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    Sunday, April 30, 2006

    An Introduction to American Conservatism

    On Saturday morning, we did the second of two events at the Signs of Life Bookstore in Lawrence. I helped to lead a session, once again held on the second floor art gallery, on "An Introduction to American Conservatism." Caleb Stegall of The New Pantagruel also helped lead the session with me.

    I gave the first lecture and led the first discussion on "The American Conservative Movement - the last 50 years." I basically used a model I saw Mark Henrie use, and distinguish three distinct traditions within the movement, categorizing them as the (1) libertarians/classical liberals, (2) traditionalists, and (3) anti-communists. I put F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom as the guiding philosophy for the first tradition, Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind and Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences for the second tradition, and Whittaker Chambers' Witness as an example of the third tradition. I traced the movement as being glued during most of this time by anti-communism and the Cold War.

    Caleb Stegall talked a lot more about the idea of "community". He actually wrote the entry on "community" for the most recent ISI Books title, American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia.

    About 15 people attended the session, half of which were students at th University of Kansas and the other half were either friends of Josh's or locals. This event was the major kick off of the new ISI chapter at the University of Kansas. Josh is really using the bookstore as a major venue where the group will have their meetings, and combine their experiences with this unique setting. Caleb Stegall is local to the Lawrence area, he was raised here and now practices law, but is very much involved in the intellectual conservative movement, most notably through his writings and through his emphasis on building community.

    I remarked to the students that this bookstore and this ISI chapter are surely building blocks for the sense of community they are building in Lawrence. The meeting lasted from about 9am-noon, and the rest of the day was spent just relaxing, reading, and taking in my final experiences of Kansas, at least for now. I have to put Lawrence, Kansas in the "top 10" places I have visited that I think would be worthy of living in. I don't really have a 1 through 10 list, but I'd put it up there with some of my other favorite places in the United States: San Diego, Jacksonville, Dallas, Annapolis (MD), Chapel Hill (NC) , Virginia Beach, among some others.

    Lawrence's "community" stands out though. It's not a terribly big city, but not terribly small, but it has a very "small town" feel, while still being "trendy". It's right in the heart of America, and there's only two downfalls to this area - there's not a beach within 1,000 miles and it's in the middle of tornado alley. Other than that, it's a great community with good people. You don't find too many places like this left.

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    A Friday to Remember

    On Friday, April 28, I had really nothing planned in particular. But sometimes unplanned days are the best of them all. I woke up early enough to catch a class. Yes, two years removed from college and I'm making it a point to wake up for a class. I know how odd that must sound. Josh and his wife had to head about 30 minutes towards Kansas City, so his friend Seth, a colleague at Signs of Life Bookstore accompanied me to a class they had been telling me about.

    The class is taught by a female English professor and the entire semester is on the works of C.S. Lewis. This professor has been teaching this class for years, and apparently it's one of the most popular classes on campus. Seth had sat in on this class before and when we walked in several other students said, "hey Seth." Apparently these students frequent Signs of Life bookstore because Seth is about my age and never graduated from college or attended KU. He and his wife are expecting their first child as well in the next few months.

    Anyway, the CS Lewis class was excellent. We spent about 50 minutes discussing a chapter from Lewis' The Abolition of Man. I had read this book about 2 years ago, and it is superb. This class discussion reminded me that I really should read it again, because after two years at ISI, I would probably get even more out of this book now.

    Once class was over, we went to meet an ISI Faculty Associate in the political science department. Apparently this professor gives lectures on Eric Voeglin and Russell Kirk, not just in class, but also at the Signs of Life bookstore! We got into some really interesting discussions for about 30 or 40 minutes and he told me that, based on some of my interests and some of my more recent ideas about this notion of "progress", I should definitely read some Voeglin. (note to self)

    Once this meeting was over, Seth and I headed to the student union so that I could buy myself a KU bumper stickers and postcard (my tradition for the past year when I visit campuses) and also so we could grab a bite to eat. My mind was being stimulated all day long as Seth and I got into great discussions which stemmed from the CS Lewis class to the meeting with the political science professor to our conversations on the ideas of Tom Wolfe's book about the current social status on college campuses, I Am Charlotte Simmons.

    Seth then took me over to see the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, which is on the KU campus. It's almost like a mini-presidential library for a guy who was never President (but perhaps should have been). When we walked in and started looking at the museum (which walks you through Dole's life), a man greeted us and told us he was the Director of the Institute. Somewhere along the line, Seth told him I was a "big fan of Bob Dole" and that I was in town representing the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. His mouth dropped. He said he was a member of ISI in the 1970s while a student at Vanderbilt University. We got to talking.

    Seth and I told him all about Signs of Life bookstore, the CS Lewis class and the political sciene professor. His response: "I've lived in Lawrence for several years now and I didn't know there were any other conservatives - you seem to have found them all in one day. " Yes, welcome to the world of the ISI missionary. Somehow I find the remants of conservatism and connect them. He told us all about the Dole Institute and said we could bring in ISI lectures and debates and use the setting of the building as a host site anytime. We sat down with him in his office for about 30 minutes and then spent nearly another hour touring the museum and learning more about Bob Dole's extraordinary life.

    After we left the KU campus, we stopped into 2 bookstores on Massachussetts Street in downtown Lawrence. The first was an anarchist bookstore (I forget the name, but it smelled). I think the smell made me queezy. Then we went over to another bookstore (I think it's called "Vagabonds"). It had lots of rare books and I found two to go home with. The first was a "first print edition" of Witness by Whittaker Chambers. WOW! Then, I found the 1899 Census of Cuba put together and printed by the US Military government in 1900. WOW! Altogether, I spent $32 between the two of them. Rare finds in Kansas, and these were things that suited my interests completely. Then again, I guess the whole day was a bunch of rare finds.

    I have to be completely in debt to Seth for spending his entire Friday with me and taking me around town. His generosity demonstrates the absolute kindness and friendliness of the people of Kansas.

    Later that evening, after dinner with Josh, Carol, and two of their friends, Josh and I drove about 30 minutes east to Overland Park to see Maggie Mosher. Maggie was a recipient of an ISI Simon Fellowship the year before and her and I had reacquainted briefly in Indianapolis. When I saw here there, I had remembered that she lived in Kansas and told her I'd be out there the next week. Josh, Maggie, and I spent several hours talking. Josh received an honorable mention in this year's Simon Fellowship award, so it was great to introduce them. These are truly great people and I am simply honored to be in their presence. Once again, rare finds. The day seemed to have a theme. Some days you wake up not knowing what to expect and by the end of the day, you are simply truly amazed. And, you feel truly blessed.

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    Signs of Life in Lawrence, KS

    On Thursday, April 27, I participated in the first event I had come out to Kansas for. Josh Ney, ISI's Campus Representative at the University of Kansas, came up with the idea for a high school essay contest months earlier. On this night, there was an official awards ceremony in the Signs of Life art gallery, which is on the second floor of the Signs of Life bookstore.

    All 13 participants, each from local high schools in the Lawrence area, received a free copy of ISI's college guide,Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America's Top Schools. The college guides were provided by ISI, while the Signs of Life book store provided cash awards for the top 3 winners. Each student had to write about a 3 page essay on "The purpose of my education." All were excellent, particularly the winner, whose essay really stood out as exceptional.

    Just before the awards were handed out, Josh gave a short talk on why he put together the essay contest, Dr. Daniel Harden, a Professor of Education at Washburn University (and longtime ISI Faculty Associate) in Topeka gave a talk on education and its purposes, and I gave a brief talk on ISI and some of the programs these students might consider getting involved in. I had actually met Dr. Harden earlier in the day and he told me he had been a member of ISI since 1957! He knew Russell Kirk and his wife Annette Kirk well and he gave me plenty of ISI stories. We talked for over two hours and he told me some of the good news he is working on at Washburn University. During his talk to the students, he went on and on about ISI and how it was essential to his own intellectual development.

    The one-hour ceremony in the bookstore made me think about the different roles that Josh, myself, D. Harden, as well as the students and their parents were in, and about the role the bookstore provided for us all to come together for a unique evening. You had different generations of people all committed to promoting a truly liberal education and seeking this education not necessarily for utilitarian purposes, but as one high school student put it in his essay, for a deeper truth and meaning in order to help us each get a glimpse of our Creator.

    Kansan Ranch life

    So, after the long night, I slept in a bit. By the time I had awakened, Josh had already left the ranch and went back into Lawrence to go to work. I had asked him to stay out there with me because honestly it would have been quite creepy out there by myself.

    When I woke up, I really got to see what this place was all about. I opened the window blinds in the back of the house, and the whole place just lit up. The sun comes up from the back and by now (about 10am) it was fully up. Even nicer than that, was the view of a good sized lake in the back of the property. I found out later that the owner of this ranch owns the lake too. After eating breakfast, I went out on the deck in the back of the house. The house is perched up on a hill, so it's nicely elevated over the lake. The deck is really nice to be on during the day. The air was clean, crisp, and just the perfect temperature - I'd guess about 70 degrees. There were a ton of birds out and they were chirping.

    I sat out there for an hour or two and read some of the first lines I've ever read of Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, a seminal work in the conservative canon. The first lines of Weaver's book state, "This is another book about the dissolution of the West." Those lines and the beauty of the nature surrounding me made me just sit back and think for a few moments - what it must be like to live out here on this ranch and in this area of the country and not have to think so much about the concerns of the world. I would be happy to be the biggest defender of Western Civilization, but I'd also be content just sitting out by this lake and enjoying the serenity of this peaceful environment.

    After realizing that this was too peaceful, I gathered my things together and decided I'd head into town. I didn't have a key to the door (Josh had it), so I just left one door unlocked (as I was told). I got in the car and headed out from the house. After a 3/4 of a mile drive up to the gate at the front of the property, I only got up there to realize it was locked! "You've got to be kidding me," I thought. My cell phone was out of service out there so I had to back up and turn around to go back up to the house. I actually got out of the car at this point and made sure there were no ditches!

    I got up to the house, picked up the phone and called Josh. "Good morning, Francisco," he answered with a cheerful voice. "Good morning, Josh," I said. "I was trying to leave and go back into town, but the gate was locked." He felt bad, but I knew he didn't lock it and I didn't think it was that big of a deal. He made some calls to his boss (the owner of the ranch) and called me back to tell me that apparently a friend of his boss's had used the lake that morning to go fishing and must have locked the gate behind him. At this point, I remember seeing someone out on the lake in what appeared to be a paddle boat, but I didn't know this guy had owned the lake too!

    Within an hour, Josh's wife Carol came out to "get me out" of the property. Later Josh quipped, "We just wanted to give you the full monastic experience." I told him it had been a "Kirkian" experience at the ranch - no tv, no internet, and just nature all around. Of course, there was electricity, like any house would have, but it was secluded. I even saw horses on the ranch which were out in the fields as we pulled out of there. What a great place. Once you take away the getting stuck in a ditch, and then stuck on the ranch, you couldn't help but just love this place. But for now, I actually did want to get back to civilization, because civilization needs defending too.

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Got stuck in a ditch

    The owner of the bookstore Josh works at, Sign of Life, put me up at his ranch which is about 20 minutes outside of Lawrence. It was awesome, but my first trip out there involved following Josh (who was driving ahead of me) at about 12 midnight. The last 2 miles to the ranch involve drive on dirt roads. We were almost there. My rental car, a white Monte Carlo, had gone about 1,500 miles across the country in less than 2 weeks.

    As we got close, Josh pulled into the front gate of what appeared to be the ranch we were seeking. Instead, it was the wrong one. I had pulled up behind him to wait for him to open the gate with the keys his boss had given him. He got out and told me this was the wrong ranch. So, I backed up a bit to make room for him to pull back. Where I was pulling the car back, there was a bit of a hill, so I made sure not to go too far back. Once Josh had enough room, he pulled back and then started back up the hill driving on to find the home we were actually supposed to be at. As Josh drove on, I then put it back into drive and started to go ... but the tires of the car just spun. I wasn't going anywhere.

    I flashed my lights to Josh, as he was already getting pretty far down the road. It was pitch black dark on this dirt road as I got out to look at the back tires. The right back tire apparently got stuck in a ditch on the side of the road. Most of that tire wasn't even touching anything. Josh and I tried pushing it for a minute, but with no one inside the car (and working uphill), it wasn't going to go anywhere. I got inside the car for a few seconds to put it in neutral to see if Josh could get it, but it wasn't happening. This car was stuck.

    We had no cell phone service, so we left the car there with its flashers on just so possible passersby might see it (and not hit it). It was on this weird curve that went uphill. We made our way down to the ranch, which was pitch black. It was tough for Josh to find the door lock to fit the key into, but he did. We used the house phone, where he called his wife and a friend. They advised us to call a tow truck, which we did. Thankfully, Josh had AAA and they came in about an hour. We went back down to where the car was. It was a good 3/4 mile just from the house we were at to the front gate of the ranch I was staying on. The entire ranch encompasses something like 400 acres!

    From the front gate of the ranch, it was another mile or so down the road to where my rental car was. The tow truck just pulled up the same time we got back there and they pulled us out quickly (and free with Josh's AAA). I gave the guy a $10 tip for coming out at 1:30am. We made our way back to the ranch and crashed at nearly 2am. What a day. What a journey. Josh told me, "Welcome to Kansas."

    Kansas: My 32nd state!

    On Wednesday, April 26 I arrived in Kansas! Before arriving in the state that was made famous by Dorothy and her dog, Toto, I drove right through Independence, Missouri (home of President Harry Truman) and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Then, I was on to Lawrence, Kansas ... home of the University of Kansas and the Signs of Life Bookstore, where I was to participate in two events later in the week, put together by one of the best ISI Campus Representatives around, Josh Ney. Josh and I have been in contact for more than a year. We talk often on the phone and send lots of emails, to further the conservative and faith-based causes in Lawrence, Kansas.

    On Wednesday, I finally met Josh in person. He gave me the tour of Signs of Life bookstore. It has lots of ISI Books titles! It also is a conservative and Christian book store, but less overtly. It's suttly conservative and Christian. On one side of the store, there is a coffee shop, where students and locals hang out and check their emails through their wireless laptops via a wireless field set up in the store. Upstairs, there is an art gallery with very tasteful art. This store truly is demonstrating "Signs of Life" in a postmodern age. I'll have more to say about this in my upcoming blogs.

    Josh has been married for almost 2 years and his wife Carol is expecting a baby girl any day. She's officially "due" in a couple weeks. Carol and Josh joined me for a little side trip out to Manhattan, Kansas, which is about 80 minutes to the west of Lawrence. We drove on a pretty scenic strip of I-70, through an area called the "Flint Hills". It was neat, and the sun was setting as we drove through there.

    We were headed out to Manhattan, Kansas to make a visit with 3 College Republicans at Kansas State, including Ben Davis, who is also an ISI Campus Representative. We met up with Ben and 2 of his cohorts at a local establishment and exchanged ideas for several hours. It was fun and it also helped Ben really introduce ISI to his two other friends who lead the College Republicans. They were excited to host ISI lectures, perhaps even work with Josh to get some similar lectures at KU and Kansas State during the same times when those speakers are in the area.

    I will have more to say about the conclusion of my first day in Kansas. But for now, I'm getting some sleep.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    Old Horses Don't Die

    Later on Tuesday, I drove a couple hours south through southern Illinois and rural northeast Missouri. On my journey, I passed over the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. Pretty neat. I had traveled all the way from the East coast and felt like I was literally crossing the frontier. What journey it has been. That evening, I visited with 3 guys who are trying to insure that the ideas and past successes of ISI and the CN are still alive and will continue to succeed at the University of Missouri (or more commonly known as "Mizzou.")

    One guy was Brian (forget his last name) who graduated from Mizzou about two years ago and was the Editor-in-Chief of Equitas, the CN publication. It really hasn’t published at all in the past year or two, but Brian still has plenty of ideas to insure Equitas has better days ahead of it. The other guy is Shannon Maruzik, who is the leader of the ISI Group, literally called, "Mizzou ISI". This group really hasn’t done anything "eventful" for the past year, since its last leader, Jill Grounds, graduated. (I had been out here in January 2005 and met Jill and about 10 others from the group then). But, Shannon is keeping the idea of the group alive as he enters his last year of school. The third guy that was there was Brett Powell, who had randomly emailed me about a week before my visit to rant about how he was displeased that ISI had endorsed (actually, published) Rick Santorum’s book. Brett is a "Randian" (follower of Ayn Rand’s ideas) and a hardcore libertarian. He once worked for the Leadership Institute and remains and ISI member as he completes his MBA here at Mizzou.

    We all got together to "conspire" about how to keep ISI alive while the old horses of the campus movement are moving on. They’ve identified some potential new leadership and we came up with a variety of ideas. Our conversation was constantly moving from ideas to how to re-organize this at Mizzou to literally, ideas themselves. It was a lot of fun. Brian was "taking notes" (literally) and formulating concrete ideas. Now you know why this guy was a serious leader here and why Equitas was so successful while he was leading it.

    At one point when our conversation had gone off on a tangent, I redirected it back by saying, "Where were we?" Brian looked down at his notes, "Francisco said that ... in 1951, William F. Buckley said that ‘the universities will not be reformed until alumni get involved.’". "Exactly," I reiterated. We talked about how Brian could possibly form some kind of conservative alumni group and work with current students to make the public (and Mizzou alumni) more aware of what’s happening on campus. Perhaps the purse strings of conservative (and rationale) donors would be influenced if they only knew how Leftist many of these university’s programs had gotten. And the conservative idea machine keeps going... even after we campus conservative leaders leave campus we know how important the battle for the culture is on college campuses. If only we could fulfill Buckley’s dream.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Middle America

    On Tuesday morning I drove about 2 hours south to Jacksonville, IL to meet with several members of the ISI Group at Illinois College. This school is virtually in the middle of nowhere, but only 30 minutes or so southwest of Springfield, IL. I had literally drove through the Land of Lincoln. I have been to this campus before to meet with Dan Sauerwein, who started the group about a year and a half ago or so, and he’s now graduating and leaving the group in new hands, younger hands. We had a brief, but good meeting and talked about some new ideas that the new leadership is going to consider. They seem to want to take the group in a new direction, a direction that will hopefully involved more people on campus and convey to them the importance of joining and being a part of such a group.

    These last two campus visits (to the University of Illinois and Illinois College) have reconfirmed to me that you must have good leadership to lead these type of groups and good leadership can most clearly be seen in being able to pass down that leadership. As a leader, you have to groom the leadership that will follow you in order that your group and its mission does not end on your graduation day. College groups are tough to keep going and it’s even tougher when good student leaders graduate and move on with the rest of their lives. Leo kept the conservative cause active, John stayed persistent in keeping the idea of a group going and Dan also left good leadership behind to follow in his footsteps and perhaps all these student leaders following in their footsteps will keep up the great motivation and willingness to lead the conservative cause on campus.

    Campus Conservatives in a Sea of Blue

    On Monday, I drove from South Bend to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois to make my first ever visit to the University of Illinois. The city is very nice, but somewhat urban surrounded by a mostly rural area. I came here to meet with our new ISI Group at the University of Illinois, started by John Bambenek. John has been trying to start this group for more than a year - and despite some challenges, he hasn’t given up. In fact, what he’s done is constantly register all the conservatives he knows for ISI membership. He’s met many more on, where he’s "networked" them all together and convinced them of the importance of joining ISI where they can find the intellectual resources to defend their conservative cause on campus.

    Over time, this formula has worked to bring together like-minded conservatives who, while interested in activism and furthering the conservative agenda both on and off campus, are actually more interested in educating themselves on principle and guiding themselves with the intellectual rigor (that ISI provides) to become more informed on why they are conservatives and to find an academic alternative to their Leftist-dominated curriculum.

    About 8 or 9 students and myself met up for dinner and we had some really great conversations. It was like having an ISI Group meeting and getting into some aspects of intellectual conservatism. Sometimes on these visits, I like to ask the students "which conservative (dead or alive) do you most identify with?" or "which conservatives’ ideas most resonate with you?" Surprisingly enough, a few of them said Barry Goldwater! This is not a name you hear in popular circles very much any more. But, it was cool to hear. I think there was a fan of Buckley as well, among others.

    After dinner, John, myself, and 3 of the guys from the CN paper, The Orange and Blue Observer (2 of which were there at the meeting), went out for a couple of beers at a local pub. We continued our conversations which went on for several more hours. Leo Buchignani, who has been the Editor in Chief (and conservative campus leader) for the past 2-3 years at the University of Illinois, joined us for beers. I have met Leo several times before at CN conferences. Great guy - this guy want to conquer the world - he’s ready to take on the Left on the Illinois campus all the way to China.

    What is great about right now, is that Leo has built up a large group of conservative activists, utilizing the resources of the Leadership Institute for the grass-roots political activism on campus, and the Collegiate Network for "spreading the conservative message" through the print media. Now, John and his new ISI Group is going to groom all of these conservative activists to be intellectuals. Perhaps they will be "scholar-warriors" in an activist sense of the "warrior."

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Keeping the Faith at Notre Dame

    On Sunday, I drove from Indy up to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. I met once again with the staff of The Irish Rover a publication on ISI’s Collegiate Network. They are one of the best papers around, and always have a large and energetic staff. I had seen Tommy Forr, their Editor in Chief, and a few others from their paper at the ISI conference in Indy the day before, but I was able to meet a larger portion of their staff over a meal on campus. About 10 students showed up and they were all fired up.

    This past year, these conservative Catholics (and a few "Prots", as they call them) were given some hope early on by the new President, Father Jenkins, over some of the cultural issues on campus, such as the "Vagina Monologues." But, in the past few weeks, they got some bad news as Father Jenkins and the Notre Dame administration had "given in" to the feminists on campus. Another victory for Far Left feminism - and at a "Catholic" university of all places. In this sense, Catholicism is not as full as it could be at Notre Dame. And from what the students tell me, the "in the classroom" experience is pretty slanted to the Left, though most of the professors generally profess their membership in the Catholic church (they’re not sure if they are practicing Catholics, but they associate themselves as members).

    I would argue that The Irish Rover tries to stand athwart this progressivism and yell stop.
    After I left the meeting, I had agreed to meet up with Tommy a couple hours later for a "dorm mass". Every dorm has a chapel in their building. Inside each of the men’s dorms, there are priests in residence and inside the women’s dorms are nuns. They are there for spiritual guidance and simple advice. Every Sunday night, each dorm celebrates the mass in their respective chapels. I attended mass on Sunday at 10pm in O’Neill Hall, where Tommy lives. There were about 80 people or so from the dorm in there and it was a very, very moving experience. If I can say anything for Notre Dame, the student life (particularly the Catholicity of the student life) is well and alive. I could feel it and again, "see" it. Charlotte Simmons would have done fine here (even if she was a "Prot").

    After mass, I took a stroll by myself down to the famous "grotto" where students come and offer prayers in communion with Our Lady, and at night it really is an impressive sight as literally hundreds of candles are lit. Throughout the course of the day (or night) you can find students and faculty coming here to publicly offer their prayers and light a candle. On this night, as I walked up at nearly 11pm, there were hundreds of students out there, as one of the Sunday night masses was still taking place. A few minutes after I arrived, the mass was over and the students slowly dispersed back to their dorms giving me a chance to pray and reflect more quietly.

    On Monday morning, I met with a graduate student in the history department, who has been involved with ISI and received an ISI Salvatori Fellowship towards his graduate work in history at Notre Dame. This was the one Ph.D. program I applied to this year (the only one I’ve found so far that I like) and I didn’t get in. But, Jonathan and I had a great talk and he gave me lots of helpful advice, including to encourage me to apply again (but of course, to find a good 4-5 other schools to apply to in addition so I could have more options). I think with many of the experiences I’ve had in the past week, I’ve certainly become more motivated to do so. Finding God, finding vocation, finding hope, and finding advice. All are here at Notre Dame.

    ISI Conference in Indy a huge success!

    For decades it seems, ISI has been holding conferences in Indianapolis. This year's ISI National Leadership Conference theme was: "Capitalism and Freedom: Milton Friedman and the Economics of Liberty." About 300 people attended the conference, including about 50 students who said this was "their first ISI experience" and one of them continued on and said, "so far, I really like what I see."

    I rolled into town on Friday and helped set up some things with my colleagues. Friday night kicked off with a dinner for the ISI Honors Fellows and the professors who mentor them. Georgetown political science professor, Patrick Deneen, gave the keynote address in which he focused on "vocation." It was stellar. Later that night, my colleague and friend, Brian Embry and myself went out for a couple of drinks and appetizers with noted classics professor from the Univerity of Colorado-Boulder, E. Christian Kopff. Professor Kopff gave Brian and myself really great advice on seeking a future in academia and applying to Ph.D. programs in our respective fields. The combination of hearing about "vocation" earlier in the evening and talking with Brian and Dr. Kopff really motivated me about concentrating on applying for a Ph.D. program next year and how I should approach it.

    On Saturday, my day kicked off at 6am, where I awoke to help set-up for the conference. We heard many lectures. Later in the evening, after the day program was over, I attended the Simon Fellows award dinner, where ISI awarded 3 "Simon Fellowships" to graduating seniors who are applying the grants towards their "noble purpose" after graduation. The top prize was $40,000 and the two secondary prizes were $5,000 each. I only knew one of the students, Jordan Hylden, who received a $5,000 grant towards starting a Collegiate Network-like organization that will instead be geared towards supporting Christian journals on college campuses. Jordan's acceptance speech was awesome. I need to find a transcript. The other two winners were also stellar - the winner, a student from Notre Dame, almost brought the crowd to tears it seemed. A very emotional and uplifting evening.

    After this, I hosted a small reception at a bar/restaurant nearby for about 40-50 of the students who attended the conference and are part of the College Republicans in the state of Indiana, representing over 15 different schools. It was a lot of fun.

    Then, I headed back by the Columbia Club around 11pm-ish and found a lot of ISI people still up and still going. So, I joined about 10 students and my colleagues, Johnjo and Enza, for some fun at a nearby bar. We were out until about 3am! Let's just say I slept in on Sunday... as most everyone there was departing for him, the trip wasn't over for me... another week of traveling ahead of me... next stop was Notre Dame.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Oh Ohio

    On Thursday, I ventured from the very east part of Ohio to the rural interior. After passing some Amish farms (yes, the Amish are in Ohio too), I stopped at Kenyon College to have lunch with some ISI students there, including two students who edit the Collegiate Network paper, The Kenyon Observer. The paper has been around for 19 years, making it one of the oldest CN publications. John O'Hara, who is the editor-in-chief and graduating this semester, was recently hired to work for Al Regnery at The American Spectator magazine. This is one of the highly prized internships offered through the CN. John will also be joining CN staff and about 11 other CN student editors in Prague for 10 days this summer on the CN's foreign correspondent course.

    After stopping off in Kenyon, which has only about 800 students... I drove down to Columbus, Ohio where I met with some student editors of the OSU Sentinel at one of the largest schools (perhaps the largest) in the country, The Ohio State University. These guys are great - but I should note, they are VERY hard core libertarians. By the end of dinner, we got into some good conservative-libertarian debates and somehow we even got into a debate and discussion over the notion of "progress". Are we progressing as a civilization? As a world? And if so, what do we mean by "progress"? This and many questions were up for debate.

    After that was over, I went back to the hotel and crashed... on Friday, I drove from Columbus, Ohio to Indianapolis, IN where I met up with other staff from ISI who were busy preparing for ISI's National Leadership Conference. More on that coming soon!

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    The Best Catholic University in America

    I got to Franciscan University late Wednesday and had a dinner pizza party with our new ISI Group there. Led by a freshman standout, Billy Valentine, this group has decided to go with the name, "Ronald Reagan Conservatives Club" to attract people to the group. About 10 students from the group showed up for the meeting so that Billy and myself could further explain the purpose of both ISI and the campus group and how it differentiates from other group some of them are involved in, such as College Republicans and Students for Life, among many others. The first book the group is taking up this year is Rick Santorum's It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which is perfect for this conservative group on a Catholic campus - since that's what defines Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic (or maybe a Catholic conservative?)

    Later in the evening, there was an ISI lecture by Notre Dame law professor, Gerard Bradley on the topic, "Unification and Education: Orestes Brownson and How Our Constitution Depends Upon an Autonomous Civil Society." It was a great talk and Professor Stephen Krason, who helped host the lecture, concluded the talk by informing the audience this was the 20th (and last?) year of "The Orestes Brownson Lecture Series" at Franciscan University. Over the twenty years they have had many notable speakers address this series, notably one of them was Russell Kirk! How cool. Dr. Krason himself used to work for ISI about 20 years ago, as the "Eastern Director." He was responsible for organizing events and chapters in all the regions "east of the Mississippi." He was glad someone from ISI could make it out to the ISI-sponsored lecture of which about 60-70 people attended.

    Franciscan University is situated in a beautiful location, with many hills on campus and literally just a mile or two from the border with Pennsylvania. Basically, a river located about a 1/2 mile away or so, separates the university from the Keystone State. Billy was very gracious and gave me all the history of the school and a tour. According to him (and others) the school used to be known as a party school and not very Catholic at all, particularly back in the 60's and 70's. But, one president came in and made a huge difference. Today, the school is about as Catholic as you can get. I might even say "more Catholic than the Pope." The student life is filled with activities rooted in the student's deeply cultivated Catholicism. There are reminders on campus and the students seem to all take part in the breadth and depth of Catholic life.

    The students also don't just stay on campus. From my day at Franciscan University, I would argue that the students' faith is well-cultivated on campus, from the classroom to student life. But then, they don't just isolate themselves on campus - they go out and have an impact on the real world. Over 150 students from the school (which has a population of about 2,200) go into Pittsburgh every Saturday morning and hand out literature in front of abortion clinics. While some distribute literature, others simply pray. On campus, prayer life is well cultivated with a 24-hour adoration of the Eucharist. No matter what time of day it is, someone on campus is praying and adoring the living Body of Christ.

    Also on campus, there is a "Tomb of the Unknown Fetus." There were several babies rescued from dumpsters some years back, and their bodies were buried there on campus. The culture of life is omnipresent at this school and it shows through the students.

    This morning, Billy met me for breakfast and then I checked out the bookstore - where I not only grabbed by typical "bumper sticker and postcards", but also a nice rosary, which I really need, and a book on the Catholic faith for my parents and a mug for an ISI colleague. My rosary will remind me of Franciscan University because it also displays little pictures of St. Francis of Assisi on it - and I also picked up some stationary cards I could use in the future, with the prayer to St. Francis on it. My name "Francisco" is actually rooted in St. Francis of Assisi - that's where it comes from (or rather, was "popularized" from). So, who wouldn't have thought I'd like this university this much.

    The school is also very good academically - rooted in a theological foundation, but also has a solid liberal arts program, with great professors and intellectually curious students. One thing I remarked to the students about - regarding their student life - is that every time I get onto a very morally uplifting campus, such as Franciscan or Grove City, the one thing I always notice right away are how many people are out playing sports. This is particularly evident during the warmer months. But, what I think is striking about this is what large percent of the student body actually takes up sports as a community-building event to get involved with. So, the old adage "sports, not drugs" would certainly apply (at least from what I can observe). Sports does give a sense of purpose to the day - students interact with each other in a fun way and a healthy way.

    Lastly, I cannot close this post without saying how impressed I was by the faith on this campus. You just feel it. Faith is something that they say can't be seen, but I feel like I can "see" it on this campus for sure. What's great about the ISI Group here is that the student leaders are young and Billy (who is probably reading my blog by now) is an exceptional leader who has a great future ahead. I'm just glad he's still got 3 more years in college. Perhaps by the time he graduates in 2009, all 2,200 students at Franciscan University will find their way to ISI membership. This campus has already cultivated great leaders and it is on its way to cultivating plenty more. It also serves as an example for every Catholic college and university in this country - that there is hope. These schools can be reformed to truly be Catholic in every sense of what being "Catholic" truly means.

    Hiram College: Middle of Nowhere Ohio

    Wednesday morning, I drove out to Hiram College, which is somewhere in eastern Ohio about an hour south of Cleveland. Other than that - it's in the middle of nowwhere. I had to take some back roads to get there... and then when I arrived I could almost pass the school, although there were several prominent buildings. I met with Rudy Wojtecki, a former ISI honors fellow who is now wrapping up his junior year - he's super smart. Even though he enjoys reading about conservative ideas and indulges in a liberal arts education through ISI, he's really into the sciences. I'm not a science person, so I can't really tell you exactly what he's studying, but he'll be doing an internship at NASA this summer at a research center they have in the Cleveland area and that will be after his first 5 weeks in the summer - at an internship in Denmark!

    Hiram College only has about 800 students and they're not really involved in too many things at all once they leave their classes, although most of them do live on campus. So, it's been difficult for Rudy to get very many of them involved in his ISI Group, which right now is small, but perhaps there's hope. I had lunch with him today, and then I moved on and drove down to Steubenville, Ohio. About an hour and a half drive... to Franciscan University.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Grove City College: A conservative's dream

    I finally made it to Grove City College. I just got back from a dinner with about five students and a history professor. All good conservatives. Amy Martin, the leader of the ISI Group here, gave me a tour of the campus (a very beautiful campus with neo-gothic architecture). Just about everyone here is conservative and Christian, they get a good solid liberal arts education with a great core curriculum and almost all of the students I met (certainly a limited selection) were history majors! Excellent. This is not only a conservative's dream, but THIS conservative's dream!

    It was a great visit and the group is still grappling with exactly how to make their reading group even more successful. Because this campus is quite different than almost all other campuses, the group will have to adjust for that and it is obviously going to need to be different than most other ISI Groups in that respect. Most other ISI Groups form because they're not getting a solid enough education inside the classroom, and they usually know exactly what they want. This group will have to serve more to cultivate their own intellect even more and perhaps better articulate what kind of conservative thought they will study, learn and ultimate embody. I look forward to helping them and learning how they do it.

    In any event, it was great to finally make it to this much talked about campus and perhaps more campuses like this will emerge in order that we might be better stewards of more students' educations.

    We are Penn State!

    Actually, we (meaning, I) was at Penn State today. My first visit ever, and my first glimpse ever of the second largest football stadium in the country. I wasn't in "Happy Valley" very long, but it looked beautiful, an ideal (and large) college town in the middle of a valley, a very happy valley. Mountains just miles away. On my drive through Pennsylvania, to Bucknell, State College, and to Grove City (where I'm at now), it has been an ABSOLUTELY scenic drive.

    While at Penn State today, I met with two students from the College Republicans and two students from the Penn State chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom. The CR's are more "partisan" and most of the events are consistent with getting candidates elected, but this group told me they also did more "activist" type activities and bring in conservative speakers. The YAF group on campus (not to be confused with the Young America's Foundation), are exclusively activist. Next week, they are doing an "illegal immigration awareness" day by educating students on the differences between legal and illegal immigration. The group seems to be interested in starting a conservative student newspaper on campus, perhaps by the fall, and bringing in more conservative speakers.

    It was great to see the CR's and YAF group working together and hopefully I was able to better introduce them to all of ISI's programs so they could take advantage of the many intellectually conservative resources we offer them. The good part is, most of them are pretty young. Of the four, one was a freshman and I believe the others were all sophomores. Hopefully one day, most Penn State fans will yell: "We are... conservatives!"

    Bucknell U Conservatives Club

    My first stop on this trip was really the first stop along the road of campus conservatism... Bucknell University. This is one of the best conservative groups in the country over the past 5 years. They also have a great Collegiate Network paper, The Counterweight, which always has great flashy covers and well-written articles. The group epitomizes what it means to be "campus specific", to "get attention" and spread the knowledge of conservative ideas. They have events practically every month, usually bringing in a notable speaker.

    This week, they are hosting free-market economist, Walter Williams. At their meeting on Monday night, which I attended, they made flashy looking posters to advertise the event. No, not mere flyers saying "Walter Williams, Room X, Building Y", but instead they get big colorful posterboards and cut out funny or interesting looking pictures from popular magazines, and make funny posters out of them to get students' attention on why they should come out and hear what Dr. Williams has to say. One poster, for example, had a big cut out photo (from a magazine) on it of Jennifer Anniston. Then, the students drew in a quote box that said, "Who needs Brad? I've got Walter Williams." And then below it displayed the day and time of the event, which is this Thursday.

    On a campus with about 3,500 students, it is a tight-knit school where people get to know everyone in their class and recognize most people on campus. The campus itself is also very beautiful. Whoever picked this place out in the 1840s to build a school in this location was really thinking. It's almost in a valley, and when I arrived it was late afternoon, when the sun was beginning to go behind the mountains to the west. Also, the Susquehanna River is less than a mile from campus and I basically hugged the river the last hour or so drive before I made it to campus. Absolutely beautiful scenery. The campus must be a great place to go to school. I actually enjoyed a 2-mile run when I got here, and if I had the energy, I'm sure I could have found about 8 more miles of running room without feeling dizzy.

    This was a great place to start off this trip... almost no one does it better than the Bucknell University Conservatives Club, and there are probably fewer prettier campuses than this one.

    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    Two Weeks Through America

    Over the next two weeks, I'll be on the road again... on another trip as the "ISI missionary". Here's where you'll find me:

    April 17: Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA)
    April 18: Penn State University (lunch in State College, PA)
    April 18: Grove City College
    April 19: Hiram College (lunch)
    April 19: Franciscan University for ISI Lecture and meeting with ISI Group (Steubenville, OH)
    April 20: Kenyon College for lunch meeting with Collegiate Network paper, Kenyon Observer (Gambier, OH)
    April 20: The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
    April 21-23: Indianapolis for ISI National Leadership Conference
    April 23: University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)
    April 24: University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL)
    April 25: Illinois College (Lunchmeeting with ISI Group in Jacksonville, IL)
    April 25: University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)
    April 26: Kansas State University
    April 27: Event at Signs of Life Bookstore in Lawrence, KS
    April 28: Kansas
    April 29: ISI Group at Kansas event to introduce KU students to ISI and American Conservatism
    April 30: Fly from Kansas City, MO to Providence, RI
    May 1: ISI debate at Wheaton College (MA)
    May 2: Travel back to Delaware

    He is Risen!

    But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day." And they remembered his words. - Luke 24: 1-8
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    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Churchill and Horowitz Battle With Ideas at GWU

    Check out my recent post on Reagan about the debate between David Horowitz and infamous professor Ward Churchill on the topic, "Can and should politics be taken out of the classroom?"

    I also provide a few more details about my private (and unexpected) hour-long conversation with Ward Churchill and two of his friends at a hotel bar just hours before the debate.

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    "Entry Denied: Ward Churchill"

    You will never believe this. I just had about an hour conversation with Ward Churchill in a hotel bar here in DC and I'm about to go see him debate David Horowitz... he wrote the above passage in my copy of Horowitz's book, "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America."

    Honestly, I didn't think he was that "dangerous" - but he didn't have an official entry on him, which is why he wrote that in my book.

    We had a great conversation... this is developing... hang on for more...

    I should also mention before I encountered Churchill and 2 of his friends (one a student and other a colleague in DC), I was involved in a "closed door" meeting with David Horowitz and about 15-20 other people representing conservative organizations that care about reforming the college campus. So, what a crazy few hours it has been!

    Sooners and Cowboys

    On Tuesday evening, I ventured about 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City to the campus of the University of Oklahoma, where some College Republicans had set up a "Get to Know ISI" soiree. It was in a very nice room in their student union. A lot like the other 2 soirees, about 30 people in attendance, about 15-20 new members signed up for ISI, and a lot of people excited.

    On Wednesday afternoon, I ventured up to Oklahoma State University, which is in Stillwater, OK. A whole lot of nothing between Oklahoma City and Stillwater. Once I got into Stillwater, there was actually a landmark that said "Stillwater: Oklahoma started here." And then it depicted a scene and a saying that said, "The Great Land Run", or something of the sort.

    I made it to Oklahoma State, where one of the nation's best ISI Campus Representatives attends, Dan Branum and his wife Summer. I first met Dan and Summer during my very first week at ISI, they were "my first visitors" along with 2 interns from the Eagle Forum organization in DC. It was great to get to Dan and Summer's campus during their final months of study there. They have been married almost a year now and are both planning on attending a law school of their choice this fall. I say "of their choice," because they've each been accepted to about a half dozen schools already!

    Dan has been an ISI Honors Fellow and during the past 2 years has signed up at least 150 members for ISI. I swear. And, he put together an ISI information session, where only 2 students showed up to, but also had me speak at the College Republicans meeting, where about 30 students attended. It was fun and I got to meet some interesting new people that seem really excited about conservative ideas.

    What I found interesting at the CR meeting, was that 2 of the 3 people running for the Lt. Governor position of Oklahoma in the Republican primary were also both at the meeting and gave about a 10-minute talk each on why the CR's at Oklahoma State should vote for them, support them, and campaign for them. Both emphasized the need to attract businesses to Oklahoma in order to develop a better economy and keep the college graduates in the state of Oklahoma.

    I left Stillwater and headed back to Oklahoma City, tired and worn out after my 8 days in the southwest. And, I still had to get up at 5am to catch my 7:30am flight. It was tiring. And, I still am not going home... I am spending the following 2 days in D.C. for the Students For Academic Freedom Conference. I'm getting tired... I'm also beginning to lose my voice. I guess it's all the talking about ISI!

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    The Oklahoma City National Memorial

    I had a few free hours in the afternoon, so I visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It featured an outdoor area, with a reflecting pond and 168 "empty chairs" on the site where the federal building that was bombed on April 19, 1995, was bombed. On opposite ends of the reflecting pond are big tower-like walls - on one end, the wall say the time "9:01" and on the other end, the walls says the time "9:03". The bomb struck at 9:02. Its significance is that on 9:01 the city was going on its daily business just as any other city would have at that time in the morning. At 9:03, the city had been completely changed.

    There was also a very unique indoor museum which took me about an hour and a half to go through, and I didn't take my sweet time. There was a lot of information, even a few traumatic moments. It really put you in the moment. I could write more, but it wouldn't do the experience justice. If you're ever any where near Oklahoma City, visit this memorial. I think it really struck me that we are seriously living in crazy times. The damage wasn't done just to the federal building, but to many buildings in the downtown area - there were victims all over the place, who were impacted by the blast across the street and blocks away. These are crazy times, and after I left the memorial, I really felt that the people in Oklahoma City have been living in a post-9/11 world since April 19, 1995. They knew what it was like to have their world shaken by terrorism - lives and communities changed in an instant.

    The memorial looked at everything - from the victims to those guilty of the crime, to how we should learn from this act of violence and hold on to our faith and our hope. I was really struck at how the people of Oklahoma City (and their memorial) really talked about faith as the key to their overcoming of this tragedy. They were willing to see that despite all the hatred and violence, there is certainly more good in this world than bad. This city rebuilt and their resolve only stands up to that testimony.

    I was so moved, I went back at night to see the outside memorial at night, with those "empty chairs" all lit up, and the memorial lights shining off the reflecting pond. There was a sense of eeriness and emptyness and tragedy. But like all things, as long as we never forget and we think of how we can make this world better, we will honor the names and memories of the 168 innocent lives that were taken from us on April 19, 1995.

    Oklahoma: My 31st state!

    Yes, I'm in God's country. You can certainly feel it. As I crossed the border from northern Texas into Oklahoma, the land is open. You can almost picture the "sooners" running for the great land chase in the late nineteenth century. There's still so much open land, I feel like I could have run out there myself and claimed some. But, not quite.

    So, I made it to Oklahoma. And I can really feel like I'm out here in dead center "middle America". My first visit was to Oklahoma Christian University, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City in Edmond, OK. I visited with an ISI Honors Fellow, Stephen Swanson, who is only a sophomore and is starting an ISI Group at this small Christian university. It's a very religious school, with a chapel requirement every day at 11am, which is basically an "assembly" where they sing some hymns, here some announcements, and hear a few thoughts from a speaker.

    I also met with a faculty member on campus who does similar things to what I do, but on a more local level for his school. He has also been involved with ISI as a member and told me he and Stephen would certainly help bring ISI lectures to campus in the future. We were also joined by another sophomore student who signed up for ISI and is interested in getting more involved with Stephen's new group.

    After lunch, I ventured back into Oklahoma City...

    ISI soiree at University of Dallas

    Monday night, we had another "Get to Know ISI" soiree at the University of Dallas. UD is a small, Catholic liberal arts school in the suburbs of Dallas, in an area called Irving (the campus is literally about a mile from where the Dallas Cowboys play).

    On Sunday night, I attended mass there (lots of good looking single Catholic girls - makes me want to apply for their PhD program, or at least hang around a bit longer).

    Anyway... back to the soiree ... we had a great set-up, good room location on campus and about 30 plus students attended. I would say about half were already ISI members, but it was great to get to meet them and help motivate them to get more involved. A former ISI Honors fellow introduced herself to me, and 3 other students told me they applied to this year's summer honors program. A young faculty member introduced himself to me and told me he was a former ISI Weaver Fellow, and another student told me she transferred there from Patrick Henry College (where she was involved with the ISI Group there) and she wants to start an ISI chapter at UD. Fantastic!

    In addition, I had several ISI students helping me, including Stephen Wauck who put it all together at UD and Blake Vaughn, an ISI Campus Representative at Dallas Baptist University, who brought over several students from his school and advertised the soiree to College Republican students at UT-Arlington and UT-Dallas. And, we were lucky enough to have CRNC national chairman, Paul Gourley, in attendance. He was in town for some CR business and as a friend to ISI, he attended our soiree.

    It's amazing to me the long reach ISI has - so many people are already involved with us, and yet those who aren't seem to be very excited once they get acquainted with us. It was good to be at UD and after 4 days in Dallas (my second ever trip to this city, the last one being 7 years ago), I really like this city and could see myself possibly living here someday. It's a growing city with a vibrant economy, very nice people, and oh yes, beautiful women. Great food and great weather too. All those combinations top my list. And, it's Texas. Good people down here.

    Young Conservatives of Texas

    This past weekend in Dallas, I attended the 26th annual state convention of the Young Conservatives of Texas. It was a blast. Basically the YCT'ers have chapters on campuses across the Lone Star state. They are similar to the College Republicans, however they aren't necessarily "Republican" - but they're conservative. In other words, they don't answer to a party, but mostly to principle. They do support candidates, they do lobby, but they don't do it on behalf of the Republican party, but on behalf of their conservative principles.

    I heard a number of great talks by leading conservatives and politicians, including Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, who is a black Republican and an outstanding speaker! This guy not only didn't stand behind a podium during the lunchtime lecture on Saturday, but he also put the mic down and said, "Can you all hear me?" His talk is all about body language. He walks around, looks you in the eye, and is completely focused on what he has to say. I was impressed. I think this guy could be Governor of Texas someday - he's a truly principled conservative, and I'd probably go further and label him a "compassionate conservative." He's personal and longtime friends with President George W. Bush. Both are from Midland, Texas. In fact Williams was once running for something local in Midland about 20 years ago (mayor?) and he boasts having as his campaign manager, a young and energetic George W. Bush.

    Later that night, I also heard a fantastic (and lengthy) speech by Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). Congressman King filled in for the absent Tom Tancredo. Both are great friends and both are perhaps the strongest advocates in Congress for a stronger immigration policy. They advocate building a wall or fence along the U.S./Mexican border and taking serious measures to stop illegal immigration and limit overall immigration. I mostly agree - and mostly because immigration has just gotten completely out of control. King's best statement about immigration: "A border defines a nation. If we can't control our borders, than we can't define them and without defined borders, we have no defined nation." (or something like that, I paraphrased)

    The YCT'ers though really struck me. They are pure hard core activists. And they also know how to have a good time (I joined them in their "hospitality suite" on the 12th floor of the hotel for socializing on both Friday and Saturday nights). On Saturday night, the "YCT Chapter of the Year", the chapter from the University of North Texas, was running their video of an immigration "invasion" event/protest they held on their campus, which informed other students of how illegal immigrants are "invading" our nation. Their 10-minute long video was very well done and it showed how their event was very confrontational with many other students on campus, though hardly the majority.

    I'm hoping that by introducing ISI to all these pure activists, we can turn them into intellectual-activists. Get them reading more conservative books and literature from ISI so they can defend their activism from principle and they can have the intellectual tools to use while they defend the conservative cause on campus.

    The consensus from just about every student in Texas I meant was that most of their students at their schools are conservative, but their professors are not. However, the students on their campuses are mostly apathetic and so it's hard to get people involved, so they tell me. And I believe them, because I heard this sentiment echoed over and over again. And, it's not a surprise. Texas is a very conservative state, and so you'd think the student population is conservative - but you can never be sure about "the professors". Of course the major exception in Texas is UT-Austin - most of the students there are probably not conservative.

    So, there's still more work to do in Texas - and not just at UT-Austin. We also have to get these conservatives more involved and get them reading more from the canon of conservative intellectual thought.