The Trunk delivered his lecture on Winston Churchill in the 1930’s before a packed house of college students this morning. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this morning, St. Olaf College is the host to this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Conference, featuring keynote speaker Jimmy Carter. We have already detailed the history of this event, and its laughably leftist and pacifist tinge, featuring fifty seminars on “Peace Through Dance,” “Peace Through Meditation,” etc. When a group of conservative students proposed that a single seminar, amid fifty pacifist ones, focus on the concept of “Peace Through Strength,” the administration declined. No room for such radical notions, apparently, at St. Olaf.
This morning the Trunk’s lecture went forward under the auspices of an ad hoc college group, Students for Intellectual Diversity, with support from the College’s Young Republicans. To be fair to St. Olaf, the college couldn’t have been more congenial; they supplied a lovely dormitory lounge for the event, and the Dean of Students came by to chat. Shortly before the talk was to begin, the students started streaming in. They filled all of the available seating, and sat on the floor. They lined the sides of the room and stood on the stairs and in the hall outside the lounge. The audience was almost all students, with only a handful of adults present. But former govenor Al Quie came to show his support.
The photo below shows the Trunk in the midst of his lecture on Churchill.
The Trunk’s knowledge of his topic–Churchill’s life, the sorry history of the 1930’s, the disaster of appeasement, and the events leading up to World War II–is encyclopedic. It was a rare treat to hear him. I would be surprised if the students hear another lecture this good during their four years of college. The students thought so, too, as they gave the Trunk two sustained ovations.
The photo below shows a portion of the crowd.
I have to say that I was impressed by the students. They were attentive and, in the dialogue that followed the lecture, they were engaged and reasonably articulate. It was, of course, a friendly audience, but the one liberal student who questioned the Trunk was polite, respectful and well-spoken. There was also an aging lefty who tried to throw a curve ball or two at the Trunk, but challenging the Trunk on these issues is like me pitching batting practice to Barry Bonds. The lefty quickly gave up and settled for pointing out that the Soviet Union had been instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany. Indeed.
All in all, it was a memorable event. I haven’t seen any news coverage of Carter’s speech yet, and I don’t expect ever to hear much about “Peace Through Meditation.” But I have no doubt that the 100 to 200 students who turned out to learn about how Churchill stood nearly alone against the rising tide of fascism will remember the day for a long time.
UPDATE: Here is the Strib’s account of Jimmy Carter’s “sermon” to an adoring crowd of Democrats:
Former President Jimmy Carter delivered a Saturday sermon to a standing-room-only crowd at St. Olaf College, condemning the American people as much as their leaders for what he called their indifference to the disease and despair that prevail in much of the developing world.
“It’s a different world from ours,” he said. “And we don’t really care what happens to them.” Although this is a “great country, with great potential,” he said, it is not doing what it could to bring about peace, freedom and health in the developing world.
Fortunately, Carter said, this is beginning to change with the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh, just kidding. Actually, he was against liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, or anywhere else, apparently. He favors only talk, not action.
In keeping with the non-partisan tradition of former presidents, Carter turned the lecture into a cheerleading session for Democrats:
He answered a question about how to deal with the polarization of American politics by playfully asking the college president for permission to be “biased,” then saying, “Vote Democratic!” — an exhortation that drew an enthusiastic response.
Jimmy Carter is a deeply contemptible man.