Rallying campus conservatives to assert their political beliefs on the Hilltop and beyond, Jonah Goldberg and Fred Barnes spoke Saturday in ICC Auditorium as part of the College Republicans’ “Take Back Georgetown Day.”

“You really can take back Georgetown,” said Barnes, the executive editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard. “Look at what’s been taken back: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nicaragua, the White House, governorships. In comparison, Georgetown ought to be easy.”

The day-long program of events, which included a series of workshops for students led by conservative policy experts, was meant to counter what Republicans said was the domination of liberal ideas at Georgetown and on other campuses.

Goldberg, editor of the National Review, a conservative magazine, highlighted the merits of membership in the Republican Party and said that even for conservatives, attendance at a politically liberal college could be a valuable experience.

Goldberg said that by attending college in a more liberal atmosphere, conservative students can more fully understand their own political standpoints. He said such students epitomize the values of a liberal arts education through dialogues with ideological opposition.

“The importance of liberal arts correctly understood is an entire body of thought going back to Locke, Jefferson, Adams and others about requisite skills people need to realize their desires in society and to deserve liberty,” he said.

Barnes encouraged students to continue to fight for better visibility for the conservative element on campus.

“If you can beat Duke, you can beat anybody,” Barnes said, drawing an analogy between conservatism and basketball, which he said “allows individuals to express themselves and pursue their interests in the framework of a team.”

Goldberg characterized liberals as having a desire to change the world through truth, saying that they seek to impart wisdom and speak truth through their professions. In contrast, he said that conservatism is only a partial philosophy on life that does not seek to inform other aspects of life.

“Conservatives don’t take a utopian view of the world,” he added. “They take the world as it is.”

Barnes and Goldberg also praised the achievements of the Bush administration. Barnes said that the federal government’s lack of interference with soaring gas prices is an example of “the free market working as it should.”

Both speakers also discussed the conflict in Iraq and asserted the need for a strong American presence abroad.

“We’re winning in Iraq,” Barnes said. “I’ve spoken to people who’ve come back, military men and civilians. The media has it wrong about Iraq.”

Goldberg criticized the idea that violence is not an adequate solution for certain situations and said that violence “solves violent situations.”

He also said that the call to “give peace a chance” is neither a valid argument nor an answer to current conflicts, adding that people should “give aerial bombardment and ground control a chance.”

The day also featured a keynote address by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the acting House Majority Leader, who called on students to take advantage of their location in the nation’s capital.

“[Blunt] told us that we have Washington here to get involved in politics, campaigns,” said Stephen Kenny (COL ’08). Kenny added that one of the purposes of the day’s event was to promote “free speech and diversity that should be extended to conservatives.”

“I think it was a huge success,” he said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.