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At CPAC, Hillsdale College President Discusses Conservatism and Trump

By  |  February 24, 2017, 11:50am  |  @razshafer


There are few affiliations of which I am prouder than my relationship with Hillsdale College. Its small, beautiful campus in rural Michigan is juxtaposed by the enormous power it projects across the nation, especially within the conservative movement.

Yesterday, Hillsdale College President, Dr. Larry Arnn, addressed CPAC about the nature of conservatism and what he believes Trump must do to claim himself as a conservative.

Arnn is a personal mentor and friend of mine so I am far from objective, but I believe the content of his speech is incredibly important and deserves a full view.

Through his speech, Dr. Arnn lays out the argument that today’s administrative state poses a direct threat, possibly the greatest threat, to the conservation of America’s founding principles.

While he applauds President Trump’s antagonism towards that administrative colossus, Arnn also makes clear that his agreement on this area of policy does not constitute a blanket endorsement:

The college campus where I work is not really wracked by the politics of the day, but the Trump Campaign has presented special challenges. Because there’s obviously a lot of things that are really great about that guy, but we don’t teach our students at Hillsdale College to act the way he does on all occasions.

He also acknowledges that whether or not Trump is a conservative will be judged by the actions he takes as days go by.

So what is first, original, the principle, what would you conserve about America? I think you can’t understand the importance of Trump and what one hopes he’s going to do until he answers that question.

In describing the Declaration of Independence, Arnn discusses the nature of self-evident truths and true meaning of equality:

It says that it is a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. What does self-evident mean? Does it mean that everybody agrees with it? What does equal mean? Look around in here, everybody is different, so in what way equal? Well, the document says, ‘all human.’ Different from every other kind of creature in that respect. That principle and shining respect. Some are taller, some are shorter. Some are darker, some are lighter. Some are smarter, some are dumber. Some are lazy, some are industrious. All Human. And in that respect, we have the same rights.

That equality and the constitutionally defined form of government our Founder’s gave us are then the two primary areas where conservatives must focus their conservatory force.

At the close of Arnn’s speech, he lays out the necessity of breaking up the power of today’s administrative state, details why he is hopeful about Trump’s promises to tear it down and what the President must do to be judged a conservative:

If you think all that. If you get up in the morning and you’ve studied that all your life, as I happen to have done, and you see all of these [agencies] and the things going on in them, that are not at all constitutional. If you see that, and you see somebody running for president, and even if he talks about himself too much, if he’s fearless in saying that he’s going to cut back that vast hedge that has come and overcome so much of our country. And if he does that fearlessly and is not afraid of political correctness, I think that guy’s a conservative. And I think we ought to be that too.