February 2, 2011, Arlington, VA-- Today as the sun rose above the chilly Potomac, conservatives from both inside and outside the Beltway gathered for the Leadership Institute’s monthly breakfast.
New media wizard Todd Herman was the featured guest speaker and drew a crowd of hungry, like-minded conservatives.
Along with plates of eggs, bacon, sausages, and the ever popular grits, the guests waited in anticipation as LI President Morton Blackwell took to the podium introducing LI to guests.
After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, led by Grassroots Activist Schools Coordinator Chris Doss, Regional Field Coordinator Amanda Prevette shared with the audience the exciting new LI project entitled ‘Conservatism 101’.
The project, Ms. Prevette explained, is rooted in the imbalanced philosophical class offerings at universities across the country. Conservatism 101 is a for-credit course students can take to explore the different areas of conservatism: traditional conservatism, libertarianism, social conservatism and neo-conservatism. It focuses on schools where students have the opportunity to propose a class. Ms. Prevette shared the news that Brown University is starting up a Conservatism 101 course this week.
Following Ms. Prevette, External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart introduced Mr. Herman, with his own words, as a “constitutional-loving media brat.” The audience erupted into laughter and applause as Mr. Herman took center stage.
The digital media wizard spoke on ‘The President’s New Clothes,’ stating that old media is over and new media is growing at an increasing speed. “We have a moral obligation to protect an internet unencumbered by government,” Herman stated in reference to Net Neutrality laws and ‘Kill Switch’ proposals.
Net Neutrality he argued, “is based on the assumption that there is lack of content online. The FCC, who consequently works for the President, is going to step in and help us. I know we all have had problems with finding enough content online.”
The former Microsoft executive further discussed the difference between conservatives and progressives in relation to new media, “the perfectly progressive movement has become the Democratic Party in Congress, their DNA is control-driven.”
Mr. Herman continued by stating that “in a center-right nation, center-right people, will find a way to talk to each other around the old media.” The message was clear; the new media is the battleground for not only new ideas, but also for news and editorializing. The fact that it can’t be controlled drives certain people crazy. “Skepticism is Obama’s kryptonite. He shrinks when confronted in the sense of a ‘Honey, I shrunk the Presidency’ kind of way.”
Nearing the end, Todd Herman had a final call to action. “We have a moral obligation to sustain ultimate free speech, and the internet is just that.”
Andrew Sharp of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) said, “I agree with his views on net neutrality. We have a moral and civic duty to allow the internet to be free from government.” He added, “I do think that the Republican Party can be the party of free speech and new media, not more government.”
Not every guest had as great a knowledge of new media as Mr. Sharp, yet many came to discover the realms of a new age. “I came here today because I am part of the generation that lived mostly without new media. There is no doubt the increasing effects it has on local and global communication in today’s world,” said Ms. Roseanna Vogt. “It truly is the new frontier.”
To attend future LI monthly breakfasts, please visit here.
The Leadership Institute is an educational foundation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media. Since the Institute’s 1979 founding, more than 91,500 people have been trained (with half of those being in the last six years) in one or more of the 40 current programs offered in all 50 states and across the globe. For more information, please visit: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org