With the Claremont Institute

My friend Bruce Sanborn was chairman of the Claremont Institute for something like 20 years, if not more. That is a wild guess — Bruce is traveling in Croatia or I would have the exact number for you. Bruce recruited Tom Klingenstein to the board and stepped down upon the accession of Tom to the chairmanship a few years back.

Over that approximately 20-year period, Bruce and I attended the panels sponsored by Claremont at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association held in Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco and so on over Labor Day weekends. The convention is work for political scientists who ply their trade in the university setting, but attending the panels was our idea of a good time. We attended for the sheer pleasure of the thing.

Like the panels of the Federalist Society, the Claremont panels always included prominent speakers opposing what might be thought to be the conservative or Claremont position on the subject up for discussion. Among the outstanding liberal and left-wing teachers and intellectuals we saw speak on Claremont panels were Paul Kennedy, Bill Galston, Cass Sunstein, and Martha Nussbaum, among many others.

Larry Arnn, now president of Hillsdale College, was the president of the institute. We made friends with many Claremont-affiliated teachers and scholars along the way. In addition to Larry, Charles Kesler, Tom West, John Marini, Ed Erler, Mackubin Owens, Ken Masugi, R.J. Pestritto, Chris Flannery, Ben Boychuk, Glenn Ellmers, and John Eastman are a few who come to mind this morning. I first met Steve Hayward through his association with the institute. I first met the great Jean Yarbrough when I spoke on an APSA/Claremont panel that Jean chaired. We learned from all of them and greatly enjoyed their company.

A few years after John Hinderaker and I started writing for newspapers and magazines on the side of our law practice, Larry named us fellows of the institute. He thought highly of our work and sought to support it. In our extracurricular pursuits, we kept the name of our law firm out of it and identified ourselves as Minneapolis attorneys and fellows of the Claremont Institute. When Ryan Williams became president of the institute, I confirmed with him that we were still fellows in good standing. We are in any event proud of our friendship with Claremont. Indeed, we seek to support its work.

This year the APSA shut Claremont out of its place at the annual convention. The institute has come under attack in the pages of the Washington Post and elsewhere. Roger Kimball tells the story in the American Greatness column “Claremont under fire.” John Eastman addresses the proximate cause of the most recent controversy in the American Greatness column “Trying to Prevent Illegal Conduct From Deciding an Election Is Not Endorsing a ‘Coup.’”

Roger is a man of courage and character. He could easily stand aside and remain mute. He chooses to stand with the institute and call out its enemies. His column prompts this note. I only want to add my voice to Roger’s.

Responses