I attended the 40th Annual Gala Philadelphia Society meeting in Chicago last weekend (not this weekend). I found it to be quite interesting with high quality food. There was a keynote address by the (in)famous William F. Buckley, Jr. I heard a few attendees commenting on his speech, however, to the effect that he is past his prime. I must agree with them that his speech was full of “Buckleyisms.” Like most people, especially statists, he dismissed anarchism without serious thought by means of the standard fallacies: it’s evil, chaos, and impracticable, etc.
There was a wide range of people there though, from libertarians and a couple of Objectivists to paleocons to neocons. The neocons were disturbing, of course. Self-righteous in their confidence that they can remake the world in their image. I shudder at the thought. One of them, Midge Dector, was elected the new President of the Society for the next year or two. I would be pessimistic for the future of the Society, but I am given to understand that the post isn’t really all that important. She toed the party line, however, arguing that those who label her sort neocons are anti-semitic. News flash, neocons! When anti-imperialist, anti-welfare-warfare state people such as myself call you neocons, we do not mean by neocon: “a Jew who supports Israel.” We mean “big government, welfare supporting, neo-Jacobin imperialist.”
Anyway, to get back to the meeting. There was a video greeting by Milton Friedman, an admirable defender of capitalism, albeit flawed in his methodology. Apparently, he is too expensive, or just too old (being around 92), to get in person. :o)
I managed to get Roger Scruton to sign my copy of The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat. :oD He gave a great speech. Witty and funny. And he had some interesting insights into the differences between the English and American conservative movements, namely, the lack of the former.
Overall, I had a good time. The foreign policy panel was the best of the meeting. I highly recommend Richard Gamble’s The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation and Claes Ryn’s America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire. Another excellent book on foreign policy, though the author was not at the meeting, is Walter McDougall’s Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776. Ritual Disclaimer: I do not necessarily endorse every opinion of the authors of these books.