The Right Speaks Out

Shirley again.

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 19 at 4:30pm we welcomed several speakers to our stage for the discussion: Switching Sides: Neo-Conservatism and the Journey of Gene Biddle

The discussion was moderated by Ron Kampeas, JTA’s Washington Bureau Chief, who was joined by:

• Daniel Halper, Writer for The Weekly Standard
• William Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institute
• Ron Radosh, Author, Professor and Historian
• Jeffrey Herf, Author and Professor at University of Maryland

In the video below, the uber-articulate Bill Galston speaks to that very question: What were the factors that might have turned the character of Gene Biddle, or a person with experiences similar to Gene Biddle, from the political left to the political right? Later in the clip Daniel Halper addresses his own, relatively short journey as a young person towards political conservationism; and posits the question–don’t we have a right as human beings to shift in our belief systems and outlook on the world as we move through life?

(I do apologize for my especially shaky camera work on this one. We’re working on getting our use of video clips “right” and it certainly is an ongoing process.)


3 thoughts on “The Right Speaks Out

  1. Sept 12 matinee: 2 male panelists, female staff moderator; Sept 12 evening, 4 male panelists. Sept 19, 4 male panelists, male moderator, and, of course, the match-up of male author and critic… Particularly for discussion of this play about a woman activist of the era, and a woman prisoner years later, one might have wished to hear some women’s voices/perspectives.

  2. I attended the performance of the eight plays that were written in response to the play being performed. I would be very interested to learn what the responses were to the plays. My son, Matt, wrote one of them but I thoroughly enjoyed each of them.
    Thank you,
    Janey Bassett

  3. Hi Esther,

    I appreciate your thoughts about the gender breakdown of the panelists. I recruit all of our panel guests, and usually it takes about 10-15 “asks” to assemble a panel of 4-5 guests. We had a pretty much equal number of male and female “asks” this time around, but unfortunately–the only panel where I found women who were available and game to join us for the discussion was the Sunday, September 26 discussion about Protest Movements and the Internet. For that panel we had two young women speaking about the use of the internet and social media as an arena for political activism.

    So, I guess my point is: the inequality in gender representation? Well–it’s not for a lack of trying.

    And I am not in any way blaming the folks who had to turn down the invitations. Many of them were swamped as they continue to do the work they are known for, and simply couldn’t make it out on a Sunday afternoon.

    Finally, I’m always happy to hear suggestions for panel guests. Feel free to email me ideas at



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