic and the author of Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (Hyperion, 2005), and The Party of Sam's Club, with Reihan Salam, which is forthcoming in 2008 from Doubleday.
He is the film critic for National Review, and he writes frequently on domestic policy, national politics, pop culture and religion.
Amy Kass is an award-winning teacher of classic texts in the College of the University of Chicago, where she serves as Senior Lecturer in the Humanities.
Beyond the academy, using similar literary materials, she has for many years directed nationwide seminars on civic leadership and philanthropic practice, beginning with the "Tocqueville Seminars on Civic Leadership" at the University of Chicago, and, most recently, in the "Dialogues on Civic Philanthropy" at the Hudson Institute, where she is also a senior fellow.
Author of numerous articles and books on cultural, philanthropic, and related topics, including The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose and (with Leon Kass) Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying, she currently works with the philanthropic community - donors, foundation and non-profit leaders, scholars and trustees - to help develop more responsible, responsive, and civic-spirited philanthropy.
Yuval Levin is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). An expert in domestic policy, science and technology policy, and bioethics, he also serves as director of EPPC's Bioethics and American Democracy Program and senior editor of The New Atlantis magazine.
He has served as associate director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Executive Director of the President's Council on Bioethics. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, The Public Interest, and others, and he is the author of Tyranny of Reason: The Origins and Consequences of the Social Scientific Outlook.
Senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and weekly columnist for the New York Sun, John McWhorter earned his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and went on to teach at Cornell University and UC Berkeley. His academic specialty is language change and language contact.
He is the author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, on how the world's languages arise, change, and mix, and Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care.
Father Richard John Neuhaus
Richard John Neuhaus is president of The Institute on Religion and Public Life, a nonpartisan
interreligious research and education institute in New York City, and serves as editor-in-chief of the Institute's publication, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life.
As a Lutheran clergyman, he was for seventeen years senior pastor of a low-income Black parish in Brooklyn, New York. He has played a leadership role in organizations dealing with civil rights, international justice, and ecumenism, and has held presidential appointments in the Carter, Reagan, and first Bush administrations.
Neuhaus' work has been the subject of feature articles in popular and scholarly publications both here and abroad, and he has been the recipient of numerous honors from universities and other institutions, including the John Paul II Award for Religious Freedom.
John O'Sullivan is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. He is also editor-at-large of National Review where he served as editor-in-chief for nine years. He was editor of the distinguished foreign policy quarterly, the National Interest, from 2003 to 2005 and editor-in-chief of United Press International from 2000 to 2003.
From 1998 to 2000 he was an editorial consultant to Hollinger International Inc. and a leading member of the team that created the National Post, the first national newspaper in Canada that reached a circulation of more than 350,000 within a few months of its launch.
A recipient of the 2007 Bradley Prize, Stephan Thernstrom is the Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University where he teaches American social history. His most recent book, co-authored with Abigail Thernstrom, is America in Black and White: One Nation. Indivisible.
He also has written widely in periodicals for general audiences, including The New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, The Public Interest, Commentary, Dissent, Partisan Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
James Q. Wilson
From 1961 to 1987, James Q. Wilson taught political science at Harvard University, where he was the Shattuck Professor of Government. From 1985 until 1997 he was the James Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy at UCLA.
Today, he is the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. He is the author or coauthor of fifteen books, the most recent of which is The Marriage Problem (HarperCollins, 2002).