Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
There is no ignoring or dismissing abstract appeals to "change"
in the rhetoric of both presidential candidates. But a close
examination of these appeals reveals that they are neither new nor
fresh. On the contrary, they reprise familiar and well-worn
themes of constant transformational change, of ceaseless
experimentalism, and of the endless quest to fulfill America's
promise - all of which have come to be understood as integral parts
of the American ethos. But these themes represent serious and
often willful misunderstandings of concepts and dispositions that
lie at the very foundation of American life. The current
presidential campaign provides us with an opportune moment to
revisit these misconceptions, and replace them with better and more
fully grounded ones.
Wilfred M. McClay is SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in
Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he
is also Professor of History. He has also taught at
Georgetown University, Tulane University, Johns Hopkins University,
and the University of Dallas, and is Senior Scholar at the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and
Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in
Washington. He has served since 2002 as a member of the
National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the
National Endowment for the Humanities. He is author of
The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America (1994),
which won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of
More About the Speakers
Wilfred M. McClay, Ph.D.
SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities,
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.