On the weekend of October 13-14, I attended the Philadelphia Society’s regional meeting in Pittsburgh. I was there with about 5 other colleagues from ISI – all other young staffers. The old guard (Mark Henrie, Jeff Nelson, John Vella, Jeremy Beer, Chad Kifer) decided to skip out on this one it seems. But it was great to get the experience of going. This was now my third “Philly Soc” meeting.
The Philadelphia Society was co-founded in 1964 by Russell Kirk and other prominent conservatives. Some have described it as “ISI after college”. Not a bad description. The meetings are very academic in nature. Papers are presented and topics are discussed that may not be able to be presented elsewhere given the current state of the university. The theme of this meeting was on “The Contested Roots of American Liberty.” It focused, for the most part, on our British heritage and how that heritage had an influence at the time of the founding and beyond. Religion was also discussed to a great degree.
Philly Soc meetings are also great opportunities to “network” and simply to meet other very interesting people… and believe me, I met some (for better or worse). But, it’s always interesting. They are serious conservatives discussing serious contemporary issues and looking back at history for guidance. The weekend was fun, but by the end of it, I sure was exhausted. And, even though the conference ended Saturday night with M. Stanton Evans presiding as the emcee, my travels were not over. I still had two more schools to visit, but this time, I had a travel partner – my colleague and friend, Margaret Perry. Two Catholics would visit two very Catholic schools.