"The Claremont Institute out in California recently decided to declare war on the Weekly Standard and the rest of the doctrinally impure publications of East-coast conservatism." At least according to our old friend, Jody Bottum, in an article appearing today on the Weekly Standard's website.
He's referring to one of our recent Precepts, by Spencer Warren, which takes issue with what several young conservatives (including a few at the Standard) have written about good and bad movies, art, politics, and morality. Anyway, Bottum begins the article with a humorous bit of inside baseball, alluding to some of the disputations the Claremont Institute has gotten itself embroiled in over the years:
"It's all rather complicated. You see, there are West-coast Straussians and East-coast Straussians, and the West-coast Straussians think that the East-coast Straussians . . . except that Harvey Mansfield . . . still, back at the University of Chicago . . . in Xenephon . . . but when Alan Bloom and Fr. Fortin were in Paris . . . the esoteric . . . and if you compare the Seventh Letter with Aristotle's account of Plato's unwritten doctrines . . . Harry Jaffa . . . Machiavelli . . . the Federalist Papers. . . ."
Actually, most of it is not really so complicated. There are, however, some extremely interesting, and right, things the Claremont Institute has to say (in our humble opinion) about America, first principles, political philosophy, and modern conservatism. And since we are talking about young conservatives, it is serendipitous that the Claremont Institute has something that deals precisely with all this.
It's called the Publius Fellows Program. Every year we select eight bright, young college students or recent graduates to come to Claremont for three weeks over the summer and participate in a rigorous series of seminars on all these questions. Well, most of these questions. There's not too much Xenophon (not Xenephon, Jody), although if it comes up, the professors know the Anabasis like they were there. Definitely the Federalist Papers though. Also, Jaffa and Mansfield.
Jody's colleagues at the Standard, Steve Hayes and Lee Bockhorn, participated in a similar program we run, called the Lincoln Fellows Program. (Read more about that one here.)
The fellows who are chosen live in Claremont, California from June 15 to July 5. During the day they will attend an intensive series of seminars on American political thought and contemporary policy issues. During the evening, if precedent is any guide, they will get into long, sometimes passionate, discussions, with each other and with the facultyoften over a few drinks. Also, we make a little time in between all this for tennis, basketball, etc. And one Saturday we take everyone out to the gun range and put the Second Amendment into action.
We are particularly interested in applicants who are or want to become writers, so some of the sessions are devoted to political journalism and writing skills. Lodging, some meals, travel expenses (up to $500) and a $1,500 stipend are awarded. Additional details and an application form (in PDF format) are available at http://www.claremont.org/projects/publius/index.html. To obtain a printed application form, or more information, contact Tom Karako at email@example.com or 909-621-6825.
Jody, unfortunately, is too old to be selected as a Publius Fellow. But, if he surrenders immediately and admits that we are always right about everything, we might consider bringing him out as a guest lecturer.