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Civics the Key to Enhancing Political Freedom

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

At its 10th annual Bradley Symposium held on Wednesday, the Bradley Foundation gathered a panel of award-winning journalists, academics, and civic activists to tackle the question: “Are we freer than we were ten years ago?”

Moderated by our AEI colleague Leon Kass (and the creator of What So Proudly We Hail), the panel included Michael Barone (AEI), Ward Connerly (American Civil Rights Institute), and Heather Mac Donald (Manhattan Institute), among others.

Asked what the most important threat to political freedom was, the panelists’ responses spanned the gamut from the erosion of constitutional safeguards to the troubles of the American public education system to harmful campaign finance laws.

While the panelists disagreed on the threats to political freedom, there was a general consensus on a solution: more emphasis on civic education and engagement. Barone encouraged Americans to study history, especially that of the Founding; Connerly exhorted citizens to vote and get engaged in their communities; Mac Donald recommended more support for civic-minded organizations like the Boy Scouts, which she termed “civic revival machines.”

AEI