Christopher Bedford

2019 Lincoln Fellow

What is your current position?
I’m a senior editor at The Federalist.

What inspired you to choose this career path?
I’ve always loved history, politics, excitement. I thought I wanted to be a journalist because I didn’t want to have to lie and ask for money, glad-hand and join a party. I also liked the idea of being able to make completely stupid mistakes in life and not having someone video tape it and run it on TV in my hometown to try and destroy me. Guess we do that to each other now, but revolutions mess things up.

What are you currently working on?
The unfinished story of the biggest collection of lies in American history. Lockdown, Russia, Ukraine, revolution, corruption — you name it. Can’t be too specific because in a week’s time, war with China for ruining the damn planet can turn into hanging ourselves in the closet because of The 1619 Project. But hey, it’s always a good time for the End Times.

How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?
Y’all are legends. And some of the only ones standing up right now.

What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?
My gosh, what a crew! Hanging out late with Ryan Williams, Matt Peterson, Michael Anton and John Yoo? Watching a Western with John Marini? Getting yelled at for going in the pool when the pool was closed? The fellows, boat trips, I mean, amazing. But I especially prize having had the opportunity to meet Michael Uhlmann. What a kind, intelligent man, and a true treasure.

There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?
In a word, it’s useful! For one, what I learned largely isn’t taught; not that I’m the product of any prestigious educational pedigree (though I hear they’re even worse). I found myself using discussions and readings on the couch for Outnumbered, on the sidewalk talking to protesters, in my writing, in conversation at the bar. It’s just good thinking done right. Happy warriors, all.

If you could have a fireside chat and drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order and discuss?
John Adams, if he’s in good spirits. If he’s in a foul mood, Jefferson. No man who decorates his lobby with dinosaur skulls and tribal masks is a bad time.

Who was more important for their time, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Why?
One made it possible, the other made its completion possible. We’re so fortunate to have such an unbelievable collection of men in the right places and right times for the right purpose. God has blessed America.

Through the lens of history in which one of the original 13 colonies would you have wanted to live and why?
Massachusetts Bay Colony, because it was simpler. We were largely united, allowing us to skip much of the terror of neighbor-on-neighbor violence that plagued many of our neighbors to the south.

What would the artifact be, if you could hold one piece of history from the early founding of our country and why?
Thomas Jefferson’s pen. A sword is much too gaudy, but Washington’s pistol would be a close second.

What qualities do you believe are needed to achieve great statesmanship in this century and why?
Truly honoring our past, envisioning our destiny, understanding — and I mean really, actually grasping — our present, and knowing thyself. It’s almost impossible to be a mentally sound national politician, so that’s the first hurdle and right now it is not met anywhere. Next, stand for us all. Take it all into account. Be the leader who Frederick Douglas criticized harshly but loved: the leader who takes the pain to get us to the right place. Hint: If any leader says they’re going to “follow the science,” they are not a statesman.

What would you choose as your argument to convince left-leaning millennials the nation’s founding principles are still relevant and worthy of being preserved?
Drop and give me 20.

What is the greatest challenge facing honest journalism in this century?
Oh it’s more honest than it’s ever been, isn’t it? Jackals, all of of us.

What books are you currently reading?
I wanted a nice escape from reality, so I’m finishing Walker Percy’s “Love in the Ruins.” It’s about a lustful, sinful Catholic man who drinks too much and is slowly going mad while America descends into unhinged political and racial war.

What book, film, or speech has left a lasting impression with you and why?
“A Time For Choosing,” Ronald Reagan, because that’s what this is, isn’t it?
But more than just that, I find myself recommending Lincoln’s Lyceum Address to friends. It’s a time not unlike our own, and he was sadly right.

What is the most distinctive attribute/character of the people in the state where you grew up that you genuinely admire?
I grew up in Massachusetts, which no matter how hard it tried, cannot shake its prudish, intolerant, cold-weather, Puritan attitude. Very few people remember what we’re standing for, but we’re very much for it and against the other thing. A wonderful state.

What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby) and why?
I sincerely love to cook.