The stars of the Conservative Movement were out in full force on America’s colleges this month for Young America’s Foundation. Headlined by President George W. Bush, thousands of students turned out to hear these speakers provide their ideas and insights that are often ignored on college campuses.
Before a crowd of more than 4,000 students and community members at Harding University, President Bush discussed the difficult decisions he had to make during his presidency admitting the most difficult was to move forward with the troop surge in Iraq when others encouraged him to pull troops out. “I just couldn’t do it in good conscience…I believed we could succeed. I knew it looked hopeless. But I believed it … And it worked. And it’s going to work.”
President Bush also offered advice to the student audience, “If you don’t know anything, don’t be afraid to ask. Surround yourself with people you can trust, and create an environment in which they’re willing and encouraged to give you a straight-up opinion.”
As part of the Free Enterprise Lecture Series made possible by the generous support of the Gaby Foundation, Steve Forbes and John Stossel spoke at Fordham University and George Washington University respectively. Speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 students, Forbes explained why he wrote his latest book, “How Capitalism Will Save Us.” As reported in the Fordham University’s newspaper:
He explained the unfair tactic taken toward capitalism, where critics demand that capitalists “give back,” as though what they have gained was not earned. “Giving back implies that you took something that wasn’t yours,” Forbes said. He stated that the only way to truly succeed in a free market is to provide a service or a product that people want, and that capitalism is not, by definition, an allocation of scarce resources. He used examples of successful capitalists who gained more by distributing to all classes than by pandering to the rich, like Henry Ford and his creation of the assembly line and Steve Jobs’ contributions to the personal computer.
John Stossel, host of the Fox Business Network show, “Stossel” spoke to a crowd of 200 at George Washington University. He defended America’s free enterprise system by closing his speech by stating, “The Founders had it right…we need limited government. Capitalism has lifted more people out of the mud than most systems. Capitalism is win-win, but people don’t see that.”
Other key events include Karl Rove’s speeches to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 600 at the University of Texas – Austin, 2,000 at the University of the Cumberlands. Ben Stein addressed 900 at the College of the Ozarks, Ann Coulter reached hundreds of students at UW-Milwaukee, Ramapo College (NJ), and UCLA. Ted Nugent reached more than one thousand at Northern Michigan University.