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I made my way to the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Washington D.C. for the National Conservatism Conference Sunday evening with some trepidation, unsure what to expect, and feeling wildly out of place among what seemed like a crowd of thinktank wonks, DC insiders, and journalists. I went because I lived nearby, appreciated old-school conservatism, and because if Yoram Hazony puts on a conference and says you should go to it, you should probably go. I figured there would be some intellectual stimulation, some annoying jeremiads, and a few interesting conversations in the coffee hours.
What I was not prepared for was the emotional intensity of the 52 hours that lay ahead: the rhetorical fervor and fierce conviction of so many of the lectures; the standing ovations and uncontrollable waves of applause; the buzz of excitement in the hallways, the sense of camaraderie among strangers; the palpable joy and hope that began to steal across the faces of many of the 500 attendees as the conference wore on; the ringing crescendo of Sen. Josh Hawley’s closing keynote. Although I like to think of myself as a hardened cynic, my wife has me pegged as a hopeless romantic, so perhaps the conference simply offered just the right brew of logos, ethos, and pathos to summon forth my inner Don Quixote.
Something - Something - Week - Geeky - Gathering
But something real, and something genuinely exciting, I am convinced, was afoot this week at this geeky but well-dressed gathering, where college students, rabbis, venture capitalists, and leading conservative intellectuals mingled freely and sought to map a blueprint for national renewal.
By late Monday morning, I had a disorienting realization, which I share with some sheepishness: for the first time in my adult life, I was hopeful about the future of our nation. That will inevitably sound corny or trite, but understand: although I have poured...
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